What's New

A Taste of PEEL

Here we feature extracts from PEEL resources developed by teachers over 30 years.

For our posts for 2018  we are taking the topic of Teacher Concerns (as listed in PEEL in Practice our online database of resources). These concerns were identified early on in the history of  PEEL and many articles have been writtten by classroom teachers addressing these concerns.

Our theme for July is Students rarely contribute ideas PEEL has always encouraged students to move from passive to active learning where they actively engage with the content of the lesson. In our second post on this topic Arthur Firipis encouraged his students to discuss each other's ideas using a shared space. He found this very beneficial to student thinking. (Poste 16/07/2018). The first article in this series was PEEL procedure A 15 Challenge the right answer (Posted 9/07/2018). In this students are asked to challenge what has been put up as 'correct'.

For April  and May we took the teacher concern: students don't link different lessons. Our final post (28/05/2018) on this topic is an article by Misja Carbo in which he explains how he uses analogies to promote better understanding and to enable students to link ideas more successfully.

Previous articles included ideas from Jackie Beckworth (21/05/2018),  Jill Flack (14/05/2018) and  Rod Greer from very early on in the PEEL project but just as relevant today. Other articles included the procedure Oral Linking A33 (Posted 23/04/2018). a variation on a concept map and Concept Mapping (posted 16/04/2018) a technique which wil be familar to many teachers.

Click here for these articles on our Ideas page

During  March we highlighted the teacher concern; students don't think about why or how they are doing a task.

These posts included the teaching procedure Reverse Learning A42 (posted 26/03/2018), one of over 200 different teaching strategies develped by PEEL teachers. Previous posts included articles by Judie Mitchell (Posted 19/3/2018) where she describes how she makes very clear to her students that they themselves are to question why they are dong a particular task, leading to improved understanding. An article by Kristyn D'Aprano (Posted 12/03/2018) in which she explains how she used two procedures with her Year 7 students to get them thinking more about their learning and the first article in this series by Tanya Whiteside (Posted 5/03/2018) where she describes how she was able to get her Grade 1 students really thinking about the purpose of the tasks they wer engaged in.

For February our posts focused on the concern of many teachers that students don't think about the meaning of what they read and hear resulting in limited understanding. Posts included articles from Sara Taylor who describes a technique she used to promote better understanding of a literature text.(Posted 26/02/2018) and Vojtech Markus (19/02/2018)  describing how he use analogies to promote better understanding of complex topics. Sarah Langford in Active Listening' (Posted 15/02/2018) highlights the importance of developing good listening skills in students and Damien Toussaint (a long time contributor to PEEL) describes how he used short films to extend his students' thinking and encourage more hypothetical and exploratory thinking. (Posted 5/02/2018).   

These and many posts from 2017 can be found in our Ideas archive

All of these articles are taken from three major PEEL resources:  Principles of Teaching for Effective Learning: the voice of the teacher, Teaching for Effective Learning: the complete book of PEEL teaching procedures and PEEL in Practice, the PEEL database which contains hundreds of articles written by practising teachers. (You can read more about these resources further down the page).  

PEEL Facebook page

PEEL has a presence on Facebook.. Please share your ideas with us via our Facebook space. Every week  we make a  new post on the page concerning good teaching strategies (these are linked to articles on our Ideas page) . We would like to promote discusion on these posts and of ideas that teachers have for improving learning in their classrooms.

PEEL News - 2018

PEEL is now 33 years old. After starting in one seconday school in Melbourne, Victoria it has spread to schools around the world. We now get regular requests from several countries for PEEL resources. 

What is unique about PEEL is that virtually all the teaching strategies, ideas and approaches to improving the learning of students have been developed by classroom teachers. For 33 years teachers have been writing about their practice and this has been compiled in an online resource (PEEL in Practice) and several books which have  distilled the best of these writings.

Although PEEL is not as active as it once was, new resources are constantly being added.  In 2016 we loaded short videos of teachers using a PEEL approach in their classrooms to the PEEL in Practice database. There are currently five annotated videos on the databse illustrating a variety of classroom practices designed to encourage deeper learning in students. The clips are from both primary and secondary classrooms illustrating teachers who have been working with PEEL ideas for some time.

Also in 2016 we started posting snippets from PEEL resources on Facebook (see above). This is continuing in 2018.

In 2015 a major feature was added to  PEEL in Practice database, the main PEEL resource. A category entitled Teacher Education Resources was introduced. This consists of over 100 articles containing ideas for university departments of education and teacher educators.  It  also provides ideas for professional development co-ordinators in schools who wish to use a PEEL approach or introduce others to ideas about learning and teaching espoused by PEEL.

Over the more than 30 years PEEL has been operating many teachers have asked  'How do I start with implementing procedures that will improve my students' learning?'  PEEL has a large collection of ideas, strategies and procedures developed over a long period of time at different levels. In 2014  we added  guidelines about how to start with the long term task of improving students ability to learn. In fact a year long learning agenda using the accumulated knowledge of many teachers. You can find more information about this on the About PEEL page - look for the information on Journeys.

(Note that users of PEEL in Practice  at educational institutions such as Sunway College, Malaysia and Monash University should  log in through their library (e.g. Sunway Campus library).)

More about PEEL

The PEEL office continues to provide support and resources to teachers interested in PEEL. The office is manned from 10.30 to 12.30 on Mondays. The PEEL office will be open to take orders throughout the rest of the Australian school holidays.Please email David Lumb if you have any queries. 

The Sharing Pedagogical Purposes research group developed exciting ideas for teachers interested in promoting deeper learning in their classrooms. (Read about 10 Journeys of Change on the About PEEL page).

 For first time users you can find a great deal of useful information about PEEL on our About PEEL page. Just follow the links to obtain extra information. If you wish to find out more don't hesitate to contact us. Some features of the website include

  • Detailed information about PEEL  including PEEL Groups in schools and Primary PEEL
  • A tutorial showing the features of and a how to use guide of PEEL in Practice which contains a huge repository of teacher knowledge acquired over the 29 years of the Project
  • Easy ordering of all PEEL publications together with summaries of the contents of each item
  • For registered users of PEEL in Practice online an easy log in. Simply log in with your user name and password on the side of this page and you will see the active link at the top of the page "Start PEEL in Practice application". This will enable you to access all the articles published up until the end of 2015.
  • A Search facility which will enable you to find articles on a huge range of topics from the PEEL in Practice database. To access the articles you will need to subscribe to become a registered user but a free two week trial is available.

PEEL Resources

PEEL has developed a number of rich resources for teachers fimly based on what works in the classroom. Three of the more important of these are listed here, others can be found on our Publications page.

PEEL in Practice

PEEL in Practice is a database of over 1600 articles written by teachers using a PEEL approach over a 32 year period. These come from all subject areas from Prep to Year 12 and beyond. It also contains over 220 classroom teaching strategies called procedures developed from ideas contributed by practising teachers. PEEL in Practice is available online as a yearly subscription in the form of a searchable database. This is updated with new articles several times a year. It comes with search fields that enable users to find articles relevant to their students and classrooms.  You can see a complete description of all the search categories  here.  PEEL in Practice can be ordered online.   

Principles of teaching for effective learning: the voice of the teacher

This book is a comprehensive amalgam of PEEL practice and theory developed  by practising teachers and academics. It contains many examples of teachers writng about their experiences in applying the 12 PEEL principles in the classroom to improve the learning of their students. The stories and anecdotes from practicing classroom teachers, together with accompanying analysis provide an invaluable guide to teachers wanting to improve their practice.  This book explores teacher and student journeys in learning how to learn and what makes a successful learning community. It is a companion text to our book of teaching procedures (Teaching for Effective Learning).

Teaching for Effective Learning, the complete book of PEEL teaching procedures, 4th Edition

The fourth edition contains descriptions of the 223 generic teaching procedures developed or adapted by PEEL teachers since 1985.  These procedures are generic in that they allow readers to apply each procedure to a wide range subjects and year levels, and nearly all are applicable at both primary and secondary levels.

Teachers will find that the procedures encourage more purposeful learning, and higher levels of student engagement and interest.

PEEL Research Groups

A new resource recently posted on the PEEL site is a document about the thinking of skilled teachers.  It is the result of a project which worked with practicing teachers over a period of two years. It is of particular interest to teachers of Science but is also applicable to others. Follow the links below to read the full document.

Pedagogical reasoning in Science classes (Published April 2018)

Shulman (1986)[1], when he proposed the term pedagogical reasoning described it as the thinking that teachers engage in when they have to turn a piece of content (which he framed as being in a text) into something that was “pedagogically powerful.” This document then is about the thinking of skilled teachers. It flows from several years of research that began with the teachers in the cross faculty Sharing Pedagogical Purpose group –research that led to the 10 Journeys of change among other things. This research provided a framework that led to a three year Australian Research Council large grant that allowed a Monash team to work over 3 years with two cohorts of 20 primary and secondary teachers of science from the Catholic education office.[2] A small group of participants continued to work with Melissa Tham, Stephen Keast and Ian Mitchell in 2017. As a kit for leaders, not a book, this document does not go into all the detail that we could and assumes readers understand the ideas and broadly share the values behind what is written. At this point, we do not know if and how it might be used with wider audiences.

We share it here as a document that pulls findings together from a leadership perspective. If anyone is interested in providing feedback of any kind, we will be very interested in what you have to say.

Part One:  Leadership and building shared values within a group of teachers

Part Two: Examining ways of breaking down topics for greater engagement, big ideas, quality learning and context

[1] Shulman, L. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.

[2] Very briefly the framework describes the pedagogical reasoning of expert teachers as a very non-linear process that “pinballs’ between four focal concepts: considering what should be the big ideas, planning for student engagement, designing teaching that will stimulate and support quality learning and quality learners and working with contextual constraints and opportunities. This reasoning is moderated by a fifth focal concept – aspects of teachers’ personal identities.

Sharing pedagogical purposes project

This was set up early in 2008 and continued for  seven years. Some of the themes  investigated by participants included:

  • Doing things WITH students, not for or to them.
  • Teacher models being a learner/thinker
  • Remembering/recounting vs reflecting
  • Noticing good learning (and getting excited)
  • Students select procedures.
  • The physical environment
  • The emotional environment
  • Language for learning
  • Learning as a journey.