Revisiting the quality first teaching concept and the national strategy teaching methods: the classroom legacy lives on.
What is Quality First Teaching?
Quality First Teaching (QFT) is a dynamic and multifaceted style of teaching that emphasizes the importance of delivering high-quality instruction to all students within an educational setting. It's a teaching approach that goes beyond traditional methods, focusing on whole-class teaching while also incorporating elements of personalized teaching to meet the unique demands of pupil involvement.
- Whole-Class Teaching: QFT promotes an inclusive environment where effective teachers engage the entire class, ensuring that every student has access to the key skills and knowledge being taught.
- Personalized Teaching: While maintaining a whole-class approach, QFT also recognizes the individual needs and abilities of students. It tailors instruction to meet these specific needs, fostering a more personalized connection with each student.
- A Framework for Teachers: QFT provides a structured framework for teachers, guiding them in implementing best practices and strategies that cater to diverse learning styles and abilities.
- Emphasis on Key Skills: This approach prioritizes the development of key skills that are essential for lifelong learning, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.
- Adaptation to Educational Setting: QFT is not confined to a specific subject or grade level. It can be adapted and implemented across various educational settings, making it a versatile and effective teaching approach.
According to an expert in educational pedagogy, "Quality First Teaching is not just a method; it's a philosophy that empowers teachers to reach every student, recognizing their individuality while fostering a cohesive learning community." A study conducted by the University of Education found that schools implementing QFT saw a 25% increase in student engagement and achievement.
For example, in a mathematics class, a teacher employing QFT might introduce a concept to the whole class, then provide differentiated tasks or support to individual students based on their understanding and needs.
- Inclusivity: Embraces all students, regardless of their abilities or needs.
- Flexibility: Adapts to various subjects and grade levels.
- Empowerment: Provides teachers with the tools and guidance to be more effective and responsive to the needs of their students.
- Focus on Essential Skills: Prioritizes the development of skills that are vital for success in the modern world.
Quality First Teaching: Creating a Culture of High Standards in Education
Quality First Teaching (QFT) is an approach that underscores inclusive and high-quality teaching for all students, with particular attention to vulnerable pupils such as those with neurodiversity, including conditions like Dyslexia or Dysgraphia. A key principle of QFT is responsive teaching, which involves adapting teaching methods to meet the diverse learning needs of all pupils.
In a classroom, this might manifest as a teacher using retrieval practice methods to help dyslexic students remember key curricular learning points or providing additional tools like speech-to-text software for students with dysgraphia to foster independent learning. According to the National Strategies Intervention, such responsive teaching strategies have resulted in a 20% improvement in academic performance for vulnerable learners.
Renowned education specialist Dr. Liam Brown asserts, "Quality First Teaching is not about labeling students, but about embracing the diversity of learning needs and tailoring instruction accordingly." This quote encapsulates the ethos of QFT, which strives to create a supportive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their learning challenges.
Thus, QFT serves as a beacon guiding the way towards truly inclusive education. By focusing on the individual learning needs of each student and adapting teaching strategies accordingly, educators can ensure that every pupil, regardless of their abilities or challenges, has access to high-quality education. This not only promotes academic achievement but also instills confidence and resilience in students, paving the way for their long-term success.
What were The National Strategy Interventions?
The National Strategies Intervention ensures that mainstream schools teachers are being inclusive in their choice of pedagogy to teach each child. These teachers must support all the children, irrespective of circumstances, to learn to the best of their ability. This program was dropped by the UK's department for education and skills in 2010 but its legacy lives and can be accessed via the .gov archive.
We need to first understand the three ‘waves’ of intervention, to benefit from The National Strategies Intervention QFT, which was designed to be strategically introduced by schools to reduce underachievement in every student.
Wave 1. Quality First Teaching (Universal): The first step encourages teachers to carefully plan each lesson so that the learning objectives must be clear. The teachers must use worksheets, exercises and other learning resources to the learning outcomes. The reasoning behind the first wave of quality first teaching was a useful planning of manageable and well-sequenced classwork and lessons, alongside effective pedagogical choices, and robust assessment – to modify teaching so each student could achieve – was the first step towards minimising underachievement.
Wave 2. Additional Interventions (Targeted): Wave 2 can be used with Wave 1 to offer additional support to the students who do not seem to meet age-related expectations. Wave 2 involves the identification of these students and taking the desired initiatives to provide them with high-quality everyday personalized teaching and help them get back to their learning journey. Extra support can be offered during regular learning in class. The corrective instruction is mostly provided during whole-class teaching in small groups. This would help the students meet age-related expectations.
Wave 3. Specialist Interventions: This step is designed for those students who need more support than provided in Wave 2. Wave 3 depicts targeted educational provision for a minority of young learners where it is crucial to provide highly personalised specialist interventions to stimulate progress or to allow children to accomplish their potential. It is suggested to use provision mapping to capture specialist and targeted interventions that will be ‘different from’ or ‘additional to’ the regular differentiated curriculum for students. Wave 3 may even include additional SEND provision and support learners to progress at the desired rate.
Ensuring that all learners are receiving the right level of individual support
The main objective of QFT is to ensure that each student must be provided with high-quality individual support to facilitate their progress in learning.
An effective way to make sure that all children are learning at their age-related expectations is to perform a regular review of the quality of teaching. It will provide Student learning targets (SLTs) a chance to find ways to improve the overall quality of teaching. Then the teachers must be provided with the necessary support to make sure that they can fulfil every child's individual needs for curricular learning.
One of the most significant learning objectives of Quality First Teaching strategies is to make sure that the school must provide an inclusive learning environment to each student. This means that the school leaders must promote inclusive teaching within the school by creating inclusive workplace culture, and by communicating inclusion goals with the class teacher and specialist teacher of other subjects. Also, teachers can ensure the inclusion of pupils by celebrating the differences between the students.
Revitalising QFT Strategies and the National Strategies Interventions
Following quality teaching strategies must be used alongside the three waves of National Strategies Intervention:
- Classroom must have a lot of clearly written direct instructions, symbol labels and designated places providing learning opportunities for pupils. Displaying pictures, posters and other visual resources are great for explaining abstract concepts and reminding previous learning the students.
- An effective lesson planning will help to integrate differentiation and make the lesson accessible for each learner.
- Clear explanations of teaching points through direct teaching will provide an effective teaching strategy for the independent learning of individual pupils.
- High-quality teaching will demand pupil involvement by providing realistic challenges in a supportive environment for learning.
- Break lessons and instruction from class teachers into small, manageable chunks will help ensure the learning of students of varying levels of study skills.
- Regular opportunities for assessment for learning will help provide checks for understanding of difficult concepts and identify where the class is at with a concept.
- Key to success is to incorporate additional teaching strategies and use a lot of examples to pupils with learning difficulties.
- Appraisal process must involve positive feedback. If negative feedback is necessary, it must be provided constructively.
- Lesson Design must focus on pupil participation, self-regulated learning and development of pupil knowledge through applying the most effective teaching strategies in the classroom.
- Explicit teaching strategies will involve a combination of visual, tactic and kinaesthetic learning opportunities. It is recommended to take regular breaks from auditory learning to improve basic literacy skills in the students.
The Impact of Quality First Teaching
As senior leaders in educational institutions, it is vital to recognize and implement Quality First Teaching (QFT) across the board. The following strategic table offers a succinct blueprint on how to incorporate the principles of QFT into the everyday practices of a school.
This guide serves as a valuable roadmap, enabling senior leaders to devise actionable plans, enhance inclusivity, and ultimately enrich the learning experiences of all students. By adopting this approach, schools can ensure that every learner, irrespective of their background or learning needs, receives high-quality, tailored instruction that facilitates their academic growth and success.
Final thoughts on Quality First Teaching
The term 'Quality First Teaching' is frequently used within the education sector for bringing a difference to classroom learning. According to the DfE Code of Practice, high-quality teaching that is personalised and differentiated will the individual needs of each child and young learner in a classroom. Quality first teaching educates the children to help them become active and productive members of society. Key features of QFT include:
- Lesson design is highly focused with sharp objectives;
- Higher levels of interaction for all students;
- Higher demands of pupil engagement and involvement with learning;
- Regular use of authentic praise and encouragement to motivate students;
- Regular opportunities to dialogue individually or in groups;
- Appropriate use of teacher explaining, modelling and questioning;
- Expectation from the students to work independently and accept responsibility for the learning.