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Music & Performing Arts: The Rosenshine Principles

Catherine Barker

11 April 2019

In 2016 United Learning launched a series of curriculum frameworks for our schools at KS3. Maths, English, Science, History and Geography were all included, alongside Music and PE/Health as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. We’ve added to this work by looking at languages, plus Art and Drama are in development amongst their subject networks. There’s exemplification of pupil work, common assessments in core subjects and a growing set of resources to support teachers in their delivery of the group-wide curriculum.

So, we’ve set out what to learn. We’ve set out what this learning looks like. But we haven’t set out the best way to go about this.

Ideas about great teaching have been repackaged from generation to generation; I have memories of INSET on a diverse range of initiatives (remember the VAK model? PLTS?). But yet another innovative approach wouldn’t be helpful for already busy teachers (or effective in the long run).

Instead, we are settling on a common language for great teaching, and this is driven by the Rosenshine Principles:-

  1. Review prior learning
  2. Present new material in small steps
  3. Ask a large number of questions and check the responses of all students
  4. Provide models
  5. Guide student practice
  6. Check for student understanding
  7. Obtain a high success rate
  8. Provide scaffolds for difficult tasks
  9. Require and monitor independent practice
  10. Engage students in weekly and monthly review

All common sense. All informed by robust research. Nothing particularly innovative or controversial.

The Rosenshine Principles can be readily applied across all subjects, and there are certainly areas where naturally music will lend itself to the principles, such as the notion of student practice. It is important that school-wide implementation of the principles should allow for any subject-specific nuance; to create the next generation of artists in our schools, music and the performing arts need to be taught in an authentic way – knowledge and understanding is gained through immersive musical/dramatic/dance experience.

The following series of blogs will unpick what Rosenshine means in the teaching of music and the broader performing arts: with many thanks to Anna Jenkins at Kettering Buccleuch Academy for providing the framework for the series, and Steve Adcock in United Learning for his insight across United Learning.