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  This page updated Wednesday, August 29, 2012 8:55 AM

Tactical Teaching

The following is a model or strategy to follow. See this link for a whole range of texts on tactical teaching - "Stepping Out Literacy" Success for All.

  1. Determine content - consult curriculum documents.

    Eg from the draft Australian Curriculum. (See and for draft syllabus documents undergoing national review.) Look at the content descriptions and achievement standards.

    What are the expectations of students at this level of schooling?
    What are the range of tasks students should be engaged in?

  2. Design a task and marking key

    The task provides students with the opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do based on what has been taught. The task should accommodate students at both ends of the learning spectrum, allowing students at bottom end to display their knowledge, skills and understandings, while providing students at the very top end to demonstrate their cpacities to the fullest. The task should
    be capable of discriminating between (separating) all students.

    What kind of task will provide students with the opportunities to develop demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understandings to the level required?
    Does the marking key fairly assess what has been taught?
    Will the learner gain the necessary feedback to identify what he/she has successfully achieved as well as what is required for further improvement?

  3. Explore an exemplar in response to the task.

    By demonstrating an exemplar at the level required, the teacher has to consider the teaching and learning strategies employed in class and be aware of the ways in which students have had an opportunity to learn. The exemplar can be teacher or student developed. (PS - I did this on the board for you with my sample task. Teachers could provide part of a model essay or answer from previous students.)

  4. Analyse the exemplar to find the key learning elements for students to focus on.

    Focus on the key aspects relevant to the task.

    What aspects are central to being successful in this task?
    Are they what has been taught?
    Is this from the syllabus/relevant to syllabus content?
    Does the marking key target these?

  5. Design and explicit, systematic teaching and learning program

    Use a systematic approach like the teaching and learning cycle which scaffolds students through a gradual release of responsibility model. Explicitly explain, model aloud and scaffold the thinking and activities required for learners to successfully achieve intended outcomes. Teach the metalanguage and deep knowledge - in English for example by carefully unpacking how the English language system works, why language choices are made and how to use language in powerful ways both in formal learning and in the wider community.

    gradual release responsibility

  6. Implement

    Make use of coaching and modelling to broaden expertise in implementing systematic and explicit teaching programs. Encourage peer observation and feedback.

    How explicit is my teaching? How can I get feedback about my teaching?
    How can I learn about explicit, systematic approaches of skilled colleagues?

  7. Assess and reflect

    Use assessment as learning for you and your learners to identify and reflect on evidence of learning as part of the teaching and learning cycle. Use assessment of learning to make valid and reliable judgments of learner achievements using tools such as the GRD's (WACE grade descriptors) or Australian Curriculum achievement standards, supported by moderation and comparing with other data sets, such as NAPLaN. Openly discuss these key feedback questions about your students' progress:

    How are my students going?
    What are the gaps?
    Where to next?

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Feel free to access these resources for study purposes or classroom use. However where they have been directly dowloaded for distribution or copied and provided as notes, please acknowledge as a courtesy. John Watson
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