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Effective planning and teaching strategies

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) released a teaching and learning toolkit and updates on new evidence. EEF evaluates the influence of the strategy according to implementation cost and evidence strength. The Foundation calculates the impact in months.

Very high impacts for very low cost on extensive evidence according to the toolkit is as follows:

1. Feedback (+6 months)

2. Metacognition and self-regulation (+7 months)

3. Oral language interventions (+6 months)

4. Peer tutoring (+5 months)

5. Phonics (+5 months)

6. Reading comprehension strategies (+6 months).

Teachers should design their lessons to get the most from the students. To do so, as all teachers do, they divide their classes into parts. This division should be intentional.

Why do teachers need to pay attention while they are designing their classes? What are these intentional parts?

Let's take a class of 90 minutes. Grabbing students' attention span and age ranges into account, teachers must split the classes at most into 20 minutes parcels. For instance:

10 minutes = Bellwork

20 minutes = Introduction session (Explore and Engage, Teacher-led)

10 minutes = Discussion and notetaking session (peer to peer)

20 minutes = Elaboration and Explanation session (Teacher-led)

10 minutes = Discussion and reviewing the notes (peer teaching, explaining with more examples)

20 minutes = Evaluation (solving questions and consolidation through questions, self-study or teacher-led discussions)

According to the plan above, teachers can create a classroom culture with self-directed students. Students will be able to develop their metacognitive skills. Students do not take any notes in introduction and elaboration/explanation sessions. They are part of the question-answer and discussion sessions. In these sessions, the teacher provides the fundamentals. In case of shorter classes, teachers can decrease the timing accordingly.

Notetaking and peer discussion sessions can be based on the Cornell notetaking system. The teacher can only allow students to write the subtitles in the introduction session. In the discussion break, students will discuss and write the main parts. In the second discussion session, students elaborate with different examples and details. They can use textbooks and lesson notes during this session.

Students may discuss the questions in peer teaching format or do the task individually in the evaluation session. The teacher may differentiate in this session, relay support to slow learners or give feedback.

By using the plan above, teachers can achieve the majority of the impact evidenced by EEF.

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