About the Continuum

The Continuum was first released in 2014, and has been updated to ensure that it continues to represent increasing levels of teacher expertise in the classroom.

An Expert Review Group of practising teachers worked with noted education academics Emeritus Professors Patrick Griffin and William Louden and Dr Helen Timperley to update the Continuum. Together, they ensured that the profiles complement a broad range of pedagogical approaches and are underpinned by practices that have impact on student learning.

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The classroom practices demonstrated within the Continuum are underpinned by current evidence-based teaching practices with a demonstrable impact on student learning

The Continuum is always a work in progress as new knowledge emerges from the research and wisdom of practice that furthers understanding about those practices that have the greatest impact on student learning. The profiles in the updated Continuum are drawn from current evidence-based research and the knowledge of expert practitioners about the way teachers perform in the classroom. 

The profiles in the Continuum show a holistic view of classroom practice

The profiles have been deliberately presented in prose that show classroom practice as an integrated performance, rather than as a checklist that could reduce classroom practice to discrete behaviours. 

The Continuum supports teachers and school leaders to implement effective classroom observation

Increasing expertise in classroom practice is an ongoing process over time. The Continuum provides a shared language for describing classroom practice and a scaffold that supports improvement-focused feedback to teachers.


Looking at Classroom Practice resource guide

Use the Looking at Classroom Practice resource guide to support you to understand and undertake effective classroom observation in your school.

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Start by reading the profiles, by yourself and then with colleagues – the profiles provide a basis for self-reflection and conversations about classroom practice

Increasing expertise in classroom practice is an ongoing process over time. This professional growth is supported and influenced by reflection upon experience, feedback and individual or group professional learning experiences. Use Conversations with Colleagues about the Continuum to guide your discussions (page 41 of Looking at Classroom Practice).

Develop observation protocols that will suit your school context

Agreed protocols ensure there is a shared understanding of the areas on which feedback will be provided, the format in which the feedback will be given, and how the feedback will be used to improve practice. Use Developing Observation Protocols to guide your discussions (pages 60-62 of Looking at Classroom Practice).

Ensure classroom observations are supported by pre and post observation conversations

Pre and post observation conferences can provide participants with an opportunity to learn more about classroom practice and its impact on students. The Continuum informs post observation conversations and action planning. See Orientation and Debriefing for the Classroom Observation to find out more about effective pre and post observation conversations (page 67 of Looking at Classroom Practice).

Observe the students learning as well as watching the teacher teach

The practical element of classroom observation focuses on what is observable - what the teacher and students are saying, making, doing, and writing. Professor Richard Elmore (Harvard University) developed an ‘open observation method’ where observers describe what they see and hear in the classroom in the first instance. Second and third order questions provide a greater focus on the students in classroom - the nature of academic work and the conditions of learning (pages 64-65 of Looking at Classroom Practice).

Looking for the previous version of the Classroom Practice Continuum?

You can download the previous version of the Classroom Practice Continuum here.