6T Model - Bringing all the research together!

Want to run the most effective lessons for your students? Then find out why we created the 6T model lesson template.
Now, for those experienced classroom teachers out there, we are not asking you to go back to your uni days of individual lesson planning, (unless that’s a school requirement). But we do want you to audit your teaching model to see if it’s the most effective it can be. It’s actually only 4T’s with some deeper-level layers… so let’s put it apart.

The 4T model of a lesson that we have always used was Target, Teach, Talk, Task. So why do we call it 6T? Because the talk is actually three layers of talk: Talk for Understanding, Talk to Practice, and Talk to Reflect and Embed. And we found that even though we were explaining this, not everyone was writing it down, and only 4T’s were being transferred into teaching practices. While this still would have impacted your students, it’s not the most effective, approach if you look at all the research.

So let’s break down the 6T model and why we love it…

1. Target: Here, we are referring to having the lesson goal or target clear and on display for all learners.

John Hattie, an influential education researcher, advocates for the use of learning targets or objectives on display in the classroom as a way to improve student learning. According to Hattie, having learning targets on display is important for several reasons.

Firstly, learning targets help to create a clear and explicit focus for student learning. By displaying the learning target, students have a clear idea of what they are expected to learn and achieve during the lesson or unit of study. This helps to ensure that all students are on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Secondly, learning targets help to promote student engagement and motivation. When students have a clear understanding of what they are learning and why it is important, they are more likely to be engaged in the learning process. This is because they can see the relevance and value of what they are learning and are more likely to be invested in the outcome.

Finally, learning targets help to make learning more visible and transparent. By displaying the learning target, students and teachers can refer back to it throughout the lesson or unit of study and use it as a way to measure progress and assess learning. This helps to make learning more explicit and tangible, which can be especially beneficial for students who may struggle with abstract concepts or ideas.

2. Teach: A short, sharp explicit teaching session. 

Explicit teaching is a pedagogical approach that involves the teacher providing clear and structured instruction that is carefully scaffolded to meet the learning needs of each student. This approach typically involves breaking down complex concepts or skills into smaller, more manageable steps and providing explicit guidance on how to complete each step.

For learning new information, it is generally recommended that explicit teaching be designed to be efficient and effective, providing students with the right amount of information and guidance needed to achieve the desired learning outcomes. One way to ensure that explicit teaching is efficient and effective is to carefully plan and structure lessons, using clear and concise language and breaking down complex concepts into smaller, shorter, more manageable steps broken up with practise. A study by van Kraayenoord & Elkin (2005) found that explicit teaching was highly effective for teaching grammar to students with language difficulties. The study found that students who received explicit instruction in grammar made significant gains in their grammatical knowledge and skills. Similarly, a review of the literature by Gersten et al. (2009) found that explicit teaching was highly effective for teaching vocabulary to students.

3. Talk for Understanding: The students pair up and explain their understanding of the lesson. They may be prompted to give examples or facts to demonstrate that understanding. A check-in is conducted to see who is confident and ready for the next step, and who needs further support (becomes part of the teacher-led group).

Student discussion is an important component of learning because it provides an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the material, and for teachers to assess how well the material is being received and adjust their instruction accordingly. Webb, Farivar, and Mastergeorge (2002) found that classroom discussions had a positive effect on students’ learning outcomes across multiple subject areas.

Discussions are a critical aspect of learning in any classroom. When students discuss their understanding of a lesson, it provides a powerful opportunity for them to deepen their understanding of the material. This is because discussions allow students to share their ideas, ask questions, and consider alternative viewpoints, all of which can help them to make connections between the new material and their existing knowledge. When students engage in discussion, it provides the teacher with valuable feedback on how well the material is being understood by the students. Through listening to student responses, teachers can gauge how well the lesson has been received and can assess the need for further clarification or additional instruction.

Additionally, discussions can help teachers to tailor the remainder of the lesson to meet the needs of the students. Through listening to student responses, teachers can identify areas where students are struggling and can adjust their instruction accordingly. For example, if students struggle to understand a particular concept, the teacher can use the discussion to provide additional examples, analogies, or explanations to help students make sense of the material.

4. Talk to Practice: This is where the students are given the opportunity to complete an oral language game or activity, utilising the skill or information they have just been introduced to.

There are several benefits to having students participate in oral language games or activities to practice new literacy skills or information before they are expected to independently write or type in context. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Increased engagement: Oral language games and activities can be a fun and engaging way for students to practice new literacy skills or information. This can help to increase their motivation and interest in learning.
  2. Improved comprehension: When students participate in oral language activities, they have the opportunity to hear and process new information in a different way than they would by simply reading or writing it. This can help to improve their comprehension and understanding of the material.
  3. Enhanced vocabulary development: Oral language games and activities can be an effective way to introduce and reinforce new vocabulary words. Students can practice using these words in context and develop a deeper understanding of their meanings.
  4. Improved speaking and listening skills: Oral language games and activities can help to improve students’ speaking and listening skills, which are important components of effective communication.

Research supports the use of oral language games and activities in the classroom. For example, a study by Loh and Tan (2015) found that oral language activities effectively improved students’ vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Similarly, a meta-analysis by Rosenshine (2012) found that explicit instruction and practice, including oral language activities, effectively improved student learning outcomes in literacy.

Overall, using oral language games and activities to practice new literacy skills or information can be a valuable tool in the classroom, with research supporting its effectiveness. Plus, did you read number 1? They are fun!

5. Task: An independent response task to demonstrate understanding.
What this is, and where this is completed, is completely up to the teacher leading the lesson. The goal is that the students can demonstrate the lesson’s target independently. The role of the teacher is to roam, support, and provide effective feedback to guide the student in achieving the lesson’s target. If they can’t, or need extensive support still, then the teacher knows that the student/s will need further opportunities to learn and embed the skill. We would still complete a share and feedback session here using something like the TAG feedback approach before moving into self-reflection in the next step. However, it is possible to merge the two.

6. Talk to reflect and embed – We would have to consider this the most important part of the lesson to ensure learning is moving beyond a surface level.

Effective learning is not possible without reflection (Boud, Keogh & Walker, 1985)
Reflective learning in a primary school classroom involves encouraging students to think critically about their learning process and experiences and to identify areas for improvement and growth. According to research, incorporating reflective learning into classroom instruction has numerous benefits for students, including improved academic performance, increased motivation, and enhanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

One study conducted by Kyndt et al. (2011) found that reflective learning strategies can help students develop a deeper understanding of subject matter, as well as promote self-awareness and self-regulated learning. The authors note that “reflective learning may foster the development of students’ metacognitive knowledge and strategies, which in turn may enhance their academic performance” (Kyndt et al., 2011, p. 42).

Another study by Zeichner and Liston (2013) found that incorporating reflective learning into teacher education programs can have a significant impact on future teaching practices. The authors note that “reflection is essential for the development of expertise in teaching” and that “reflective practice helps teachers to understand the complexity of their work, the multiple perspectives involved in teaching, and the ways in which their own beliefs, values, and assumptions shape their practice” (Zeichner & Liston, 2013).

Overall, research suggests that incorporating reflective learning into primary school classrooms can have a positive impact on student learning and development, as well as teacher education and professional growth. By encouraging students to reflect on their learning experiences and identify areas for improvement, teachers can create a more engaging and effective learning environment for all students.

Pair this with the research that suggests that classroom talk and discussion has a positive impact on various aspects of children’s learning and development. Mercer and Littleton’s (2007) research showed that talk and discussion in the classroom could enhance children’s content knowledge by providing opportunities for them to share and compare their ideas, ask questions, and clarify their understanding of new concepts. Furthermore, the study found that classroom talk and discussion can promote metacognitive skills, such as the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking and learning processes.

For instance, Cazden’s (2001) study found that classroom talk and discussion can lead to improved language skills, such as more extensive vocabulary, better grammar, and increased fluency.

Additionally, the study found that classroom talk and discussion can foster critical thinking skills, such as the ability to evaluate evidence and construct persuasive arguments.

Overall, the research indicates that classroom talk and discussion are essential for promoting oral language development, content knowledge, and critical thinking skills in primary school children. By engaging in these activities, children can build their confidence and competence as communicators, develop a deeper understanding of the content they are learning, and develop the skills necessary for success in academic and social contexts.

Yet what do we do when we are running behind in a lesson… we stop the talk. In particular, the reflection. The 6T model lesson expands on the practises we are already implementing and enhancing them through essential layers of talk.

Does this sound interesting, but maybe a bit full-on? I promise it’s not! It does take some time-management strategies and classroom norms to help you out though.

  • If you are anything like me, you love to have a bit of a chat, so your explicit teaching can run too long.
  • Then you get caught up with your bookend students that demand your time and attention- your reluctant students who are very good at questioning to avoid working, and your fast finishers who want to know what’s next. Before you know it, the bell is about to go, and you have been stuck in this bookend vortex.
  • So you drop reflection, you tell them to finish off quickly, and you try and make up for it by marking their books while they are not present. 

Timers help here. I also stop sitting and kneel next to the students instead. It hurts after a while, so it reminds me to get up and move on to other students. Anecdotal records are important to keep track of the students learning too. 

If you still need support, I recommend downloading our Reflective Learning with VCOP lesson Planning bundle and our TAG Feedback sheets. 

Or attending our Integrating VCOP into Classroom Practice and Planning professional learning session.  

Need more support?