Newsletter 158 - NEEDU - Schools That Work II - Quality of Teaching
THEME 6: QUALITY OF TEACHING
The statement of best practices that follows expresses key study findings about the role of quality of
teaching in school improvement. These findings convey convictions and practices common to highperforming schools:
Teaching and learning is the first priority in high-performing schools. Teaching is judged to be at least ‘good’ across the high-performing schools. Five best practices relating to the quality of teaching are summarised below. In the sections that follow, they are each explained in more detail.
• BEST PRACTICE 6.1 HIGH LEARNING TIME: Teaching time is managed tightly to make every minute count.
•BEST PRACTICE 6.2 TEACHING STRATEGIES: Teachers use effective and empirically-tested teaching strategies to engage learners in a lesson, and develop critical thinking skills: Teacher collaboration; Looping; Differentiated Activities; Co-operative Learning; Making subjects interesting and relevant; Use of WhatsApp.
•BEST PRACTICE 6.3 HOMEWORK: Schools use homework effectively to re-inforce skills taught in class and maximise positive outcomes.
•BEST PRACTICE 6.4 ASSESSMENT AND FEEDBACK: Assessments are used regularly to measure what learners know and are able to do, and to evaluate school's teaching strategies.
•BEST PRACTICE 6.5 EXAM PREPARATION: Teachers expertly prepare learners for the NSC examinations in ways that do not detract from real learning such as “teaching to the test.”
BEST PRACTICE 6.1—High learning time: Teaching time is managed tightly to make every minute count. By far, the most common characteristic of the high-performing schools in this study is effective use of teaching time.
BEST PRACTICE 6.2—Teaching strategies: Teachers use effective and empirically-tested teaching strategies to engage learners in a lesson, develop critical thinking skills, and keep learners on task. Most scholars agree that effective leadership is among the most important characteristics of effective schools, equally important is effective teaching. Put differently, school leadership matters as much as teacher quality. Learner achievement is affected not only by what children learn, but how they learn it. Teachers help their learners engage in their lessons and other educational tasks by varying their teaching methods, including the empirically-tested techniques.
BEST PRACTICE 6.3—Homework: Schools use homework effectively to strengthen or re-inforce skills taught in class, advance classroom lessons and maximise positive outcomes. Teachers use homework as an extension of class work to encourage parents’ involvement in their children’s learning.
BEST PRACTICE 6.4—Assessment and feedback: Assessments are used regularly to measure what students know and are able to do, and to evaluate school's teaching strategies. Teachers use assessments effectively, among other things, to: determine what their learners know and are able to do, identify any groups at risk of underachieving, check progress in relation to the goals and targets which have been set, and evaluate the success of their teaching strategies.
BEST PRACTICE 6.5—Exam preparation: Teachers expertly prepare learners for the NSC examinations in ways that do not detract from real learning such as “teaching to the test.” With the greater emphasis on high-stakes assessments such as the NSC examinations, test anxiety has become a troublesome and common condition among learners in schools.