The Learning Curriculum

Harry Fletcher-Wood, Ben Bignall, Lucy Blewett, Jen Calvert, Josh Goodrich and Emma McCrea


As teacher educators, one important task is helping teachers to understand how students learn and to use this knowledge in their teaching. We have found recent syntheses, such as Deans for Impact’s The Science of Learning (2015) and the Institute for Teaching’s Learning: What is it, and how can we catalyse it? (2018) invaluable in articulating the principles of how students learn, and suggesting ways they can be applied in the classroom. Sharing these ideas with teachers has proved more challenging; we have struggled without a curriculum or sufficient guidance on how to teach the science of learning to teachers.

Specifically, we found ourselves asking:

  • How should we sequence learning about these principles?
  • How could we evidence and illustrate these principles accessibly yet defensibly?
  • How could we check what teachers had understood?

The Learning Curriculum is the result of four months during which we have tried to answer these questions and tested our answers with our teachers. We are sharing what we have learned because we could not find answers to our questions recorded elsewhere. We do not pretend that this is the last word: no doubt there are better examples, studies and assessments available. However, we hope that this first draft will both provide a resource for teacher educators, and encourage them to improve upon our suggestions.

We are grateful to colleagues within the Institute for Teaching for their support and suggestions, including Kyle Bailey, Emma Lark, Peps Mccrea and especially Nick Rose. All errors remain our own.We hope you find this useful, and look forward to improving it with your help.

Harry Fletcher-Wood (Associate Dean), Ben Bignall, Lucy Blewett, Jen Calvert, Josh Goodrich and Emma McCrea (members of our pilot Fellowship in Teacher Education cohort)

Download the full paper here


1. Introduction
2. Structure of The Learning Curriculum
3. What do students already know?
4. What can I teach students in this time period?
5. How can I help students to attend to learning?
6. How can I help students to think hard about key ideas?
7. How can I check student understanding?
8. How can I help students to gain fluency?
9. How can I ensure that students maintain this learning?
10. How can I help students to connect ideas?
11. References

Download the full paper here

This article originally appeared on the website of the Institute for Teaching. In March 2019 the Institute for Teaching merged with Ambition School Leadership to form Ambition Institute.

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