Case Studies: Theories of Action

All of our School Improvement Hubs work together to achieve excellence in education and identify great practice which can be shared.

Members of the Teaching and Learning Hub, in collaboration with Professor David Hopkins, Chair of Educational Leadership at University of Bolton worked together through  conducting observations and generating Theories of Action following a process known as ‘Instructional Rounds.’ Theories of Action are hypotheses that view learning as a consequence of precise teaching.  The Bolton theories reflect what was observed in the thirty-six classrooms involved. The team avoided evaluation and judgement in favour of a descriptive approach that explored the links and contingencies between teacher actions and student response.

Following the identification of Theories of Action, members of the Teaching and Learning Hub identified key areas that apply to Key Stage 3; a priority for Bolton Schools.  Three theories of action were agreed as the focus for schools to implement as strategies for improvement:

  • Vocabulary, Reading and Oracy
  • Learning Skills and Independence
  • Learning Environment, High Expectations and Relationships

Hub members shared ideas and strategies that were already having a positive impact on student outcomes so that others could learn from their practice.  Each school who took part has shared their Key Stage 3 Stepping Stone case study below: