4: The importance of subject and curriculum knowledge

Time commitment

  • 4 hours of self-study materials
  • 6 hours of mentor sessions
  • 3 hours of training sessions

Why this, why now?

In recent years, there has been an increasing appreciation that a teacher’s subject knowledge is critical. There is acceptance in the literature that secure subject knowledge is a defining characteristic of effective teaching. Block 4 has been designed with this in mind and seeks to support you with practical strategies to develop your subject and curriculum knowledge. It builds on everything you have learned so far about classroom practice, how pupils learn and adaptive teaching. Secure subject knowledge will help you motivate your pupils and teach more effectively because you will be able to:

  • Better sequence learning
  • Anticipate and overcome common misconceptions
  • Teach explicitly
  • Build a repertoire of strong examples
  • Support pupils transfer knowledge and skills more easily

This Block will also support you to develop your understanding of the importance of literacy and build a collection of teaching skills related to it. Every teacher must take responsibility for improving pupils’ literacy skills in their subject area.

Your workload

The school workload reduction toolkit section on curriculum planning states that curriculum planning is critical and underpins effective teaching; however, it acknowledges that it must be productive and sustainable for teachers. There are five principles set out in that document, three of which are particularly relevant to your locus of control:

  1. Planning a sequence of lessons is more important than writing individual lesson plans.
  2. Planning should take place in purposeful and well-defined blocks of time.
  3. Effective planning makes use of high-quality resources.

This Block will support you to manage your workload by encouraging you to utilise the experience of other colleagues and existing resources. It will support you to focus your efforts on activities that will maximise impact over time, such as developing high-quality models.

Activities in this Block