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Expert Teaching: What is it, and how might we develop it?

Peps Mccrea

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Date published 30 March 2018

Last updated 21 March 2024


Teaching quality is important. It is arguably the greatest lever at our disposal for improving the life chances of the young people in our care (Hattie, 2015), particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds (Wiliam, 2016).

When the quality of a teacher’s practice reaches a certain level, we might begin to describe it as expert teaching. However, we don’t yet have a clear consensus around what this entails, and until we do, our capacity to systematically develop it will remain limited.

This paper attempts to pull together the best available evidence from education and beyond, to offer a coherent, high-level overview of what expert teaching is, and how we can develop it. It has been produced to share our thinking, guide our programme design, and stimulate conversation around the nature of expertise in teaching.

Thank you to everyone who has generously provided feedback on this paper to date. All errors that remain are mine. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

Peps Mccrea
Dean of Learning Design

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2. Expertise as Impact

3. Expertise as Action
- Perception
- Simulation
- Execution
- Conservation

4. Expertise as Mental Models
- What do expert teachers know?
- How is expert teacher knowledge organised?

5. Developing Expert Mental Models

Further Reading & 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.

Peps Mccrea
Dean, Learning Design

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