Pedagogy may not be a common term, but it simply refers to the method and practice of teaching. Having a well-thought-out pedagogy improves the quality of our teaching and the way students learn, helping them gain a deeper grasp of fundamental material. Being mindful of the way we teach also helps us better understand how to help children achieve deeper learning.
At Piper’s Vale Primary Academy, and in every other school in Paradigm Trust, our pedagogy is about teaching the right things effectively. It’s about how we know what to teach, how we teach it, how we know what has been learnt and perhaps most importantly, what we do if learning hasn’t happened.
With children only having a finite number of hours in school, the time we have to educate them is limited. This is why it is absolutely crucial to optimise those hours, using every second as efficiently as possible. If we teach efficiently, at the end of a child’s school career s/he will be well prepared to flourish and lead a positive, fulfilling life.
We base our pedagogy on two evidence-based works – the first is Teach Like a Champion, a collection of techniques which combine to deliver incredibly effective learning to the children. Over the last three years we have added Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, which establishes ten different strategies for teaching and assessing. The two works complement each other, providing a well-rounded base on which to build our pedagogy.
By using the same pedagogy across Piper’s Vale there is consistency in the way we teach, in the way we behave and in the way we apply our rules, from Early Years right through to Year Six which hugely benefits both pupils and staff. And when children move to Ipswich Academy, another Paradigm Trust school which uses the same pedagogy, they will already be familiar with the way things work, allowing them to settle more quickly and resume effective learning sooner.
However, we understand every class and every child is different, so our pedagogy is designed to be flexible, giving our teachers the tools for each individual situation and allowing them to adapt the strategies intelligently to fit the needs of our pupils and subjects, while still fitting the underlying rationale.
We are always working to improve our pedagogy, and one way we do this is to record ourselves teaching so members of staff can see how the strategies work in our context. We also have weekly drop-ins to observe teachers and give feedback, so they are continuously developing their practice and evolving over time. And when someone makes a successful adaptation, because of the shared pedagogy it is easy to put into practice across every Piper’s Vale class and at the other Paradigm Trust schools. In the same way we benefit from improvements made elsewhere in the Trust, so we can be sure we are doing the best for every child at Piper’s Vale Primary Academy, improving their outcomes and enabling them to have the best chances in life.