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Autumn week 9

Mentor materials


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: Building complexity

Focused development areas

  • Teacher sets tasks that build in complexity and supports pupils to see this challenge as positive and surmountable.
  • Teacher asks questions that challenge pupils when their basic knowledge is secure.

Development area 2: Championing challenge

Focused development area

  • Teacher models the behaviours and mindsets involved in tackling challenging tasks and how to embrace and overcome errors.
  • Teacher promotes challenge using consistent and intentional language, so pupils see it as desirable and understand how it benefits their learning.
  • Teacher praises behaviours pupils use to tackle challenging tasks.
  • Teacher helps build a sense of momentum and pace in the class by fostering challenge.
Example precise target: Teacher promotes challenge using consistent and intentional language, so pupils see it as desirable and understand how it benefits their learning
  • Not doing it at all: Use consistent language to describe the benefits of challenging tasks and link this to the benefits to pupils’ learning.
  • Doing it but needs some improvement: When pupils are working on tasks they find challenging, remind pupils of the progress they have made through persevering with challenging tasks, e.g. "Last term you were doing ...; you have pushed yourselves, and now you are able to..."
  • Doing it well and needs some stretch: During or following a task that pupils found challenging, plan in reflection time that causes pupils to think about the progress they have made through tackling the challenging task. Encourage pupils to use the same positive, intentional language you have used with them to describe the benefits of challenge.

Development area 3: Removing scaffolding

Focused development area

  • Teacher explains the importance of removing scaffolds and models how to gradually do so when knowledge is secure, and pupils are becoming more successful.
  • Teacher praises pupils who, when they have secure knowledge, challenge themselves by removing scaffolds.
  • Teacher gives pupils concrete and specific ways they can monitor their progress so they know when they should gradually remove scaffolds themselves.


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:

  • Set tasks that stretch pupils, but which are achievable, within a challenging curriculum.
  • Remove scaffolding only when pupils are achieving a high degree of success in applying previously taught material.
  • Plan activities around what you want pupils to think hard about.
  • Support pupils to master challenging content which builds towards long-term goals.
  • Help pupils to journey from needing extrinsic motivation to being motivated to work intrinsically.

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