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Autumn week 3

Mentor materials

Observation discussion - combining verbal explanation and graphical representations to reduce working memory overload

Teaching techniques to focus feedback on




To have practised combining verbal explanation and graphical representations to reduce working memory overload.


Observe your teacher deliver an explanation where they pair verbal explanation with graphical representation.

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 your teacher’s online study materials, they were asked to Consider an upcoming explanation, or an explanation that they have recently done with a class. They were asked to reflect on they could pair verbal and graphical representations to support understanding. Ask them to share their reflections with you and discuss them.

Then work with your teacher to plan this strategy either into the lesson that you observed or an upcoming lesson. When doing so consider the following:

  • How could you use a diagram to support the pupils understanding?
  • Which of the examples could you selected and why?
  • How will it support your explanation and reduce pupils working memory overload load?

Key questions and talking points

  1. When have you overloaded your pupils? What was the cause of this and the implication on the learning for the affected pupils?
  2. Why is it important to remove any unnecessary expositions when teaching new material?
  3. How can combining verbal and graphical representation support the working memory?