Teaching for Learning Foundations

Our school is continuing to reflect on and develop our key shared principles for high quality teaching and powerful learning. We are growing a culture of an Exceptional Learning Community at @cornerstonecofe, and as such see ourselves as learners who need to be critically aware of our own practice and professional development. Below is our latest version of our “Teaching for Learning Foundations”, which we would appreciate other educational professionals giving us feedback on.

Teaching for Learning Foundations (T4LF): November 2015

Key elements identified to be embedded into our regular classroom practice and evident in impact on learning / pupil outcomes in all sessions.


  • Learners are active participants. Empowered to make choices in how they learn & demonstrate their learning.
  • Engaging learning experiences that challenge all learners. Relevant contexts. Mastery of key knowledge and skills, balanced with opportunities to explore their ideas, deepen their thinking/understanding and solve problems.
  • Staff have high expectations & are activators. They promote a ‘Growth Mindset’ approach.


  • All learners & groups achieve high standards and End of Year Expectations.
  • All learners & groups make sustained progress, develop depth of understanding & learn exceptionally well
  • All learners are empowered through participation in their learning to grow as confident, resilient, self-motivated, positive, inspired by challenge, empowered, reflective, fulfilled and happy.

Learning Aim.

  • Provides clarity for adults & learners about learning not merely task. Linked to & building on previous learning & current experience/understanding.
  • Need to have ‘unpicked’ the sequence of the learning journey.
  • Learning activities need to be precisely designed to enable this LA.
  • Shared & discussed so learners have clarity about what they are learning and why.
  • Succinct, specific & precise.

Success Criteria.

  • Shared, discussed & sometimes created with learners.
  • Learners clear about the specifics of how to be successful.
  • Specific & precise guidance for learners.

Challenge all.

  • Challenge may be to master knowledge & understanding.
  • Pitch learning in their ‘stretch zone’.
  • Challenge may be to deepen understanding (application, analysis…)
  • Every learner experiences challenge in every session.

Continuous Diagnostic Assessment

  • Designed to gain insight into learner’s thinking & understanding.
  • Feedback from learners to adults.
  • Diagnose errors, gaps, misconceptions, barriers & address.
  • Ongoing throughout sessions.

Mastery approach

  • Direct, specific interventions: Catch up & Keep up.
  • Enrichment: More open-ended, deeper challenges to apply, analyse…
  • Deliberate / corrective practice (with variety). Consolidation & reinforcement.
  • Mastery: Ensure all learners securely know / understand & can demonstrate fluency in the fundamentals of the LA.
  • English: fluency, clarity, accuracy & coherence.
  • Maths: reason mathematically, solve problems.
  • (Differentiation through depth)
  • (Need to have ‘unpicked’ the sequence of the learning journey)

Feedback (Feed forward)

  • Specific, precise feedback using Great Green and Think Pink.
  • Thinking & Improvement Time. Learners must be given time to respond & show impact.
  • Specific, precise verbal feedback used regularly in every session.

Questions / Learning Journey prompts.

  • Enhance, challenge, enrich, deepen thinking & learning.
  • Packing / Going On / Unpacking: learners think about their thinking / reflect on their learning.
  • Support & guide those struggling for Mastery (knowledge & understanding).
  • Engaged & purposeful. Relevant & meaningful to their learning journey (and their interests & lives where possible).
  • Learners engaged in activity / context.

Prompts / scaffolds.

  • Scaffolds pre-prepared sources of support or guidance.
  • WAGOLL: What a good one looks like.
  • Prompts: in session responsive to learners. Direct teaching, questions, guidance

Precise interactive inputs.

  • Direct precise teaching of specifics
  • Learners cognitively active & contribute their ideas, thinking & questions.
  • Information & instructions shared succinctly & with clarity.

Discuss & reflect.

  • Develop fluency, clarity, coherence & reasoning.
  • Opportunities in every session for learners to discuss (collaborate, reason, explain thinking & debate).

Learning Walls.

  • Display scaffolds & WAGOLLs.
  • Adult promoted / actively & independently used by learners
  • Relevant to current learning.
  • Adult & learner generated.
  • Display key info, words, diagrams, models.

Regular drips.

  • Maths ‘Learn Its’, reading/phonics, spelling, handwriting as morning / afternoon registration challenges, but also during other 5 minute slots that become available.
  • Effective teachers find out what children can’t do, teach it and then get them to practise it!
  • Create observable and diagnosable errors that allow a window into a child’s learning.
  • Learning always and all ways.

Busy learning, not learning to be busy.

Continually evaluate the impact on learning, understanding & pupil outcomes.

This is a re-blog post originally posted by Tim Clarke and published with kind permission. The article was originally published in 2015, and updated in 2019 by UKEd Editorial in accordance with website policy and upgrade changes.

The original post can be found here.

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About Tim Jump Clarke 20 Articles
HT at Cornerstone CE Primary (Hampshire).

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