Teaching & Learning Framework

The Marlborough School Teaching and Learning Framework


What this looks like

Why it is important

What we should try to avoid

Ready to Learn

Students give their full attention to explanation, instruction and modelling.

Students work individually, in silence, for extended periods.

Student dialogue is task focussed.

Behaviour systems are applied clearly and consistently.

We ‘make the majority famous’: we notice and reward excellent behaviour.

Students can better access explanations, instructions and modelling if they give their full attention.

Silent working is supportive for students - particularly our MSS, SEN and LPA pupils - providing the conditions to think deeply,

Students writing; fiddling; drawing; chatting; or continuing with their work during explanation and instruction.

Asking students to maintain ‘a quiet working atmosphere’ or using individual work as a punitive measure.  

Explanation and Instruction

Teachers aim for clarity about their chosen mode of talking: explaining; instructing; modelling; checking understanding; discussion.

New material is presented in small steps and revisited regularly.

Explanations are clear and concise.  

Explicit links are made to the ‘big picture’ and to existing knowledge.

Examples, analogies, visual representations, and/or demonstrations are used.

New vocabulary and examples are pre-taught or explained and revisited.

Students can only think / answer questions when they know enough about a topic

We are able to communicate information more clearly, concisely and accurately than students.

Cognitive overload leads to students being unable to process information.

When introducing new content or addressing misconceptions, we try to avoid...

  • Asking questions to ‘draw out’ knowledge from the students.
  • Using information gathering activities.
  • Deviating from the key content in ways that may impede clarity.

Task design and delivery

Silent DNAs are used for retrieval practice/low stakes quizzing of key knowledge/skills.

Tasks have a clear purpose; make all learners think deeply; are easy to deliver; enable a high success rate.

Scaffolds are used to ensure all learners can access the tasks.

Structured paired discussion e,g. ‘think/pair/share’ is used to allow students to articulate their thoughts before completing written activities.

‘Memory is the residue of thought’.

Setting a small number of tasks is the best way to promote quality thinking and work.

Articulating their thoughts first helps students to recall and organise new knowledge. It increases the number of practice opportunities and improves the quality of written work.

Paired work where individual work is more appropriate; students spending extended periods of time copying down information or models. We should provide copies of the information/models.

Packing lessons with tasks.  


Students are shown how to do tasks, even small tasks and verbal tasks: teachers make both the thinking and doing steps explicit

When an activity can be completed to various levels of quality, teachers model for access and excellence, bringing attention to 2 or 3 features of the work which represent quality.

Articulating our thinking helps students understand important processes.

Students need support to identify the features that represent quality.

Students should access an ambitious and challenging curriculum

Modelling the steps you would take to complete a task without articulating your thinking as you do this.

Providing models without exploring the quality in them. Providing written models that are not ambitious enough e.g. use a limited range of language and vocabulary.

Checking understanding

Hands down questioning is used to check whether students have understood explanations, instructions and modelling.

Monitoring, initially from the front of the room, is used to decide whether additional explanation, modelling or scaffolding is required.

Tasks are self-marked against accessible mark schemes / success criteria, using purple pen.

HDQs encourage all pupils to be engage in thinking and allows us to assess the understanding of the group through intentional selection of individuals.

Asking a small number of questions to selected individuals allows us to assess understanding of the group without slowing the pace or impeding clarity.

Selecting students with their hands up, or repeatedly asking the same students.

Using questioning to check students' responses to every question within a task.