Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework represents the complexity (and fascination) of teacher expertise. The underlying proposition is that enduring educational issues concerning educational aims, learning contexts, classroom processes and learning outcomes are played out in practice through curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

Enduring Issues
Process for learners' social needs
Does the educational experience build on social relationships, cultural understandings and learner identities?
Personalisation: does the curriculum resonate with the social and cultural needs of diverse learners and provide appropriate elements of choice? Relationships: are teacher-pupil relationships nurtured as the foundation of good behaviour, mutual wellbeing and high standards? Inclusion: are all learners treated respectfully and fairly in both formal and informal interaction?
Processes for learners' affective needs
Does the educational experience take due account of learner views, feelings and characteristics?
Relevance: is the curriculum presented in ways which are meaningful to learners and so that it can excite their imagination? Engagement: do the teaching strategies, classroom organisation and consultation enable learners to actively participate in and enjoy their learning? Authenticity: do learners recognise routine processes of assessment and feedback as being of personal value?
Processes for learners' cognitive needs
Does the educational experience match the learner’s cognitive needs and provide appropriate challenge?
Differentiation: are curriculum tasks and activities structured appropriately to match the intellectual needs of learners? Dialogue: does teacher-learner talk scaffold understanding to build on existing knowledge and to strengthen dispositions to learn? Feed-back: is there a routine flow of constructive, specific, diagnostic feedback from teacher to learners?



In formal education, curriculum is often thought of simply as a set of courses and subject content. However, education is wide-ranging in its purposes and consequences. Wikipedia suggests that it involves ‘any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual’ and suggests that it is ‘the process by which society transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. Of course, specification of a curriculum does not ensure learning.  For this to occur, the learner must be constructively and meaningfully engaged. Curricular experiences are thus extremely significant.

The curricular concepts suggested in the framework provide analytic tools for considering both the technical and educational aspects of curriculum.


Pedagogy is the practice of teaching. It is informed by a body of knowledge based on experience, evidence, understanding and moral purpose. Pedagogic expertise draws in complementary ways on the science, art and craft of teaching. Thus classroom judgements may be informed by research, influenced by responsive intuition and supported by mastery of particular teaching strategies.

The pedagogic concepts suggested in the framework provide analytic tools for unpacking some of the most important issues associated with pedagogy. It is not by chance that ‘relationships’ is at the centre of the framework, for constructive teacher-pupil interaction is fundamental to classroom behaviour, learning processes and outcomes.


We think about assessment as a really important part of formal education. Key issues concern whether it is used formatively to support learning, or summatively to measure the learning that has taken place. Many significant technical issues are associated with these uses.

However, assessment is also embedded within everyday life, for we make judgements about other people almost all the time. Such informal forms of assessment aggregate into expectations, and yield powerful forms of tacit feedback between adults and children, teachers and pupils.

The assessment concepts suggested in this framework range across this terrain.