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New guides merge teaching with learning science


New guides merge teaching with learning science

New teaching guides that align classroom practices with the evidence on how students learn have been published by the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO).

Developed in collaboration with educators, the new resources focus on explicit teaching, learning objectives, classroom management, student progress, and self-regulated learning, promising further expansions in 2024.

“The evidence is clear on how students learn, and this has implications for how teachers can best teach to ensure learning success,” AERO CEO Dr Jenny Donovan said.

“By incorporating the evidence-based practices outlined in these guides, teachers and educators can support students to become engaged lifelong learners.”

Informed by cognitive science, neuroscience and educational psychology research, the guides show how teaching methods can be optimised by aligning with how students’ brains function during the learning process.

Drawing on insights from AERO’s 2023 research report, ‘How Students Learn Best,’ and expanding on key components of the Teaching for How Students Learn model, they offer a structured approach for teachers and leaders to align their teaching strategies with the latest understanding of effective learning methodologies. 

Below, Dr Donovan shares a snapshot of what the guides cover.

1. ‘Monitor progress’: underscores the importance of regular checks for understanding in facilitating effective instruction and formative assessment. This practice not only assesses students’ knowledge but also targets teaching to the level of guidance and support the student needs, fostering an environment where active participation is encouraged and a positive learning experience is cultivated.

2. ‘Explain learning objectives’: explores how lesson goals can create a shared understanding between educators and students. Activating prior knowledge and connecting to objectives for the lesson can boost confidence and enhance students’ ability to expand and apply their growing knowledge and skills.

3.‘Rules and routines’: highlights the critical role of clear guidelines in establishing effective learning environments. Clear guidelines set expectations, enhance active participation and provide predictability, fostering positive relationships and learning success. By mitigating cognitive load and promoting cultural inclusivity, rules and routines are essential for shaping an environment in which all students belong and succeed.

4.‘Teach explicitly’: emphasises the importance of structured and sequenced teaching in breaking down complex content for effective comprehension. By providing explicit guidance, teachers and educators can help students build on existing knowledge, fostering effective information retention, understanding and application.

5. ‘Supporting self-regulated learning’: explains fostering reflection, goal setting and supporting students to progressively develop the skills to improve their own approach to learning. This practice equips students not only for success in school but also for lifelong learning and achievement.

Dr Donovan said AERO has seen “huge interest” in its ‘teaching for how students learn model’ from educators and leaders across Australia.

“We know teachers are interested in how to best align their practices with this evidence, and we’re excited to see these guides out in the world.”

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