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Autumn week 10

Mentor materials

Independent practice

Select a development area

Consider the development areas for this topic (below). Then make a note of the area you plan to zoom in on and when you plan to visit so you can observe your teacher in this area. Familiarise yourself with the focused development areas. You will select one later when you observe your teacher.

Development area 1: Establishing clear expectations for independent practice

Focused development area

  • Teacher explains to pupils the importance of independent practice and their behavioural expectations for independent practice.
  • Teacher ensures pupils know what to do during independent practice as well as the conditions to work in.
  • Teacher supports pupils to turn the expectations for independent practice into a routine by keeping certain expectations the same and having pupils practise them.

Development area 2: Ensuring pupils understand expectations

Focused development area

  • Teacher checks that pupils understand the instructions and behavioural expectations before they begin independent practice.
  • Teacher models to pupils the behaviours and steps to take during independent practice when they think pupils may struggle.
Example precise target: Teacher checks that pupils understand the instructions and behavioural expectations before they begin independent practice
  • Not doing it at all: Ask pupils to repeat back the instructions for the independent task to check they have understood what to do.
  • Doing it but needs some improvement: Ask pupils to repeat back the instructions for the independent task including the behaviours that are expected of them and what to do if they are stuck.
  • Doing it well and needs some stretch: If a pupil asked cannot tell you the instructions for the task or behaviour expectations, have a peer state them and return to the initial pupil to repeat them.

Development area 3: Circulate to check

Focused development area

  • Teacher is clear on the behaviours they need to check for when circulating the classroom and phrases these as visible and positive behaviours.
  • Teacher pre-emptively circulates to check pupils are meeting their expectations and acknowledges where pupils are doing so.
  • Teacher supports pupils to meet behaviour expectations, e.g. using non-verbal reminders for a pupil or a whole class reset if there are lots of pupils who need reminding.


Consider the following questions based on a short (approximately 15 minute) observation of your teacher.

What was your teacher’s previous target? Are they meeting it? How do you know?

  • Thinking about the development area you have selected for this topic, what is your teacher already doing well in this area? Which focused development area best aligns with what your teacher needs to get better at? What one precise target (bite-sized action) might you work with them on during your mentor meeting?
  • Reminder: You can choose to stick with this previous target if they have not made enough progress. When moving on to a new precise target, you can select one from the table above or, if this doesn’t fit your teacher’s needs, you can write your own.

How will you model the target to your teacher to show them what good looks like? What questions will you ask to check your teacher understands the model? For example, ‘How it is different from your current practice?’ and ‘What impact might it have on your practice and pupils?’

Reminder: Your model should help your teacher develop their ability in some of the following:

  • Teach and rigorously maintain clear behavioural expectations for independent work.
  • Monitor pupil work during lessons.
  • Give manageable, specific and sequential instructions.
  • Check pupils’ understanding of instructions before a task begins.
  • Create and explicitly teach routines in line with the school ethos that maximise time for learning.
  • Reinforce routines.

Next, meet with your teacher to work through the ‘Feedback’ stage of instructional coaching.