Newsletter 95 Classroom Pedagogies

The following series of newsletters (1-20) are based on a fantastic guide teaching classroom pedagogies, teaching and learning strategies for teachers in the classroom.

A guide to...

Productive Pedagogies Classroom reflection manual

This booklet has been adapted from the Classroom Observation Booklet by New Basics Branch and the Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study (QSRLS) commissioned by Education Queensland

© The State of Queensland (Department of Education) 2002

Teachers should use the Productive Pedagogies framework to consider:

• Are all the students I teach, regardless of background, engaged in intellectually challenging and relevant curriculum in a supportive environment?

• How do my teaching and assessment practices support or hinder this?

• What opportunities do I have to critically reflect upon my work with colleagues?

This manual may be used to assist teachers with:

• reflecting on current classroom practices

• generating a professional language

• designing curriculum and learning experiences

• making intelligent decisions about individual students’ needs.


SUMMARY OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (You can follow the topics 1-20 across the four dimensions)


Intellectual quality

Higher-order thinking (1)

Deep knowledge (2)

Deep understanding (3)

Substantive conversation (4)

Knowledge as problematic (5)

Metalanguage (6)


DIMENSION 2 [7-11]

Supportive classroom environment

Student direction (7)

Social support (8)

Academic engagement (9)

Explicit quality performance criteria (10)

Self-regulation (11)


DIMENSION 3 [12-16] Recognition of difference

Cultural knowledge (12)

Inclusivity (13)

Narrative (14)

Group identity (15)

Active citizenship (16)


DIMENSION 4 [17-20]


Knowledge integration (17)

Background knowledge (18)

Connectedness to the world (19)

Problem-based curriculum (20)


DIMENSION 2 - Supportive classroom environment

Issues of classroom environment have been of concern to a very wide variety of educators and educational researchers. From the well known effective schools research on school and classroom ethos, to a multitude of studies on the in-class behaviour of students, to more progressive concerns for the treatment of students according to the social dynamics of race, gender and class, it is clear that students require a supportive classroom environment if they are to achieve what teachers ask of them (Brophy & Good, 1986; Doyle, 1992). Unfortunately, it cannot be said that this body of research indicates that schools and teachers are always able to provide such an environment. As with relevance, the SRLS focus on a supportive classroom environment is based on the hypothesis that a focus on high intellectual quality in and of itself will not be a sufficient condition for improved student outcomes, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Topic 7: Student direction

Do students determine specific activities or outcomes of the lesson?


Student direction means that students influence the specific activities or tasks they will do in a lesson, or how they will

undertake them. Such activities are likely to be student-centred ones such as group work, or individual research or

investigative projects.

A low level of student direction is exhibited where the teacher, or some other educational or institutional authority,

explicitly determines what activities students do, and hence how they will meet the specified objectives of the lesson.

The teacher and/or external authority decides on the appropriateness of any particular activity for meeting these

criteria, and the students themselves have little or no influence.


A number of teachers were concerned about the engagement of Year 8 students with the academic curriculum of the school.

A group of four teachers (a Social Science teacher, an English teacher, a Maths teacher and a Science teacher), with the support of

the school administration, decided to embark on an innovative program to address this issue. Central to the philosophy behind this

innovation was a commitment to student direction of activities.

When Year 8 students entered the high school at the beginning of the year they were presented with two questions: ‘What do you

want to learn about yourself?’ and ‘What do you want to learn about the world?’ These questions served as the basis of the Year 8

curriculum and throughout the year, the students were involved in the determination of both the content and the activities.

The project proved most successful in changing teaching styles and engaging the students in productive learning.

Add Your Comment 

* Name:   
* Email:    
* Comment:    
  Please calculate the following and enter the answer below: 1 x 4 + 3 = ?
Please leave this box blank.