Skip to main content
This is a new service – contact with any feedback
Spring week 5

Mentor materials

Teacher exposition

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: Modelling and exemplifying a process

Focused development area

  • Teacher identifies the key learning points to draw from the process they are modelling and primes pupils to focus on these.
  • Teacher works through the process they are modelling including the thought process behind how to do it and examples to support pupils to understand challenging parts of the process.
  • Teacher focuses pupil attention by condensing the process into manageable, sequential, specific steps.

Development area 2: Explanations

Focused development area

  • The teacher explains new concepts by linking them to pupils’ prior knowledge.
  • Teacher provides a clear definition of a concept that pupils will understand and links it to the examples they use.
  • Teacher uses examples and non-examples to exemplify the concept and explains the underpinning features of these to aid pupil understanding.
Example precise target: Teacher uses examples and non-examples to exemplify the concept and explains the underpinning features of these to aid pupil understanding
  • Not doing it at all: Identify a useful example to exemplify a concept and plan an explanation using the example.
  • Doing it but needs some improvement: Identify a non-example of a concept and plan how to deliver this alongside an example to exemplify the concept more clearly.
  • Doing it well and needs some stretch: Plan an explanation that highlights the underpinning features of examples and non-examples to deepen pupils’ understanding of the key concept, e.g. highlight to pupils the shapes that are examples of quadrilaterals because they have four sides and the shapes that are not examples of quadrilaterals because they have more or fewer sides.

Development area 3: Involving pupils

Focused development area

  • After the teacher has modelled a process to pupils, the teacher models the process again with increasing input from pupils to check they understand the thought process and outcome.
  • Teacher checks that pupils have understood the steps in the process or concept being explained, tackling gaps or misconceptions before getting pupils to increase their input or practise independently.


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:

  • Link what pupils already know to what is being taught.
  • Reducing distractions that take attention away from what is being taught.
  • Encourage pupils to share emerging understanding and points of confusion so that misconceptions can be addressed.
  • Use modelling, explanations and scaffolds, acknowledging that pupils need more structure early in their learning.
  • Start expositions at the point of current pupil understanding.
  • Use concrete representation of abstract ideas (e.g. make use of analogies, metaphors, examples and non-examples).

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