Pillar 4: Optimising progress

4.1 Activating Prior Knowledge

At Avonwood we...

  • use daily reviews for activating prior learning in readiness for that day's learning.
  • implement retrieval by spacing practice over time with weekly and monthly reviews, attenuating forgetting and strengthening retrieval.
  • engage children in daily learning by building confidence through recall of prior learning.
  • use questioning during recall to assess for suppressed misconceptions and gaps in knowledge.

We believe that...

  • retrieval practice aids later retention.
  • retrieval and successive learning identifies misconceptions and gaps in knowledge.
  • activating prior knowledge and making links between areas of learning deepens children's understanding.
  • reviewing prior knowledge daily strengthens connections between ideas children have learnt and this can then be built upon.

The impact is...

  • children can recall words, concepts and procedures with minimal effort when the material is needed to solve a problem or learn new material.
  • cognitive load is reduced enabling the acquisition of new knowledge deployment of critical thinking skills.
  • every time a memory is retrieved it becomes deeper, stronger and easier to access in the future which leads to fluent recall.

4.2 Practise Makes Progress

At Avonwood we...

  • aim for 'desirable difficulty'.
  • introduce materials in small steps and spend appropriate time working through examples to ensure we explain our reasoning to serve as a model to the students.
  • spend time during guided practice modelling, rephrasing, elaborating and applying new material.
  • aid rehearsal by asking questions and probing deeper to ensure that pupils have processed the material.

We believe that...

  • those who practice the most, forget the least.
  • securing a high level of success during guided practice leads to greater success during independent practice.
  • guided practice allows children time to use and apply knowledge, whilst the teacher checks for understanding.
  • practice routines help to ensure motivation levels remain high.

The impact is...

  • through practice, factual recall becomes automatic and fundamental skills are congnitively low-friction which frees up space in the working memory.
  • practice provides a platform for new learning.
  • spaced and distributed practice combats the 'forgetting curve': overlearning protects information from fading.
  • practice and repetition lead to a deeper level of understanding which can in turn be applied to a variety of contexts.

4.3 Actionable Feedback

At Avonwood we...

  • give daily whole class verbal feeback and live mark during lessons.
  • ask questions to elicit and check children's understanding.
  • assess children's work against success criteria, recognising effort and indicating next steps.
  • use marking to give focused feedback in order to inform children of their next steps.

We believe that...

  • feedback as an integral part of teaching practice.
  • misconceptions and gaps in knowledge can be addressed as a collective.
  • asking meaningful questions that target essential learning provides an insight into children's thinking.
  • identifying and overcoming misconceptions during the lesson enables high learning outcomes every time.

The impact is...

  • teachers know what the children know already, what they need to know and what is required to bridge that gap.
  • curriculum content being taught is adjusted and relevant to the children in each classroom.
  • misconceptions can be addressed during each lesson whilst learning content is current: what we learn first we learn most deeply.
  • children become reflective learners, being aware of their next steps.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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