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Spring 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: State and explain steps

Focused development area

  • Teacher breaks down learning or tasks into specific, memorable, manageable steps for pupils to follow.
  • Teacher checks and identifies where pupils may struggle most and provides extra support and guidance to support.
  • Teacher models applying the steps to a task and demonstrating the process to take so pupils can apply this knowledge to similar contexts.

Development area 2: Scaffolding

Focused development area

  • Teacher explains new concepts by starting with the simplest explanation and providing concrete examples.
  • Teacher models the thought process when completing tasks so pupils understand the process behind completing the task and have the key points available to use when doing it independently.
  • Teacher checks pupil understanding, particularly of challenging content, and adds in extra support in the form of explanations and examples in a way that best suits the needs of the class.
Example precise target: Teacher checks pupil understanding, particularly of challenging content, and adds in extra support in the form of explanations and examples in a way that best suits the needs of the class
  • Not doing it at all: Review a task and pre-emptively identify the areas of the task pupils may find particularly challenging. Plan an explanation or an example that would support pupils with one of these challenging areas.
  • Doing it but needs some improvement: Circulate and specifically check on pupils’ progress on the task, paying particular attention to areas you have identified as challenging and deliver an additional explanation or an example to support the pupils who are struggling.
  • Doing it well and needs some stretch: If the majority of pupils are getting stuck on a certain aspect of the task, stop the class and deliver an explanation or additional example to support pupils.

Development area 3: Removing scaffolding

Focused development area

  • Teacher checks pupils’ understanding of the key learning is sound before removing scaffolding so they have just enough support.
  • Teacher explicitly articulates high academic expectations of pupils in explaining, modelling and encouraging them to remove scaffolds at the appropriate time to make their learning more effortful.


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:

  • Break complex material into smaller steps.
  • Use modelling, explanations and scaffolds, acknowledging that pupils need more structure early in their learning.
  • Remove scaffolding only when pupils are achieving a high degree of success in applying previously taught material.
  • Narrate thought processes when modelling to make explicit how experts think.
  • Reframe questions to provide greater scaffolding or greater stretch.

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