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Spring week 2

Mentor materials

Implementing effective modelling

Learning intentions

Your ECT will learn how to:

  • use modelling, explanations and scaffolds, acknowledging that novices need more structure early in a domain
  • enable critical thinking and problem-solving by first teaching the necessary foundational content knowledge
  • remove scaffolding only when pupils are achieving a high degree of success in applying previously taught material
  • provide sufficient opportunity for pupils to consolidate and practise applying new knowledge and skills
  • break tasks down into constituent components when first setting up independent practice (e.g., using tasks that scaffold pupils through meta-cognitive and procedural processes)

Topic introduction

In their self-directed study session earlier this week, your mentee extended their knowledge of how effective teaching can transform pupils’ knowledge, capabilities and beliefs about learning. They considered how modelling helps pupils understand new processes and ideas and how scaffolds and worked examples can help pupils apply new ideas. They also considered how pupil success is underpinned by having frequent opportunities to practise and the gradual removal of scaffolds as their expertise increases. Your mentee reflected on their needs analysis from Mentor session 1, identified which of these ideas might have the biggest impact on their current practice and created a lesson plan for use in their teaching in the forthcoming week.

The learning outcomes from their self-directed study were to learn that:

4.1      effective teaching can transform pupils’ knowledge, capabilities and beliefs about learning

4.3      modelling helps pupils understand new processes and ideas; good models make abstract ideas concrete and accessible

4.4      guides, scaffolds and worked examples can help pupils apply new ideas but should be gradually removed as pupil expertise increases

3.10    every teacher can improve pupils’ literacy, including by explicitly teaching reading, writing and oral language skills specific to individual disciplines

And they learned how to develop pupils’ literacy, by:

3s.   Teaching different forms of writing by modelling planning, drafting and editing

In this session, you will help your mentee build on this activity, focusing in more detail on its practical implications. You will assist them in refining activities and approaches to be tried in the classroom: start by helping them to explore their current practice and clarifying the ways in which the research might help to develop their impact on pupil success. Key goals for the session include helping them to understand a) why modelling helps pupils to understand ideas; b) why scaffolds and worked examples (and their gradual removal) are central to building pupils’ confidence and expertise; and c) how to use a balanced mixture of these techniques to help pupils succeed as direct support is gradually removed.

Meeting activities

Throughout the session, try to refer explicitly to the Learning Intentions, and encourage your mentee to record key points in their Learning Log. Tailor your use of the Theory to Practice activities below in response to the Review and Plan section of this session.

Review and Plan 5 mins

Clarify the Learning Intentions for this session with your mentee.

At the start of this module, you looked at all of the learn how to statements for Standard 4 and conducted a module audit with your mentee: in some areas they will already be confident and skilled; in others they will want more practice and support from you and others. Look back at this audit now and use it to help decide how you and your mentee will make the most productive use of the suggested Theory to Practice activities below.

Theory to Practice 40 mins

1. Analyse artefact

Jointly work through your mentee’s lesson plan from their last self-directed session.

To support your analysis of their lesson plan, these might be useful questions:

  • Which of the strategies (modelling, worked examples, scaffolding) have you used in your lesson plan? How do you think this will help increase pupil confidence and success?
  • Have you managed to balance these strategies with other parts of your lesson, such as the consolidation of foundational knowledge?
  • Have you allowed time for independent practice? How has this practice been organised?
  • How have you assessed the pupils so you know when they are ready to work without the scaffold?
  • Are these strategies appropriate for the age/stage of the pupils and for where they are in the overall curriculum?
  • Is the balance right, or are they trying to do too much or too little?

2. Discussion with mentor

Modelling and scaffolding -- doing them well, knowing when to introduce them and gradually remove them -- are skills that it can take a long time to perfect. Your mentee might be experiencing barriers, which they may express like this:

‘I don’t know enough about the topic to model it well for my pupils.’

‘I can’t get this class to listen for long enough to model to them effectively.’

What the mentor said -- Ellie, NQT induction coordinator, East London primary school trust:

‘My NQTs are often much better than they think they are, but they can lack confidence. I tell them that experience will help them to improve as teachers, but there are things they can do straight away. Primary teachers, understandably, worry about subject knowledge. I tell them to speak to colleagues working in the same phase and subject, to use textbooks or resources that other teachers have created and, if possible, plan alongside them. Less-experienced teachers sometimes rush their explanations and their modelling -- they think the pupils won’t behave if they are ‘droning on’. They are right! I tell them to practise in front of a friend or a mirror. They don’t need to entertain the pupils; they just need to talk to them clearly.’

Invite your mentee to use any of the strategies suggested by Ellie.

3. Rehearsal

Using the lesson plan produced in your mentee’s self-study session, support your mentee to rehearse their use of scaffolding and modelling. Play the part of a pupil in the lesson which has been planned, allowing the mentee to model the task and give you the chance to practise. Use your knowledge and experience to ask the sort of questions pupils might ask in this scenario.

To support this rehearsal, it might be helpful to consider the ‘gradual release of responsibility’ model as a useful structure to implement these ideas. A key concept here is recognising that one of the core skills of an effective teacher is identifying when to remove support in order to achieve success.

| Gradual Release of Responsibility | Suggested activities | | I do | Teacher models an example, clearly demonstrating and explaining the process. | | We do | Recreate the model as a class -- perhaps with a partial scaffold and pupils fill in the missing steps. | | You do (pairs) | Pupils practise by recreating the model in pairs (again with a partial scaffold) or work through new examples with some scaffolding. When looking at new problems, they should frequently be referring back to the ‘expert’ model. | | You do (individually) | Pupils to work through examples on their own. |

4. Reflection

In their self-study session, your mentee also completed a self-evaluation of how adept they are at knowing how and when to gradually withdraw scaffolding.

Now that your mentee has shared and analysed their lesson plan with you -- and rehearsed how they might use scaffolding and modelling in in their lesson -- ask them to now repeat this exercise. Talk through any changes in their answers.

Next Steps 5 mins

Agree with your mentee how they will now put their strategies from this week’s session(s) into practice. Help your mentee to clarify:

  1. the action(s) they will take and how these action(s) are expected to contribute to improving pupil learning
  2. what success will ‘look like’ in relation to these action(s)
  3. how they will evaluate their success in taking these action(s)

Note the date of your next mentor meeting, when you will check on your mentee’s progress.