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Effective Teaching and Learning
Teaching and Learning at St John’s focuses on ensuring children knowing more and remembering more. The knowledge content is carefully chosen and organised in a coherent way, ensuring it builds from year to year. Our approach ensures that children are challenged to deeply process taught knowledge in order for them to form good long-term memory of the material.
Didau and Rose (2016) say: “…it is important to allow a certain amount of forgetting to occur before testing recall, otherwise there’s very little mental effort involved and the benefits are lost… as soon as basic recall starts to become reliable, we should begin to vary the conditions of practice.” In this way, the knowledge in the curriculum is cumulative, constructing firm foundations from which children can build conceptual understanding and skills over time.
For us, a knowledge-rich curriculum is an entitlement for every child. Curriculum coherence ensures that teaching does not jump from topic to topic but enables children to develop knowledge and love of specific subjects. Subject content and prior knowledge is crucial to this approach - the content builds children’s schemata and allows them to develop a deep understanding and passion for learning.
An essential element of a knowledge curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this. The vocabulary content of our curriculum has been planned with the purpose of addressing the ‘word gap’ for children who enter school with a limited vocabulary whilst building on and further expanding the vocabulary for those with an already rich diet.
Subject planning is systematic, microscopic and includes prior knowledge recap. This approach reduces cognitive overload and daily cumulative quizzes ensure key information is moved into long term memory and retained. Key concepts are interleaved throughout the curriculum to reduce the forgetting curve. Carefully planned regular staff CPD ensures teachers and support staff are well equipped in our pedagogical approach.
We encourage children to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way they learn and to reflect on how they learn – what helps them learn and what makes it difficult for them to learn. Instilling this as a life-long discipline.