Pillar 2: Understanding the content

2.1 Knowing the Curriculum

At Avonwood we...

  • have a deep knowledge and understanding of the subjects we teach and how this builds across the curriculum.
  • consider how pupils will interpret and think about knowledge being taught and anticipate misconceptions.
  • structure knowledge into an appropriate sequence of learning tasks to aid with understanding.
  • present knowledge in an appropriate way (connect verbal and visual stimuli) to aid learning and retrieval.

We believe that...

  • staff are all enthusiastic learners and should be experts in our own subjects as well as those that we teach.
  • teachers should actively seek opportunities to further their own subject knowledge and use this strong base of the  curriculum to carefully anticipate preconceptions.
  • the design and layout we use to present knowledge, along with the order in which we teach it to pupils, is vital  to successfully building schemas.

The impact is...

  • teachers feel confident and enthusiastic in their teaching which is reflected in the children's attitudes towards their learning.
  • pre/misconceptions are successfully anticipated and planned for.
  • knowledge is presented to learners in a purposeful and connected way.
  • children successfuly build schemas and ensure their learning is retained in the long-term memory.

2.2 Explaining Clearly

At Avonwood we...

  • follow a clear lesson structure following Rosenshine's principles of I, We, You as an instructional model.
  • model worked examples with subject specific vocabulary and language structures such as stem sentences and sentence starters.
  • utilise variation theory to provide children with multiple representations and examples of what a concept is and what it is not.

We believe that...

  • a backward fading model of I, We, You is an effective instructional method to withdraw teacher input in order to allow a graduated learning process.
  • combining conceptual understanding, procedural proficiency and factual recall secures deep and balanced learning.
  • using variation theory principles can allow teachers to direct children’s attention and anticipate their responses and identify misconceptions.

The impact is...

  • children's cognitive load is reduced allowing them to access new, difficult or unfamiliar concepts gradually.
  • children achieve a higher success rate and are confident learners.
  • children form deep and long lasting learning.

2.3 Anticipating Misconceptions

At Avonwood we...

  • have a fluent knowldedge and a flexible understanding of the curriculum which allows us to plan for and anticipate misconceptions.
  • deliver small amounts of new material at any time and guide student practice of new material.
  • regularly question and check for student understanding and facilitate discussion.
  • provide varied explanations and multiple representations, analogies and examples.

We believe that...

  • considering children's possible misconceptions at the planning stage equips teachers with pre-formed, clear explanations and a range of examples.
  • providing guided practice after teaching small amounts of new material whilst checking for student understanding throughout can help limit the development of misconceptions.
  • regular verbal feedback feedback ensures that children do not inadvertantly store partial information or a misconception in their long-term memory.

The impact is...

  • children make fewer errors and have a higher success rate.
  • children have fewer long term misconceptions.
  • where misconceptions arise they are swiftly attended to and dispelled with examples, supplementary examples and counter non-examples in line with conceptual variation.

2.4 Scaffolding Difficult Points

At Avonwood we...

  • teach to the top by scaffolding access to appropriate and challenging learning objectives.
  • identify areas of new learning that will need to be unpicked and explored thoroughly in a variety of ways.
  • provide resources to scaffold support for all learners, using them as tools to success.
  • build learning in small coherent steps, using appropriate scaffolds which can then be systematically removed.
  • explicitly link difficult points and new learning to prior knowledge.

We believe that...

  • careful scaffolding fosters confident, independent life-long learners.
  • attending to difficult points will enable the children to acquire new knowledge and skills effectively.
  • using concrete materials and visual images alongside verbal instruction supports deeper understanding.
  • resources and manipulatives provide tangible experiences of abstract concepts and help all learners construct connected knowledge.

The impact is...

  • children's cognitive load is reduced allowing them to access new, difficult or unfamiliar concepts.
  • children experience success as a learner, promoting growth mindset and fostering a thirst for knowledge.
  • children acquire transferable understanding having used concrete resources and are able to solve problems and apply their knowledge  & skills when questions are presented in an abstract form.
  • children build connected schemata and have the opportunity to master a subject.

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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