INTRODUCTION TO THE LEARNING CYCLE Version 1.1
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Table of Contents
The Learning Cycle
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Introduction The learning cycle provides all educators with a cohesive and clear structure to a lesson and the learning process. The separate stages of this cyclical model enable the use of a common vocabulary, which sets out clear expectations for our professional practice. The model focusses on an evidence-based approach to learning in order to develop and buildupon prior learning and experiences. The elements of the cycle are as follows: • Connect: An activity which connects this session to previous learning and engages learners from the very beginning of their learning experience. • Share: The sharing of the structure of the lesson providing the outcomes or key questions in a meaningful and relevant way. • Present: Learners interact, experience and engage with new knowledge, skills or concepts. During the present stage learners should be presented with a variety of stimuli and teaching strategies divided between the teacher and the student. • Apply: Students apply the new knowledge / skills in order to demonstrate their understanding to themselves, you and others. This process acts as a conduit for surface learning into deep learning. • Recall & Review: Embeds the new learning and allows for learners to review and critique their learning experience. During this process the tutor can ascertain the extent of the learning which has taken place in order to develop the learning scheme. When implementing the learning cycle into your teaching practice if you feel additional 12-1 support would be beneficial or you have any questions regarding the learning cycle, please feel free to contact staff development or an advanced practitioner.
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Connect What is Connect? Connect is the part of the learning cycle where the intention is to include an activity which connects this session to what has gone before. It is a brief task of 2-5 minutes which connects this session to the previous one, or if a completely new topic, to what the group already know or believe. Activities capture the learners' interest and help them make connections with what they know and can do. This section of the lesson should engage the learner. Learner
calls up prior knowledge
has an interest
experiences doubt or disequilibrium
has a question(s)
causes disequilibrium or doubt
identifies problems to solve, decisions to be made, conflicts to be resolved
assess prior knowledge
writes questions, problems, etc. develops a need to know self reflects and evaluates Based upon Bentley, Ebert & Ebert (2000) Please view the connect section of the appendix for teaching strategies and ideas which may be beneficial to your teaching practice.
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Share What is share? Share is the part of the learning cycle where you share the structure and outcomes of key questions of the session in a meaningful and relevant way. During this stage we share the big picture of the lesson structure, 'first we are going to, then we are going to, etc'. This is followed by a relevant sharing of learning intentions. The language should be appropriate to the level of the learner and not phrased in 'professional-speak'. Learners here will be able to explore prior knowledge; the teacher can adjust incorrect ideas and concepts. Learner
hypothesizes and predicts
questions and probes
explores resources and materials
models when needed
designs and plans
makes open suggestions
assesses understandings and processes
self reflects and evaluates Based upon Bentley, Ebert & Ebert (2000) The lesson outcomes shared with the learners should be measurable, stretching and challenging in order to for the learners to gain a specific sense of achievement during later phases of the learning cycle. A specific and meaningful objective will allow you to measure the success of the learning experience and offer a firm foundation on which to build upon.
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Present What is present? This is the stage of the learning cycle where new information/skill is presented via a variety of stimuli and teaching strategies. It is divided between the teacher and learner. During present we use a variety of teaching strategies and resources to introduce the new concept, idea, skill of information. In this section students are provided with common, concrete, tactile, experiences with skills and concepts. They are given time to think, plan and investigate and organise collected information. Teacher observes and listens and asks probing questions. Learners are introduced to terminology and alternative explanations after they have expressed their ideas. Learners will be able to explain new ideas and concepts in a variety of ways. Learner
shares understandings for feedback
asks questions, poses new problems and issues
models or suggests possible modes
reflects on plausibility
offers alternative explanations
seeks new explanations
enhances or clarifies explanations
employs various modes for explanation (writing, art, etc)
Based upon Bentley, Ebert & Ebert (2000)
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Apply What is apply? This is the part of the learning cycle where students apply the new knowledge/skill. This demonstrates their understanding to themselves, to you and others. A critical phase; it is only by applying the new 'piece' of information/skill that learning is transformed from surface to deep learning. This phase also gives students the opportunity to show what they know' and for the teacher to correct any misconceptions. This section gives the student the opportunity to apply new ideas to new situations. Here is where the student will expand and solidify their understanding of the concept and/or apply it to a real world situation. Learners will elaborate by applying new ideas and concepts. Learner
applies new knowledge
performs new related tasks
makes open suggestions
models when necessary
plans and carries out new project
asks new questions seeks further clarification Based upon Bentley, Ebert & Ebert (2000)
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Recall & Review What is recall &review? This is the section of the learning to show retention of learning and embed lesson structure. This reflective phase is actually comprised of two 'R' elements - Recall; in which the teacher leads the class in recalling the intended learning outcomes and structure of the session. This is followed by the final 'R' - Review. This is also a crucial phase as it is here that the learners demonstrate what they have learned, what they are a little unsure of and what they are completely confused with. This should not be confused with the alternative approach of the teacher telling the group what they have learned. Learners are using evaluative skills to assess their own progress. Learner
reviews own success
receives and reviews feedback
negotiates future practice
assesses progress confirms what has been learned and what has no been learned
Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills It is vitally important throughout the learning cycle (session) that the tutor checks the student learning. There should be a focus on recording the learning of the students. The tutor should emphasise and promote the Higher Order Thinking Skills. Try to refer to outcomes where the outcome of an activity means learners achieved. (please see Appendix B for useful strategies)
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Creating a Supportive Learning Environment Within any classroom environment learners should be made to feel welcomed, safe and challenged without fear of expressing their current understanding. Consider when using a questioning technique, if a learner answers correctly it is common practice to praise the learner, however if a learner answers incorrectly the response is not always so positive. If we critique this approach we come to the realisation that if a learners is able to answer a question correctly then all we have done is affirm their current learning rather than encouraging new learning to take place But, if a learner answer incorrectly that allows either the teacher or a peer to support that student through new learning. This concept means that incorrect answers should be welcomed as they offer the opportunity to provide both tutor and peer support in correcting any misunderstandings. Learners should not be made to feel threatened when they are asked a question, but comfortable to know that they will not be made to feel embarrassed if their contributions are not in-line with the thinking of the rest of the group. The use of peer review and critique in some circumstances can be a highly effective tool and encourage an effective collaborative learning environment. Peer support and feedback is not only an effective learning tool for the learner receiving the feedback, but activates higher order thinking skills for the learner providing, generating and designing the feedback. Careful student management and guidance on how to provide effective and supportive feedback during the curriculum can make collaborative feedback strategies an invaluable teaching tool.
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Appendix A: Useful Strategies The following list is by no means exhaustive, but is designed to work as a useful starting point. For more techniques, strategies & guides please visit the MCA CPD Moodle page: http://moodle.southessex.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3585 If you have difficulty logging on to this page please contact ILT Moodle Support via the internal e-mail system. Starter Quiz (Peer) Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning Methodology: This technique would be most appropriate at the beginning or end of a lesson: • Give each learner a sticky note • Ask each learner to write a question based on the content of the last lesson • Give learners approximately 2 minutes to write their question • Rotate or reorganise the sticky note • Each learner must now try and answer the question (2minutes) • Rotate or reorganise the sticky notes again • Ask the learner to “mark” the answer, stating if it is correct or if the answer could be improved.
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What I Learned Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning Methodology: This starter activity is quick way to encourage learners to reflect on their learning from the previous session and to allow learners to feedback on their learning experience. • Provide each learner with two sticky notes • On the first write down 2 things you learned / understood from the previous session • On the other note, write down one thing you didn’t fully understand from the previous session. • Ask learners to display the notes (on a board for example) • Pair or group learners so that a learner who understands the topic is paired or grouped with someone who does not understand the topic. • The learner who understands the topic now has 5 minutes to try and teach the topic to the other learner(s) Switch around and repeat. 60 Seconds Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer Methodology: This re-cap activity would be most suitable at the beginning or end of a lesson: • Ask a (randomly chosen) learner to pick one of the topics from last session • Ask that learner to pick someone to start • The learner(s) must speak about the topic for a total of 60 seconds without: Hesitation, Deviation , Inaccuracy or Repetition • While the learner is re-capping the topic, all of the other learners have the opportunity to “challenge” based on the criteria. • If a correct challenge is made, the learner who challenged then carries on the topic with the same rules as before. The purpose of the game is to see who can carry on talking the longest without being challenged. Teach the Teacher Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning 13 | P a g e © 2014 The Learning Consortium | CSPARr © 2000 Graham Blench
Methodology: In this technique, suitable for the start of a session, you take on the role of someone who does not understand the topic. It is for the class to “teach” you the topics covered last week. • Introduce the fact that you did not understand the topic from last weeks’ lesson and you need their help to understand it. • Ask learners to divide the topics of last week into sections. Divide the class into groups and ask each group to take on one particular topic. • Take on the role of a learner, take notes and let the learners take control of the lesson. • Ask questions when there is something unclear, stating that you don’t understand. • Ask why and how questions in order to promote a higher level of understanding. While one group is teaching, the other groups must look out for inaccuracies to make sure you don’t learn the topic incorrectly. Post-It Parade Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning Methodology: In this technique, suitable for the start of a lesson, you are asking learners to reflect on what they learned in the previous session and categorise that information • Each learner is provided with a post it note and asked to write down one thing they learned last week • Once written these are stuck on the board. • You ask the learners “Broadly speaking, what were the topics covered last week?” • Based on the contributions, write category labels at the top of the board Ask the learners, as a whole group, to re-organise their sticky notes so that they are underneath each header.
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Would I Lie to You? Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning Methodology: In this starter activity, learners will be asked to think up three statements based on last week, but one of them is not true. This can also be turned into a points based game to encourage further participation. • Ask each learner to think of and write down three statements based on last weeks’ lesson. One of these statements should be a lie. • In turn, each learner reads out their statements and all the other learners raise their hand to show when they believe they are being lied to. • Points can be awarded to the person who writes the statement based on the number of students they “fooled” I’m Thunking Prep-Time: 3 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning & Higher order thinking Methodology: This technique, which targets higher order thinking, would probably not be applicable or suitable to every single topic. However, where it is possible to incorporate this type of a discussion, it is likely to encourage higher order thinking. • A Thunk is a statement or questions which has so many different aspects it makes your brain hurt! Crucially a “thunk” must have no right or wrong answer. • State a “thunk” at the beginning of the lesson, based on the topics of the previous lesson • Ask learners to discuss in small groups • At the end of the discussion, ask the small groups to share their findings • Encourage the other groups to challenge their findings. Example Thunks: When you comb your hair, is it art? Are you man-made or natural? Could JLS do a JLS tribute band? Can a square be ugly? Can you cheat if you don’t know the rules? Is a computer clever? Is all sound music? Are all objects art? I.Gilbert, 2007
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True or False Thumbs Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Starting a Session (Connect), Peer / Collaborative Learning, Review and Recap, All-Response Questioning, Formative Assessment. Methodology: In this relatively short activity, learners will write a statement relating to a recent topic which is either true or false, it then up to the group to decide. • Provide each learner with a post-it note • Ask them to write down a statement that is either true or false relating to a recent topic (2-3minutes) • Collect in the sticky notes and ask learners to put their thumb up if the statement is true and thumb down if it is false. • Read out the statements one at a time from the collected sticky notes and watch out for the thumbs! (this will also tell you what topics learners feel less confident with) Learner Defined Criteria Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Share, Peer Learning, Self-Directed Study, Peer Evaluation Methodology: This technique can be used when learners complete an activity or project: • At the beginning of the session after introducing the task, ask learners in small groups to create a list of success criteria • As a large group discussion, compile this list into one big list At the end of the project, either as a whole group or in pairs (depending on the type of task), ask learners to compare their peers’ work with the original success criteria and offer feedback.
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C3B4Me Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Collaborative Learning, Peer Support Methodology: In this technique, before a student is allowed to ask the teacher for help, assistance must have been sought from at least three other students, hence the description “see three before me.” Some teachers support this with a poster declaring, “There is more than one teacher in this room.” – Wiliam, 2011 This technique encourages collaborative support and feedback and the learner being asked will gain a deeper and richer understanding of the topic through the act of explaining and supporting another learner. Mix and Match Feedback Prep-Time: 0 extra minutes Domain: Recall & Review, Feedback Methodology: When providing feedback on any form of written work, rather than simply writing the statements next to the related text, try this method in order to engage learners with the feedback: • Highlight the areas which you have commented upon in a learners script • Write the feedback comments in a random order on a separate sheet (or individual strips of paper. • When returning the script with feedback, ask the learner to match up the comments to the highlighted areas of the script. • Ask the learner to state why they believe the comment matches with that area of the script. (i.e. Justify your decision) Whilst this technique makes the learners receiving of feedback more challenging, it engages learners with the feedback and offers them the chance to consider why the feedback was provided and how it could potentially have been improved.
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Providing Effective Feedback Prep-Time: No increase Domain: Feedback Methodology: The only reason for the learner to be provided with feedback is to encourage and support learning and development. When designing feedback, consider the response to the feedback Feedback indicates Feedback indicates Response Type performance exceed performance falls short of expectation. goal Change Behaviour Change goal Abandon goal Reject Feedback
Exert less effort
Decide goal is too easy
Decide goal is too hard
(Dweck, 2000) Feedback should be a recipe for future action and can be achieved by stating the potential outcome, stating the current level of achievement, comparing the potential outcome and the current achievement and finally providing guidance on how the current state can be developed into the potential outcome. Just remember you can’t fatten a pig by weighing it! Video Guides Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Apply; Co-operative learning, higher cognitive thinking Methodology: Once a topic has been introduced, ask learners in small groups to create a video guide for this process. Learners should: • Plan the content • Decide what should and should not be included • How the information will be presented • How the components of the process will be demonstrated • Once planned, create a short video to demonstrate the process. The learner created videos can then be shared and used as a revision resource at a later date.
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Whole Class Interactive Learning Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Co-operative learning, Peer Evaluation, Higher Cognitive Processes Methodology: Whilst not always appropriate, a whole class interactive session will allow learners to explore the problem in their own way. Below is an example: 1. The teacher states a problem / question 2. Students debate how it could be tackled 3. The teachers gives feedback on some of the students’ strategies 4. Class agreement on ways to solve the problem, facilitated by the teacher (there may be more than one way accepted) 5. Students solve the problem, and the teacher looks at their work. 6. The teacher gives feedback on the students’ work, pointing out ways in which it could improve. 7. Student self-correct their work after this feedback 8. The teacher praises the students’ effort, strategies and skills. 9. The teacher and class evaluate the procedure(s) and review ‘what we have learned’ Questions such as Why? Who agrees? What is your reasoning? are asked throughout Teaching by asking Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Present , high order thinking Methodology: Rather than ‘teaching by telling’, start the topic by asking students a question that leads to what you want to teach. Students work in pairs or small groups to answer a questions or series of questions using common sense, experience and prior learning. Students can all have the same questions, or they can be given different questions on the same topic. When the class has its common answer, ‘top up’ the answer with any additional points the class has missed, and correct any misunderstanding. If students get half of the answer it saves half of the teacher talk, and generates interest and thinking skills. (Petty, 2006)
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Job Application Prep-Time: 0 minutes Domain: Presentation, Peer Evaluation Methodology: When your students have to explore the different roles within a set industry. Try the following activity: • Set learners into teams and assign them a job role • Ask each team to create a job advert for that particular role. • On completion of the advert, swap the materials the learners have generated and ask the learners to individually create a CV for that role (but change the name if you wish to do the final stage). • The learners will then submit their CV’s to the group who created the job advert. • Each team will then select a CV they believe is most suitable providing feedback as to why it is the most appropriate. But also state two best aspects or elements of each CV. In this activity, there is never the need for the learners reveal their fake name on the CV.
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Appendix B: Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills Higher order thinking involves the learning of complex judgmental skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Higher order thinking is more difficult to learn or teach but proves to be more valuable because such skills are more likely to result in higher levels of student achievement and engagement. Metacognitive processing requires practice in solving problems in context in the academic and all other settings (Mayer, 1998). To problem solve in their own learning and to be successful in the classroom and beyond, learners need to be proficient in reading across the curriculum. Proponents of metacognitive thinking, including Robert Marzano (2003), John Hattie (2007), and Harold Wenglinsky (2002) concur that
“When students are taught to think about their own thinking, they gain knowledge and control of factors that affect learning--the self, the task at hand, and strategies to be employed.”
“Research strongly suggests persistent, positive effects regardless of student age, achievement level, nationality or ethnicity.” (Having analyzed 395 research studies, Marzano asserts that the primary vehicle for student learning is metacognitive thinking.)
“Metacognitive skills transfer to other learning situations and are retained over time.”
It is important to actively teach metacognition to facilitate acquisition of skills and knowledge. It is important for students to know how they think and learn. Teach students about what Robert Sternberg calls successful intelligence or mental self-management. Successful intelligence is a great way to explain metacognition. The development of higher order thinking skills encompass a number of different lenses which can be targeted depending on the needs of the learner or the context of the lesson activity: • The Question-Answer Relationships (QARs) technique (Raphael 1986) considers the type of questions being asked and then to use this information to assist them in formulating the answers. Two major categories of question-answer relationships are taught: (1) whether the answer can be found in the text – “In the Book” questions, or (2) whether the reader must rely on his or her own knowledge – “In My Head” questions. The QAR technique helps students become more aware of the relationship between textual information and prior 21 | P a g e © 2014 The Learning Consortium | CSPARr © 2000 Graham Blench
knowledge and enable them to make appropriate decisions about which strategies to use as they seek answers to questions. Comparative thinking: Where learners are encouraged to consider other possibilities and make an argument for a choice or decision which is made. Learners should be encouraged to refer to quantifiable information and evidence in order to state their argument. The learner should be encouraged to engage in elaboration and explanation of facts and ideas rather than rote repetition
Evaluative thinking: Review a process or action and determining ways in which improvements could be made and why, referring to quantifiable information or evidence to support conclusions made and clarify the difference between memorising and understanding.
Self-reflective thinking: The encouragement for the learner to look inward at their individual role within a particular task, activity or scenario in order to assess their level of contribution and how developments could be attained.
Transferable thinking: The strength and conviction of the learning that it could be transferred to another medium or person, learners would be encouraged to view and utilise their learning in alternate context which would challenge them further.
Deeper understandings: More than just information, but the recognition of the complexity within the majority of fields, moving from simply concrete facts to conceptual thinking.
To develop problem-solving strategies, teachers should give credit to students for using a step-wise method of accomplishing a task in addition to arriving at the correct answer. Teachers should also teach students different methods for solving a problem and encourage students to consider alternative problem-solving methods if a particular strategy proves unrewarding. It is helpful for teachers to model different problem-solving methods for everyday problems that arise from time to time. In some instances these skills can be encouraged and developed through the use of effective questioning designing to challenge even the most gifted learner in the room or through the use of extension activities which do not require the learner simply to repeat the learning undertaken so far, but to utilise the learning either in another context or in a more complex scenario. Other methods you may wish to experiment with in your practice are as follows: 22 | P a g e © 2014 The Learning Consortium | CSPARr © 2000 Graham Blench
Group/Individual reflection: During a discussion, write a question such as “what is your role in this discussion?”, “who is contributing the most towards this discussion and why?”, “how could your group be more successful?” on a post-it note and stick it in front of the group or individual.
Creating a guide: As an extension, ask learners to create a guide for nonspecialists within the field. Learners should be encouraged to avoid specialist terminology or when it is used to provide a meaningful definition.
If you know it, teach it: In order stretch the understanding of an individual or group of learners, ask them to teach or support the learning of another group. The other group will have different perspectives and require the teaching group to re-evaluate their understanding or reframe their learning to suite the perspectives of the rest of the group.
Jigsaw: Similar to above but building on individual/ group understanding to develop a cohesive whole on a subject matter and allow problem solving skills to develop by considering how the knowledge pieces together. Debates: Groups or individuals create a compelling argument for or against a specific topic. Externalisation: In order to encourage self-evaluation, begin by asking learners to assess and evaluate a hypothetical scenario which can then develop into peer feedback and peer assessment. This initial externalisation of the evaluative process often supports learners in developing the analytical skills before focussing those skills inwards.
Reflect upon the learning experience: During the recall / review stage ask learners to individual state what activity helped them learn the most and which strategies utilised within the lesson did they find a barrier and why. This is also an effective way of gaining feedback for future lessons.
Each element of the learning cycle allows for the implementation and development of higher order thinking skills whether it be supporting learners to quantify their own criteria for success during the ‘Share’ phase or through the use of exploratory questioning during ‘Apply’. Encouraging learners to think and develop in new ways can offer lead to concepts and methods which have not previously been considered, if suitable and accurate these should be actively encouraged in order to support each and every learner to reach beyond their potential.
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Appendix C: Blooms Revised Taxonomy (2001)
Based on APA adaption of Anderson, L.W. & Krathwohl, D.R. (Eds.) (2000) Comparison of Bloom’s Taxonomy for Learning Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes Learning Objective Nouns
Learning Outcome Active Verbs
Memorize, Recite, Name, Identify
Describe, Explain, Classify, Discuss
Apply, Choose, Employ, Operate, Practice
Compare, Contrast, Calculate, Test, Analyse
Construct, Compose, Create, Design, Propose
Argue, Assess, Defend, Judge, Evaluate
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Appendix C: Marzano’s Taxonomy of Verbs The following is a summary of the Marzano’s New Taxonomy (2007 & 2008):
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Appendix D: Bibliography & Related Texts Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., et al. (2000). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: a Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Pearson. Bentley, M., Ebert, C., & Ebert, E. (2000). The natural investigator. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning . Black, P. (2003). Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice . Open University Press . Bybee, R. W. (1989). Science and technology education for the elementary years: Frameworks for curriculum and instruction. The National Center for Improving Instruction. Dweck, C. (2012). Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. Robinson. Gilbert, I. (2007). The Little Book of Thunks. Crown House Publishing . Gravells, A., & Simpson, S. (2010). Planning and Enabling Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Learning Matters. Hattie, J. (2008). Visible Learning. Routledge. Hattie, J. (2011). Visible Learning for Teachers. Routledge. Marzano, R. J., & Kendall, J. S. (2007). The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Corwin Press. Marzano, R. J., Boogren, T., & Heflebower, T. (2012). Becoming A Reflective Teacher. Marzano Research Laboratory. Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2003). Classroom Instruction That Work. ASCD. Petty, G. (2009). Evidence-Based Teaching A Practical Approach Second Edition. Nelson Thornes. Smith, J., & Gilbert, I. (2010). The Lazy Teacher's Handbook: How your students learn more when you teach less . Crown House Publishing. Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded Formative Assessment. Solution Tree Press. Wiliam, D., & Black, P. (1990). Inside the Black Box. GL assessment Limited . 26 | P a g e ÂŠ 2014 The Learning Consortium | CSPARr ÂŠ 2000 Graham Blench