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Autumn week 1

Mentor materials

Discussion - identifying key prior knowledge and vocabulary

Teaching techniques to focus feedback on




To have practised identifying the prior knowledge and vocabulary pupils will need in order to access the lesson


In the online study, your teacher was introduced to a model of the mind and taught the role the working memory and long-term memory play in the process of learning. They were also asked to consider a new idea or concept that they have taught that the pupils struggled to access. They were asked to think about what prior knowledge and/or vocabulary they assumed the pupils had and how this might have impacted pupils learning.

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

With your teacher, look at a lesson that will soon be taught and practise identifying prior knowledge and vocabulary that pupils will need in order to access the lesson. You may want to link this to the points discussed by Lee Donaghy in the online study materials.

Key questions and talking points

  1. What is the role of the working and long-term memory in the process of learning?
  2. What existing knowledge and vocabulary do pupils need to have in order to be able to access and understand the new idea or concept?
  3. What are the key ideas and concepts that you want your pupils to learn?
  4. How could you link these key ideas and concepts to their prior knowledge?