Teacher Training: “The Dodge City of the Education World” (Levine)

Two weeks ago I wrote a short blog about how I wanted to structure my trust’s initial teacher programme (here).

I asked for feedback and advice and I got it (thank you). The principal advice was that we’d focussed heavily on skills and strategies without looking at the theory. I think teaching strategies are very important – the cognitive load of the classroom is enormous: if a novice teacher can focus on practising specific proven strategies, she will be able to process more information in the classroom and learn to be a better teacher faster (I’ve written about this here).

But understanding learning is important too – and I don’t think we’ve neglected it. In fact, I’m proud of what we’ve done.

So I thought I’d share what we’ve learnt (through worked examples, completion problems, goal free activities, retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaving, concrete examples, etc.).

The title of this post reflects the view that ITE in England is like the Wild West. There are great opportunities, but also great risks. I am sharing, because I like transparency; I’m looking for feedback and perhaps, if you like what we do, you’l recommend someone to train with us.

Paradigm Trust Autumn Term ITE Programme 2017

(note – this list doesn’t include the obligatory and important SEND, Prevent, safeguarding and subject specific sessions.)

Cognitive Psychology – sticky memory

  • Retrieval practice
  • Interleaving
  • Spaced practice
  • Elaboration

Cognitive Load Theory

Model of Cognitive Load Theory

  • How the model works.
  • Cognitive overload leads to poor learning.
  • Strategies to reduce cognitive load:
    • Worked example effect
    • Completion problems
    • Goal free effect.

Get Better Faster (Bambrick)

  1. Routines & Procedures
  2. Develop Effective Lesson Plans
    1. Start with the learning intention.
    2. Plan the outcome.
    3. Design the lesson sequence.
  3. What to Do – preparing clear instructions and rehearsing them
  4. Teacher Radar: Know when students are off task
  5. Whole-Class Reset: planned and in-the-moment
  6. Write the Exemplar: set the bar for excellence
  7. I-Do/We-Do/You-Do – a model for developing problem solving.
  8. Independent Practice
  9. Strategic Monitoring

Teach Like a Champion (TLaC) (Lemov)

  • Do Now
  • Ratio
  • Cold Call
  • TTYP (Turn and Talk)
  • Write/Rewrite
  • Control the Game

Cooperative Learning Strategies

  • Catch-One-Partner
  • Word-Round
  • Simultaneous-Write-Round
  • Boss&Secretary

Assessment and Responsive Teaching

Responsive teaching

Diagnostic questions

Summative assessment


I hope I have reflected on the feedback given previously. The feedback I found most useful was recommendations of blogs and papers. I’d be grateful for more.



  1. From my armchair I feel that the purpose of ITT is to build (teacher) character. Young graduates who go school-uni-school miss out on the wisdom of those fighting the good fight in the world of work – where the small customers end up. Lately we have seen good people calling out the dishonest (though in the case of RBS it has taken long enough to come to fruition) I am convinced that some work experience with a reputable enterprise would help. The relentless grind of teachers training need some golden threads to cling onto in order to reach the sunny uplands.


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