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Spring week 8

Mentor materials

Explicit teaching

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: I do

Focused development area

  • Teacher introduces new content by linking new learning to pupils’ prior knowledge.
  • Teacher uses concrete examples in order to explain new concepts.
  • Teacher models the steps pupils need to take to achieve success in a process.
Example precise target: Teacher models the steps pupils need to take to achieve success in a process
  • Not doing it at all: As you are modelling or explaining, pause at key points, e.g. after each step or chunk of explanation, and ask a question to check whether pupils understand.
  • Doing it but needs some improvement: s you are modelling or explaining, ask questions that target pupils’ understanding of important and challenging aspects of the process or explanation.
  • Doing it well and needs some stretch: As you are modelling or explaining, ask questions to check pupils’ understanding and, for crucial aspects of the explanation or process, get a whole-class response, e.g. by using a multiple-choice question where pupils vote on their fingers or write their answers on whiteboards.

Development area 2: We do

Focused development area

  • Teacher regularly checks for pupils’ understanding when they are modelling processes or explaining concepts, especially of important and challenging aspects pupils need to have secured.
  • Teacher checks for understanding of the whole class at key points in the lesson.
  • Teacher efficiently adapts teaching in response to pupils’ gaps in understanding to enable them to be ready to apply their learning.

Development area 3: You do

Focused development area

  • Teacher designs an independent practice task that enables pupils to apply the knowledge and skills that have been taught in the lesson ensuring pupils are stretched and supported.
  • Teacher designs independent practice so that pupils can be successful and develop fluency.
  • Teacher identifies pupils who require extra support during the practice task and responds to that need.


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:

  • Use the I, We, You process to support pupils to understand and apply what is being taught independently.
  • Link what pupils already know to what is being taught.
  • Encourage pupils to share emerging understanding and points of confusion so that misconceptions can be addressed.
  • Use concrete representation of abstract ideas.
  • Make the steps in a process memorable and ensure pupils can recall them.
  • Use questioning to check pupils’ understanding of knowledge, skills and concepts to ensure these are secure before they practise independently.

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