The In Teachers' Hands project investigated the link between children's growth in English literacy in the early years of schooling and their teachers' classroom teaching practices.

Which teachers and which children were involved?

  • Teachers individually assessed 2000 children from every state and territory in literacy at the beginning and end of their first or second year of schooling.
  • Ten schools in four states were chosen for follow-up case studies.
  • Schools from diverse communities were included to ensure the study was inclusive in terms of social,cultural and economic factors.
  • The case studies identified the teaching practices that were used by teachers whose children made most progress.

What did most of the teachers do?

  • Used some common teaching practices (such as providing feedback to children about their literacy learning).
  • Used some common literacy teaching activities (such as shared book, modelled writing and phonics teaching).

What did the more effective teachers do?

  • Made more use of additional literacy teaching activities (such as interactive writing and language experience).
  • Used a wider repertoire of literacy teaching practices.
  • Used the teaching practices that were less frequently observed (such as promoting higher levels of thinking and providing individualised instruction) as well as those that were more frequently observed (such as ensuring that children are attentive, engaged and on task).
  • Demonstrated each teaching practice with greater consistency, skill and subtlety.