Teaching and Learning: The DGS Way

Effective Teaching and Learning facilitates the clear, memorable and enjoyable delivery of a knowledge rich curriculum by animated subject experts. Through the skilled use of modelling; crafted explanation and deliberate practice, all students are challenged to develop their understanding; sparking their curiosity and fostering the development of independence, self-expression and self-reflection.

Our approach to Teaching and Learning is research informed and student centred. The following Teaching and Learning Principles inform all QA processes and CPD design. They are used to support staff at every level of expertise during feedback and coaching and form a shared language around classroom practice.


Deliberate practice and gradual release


Responsive teaching

Memorable explanation

Student reflection and metacognition


Responsive AFL

Effective live modelling



Challenge1.  Challenge

Definition: something that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's ability:

The DGS way: all students should be challenged in lessons to develop their understanding, increase their knowledge and refine their skills.  Challenge is motivating, moves learning forwards and raises the bar for all students.

Retrieval2.  Retrieval

Definition: the process of recalling previous knowledge to increase its storage strength.

The DGS way: teachers seek opportunities to retrieve previous knowledge to help students see links between knowledge (strata) and increase the storage strength of what they have been taught. Retrieval starters are common practice and are used across the curriculum to ‘interrupt forgetting.’

Memorable Explanation3.  Memorable explanation

Definition: the way information is broken down and demystified so that it is made clear and easy to understand.

The DGS way: teachers have a thorough subject knowledge and carefully plan and deliver explanations which help students understand and remember new knowledge. Explanations are carefully paced and worded to ensure all students can access the explanation and remember the key details and dual coding is used to ensure that working memory is not overloaded.

Explicit Vocab4.  Explicit vocabulary teaching

Definition: the clear teaching of tier 3 vocabulary and use of tier 2 vocabulary to help students access the curriculum and communicate their views and knowledge with accuracy.

The DGS way: valuable vocabulary is signposted; explicitly taught; and practised during lessons using etymology and understanding of prefix/suffixes to build confidence.

Effective modelling5.  Effective live-modelling

Definition: the process of sharing knowledge, thought processes and skills to share expertise with the learner.

The DGS way: teachers are subject experts and use live modelling to share both what they know and how they think: making their choices explicit to learners so that they can be supported in developing their understanding.

Practice6.  Deliberate practice

Definition: a distinct type of practice that is purposeful and systematic and focused on building independence over time.

The DGS way: knowledge and skill are clearly modelled for students before they are supported in practising for themselves as part of the gradual release model. When students are learning new content, teachers use scaffolding to relieve the pressures on working memory and give thought to how we ‘gradually lose control’ across lessons and curriculum maps: from explicit instruction to independent practice as students internalise learning.

Responsive teaching7.  Responsive teaching

Definition: teaching which reacts to students’ needs and responses with precision.

The DGS way: teachers plan challenging lessons for all students and respond deftly to their needs during the lesson by using regular questioning and quizzing to: gauge understanding; offer scaffolds; address misconceptions and offer elaboration and challenge.

Student reflection8.  Student reflection and metacognition

Definition: knowledge and understanding of your own thinking.

The DGS way: teachers seek opportunities to model their thinking as the expert in the room to share their expertise with the students. They structure opportunities for students to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning through metacognitive talk and meaningful reflection.

Responsive feed forward9.  Responsive feedforward assessment

Definition: the use of targeted, timely, specific formative assessment which gauges student understanding and moves learners forwards.

The DGS way: feedforward assessment carefully measures what and how students are learning in a timely way. Practices like target codes, whole class feedback and sharing models ensures students know how to improve and chase success whilst protecting wellbeing and workload.

Oracy10.  Oracy

Definition: the ability to speak clearly and accurately to express ideas.

The DGS way: we are committed to broadening our vocabulary. We are a word-curious school and take very opportunity to explore new words, recognising that a broad vocabulary is key to fluent, accurate, confident and effective expression in both speech and writing.



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Teaching Learning handbook 11th Oct 2021 Download
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