Tips for Teachers: 400+ ideas to improve your teaching

Tips for Teachers: 400+ ideas to improve your teaching

By Craig Barton

Published 06 Jan 2023

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Teaching is complex. But there are simple ideas we can enact to help our teaching be more effective. This book contains over 400 such ideas.

The ideas come from two sources. First, from the wonderful guests on my Tips for Teachers podcast - education heavyweights such as Dylan Wiliam, Daisy Christodoulou and Tom Sherrington, as well as talented teachers who are not household names but have so much wisdom to share. Then there's what I have learned from working with amazing teachers and students in hundreds of schools around the world.

Inside you will find 22 ideas to enhance mini-whiteboard use, 15 ideas to improve the start of your lesson, 14 ideas to help make Silent Teacher effective, seven ways to respond if a student says they don't know, and lots, lots more.

Each idea can be implemented the very next time you step into a classroom. So, whatever your level of experience, subject or phase, there are plenty of ideas in this book to help take your teaching to the next level.

Book contents

Chapter 1: How to use this book
Tip 1. How to use this book to improve your teaching
Tip 2. How to give yourself the best chance of making a lasting change

Chapter 2: Habits and routines
Why are habits and routines important?
Tip 3. Eight ideas to help introduce a routine
Tip 4. Beware of the Valley of Latent Potential
Tip 5. Two ideas to help a routine stick
Tip 6. Develop a set of high-value activity structures
Tip 7. Six ideas to help establish positive norms in your classroom
Tip 8. Four types of words to consider removing from your teaching vocabulary

Chapter 3: The means of participation
A challenge
Tip 9. Front-load the means of participation
Tip 10. Ten ideas to improve Cold Call
Tip 11. Eight reasons to strive for mass participation more frequently
Tip 12. Twenty-two ideas to improve the use of mini-whiteboards
Tip 13. Five ideas to improve the use of voting systems
Tip 14. Nine ideas to improve Call and Response
Tip 15. Fifteen ideas to improve Partner Talk
Tip 16. Six ideas to improve group work
Tip 17. Use the means of participation holy trinity
Tip 18. Never rely on a mental note
Tip 19. The best tool for the long term might not be the best tool for now

Chapter 4: Checking for understanding
Tip 20. Think of questions as a check for misunderstanding
Tip 21. Use the temptation to ask for self-report as a cue to ask a better question
Tip 22. Lengthen wait times after asking a question
Tip 23. Lengthen wait times after an answer
Tip 24. Ten types of questions to ask when checking for understanding
Tip 25. Try these three frameworks for learner-generated examples
Tip 26. Three ways to use diagnostic questions to check for understanding
Tip 27. Provide scaffolds for verbal responses
Tip 28. Six key times to check for understanding
Tip 29. Ten ideas to improve Exit Tickets
Tip 30. Pick the student least likely to know
Tip 31. Start with whoever got 8 out of 10
Tip 32. Ten ideas to help create a culture of error
Tip 33. Three ideas to encourage students to ask questions

Chapter 5: Responsive teaching
Tip 34. Trick your students to test if they really understand
Tip 35. Never round-up
Tip 36. Six ideas if a student says 'I don't know'
Tip 37. What to do when some students understand and some don't
Tip 38. What to do when some students still don't understand
Tip 39. How students can own and record classroom discussions
Tip 40. Share students' work with the rest of the class

Chapter 6: Planning
Tip 41. Seven ideas to improve a scheme of work
Tip 42. Six ideas to help start the planning process
Tip 43. Plan to do less, but better
Tip 44. Ask yourself: 'What are my students likely to be thinking about?'
Tip 45. Write out ideal student responses
Tip 46. Four ideas to help you plan for and respond to errors
Tip 47. Two ideas to help teachers engage in Deep Work
Tip 48. Aim to close the loop when sending an email

Chapter 7: Prior knowledge
Tip 49. Plan relevant prior knowledge
Tip 50. Prioritise relevant prior knowledge
Tip 51. Assess relevant prior knowledge
Tip 52. Respond to prior knowledge assessment
Tip 53. Assess relevant prior knowledge for each idea, not for the whole sequence

Chapter 8: Explanations, modelling and worked examples
Tip 54. Five ideas to show students why what we are learning today matters
Tip 55. Use related examples and non-examples to explain technical language
Tip 56. Fourteen ideas to improve the explanation of a concept
Tip 57. Teach decision making separately
Tip 58. Five ideas to improve our choice of examples
Tip 59. Model techniques live
Tip 60. Use a teacher worked-examples book
Tip 61. Use student worked-examples books
Tip 62. Make use of the power of Example-Problem Pairs
Tip 63. Fourteen ideas to improve Silent Teacher
Tip 64. Use self-explanation prompts to help develop your students' understanding
Tip 65. Six ideas to improve 'copy down the worked example'
Tip 66. Vary the means of participation for the We Do
Tip 67. Three errors to avoid with the Your Turn questions
Tip 68. Reflect after a worked example
Tip 69. Beware of seductive details

Chapter 9: Student practice
Tip 70. Eight ideas to improve student practice time
Tip 71. How to harness the hidden power of interleaving
Tip 72. Consider using Intelligent Practice
Tip 73. Consider using 'no-number' questions
Tip 74. Nine ideas to help you observe student work with a purpose
Tip 75. Occasionally let students do work in someone else's book

Chapter 10: Memory and retrieval
Retrieval opportunities
Tip 76. Show your students the Forgetting Curve
Tip 77. Show your students the path to high storage and retrieval strength
Tip 78. Show your students the limits of working memory
Tip 79. Show your students how long-term memory helps thinking
Tip 80. Show your students that being familiar with something is not the same as knowing it
Tip 81. Ensure you provide retrieval opportunities for all content
Tip 82. When designing retrieval opportunities, aim for 80%
Tip 83. Vary the types of retrieval questions you ask
Tip 84. Consider providing prompts and cues during retrieval opportunities
Tip 85. Get your students to assign confidence scores to their answers
Tip 86. Make corrections quizzable
Tip 87. Twenty-one ideas to improve your Low-Stakes Quizzes
Tip 88. Fifteen ideas to improve the Do Now
Tip 89. Consider using Trello to help organise the disorganised

Chapter 11: Homework, marking and feedback
Tip 90. Make homework feed into lessons
Tip 91. Eight ideas to improve homework
Tip 92. Two things to check if homework or test scores are a surprise
Tip 93. Be careful how you respond to 'silly' mistakes
Tip 94. Turn feedback into detective work
Tip 95. Consider recording verbal feedback
Tip 96. Twelve ideas to improve whole-class feedback

Chapter 12: Improving as a teacher
Tip 97. Find the expertise within your team
Tip 98. Five different people to learn from
Tip 99. Revisit education books and podcast episodes
Tip 100. Four things to consider when trying something new
Tip 101. Five ideas to help tackle the negativity radio
Tip 102. Consider slowing down your career
Tip 103. Sixteen ideas to improve the delivery of CPD
Tip 104. Micro tips
Tip 105. If you want more tips...
  • Author Craig Barton
  • ISBN 9781915261472
  • No. of Pages 588
  • Format Paperback
  • Publication Date 06 Jan 2023