Newsletter 97 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 9 - Academic engagement

Are students engaged and on-task during the lesson?


Students demonstrate academic engagement when they are attentive and do the assigned work. They show enthusiasm for their work by raising questions, contributing to group activities and helping peers. Disengagement is evident when students are bored or make little effort. Students who are academically disengaged may daydream or even sleep in class, talk to peers about non-class matters, make a noise or otherwise disrupt the class.


Some Year 8 students were engaged in writing CD reviews. The students had each chosen a CD to review, with the selections ranging from country music (e.g. Garth Brooks) to pop music (e.g. Backstreet Boys). All of these selections were valued and accepted by the teachers and class members. The students studied music reviews from a variety of sources such as magazines, newspapers and the Internet. Through discussion as a class and in small groups, the teacher and students developed a set of criteria for the CD reviews. Nearly all the students were highly engaged and focused throughout this activity. The students demonstrated engagement with this activity through enthusiastic discussion and questioning, both as they developed the review criteria and in the ensuing drafting of the CD reviews.

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