Newsletter 89 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 1 - Intellectual quality

TOPIC 2 - Deep knowledge

Does the lesson cover operational fields in any depth, detail or level of specificity?


Knowledge is deep when it concerns the central ideas of a topic or discipline, which are judged to be crucial to it. Deep knowledge involves establishing relatively complex connections to those central concepts.

Knowledge is shallow, thin or superficial when it is not connected with significant concepts or central ideas of a topic or discipline, and is dealt with only in an algorithmic or procedural fashion. Knowledge is also shallow when important, central ideas have been trivialised by the teacher or students, or when it is presented as non-problematic.

This superficiality can be due, in part, to instructional strategies: for example when a teacher covers large numbers of fragmented ideas and bits of information that are unconnected to other knowledge.


Multistrand Science students were nearing the completion of an extensive study of the ecosystem of their town’s river. The students had participated in many in-class and fieldwork activities, such as using classification systems, monitoring water quality and studying the impacts of flooding and industry along the river, with the aim of making the students ‘experts’ on the ecosystem of their local river. The students were asked to apply this deep knowledge to the task of designing a creature adapted to the conditions of the river ecosystem. They were required to draw the creature and describe its physical and behavioural adaptations. To do this, the students needed to have a thorough knowledge of the topic.