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Teaching and Learning

The 7 stages of learning at Balfour school: 


Learning stage







Assess previous knowledge of the subject area


Daily, weekly and monthly review

Connect the learning




Knowledge and skills objectives are discussed – be explicit


Vocabulary and spoken language


Connect to previous learning in the subject area

Model the learning



Worked examples that directly link to the objectives


Small steps and scaffolds for difficult tasks – differentiation


Targeted questioning

Guided practice



Attempt the learning, guided by the teacher


Obtain a high success rate


Live marking


Targeted questioning

Apply the learning




Independent practice of the learning


Live marking


Targeted questioning


Check for understanding





Challenge for those who need it


Live marking


Targeted questioning





Refer back to the knowledge and skills


Questioning to assess the learning


Retrieval practice of the learning

At Balfour, we follow 7 key stages of learning throughout each lesson to ensure pupils 'know more, do more, remember more'.  

Our teaching and learning training and development sessions hinge on Rosenshine's 10 Principles of Instruction, helping teachers develop effective lessons for all pupils.

In 2012, Professor Barak Rosenshine from the University of Illinois wrote a very influential article. Based on cognitive sciences and school research, he created 10 principles of instruction to help teachers develop effective lessons. Here is a summary of these principles.

1. Begin a lesson with a short review of previous learning

Reviewing previously learned material strengthen the connections between pieces of knowledge. That is, it enhances understanding. Rosenshine suggests a five to eight-minute review of the previously covered material, including peer marking, asking questions, checking for misconceptions, correcting homework, and others.

2. Present new material in small steps followed by student practice

There is only so much novel information we can process at one time. If you ask pupils to do too much at the same time, they will probably fail.

3. Ask questions and check answers

To learn something, pupils need to practice it. Every time pupils answer a question or solve a problem, they retrieve that information, memory for that information becomes stronger and more last-longing. The more variety of question types, the better.

4. Use models

Concrete examples and models are a good strategy to introduce a new concept. Explicit and detailed explanations and instructions are also recommended.

5. Guide practice

Rosenshine recommends that teachers stimulate pupils to rephrase, elaborate and summarise new material. According to him, successful teachers spend more time asking questions, checking for understanding, correcting errors and guiding students when working out problems.

6. Check for understanding

Constant checking is important to catch misconceptions before they harm learning. It also helps teachers notice if parts of the content need reteaching. Rosenshine suggests that teachers ask direct questions, instead of asking pupils if they have questions and assuming that silence means a full understanding of the topic.

7. Obtain a high success rate

This principle relates to making sure all pupils have mastered the current set of lessons before moving on to the next one. It involves checking for misconceptions and asking questions.

8. Provide scaffolds in difficult tasks

When pupils are completing a hard task, it is important that teachers provide temporary instructional support. These scaffolds can be gradually removed as pupils advance in their understanding and fluency on a particular topic. Rosenshine suggests using cue cards, checklists, worked examples and models as scaffolding. Teachers can also anticipate pupils’ errors and warn them about them beforehand.

9. Stimulate and monitor independent practice

Independent practice should be used after guided practice. That is, when pupils are already very competent in a topic, they can practice independently in order to become fluent and retrieve information automatically. Rosenshine calls this process “overlearning”. Independent practice should cover the same topic covered in guided practice as pupils need to be fully prepared for it.

10. Conduct weekly and monthly reviews

Similar to Principle 1, Rosenshine advocates for a frequent review of previously learned material in order to help students reconsolidate information and create stronger connections.

Working in partnership

Balfour Primary School is a member of the Sussex Coast Teaching School Alliance (SCTSA).  Sussex Coast TSA will take a lead role in helping schools across the city and beyond to develop and improve.  In particular working with schools to develop leadership, train new teachers and drive up standards.  For more information please see the link below: