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Classroom practice in geography

A key statement in the DfE Frameworks is that new teachers should know ‘how to provide opportunity for all pupils to learn and master essential concepts, knowledge, skills and principles of the subject’. This must underpin all classroom practice. Therefore, your classroom practice must always consider the geography dimension.

In this section we consider effective geography classroom practice and highlight different teaching styles, collaborative learning and the importance of classroom talk.

The DFE frameworks for ITT and ECTs require that new teachers know:

  • how modelling helps pupils understand new processes and ideas; good models make abstract ideas concrete and accessible
  • how to plan effective lessons by using modelling, explanations and scaffolds, acknowledging that novices need more structure early in a domain
  • how to model effectively by narrating thought processes when modelling to make explicit how experts think (e.g. asking questions aloud that pupils should consider when working independently and drawing pupils’ attention to links with prior knowledge)
  • how to expose potential pitfalls and explain how to avoid them
  • how to scaffold self-assessment by sharing model work with pupils, highlighting key details.

The DFE frameworks for ITT and ECTs require that new teachers know:

  • that explicitly teach pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed within particular subject areas is beneficial
  • how to provide opportunity for all pupils to learn and master essential concepts, knowledge, skills and principles of the subject
  • how to ensure pupils’ thinking is focused on key ideas within the subject
  • how to balance exposition, repetition, practice and retrieval of critical knowledge and skills
  • how to reduce distractions that take attention away from what is being taught (e.g. keeping the complexity of a task to a minimum, so that attention is focused on the content).

The DFE frameworks for ITT and ECTs require that new teachers know:

  • how to balance exposition, repetition, practice of critical skills and knowledge
  • start expositions at the point of current pupil understanding
  • know that effective teachers introduce new material in steps, explicitly linking new ideas to what has been previously studied and learned
  • make good use of expositions, by discussing and analysing with expert colleagues how to use concrete representation of abstract ideas (e.g. making use of analogies, metaphors, examples and non-examples)
  • combine a verbal explanation with a relevant graphical representation of the same concept or process, where appropriate.