Newsletter 96 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 8 - Social support

Is the classroom characterised by an atmosphere of mutual respect and support between

teacher and students, and among students?


Social support is present in classes where the teacher supports students by conveying high expectations for them all. These expectations include the following: (a) that it is necessary to take risks and try hard to master challenging academic work; (b) that all members of the class can learn important knowledge and skills; and (c) that a climate of mutual respect among all members of the class contributes to achievement by all. Mutual respect means that students with less skill or proficiency in a subject are treated in ways that continue to encourage them and make their presence valued. If disagreement or conflict develops in the classroom, the teacher helps students resolve it in a constructive way for all concerned.

A lack of social support is evident when the behaviour, comments and actions of the teacher or students discourage effort, participation, and taking risks to learn or express one’s views. For example, comments from a teacher or another student that belittle a student’s answer, or efforts by some students to prevent others from taking an assignment seriously, will undermine support for achievement. Even when no such overt acts occur, there can still be a lack of social support in a class if the overall atmosphere is negative as a result of previous behaviour. Note also that token acknowledgment by a teacher of students’ actions or does responses not constitute evidence of social support.


In a Year 12 Art class, students were in the closing stages of work on a self-directed, themed, multimedia project which formed part of their major assessment for the year. The work in progress was permanently displayed in the classroom. At the beginning of the lesson the students made quick charcoal sketches relating to the theme of their major work. The students

then rotated around these quick warm-up sketches and added a quick sketch of their own. When the warm-up sketching was finished, the students were invited to move freely about the room making observations and comments on each other’s work. The students and the teacher all made thoughtful comments on the work, not only providing positive feedback but also making relevant suggestions for improvement. As this lesson progressed the students frequently asked the teacher and other students for feedback on their work. Not only was the teacher supportive, but the students also supported and encouraged each other in the development of their project. Furthermore, this activity encouraged students to take risks by seeking and providing comments that could contribute to the improvement of their project.

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