Description of Search Categories

Description of Search Categories

What is PEEL

There are six fields in this menu: Introducing PEEL, Key ideas behind PEEL, What is Different about PEEL, PEEL and other Literature on Learning, PEEL History and PEEL outside Australia.  These titles are relatively self explanatory, but we would see the first three as providing advice for users about what the project is and what we suggest needs to be part of any new group.  PEEL and other Literature on Learning helps users see where PEEL is consistent with, or different to, other ideas, frames and initiatives.  The last two frames allow a more detailed study of how the project has evolved and spread.

Teacher Concerns

PEEL was founded by a group of teachers who had concerns about passive, dependent, unreflective learning (e.g., Students rarely contribute ideas of their own). PEEL continues to attract teachers who share some or all of the 18 Teacher Concerns in this search category. We hope that the titles of these concerns carry sufficient meaning for users and have not included more detailed descriptions. 15 of the 18 teacher concerns refer to different aspects of student learning (concerns 5,13  and 18 have a greater focus on teaching). These concerns are sometimes explicitly referred to in the articles coded to them, but more often, they are implicit in what the teacher did and/or the way they described the outcome of what they tried. Coding articles against these concerns thus involves somewhat subjective decisions about how strongly a concern is addressed in the article. To keep the category useful, our criterion has been that the article must offer some clear advice to a user who shares the concern. Many articles are coded against more than one concern.

Classroom Practices

This menu contains 26 fields such as Assessment, Discussion, Note-Taking, Practical Work and Starting the Year with a Class. They provide a way in for teachers who have a general desire to improve the learning or their teaching during any of these classroom practices (e.g., during class discussion). To keep the category useful, it was not sufficient for an article merely to refer to (for example) a discussion. It needed to offer advice or ideas for improving that classroom practice.

While there is often overlap, no two fields in the database select the same group of articles. We have given careful thought to our criteria for each field to achieve this – Classroom Discussion, for example, does not select the same set as Principle of Teaching 5 (Promoting student talk that is tentative, exploratory and hypothetical) – one can promote such talk in ways that would not be called a class discussion. It is impossible to convey precisely what we intend to include under each classroom practice in a short title: for example Understanding Other Text Material means non-fiction printed text such as books or articles. It does not include what English teachers (quite properly) call text: novels, plays, poems, etc. – these are the focus of Reading Literature. Brief statements of what is and is not included in each of these fields is given in the Descriptions of Classroom Practices.

Principles of Teaching for Quality Learning

These twelve principles emerged as recurring themes over many years in oral and written accounts of what PEEL teachers have found important, effective and successful in building a good classroom environment and changing how students learn in ways consistent with the goals of the project. Each principle can and should be applied in more than one way. However, while the actions of a Year 5 teacher teaching English, a Year 8 Art teacher and a Year 11 Mathematics teacher will be different in many ways, all of them can (for example) Provide opportunities for choice and decision-making (Principle 3). We believe that these principles can be applied in all subjects and at all year levels. They are strategic in that any one can provide a year-long focus for a teacher that helps bring coherence to practice.

Once again, we only have coded an article against a principle if we believe that it has reasonably clear presence in the article – that the reader will gain some advice about how that principle can be implemented. A brief discussion of each principle is given under  Descriptions of Principles of Teaching for Quality Learning.

Ten Journeys of Change

The sharing pedagogical purposes group contains primary and secondary teachers who have been exploring how to take metacognition further than had previously been the case by developing year-long strategic agendas for classroom change. As we unpacked what the teachers have been reporting, we have identified 10 highly interconnected journeys of change that collectively frame a year-long learning agenda. The table Using the ten journeys to elaborate what metacognition can mean provides an overview of the journeys and what they mean for two aspects of metacognition -knowledge about good learning and control of learning. The article Using the journeys to scaffold what you do in the classroom briefly discusses some relationships between the journeys and begins to address an issue that PEEL has been confronted with for a number of years – how can our resources be used to meet the needs of a wide range of teachers, not all of whom want to engage in extensive research into their classroom practice.

Video Resources

This takes you to video footage of some PEEL classrooms at both primary and secondary levels.

Subject Areas

This menu groups all the articles where the subject (e.g., English, Mathematics) is clear from the article. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are also coded as Science and all articles coded Commerce, History and Geography are also coded as Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE).

Year Levels

As with subject, an article is only given a year level coding if this is clear from the article or if the article is a generic description of a teaching procedure – these articles are written in a style that, as far as possible, makes the ideas useable at all year levels.  PEEL in the Primary Classroom selects all articles that are written, at least to some degree, in a Primary classroom context; this means that adding this coding will remove the generic descriptions just described.

In most of the classes described, Years P (Preparatory) to 6 are Primary (or Elementary) classes where the students spend most of each day with one teacher. In most cases, the high school years are from 7 to 12; here the students have a different teacher for each subject. In Australian schools it is common for students in class from Years 7 to 10 to remain together for their ‘core’ subjects (about two-thirds of their curriculum).

Strategic advice on sustaining student change

For most teachers, the journey of PEEL begins with trying some new ideas in a relatively fragmented manner.  This is a necessary stage that should be planned for one needs to dabble and explore before setting out to make a more systematic attempt at change.  The articles selected by the nine fields in this menu stand back one pace from the more specific ideas that are the way into PEEL for most teachers.  They distil out general advice on how teachers might plan a coherent and sustained strategy for achieving student change.  Moving to this is an equally important stage in making a difference in the classroom.  The first field Achieving student change selects two sorts of articles; some are articles that range across much of classroom practice, the others have a major focus, with generalisable advice on achieving permanent change in an important aspect of student learning.  The next eight are all more specific.  The list of Good Learning Behaviours details observable actions that are signs of quality thinking; Promoting Good Learning Behaviours, selects articles that offer long term, strategic advice on generating some of these. Building metacognition, Promoting student reflection and Promoting student independence are entirely feasible, but not simple; they need year-long approaches that are consistent, coherent and persistent; articles coded to these fields offer advice on how this might be done.  The articles in Using information and communication technologies are all coded to the Classroom Practice with the same label, but, once again, they offer much more general advice than the more specific ideas in other articles coded to this Classroom Practice.  The same sorts of comments apply to articles coded to Can you use PEEL in year 12.  Transition: Kinder/School and Primary/Secondary, and Working with students of other cultures are relatively self-explanatory.

New Teaching Behaviours

In addition to a range of new teaching procedures, PEEL has involved a range of changes in teacher behaviours such as the ways they respond to students’ questions and ideas, increasing wait time and delaying judgement.  This menu focuses on this aspect of teaching.  Changes in teacher behaviours selects articles that discuss or emphasize some of these changes, Teachers challenge existing practice selects articles that critique common practice most of these articles could make an excellent focus for discussion in a PEEL meeting.

Dilemmas and problems of a PEEL approach selects articles that raise difficulties in making some of these changes.

Teacher Education Resources

Articles in Teacher Education Resources are designed for teacher educators using a PEEL focus. There are three broad categories – Type of resource, Aspects of Learning and Aspects of Teaching

Teaching Procedures

The original PEEL group comprised ten secondary teachers of six different subjects sharing ideas and experiences from their classrooms. The only way an idea such as Work out everything you need to find out (Procedure F1) could move from year 8 History (see Judie Mitchell) to Year 11 Photography (see Khal Lawton) to Year 7 Science (see  Odile Oliver) was for Khal and Odile to ignore the content (and year level) specific details of Judie’s original activity and identify its generic features. Developing a range of generic teaching procedures and applying these in new subject areas has been central to PEEL. It enables teachers to use ideas from other subject areas, and it empowers teachers to develop their own applications of someone else’s ideas. It is important to stress that the procedures are not ends in themselves and equally important to PEEL has been the process of selecting procedures to promote specific aspects of quality learning such as linking to personal life (eg B16, B18, B20), or planning a general strategy before starting a task (eg F2, F6, H8).

There are over 200 procedures, clustered in 8 groups (A-H). These groups are merely to help teachers search and select useful ideas. The groups overlap and many procedures could arguably be placed in more than one group. Descriptions of each group are given in  Descriptions of Groups of Teaching Procedures. There is a generic descriptions of every procedure; these have titles that include the group and number such as C9 Question Dice.

Achieving teacher change and development

TThis menu is aimed at users who have responsibilities or intentions for bringing about teacher change, running in-service sessions, setting up and sustaining (voluntary) PEEL groups or professional learning teams that involve all staff,  The search fields: Introducing PEEL to other Teachers, Starting a PEEL Group, Sustaining a PEEL Group, Using the PEEL Database, Ideas for Professional Development Sessions, Sustaining Professional Learning Teams and Stimulating and using teacher writing are self explanatory.

Some Outcomes of PEEL

Most articles on the database report, at least implicitly, positive outcomes from PEEL, and the collective weight of these hundreds of accounts is the largest single body of evidence for the claim that PEEL has made a significant difference in classrooms.  In other words, the articles selected in this menu are in no way seen as the results section of PEEL.  However they do have a greater focus on this issue.  Does PEEL work with students? and Does PEEL work with teachers? select articles where the writer has included some comments on student or teacher change.  PEEL teachers are involved in a form of research as we define it, but the issue of when reflective practice becomes research is quite blurred.  Over the years, there have been a range of projects that have had a higher profile the generation of knowledge for wider audiences.  More formal research in/on PEEL selects articles that report on these and Project level achievements selects articles that take a long term look at what has been achieved.  PEEL and pre-service/first year teachers is likely to be of main interest to staff and students involved in teacher education in that it reports on what has proved feasible and valuable for new teachers to take on.