Incremental improvement so all pupils are ‘cognitively active’ all of the time

Louis Everett

This post will share how important I believe incremental improvementwith a concerted effort from all teachers is to improving the quality of teaching across a school. I will also argue that increasing the time and extent to which pupils are ‘cognitively active’ across a school day should be a priority for whole-school teaching and learning.

This term we have begun using the term ‘cognitively active’ to encompass our aim of all pupils consistently thinking and challenged during a lesson. Doug Lemov’s Teach Like A Champion 2.0 talks of ‘ratio’ for pupil participation, rightfully pointing to the importance of pupils doing as much ‘cognitive work’ as possible. The importance of an explicit focus on pupil participation has been exacerbated by the greatly needed shift to knowledge-rich curricula and traditional teaching methods in recent times. I have seen many teacher-led lessons, where teacher explanations are very good, but pupil…

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