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Spring week 3

Mentor materials

Observation discussion - monitoring of pupil work for misconceptions during independent practice

Teaching techniques to focus feedback on




To have planned and practised the monitoring of pupil work for misconceptions during independent practice.


Despite careful planning and sequencing of knowledge, and in spite of checking for understanding at key points in the lesson, pupils can still develop misconceptions. It is often during independent practice when these come to light, and the teacher will discover there has been some misunderstanding earlier in the lesson. It is therefore essential that the teacher monitors independent practice and acts where appropriate.

A good strategy to help monitor independent practice is to circulate around the class during the session.

Some teachers move around the classroom checking to make sure pupils are ‘on track’. However, this can often mean they are focusing on completion of work, as opposed to mastery of skills.

When circulating effectively, the teacher will notice two things:

  • Examples of success (these could be showcased to the class)
  • Examples of specific mistakes/errors (these should be considered before the lesson)

Teachers are encouraged to consider what the common mistakes/errors may be ahead of the lesson and therefore be tracking carefully to pick up these misconceptions quickly if they should arise.

Observe your teacher as they circulate and subsequently act on the information it gives them. Focus on the following:

  • How have they shared what ‘success’ looks like with their pupils before the independent practice begins?
  • Could they pick out examples of success that they had observed, and who had specific mistakes/errors?
  • How did they respond when they spotted an example of a mistake/error? (e.g. stopping the class/individual correction). Did you agree with their feedback decision?

 Praise, probe and set precise actions

The following practise should be focused around the outcomes of the probe and precise actions, so that it is specific to your teacher’s developmental needs. However, below are some practise ideas based on the online study content to support you if needed.

Plan and practice ideas

In the online study material, your teacher has been given an activity where they are asked to consider an upcoming lesson and identify potential errors and misconceptions that might be revealed during independent practice. A part of this interaction should be spent reviewing this activity and considering the common mistakes/errors they have identified.

It is recommended that you practise how to respond when:

  • An individual pupil has an identified mistake/error


  • Stopping the class as the majority of pupils have an identified mistake/error.

Key questions and talking points

  1. How do you share what success ‘looks like’ in a task with your pupils?
  2. What would be the advantages of using a code system for monitoring independent practice? (An example of a simple code can be seen in Module 4: Session 3)