Students inspiring teachers at Dawson Park Primary School

January 28, 2021

An enthusiastic group of Dawson Park Primary School students returned to the classroom this week to assist in the professional development of more than 100 early childhood, primary and secondary teachers. The cohort included a range of participants, from pre-service teachers to graduates and teachers with 30+ years of experience.

The week-long EDvance Teaching Intensives provide the opportunity for teachers to develop and practice explicit instruction strategies. Since the intensives began in 2018, more than 500 teachers have benefitted from the sessions. With a growing appetite for explicit instruction in secondary schools, 2021 has been the first year secondary teachers have joined the program.

“There is significant evidence to support the successful application of high impact instruction, particularly for students from disadvantaged communities. Many practitioners are keen to develop skills in this area as part of their ‘toolkit’ for successful teaching,” said Georgie Wynne, Fogarty EDvance Program Director.

“Research confirms that 95% of teachers transfer new skills to their teaching practice after receiving ongoing coaching, feedback and support,” she said.

“The teaching intensive program provides teachers with a deeper understanding of this evidence-based approach and hands-on experience in the delivery of high impact instruction. This is supported by lesson demonstrations and individualised coaching from expert leaders in the field.

“The Fogarty Foundation established the EDvance Teaching Intensives to encourage teachers to adopt new practices for the improved educational outcomes of West Australian students.”

Dr Lorraine Hammond, Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, and Brooke Wardana, an early years literacy expert, were instrumental in the program design and delivery. They were supported by a group of expert teachers in the delivery of lesson demonstrations, coaching, the provision of teaching resources and individualised support.

She said that teachers who follow an explicit or high impact instruction approach, demonstrate and model everything; from blending sounds together to decode words, to writing a complex sentence with figurative language.

“While some students achieve success quickly, others need far more opportunities for practice,” Dr Hammond said.

“Teachers who follow an explicit instruction approach provide daily reviews of previously learned knowledge and skills so they become automatic; they can then be applied to more complex tasks such as reading or writing a short story.

“Critics of explicit instruction typically argue it is a deficit model that sees students sitting passively in rows all day engaging in rote learning. This is a misunderstanding of explicit instruction, which when done properly, is engaging, and rarely done for extended periods of time.”

Annie Fogarty, Chairperson of the Fogarty Foundation, said the Foundation was committed to identifying, supporting and developing programs that deliver educational opportunities with wide impact.

“By investing in teachers, school leaders and school principals, we hope to inspire excellence and high-quality instruction in schools and improve educational outcomes for all West Australian students,” she said.

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