The Fundamentals of Teaching : A Five-Step Model to Put the Research Evidence into Practice book cover
1st Edition

The Fundamentals of Teaching
A Five-Step Model to Put the Research Evidence into Practice

ISBN 9780367358655
Published October 13, 2020 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Teachers are bombarded with advice about how to teach. The Fundamentals of Teaching cuts through the confusion by synthesising the key findings from education research and neuroscience to give an authoritative guide. It reveals how learning happens, which methods work best and how to improve any students’ learning.

Using a tried-and-tested, Five-Step model for applying the methods effectively in the classroom, Mike Bell shows how you can improve learning and eliminate time-consuming, low-effect practices that increase stress and workload. He includes case studies from teachers working across different subjects and age groups which model practical strategies for:

  1. Prior Knowledge
  2. Presenting new material
  3. Setting challenging tasks
  4. Feedback and improvement
  5. Repetition and consolidation.

This powerful resource is highly recommended for all teachers, school leaders and trainee teachers who want to benefit from the most effective methods in their classrooms.

Table of Contents



Introduction: The Fundamentals of Teaching

Section 1: Evidence

Chapter 1: Getting reliable evidence

Chapter 2: Sources of evidence

Chapter3: Brain-based explanation

Section 2: Effective classroom practice


Chapter 4: Prior Knowledge

Chapter 5: Presenting new material.

Method 1: Working Memory limit

Method 2: Linking to Prior Knowledge

Method 3: Multi-sensory approach

Method 4: Advance Organisers

Method 5: Linking abstract ideas to concrete analogies

Chapter 6: Setting challenging tasks

Method 1: Modelling and Worked Examples

Method 2: Graphical and Non-linguistic methods

Method 3: Metacognition

Method 4: Collaborative methods

Method 5: Thinking tasks

Chapter 7: Feedback for improvement

Chapter 8: Repetition and consolidation

Section 3: Using resources effectively


Chapter 9: Using resources effectively

Sources of evidence

Answers to quizzes in Section 2

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Mike Bell taught science in a state secondary school and then ran the Evidence Based Teachers Network (EBTN). He has run successful training courses on evidence-based methods in dozens of UK schools and Further Education (FE) colleges.


"Mike Bell is well known for setting up the Evidence Based Teaching Network, and for explaining succinctly and clearly what works best in education according to summaries of rigorous research. Your students will benefit from these highly effective methods." - Geoff Petty, Author of ‘Evidence Based Teaching’.

"We do not want evidence – we want good evidence, evidence that we can interpret to make a difference in the school and class, and we want big picture thinking based on these interpretations of this evidence. Mike Bell does all this by using Visible Learning and four other sources to give us confidence that when we apply evidence in the classroom, learning will improve." - John Hattie, Author of ‘Visible Learning’.

"I was delighted to see that the book does not just focus on what’s worked in research studies but gives practical advice on what might be less effective and where stopping or cutting back might leave some space for more effective methods. The book provides a summary of research-based practices from different sources, including our Teaching and Learning Toolkit, then also provides an explanation from cognitive science about learning which helps to explain why these practices might be effective, so helping to explain the underlying rationale." - Steve Higgins, Education Endowment Foundation.

"Mike has run several sessions for us. We have asked him back because teachers found his presentation of the evidence convincing, the methods suggested practical and the brain-based explanations helpful." - Marie-Dominique Reza, Vice principal, DLD College, London.

"Mike ran a session with our teaching team, focusing on effective teaching methods, arranged as five steps. Our staff found it very practical and easy to follow. They were immediately able to apply the learning, and we are continuing to implement the methods." - Janet Robertson, Director of Business Improvement and Performance, Borders College, Galashiels.

"The combination of succinct explanations of research evidence from the learning sciences, practical suggestions for the classroom that are supported by illustrative case studies, and a discussion around the effective use of resources, make this book a great companion for teachers at all stages of their careers." - Lisa-Maria Müller, Education Research Manager, Chartered College of Teaching.

"As well as putting so many ideas in one place, this book also pulls off the clever trick of feeling timeless and contemporary all at once. It’s going to last!" - Tom Sherrington

"This reader-friendly text introduces evidence-based teaching in a way which is accessible to higher education students and current practitioners alike. It bridges the theory/practice gap in its pragmatic approach to quite complex concepts, exemplifying them through everyday classroom situations. It will certainly have a place on my undergraduate reading lists." - Hannah Valenzuela, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, University of Derby.

"The Fundamentals of Teaching is an accessible and easily digested text that is perfect for time-pressed teachers and school leaders.

As an introduction to evidence-based teaching, this practical guide is a compact but valuable tool, and the suggestions for further reading located at the end of each chapter provide helpful guidance for those looking to read more deeply into the different areas that Bell covers." - Victoria Addis, TES