Australia’s national education evidence body

Teaching for how students learn: A model of learning and teaching

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Introduction to AERO's model of learning and teaching

Teaching practices that are aligned with how students learn are the most effective in improving education outcomes for all. There is strong evidence about the processes that occur during learning. These processes explain why some teaching practices are more effective than others. AERO has developed a model that identifies the most effective and efficient teaching practices aligned with how students learn. 


AERO is developing further resources for teachers and school leaders that expand on the practices discussed in this model. These resources will build on our existing Tried and Tested series, which covers education practices that have been proven to make a difference to learning outcomes for children and students. AERO has also partnered with Ochre Education to provide teachers with hundreds of free curriculum resources created by teachers for teachers. Ochre lesson resources support effective, evidence-based practices and address the learning expected in the Australian Curriculum. 

If you have any feedback on these resources on how to better understand student learning and the implications for teaching, please let us know via our feedback survey.

Teaching for how students learn: A model of learning and teaching

For an expanded version of this model, please download the PDF version

Linking chain symbol

Figure reading a book

How students learn

Teaching pointing at whiteboard

Teaching that aligns with how students learn

Attention and focus

Students are actively engaged when learning

  • Sensing, thinking and memory
  • Readiness for learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Safety and belonging


Foster the conditions of a learning‑focused environment

  • Rules and routines
  • Respectful interactions
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Cultural safety
  • Family engagement

Knowledge and memory

Learning is a change in long-term memory

  • Novice learners
  • The developing brain
  • Working and long-term memory
  • Consolidation


Develop a teaching and learning plan for the knowledge students will acquire

  • Define knowledge
  • Chunk content
  • Sequence instruction
  • Plan to assess

Retention and recall

Students process limited amounts of new information

  • Cognitive load
  • Recall and retention
  • Additional learning needs


Manage the cognitive load of learning tasks

  • Explain learning objectives
  • Teach explicitly
  • Scaffold practice
  • Monitor progress
  • Support tiered interventions

Mastery and application

Students develop and demonstrate mastery of their learning

  • Application of knowledge
  • Mental models
  • Problem solving, critical and creative thinking
  • Generative learning

Gradual release

Maximise retention, consolidation, and application of learning

  • Revisit and review
  • Vary practice
  • Organise knowledge
  • Extend and challenge


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