Teaching and Learning Blog


Based on the most wide-ranging and comprehensive education research available, the key messages regarding running a classroom are:

  • Set your routines and stick to them 
  • Have the highest of expectations and don’t let them drop

According to Tom Bennett, when reflecting upon a lesson taught, look at what was wanted to be taught, and whether the routines in place allowed that to happen. There will be a gap in most cases, and normally the gap is driven by a lack of routines or expectations that are not high enough. One of the most striking statements that Bennett makes, is that ‘you promote what you permit’. Effective routines also help to minimise extraneous cognitive load.

The following links are useful to read, along with watching the videos below, to gain useful tips and strategies for managing behaviour and establishing positive routines. 

The following video clips provide short supportive strategies and tips to ensure you are running your classroom. 

The following literature is recommended:

  • When the adult changes, everything changes – Paul Dix 
  • Classroom Behaviour 4th edition – Bill Rogers
  • Slow teaching – ‘Refining relationships’ and ‘Serene and stoical behaviour management – Jamie Thom
  • The Confident Teacher  – chapter 9 – ‘Managing student behaviour’– Alex Quigley


It is important to move away from the notion that a really well ‘marked’ book is an effective proxy for a great teacher. For feedback to be effective, it must be acted upon, otherwise it is a waste of our precious time. it is also important to remember that feedback and marking are not the same thing!

A great place to start when thinking about feedback is the chapter on ‘Assessment and Feedback’ in What does this look like in the classroom? by Carl Hendrick and Robin MacPherson (available in the CPD Library). This chapter will provides an excellent understanding as to how feedback should work.

The following reading demonstrates how to improve the feedback we give students, whilst reducing workload and improving outcomes.

Literature: (available in the CPD library)

  • What does this look like in the classroom? – Chapter on assessment and feedback – Carl Hendrick and Robin MacPherson
  • Making Every Lesson Count – chapter 5 – ‘Feedback’ – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
  • Embedded Formative Assessment – Dylan Wiliam
  • Responsive Teaching - Harry Fletcher-Wood
  • A Marked Improvement – Education Endowment Foundation

Blog posts:

Self and peer feedback:


How to go about structuring feedback in a lesson:

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval practice is the act of retrieving something from your memory (often with the help of a cue).

What does the evidence tell us?

Recent research has shown that retrieval is critical for robust, durable, long-term learning. Every time a memory is retrieved, that memory becomes more accessible in the future. Retrieval also helps us create coherent and integrated mental representations of complex concepts, the kind of deep learning necessary to solve new problems and draw new inferences.

A really useful starting point to understand retrieval practice, interleaving and spacing can be found here and here.

It is well worth the time to read The Science of Learning – Deans for Impact to get an understanding of how students learn and what implications this has for how we teach.

At St Mary's, many subjects use knowledge organisers as a powerful resource for retrieval practice. Read about how knowledge organisers can be used for retrieval practice in the blog posts below:

How do knowledge organisers work alongside retrieval practice?

Blog Posts to read:

Information to share with students:

Useful Videos:


Questioning is one of the most integral characteristics of effective teaching and learning, quite simply as it:

  • drives learning
  • creates a language rich environment
  • reviews learning
  • encourages engagement and motivation
  • develops critical thinking

Rosenshine writes in his Principles of Instruction – ‘Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students. Questions help students practice new information and connect new material to their prior learning.’

To improve your questioning strategy and techniques, take a look at some of the great blog posts below.

Or alternatively, please take out one of the books from the CPD library and focus on the chapters below:

  • What does this look like in the classroom –Chapter 7 – Classroom Talk and Questioning – Hendrick and Macpherson
  • Making every lesson count – Chapter 6 – Questioning – Allison and Tharby
  • Teach Like a Champion 2.0 – Chapter 7 – Building ratio through questioning – Doug Lemov
  • Slow Teaching –Chapter 6 – Questioning: Rediscovering the potential – Jamie Thom
  • The Learning RainforestPages 195-208 – Tom Sherrington
  • The Confident Teacher – Chapter 12 – Confident questioning and feedback – Alex Quigley
  • Teach Like a Champion 2.0 –Techniques 11 and 22 No Opt Out andCold Call –Doug Lemov

Also worth checking out these short videos on questioning:


Providing models and scaffolding are two of Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. Without modelling, students will struggle to understand what excellence looks like and how to try and achieve it. Without scaffolding, for difficult and challenging tasks, students may struggle to attempt the learning, in a high challenge, low support environment.

Scaffolding and modelling allow the expert teacher to support and stretch the novice learner.

‘4. Provide models: Providing students with models and worked examples can help them to learn to solve problems faster.’ (Rosenshine 2012)

The following from Shaun Allison, co-author of Making Every Lesson Count sums up the importance of modelling for students.

  • It sets a benchmark for excellence, by showing students the quality they should be aspiring to.
  • It makes abstract success criteria concrete.  Simply telling students what the success criteria are, or writing them down can be relatively meaningless for students.  They need to be able to see what they are aiming for.
  • It excavates the thought processes of experts – ‘what to do’ and ‘how to think’ (metacognition).  Modelling our thinking with them, helps them to develop their thinking e.g. by them seeing us overcoming struggles, it makes it OK for them to struggle.
  • It inducts students into academic genres of writing.  Many of our students live in a household where academic language is not routinely used – so we need to model this for them.

Read the whole blog post here – Modelling – how, why and what can go wrong?

This is a brilliant post by Shaun Allison on the importance of modelling and is a must read.


  • Making Every Lesson Count – Chapter 3 – Modelling – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby
  • Slow Teaching – Chapter 11 – The Power of Modelling – Jamie Thom
  • The Confident Teacher – Chapter 13 – Successful Modelling and Metacognition -Alex Quigley
  • Teach Like a Champion 2.0 – Technique 36 – Show Call – Doug Lemov

Further blog posts on how to improve modelling in your lessons:

Useful video clips:


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