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A Taste of PEEL

During April we have posted a series of articles taken from PEEL resources which illustrate the use of reflection in students. Teachers who have worked with PEEL ideas regard student reflection as critically important in their development of their independence as learners. If our students are to take more control of their learning, they have to be able to reflect on their work, analyse their errors and understand where and how they can improve.  They have to be able to recognise the times when their understanding may be a little shallow, and then take steps to redress this situation themselves.

In our latest article in the series (posted 24/04/2017)  Darren Mead describes how he encourages students to review what they have learned at several points during the lesson.The third article in the series asks 'How exactly can you get students to reflect? 'Part of it is asking the right questions. This article about encouraging student reflection comes from a teaching group that met over several years called the pedagogical purposes group. Ian Mitchell summarises the discusssion the group had. (Posted 10/04/2017). The second article in this series (posted 3/04/2017) is an article by Damien Toussaint where he describes how he encourages his Year 12 students, who are looking for quick answers - useful for an exam, to reflect more deeply on the content of the lesson. The first article in this series was PEEL procedure F33 Community circles. This can be a very useful tool for promoting student reflection on their learning.

Click here for these articles on our Ideas page.

Last month our theme was developing a  'Language for Learning.'   These posts include one from Ian Mitchell who summarises the essential ideas. As Ian says the  most crucial difference in PEEL from other good teaching practice was not so much the tasks the teachers set, but the way they talked about this with their students and thus the kind of shared language they built up.

Previous posts  on language for learning came from classroom teachers. One from Sarah Foley, who over a period of time developed in her students, an understanding of what learning was and how they could learn more effectively. Another from Damien Toussaint, who describes how he starts the year with a class talking about learning and beginning what is a long term proces - developing a language for learning with his students. A third post on this topic was from Bree Moody who also wrote about how she, tentatively at first, started  talking to her students about their learning. You can find these posts and others in our Ideas archive

All of these posts are extracts  from the three major PEEL resources:  Principles of Teaching for Effective Learning: the voice of the teacher, Teaching for Effective Learning: the complete book of PEEL teaching procedures and PEEL in Practice, the PEEL database which contains hundreds of articles written by practising teachers. (You can read more about these resources further down the page).

PEEL Facebook page

PEEL has a presence on Facebook.. Please share your ideas with us via our Facebook space. Every week during 2017 we make a  new post on the page concerning good teaching strategies (these are linked to articles on our Ideas page) . We would like to promote discusion on these posts and of ideas that teachers have for improving learning in their classrooms.

PEEL News - 2017

PEEL is now 32 years old. After starting in one seconday school in Melbourne, Victoria it has spread to schools around the world. We now get regular requests from several countries for PEEL resources. 

What is unique about PEEL is that virtually all the teaching strategies, ideas and approaches to improving the learning of students have been developed by classroom teachers. For 32 years teachers have been writing about their practice and this has been compiled in an online resource (PEEL in Practice) and several books which have  distilled the best of these writings.

Although PEEL is not as active as it once was, new resources are constantly being added.  In 2016 we loaded short videos of teachers using a PEEL approach in their classrooms to the PEEL in Practice database. There are currently five annotated videos on the databse illustrating a variety of classroom practices designed to encourage deeper learning in students. The clips are from both primary and secondary classrooms illustrating teachers who have been working with PEEL ideas for some time.

In 2015 a major feature was added to  PEEL in Practice database, the main PEEL resource. A category entitled Teacher Education Resources was introduced. This consists of over 100 articles containing ideas for university departments of education and teacher educators.  It  also provides ideas for professional development co-ordinators in schools who wish to use a PEEL approach or introduce others to ideas about learning and teaching espoused by PEEL.

Over the more than 30 years PEEL has been operating many teachers have asked  'How do I start with implementing procedures that will improve my students' learning?'  PEEL has a large collection of ideas, strategies and procedures developed over a long period of time at different levels. In 2014  we added  guidelines about how to start with the long term task of improving students ability to learn. In fact a year long learning agenda using the accumulated knowledge of many teachers. You can find more information about this on the About PEEL page - look for the information on Journeys.

(Note that users of PEEL in Practice  at educational institutions such as Sunway College, Malaysia and Monash University should  log in through their library (e.g. Sunway Campus library).)

More about PEEL

The PEEL office continues to provide support and resources to teachers interested in PEEL. The office is manned from 10.30 to 12.30 on Mondays. The PEEL office will be open to take orders throughout the rest of the Australian school holidays.Please email David Lumb if you have any queries. 

The Sharing Pedagogical Purposes research group developed exciting ideas for teachers interested in promoting deeper learning in their classrooms. (Read about 10 Journeys of Change on the About PEEL page).

 For first time users you can find a great deal of useful information about PEEL on our About PEEL page. Just follow the links to obtain extra information. If you wish to find out more don't hesitate to contact us. Some features of the website include

  • Detailed information about PEEL  including PEEL Groups in schools and Primary PEEL
  • A tutorial showing the features of and a how to use guide of PEEL in Practice which contains a huge repository of teacher knowledge acquired over the 29 years of the Project
  • Easy ordering of all PEEL publications together with summaries of the contents of each item
  • For registered users of PEEL in Practice online an easy log in. Simply log in with your user name and password on the side of this page and you will see the active link at the top of the page "Start PEEL in Practice application". This will enable you to access all the articles published up until the end of 2015.
  • A Search facility which will enable you to find articles on a huge range of topics from the PEEL in Practice database. To access the articles you will need to subscribe to become a registered user but a free two week trial is available.

PEEL Resources

PEEL has developed a number of rich resources for teachers fimly based on what works in the classroom. Three of the more important of these are listed here, others can be found on our Publications page.

PEEL in Practice

PEEL in Practice is a database of over 1600 articles written by teachers using a PEEL approach over a 32 year period. These come from all subject areas from Prep to Year 12 and beyond. It also contains over 220 classroom teaching strategies called procedures developed from ideas contributed by practising teachers. PEEL in Practice is available online as a yearly subscription in the form of a searchable database. This is updated with new articles several times a year. It comes with search fields that enable users to find articles relevant to their students and classrooms.  You can see a complete description of all the search categories  here.  PEEL in Practice can be ordered online.   

Principles of teaching for effective learning: the voice of the teacher

This book is a comprehensive amalgam of PEEL practice and theory developed  by practising teachers and academics. It contains many examples of teachers writng about their experiences in applying the 12 PEEL principles in the classroom to improve the learning of their students. The stories and anecdotes from practicing classroom teachers, together with accompanying analysis provide an invaluable guide to teachers wanting to improve their practice.  This book explores teacher and student journeys in learning how to learn and what makes a successful learning community. It is a companion text to our book of teaching procedures (Teaching for Effective Learning).

Teaching for Effective Learning, the complete book of PEEL teaching procedures, 4th Edition

The fourth edition contains descriptions of the 223 generic teaching procedures developed or adapted by PEEL teachers since 1985.  These procedures are generic in that they allow readers to apply each procedure to a wide range subjects and year levels, and nearly all are applicable at both primary and secondary levels.

Teachers will find that the procedures encourage more purposeful learning, and higher levels of student engagement and interest.

PEEL Research Groups

Sharing pedagogical purposes project

This was set up early in 2008 and continued for  seven years. Some of the themes  investigated by participants included:

  • Doing things WITH students, not for or to them.
  • Teacher models being a learner/thinker
  • Remembering/recounting vs reflecting
  • Noticing good learning (and getting excited)
  • Students select procedures.
  • The physical environment
  • The emotional environment
  • Language for learning
  • Learning as a journey.