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Why you should read: Making Every Lesson Count by Andy Tharby and Shaun Allison

Written By: Tom Sherrington
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1 min read
A model for expert teaching based on six principles, illustrated with examples from school practice.

The hands-on style of the book is excellent for teachers looking for evidence-informed ideas to put into practice.

What is it about?

The Making Every Lesson Count framework is made up of six interacting principles, including:

  • Challenge so that students have high expectations of what they can achieve
  • Explanation so that students acquire new knowledge and skills
  • Modelling so that students know how to apply the knowledge and skills
  • Practice, which lies at the centre of all else, and allows students’ memory to develop
  • Feedback so that students think about and develop their knowledge and skills
  • Questioning so that students think hard with breadth, depth and accuracy.

Each principle has a dedicated chapter containing practical strategies. The authors offer a menu of options and leave it to the reader to evaluate and implement their ideas depending on context. In the chapter on modelling, for example, the subheadings include ‘Show Them How to Speak’, ‘Design a Feedback Mirror’ and ‘Model the Kitchen Sink!’ Feedback also includes some interesting strategies, such as ‘Get DIRTy’, ‘Say It’, ‘Mark Live’, ‘Open a Gallery’ and ‘End with Struggle’.

The hands-on style of the book is excellent for teachers looking for evidence-informed ideas to put into practice. Through the specific examples, teachers across a range of subjects can develop a repertoire of strategies to deploy in their lessons.

What are the main messages for teachers?

The concluding chapter ties the six principles together reminding us of two core values that are woven throughout:

  • Excellence. We should encourage students never to be satisfied with mediocrity
  • Growth. Intelligence and achievement are not fixed; through hard work we can always do better.

They suggest that excellence and growth need to permeate the whole ethos of a school with implications for professional development programmes and assessment systems.

Top Tip

From the chapter on challenge: plan lessons with a single learning objective in mind and with a level of challenge that anchors a high level of aspiration for all. From here, focus on differentiating the support students need to reach that level.

Want to know more?

Allison, S and Tharby, A (2015) Making Every Lesson Count. Crown House.

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