Sutton Trust: What makes great teaching?

On October 31 2014, the Sutton Trust released a report exploring its research into what makes great teaching.

It contains some interesting ideas for discussion, and includes research on six components of what could constitute great teaching:

  • (Pedagogical) content knowledge;
  • Quality of instruction;
  • Classroom climate;
  • Classroom management;
  • Teacher beliefs;
  • Professional behaviours.
  • Much of the content is quite obvious, and not many new assertions are made, but it is stimulating reading nonetheless. I think everyone in education should at the very least read the executive summary contained at the beginning of the document.

    What is perhaps most interesting to me is the exploration of a range of strategies to improve outcomes for students employed by some schools and teachers that are not supported by any empirical evidence, such as:

  • Using praise lavishly;
  • Allowing learners to discover key ideas for themselves;
  • Grouping learners by ability;
  • Encouraging re-reading and highlighting to memorise key ideas;
  • Addressing issues of confidence and low aspirations before trying to teach content;
  • Presenting information to learners in their preferred learning style;
  • Ensuring learners are always active, rather than listening passively, if you want them to remember.
  • The full report is embedded below. What’s your response to the report? What does make great teaching?

    What Makes Great Teaching REPORT Sutton Trust