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Self-Study Activities

Review: 10 mins

Read the Research and Practice Summary on this week’s topic. As you read, reflect on:

  1. the practices that you are already doing well
  2. the practices you are doing some of the time, but could do more of/more consistently
  3. the practices you don’t use in your teaching yet

Plan: 10 mins


Use these prompts to help you to reflect on your classroom practice over the past few weeks.

  • When you introduced new material, did you do it in small steps? How did that go?
  • How did you explain abstract ideas? Did you use concrete examples? How did that go?
  • Did you use different questioning approaches to gauge your pupils’ understanding? How did that go?
  • What would you keep doing, or do more of? What might you do less of, or stop doing?

You could record your most important reflections in your Learning Log.

Theory to Practice: 20 mins

You have a choice of activities now. The reflection exercise you just did will help you choose, as will your self-audit from the start of this module.


1. Independent planning

Use your learning from this session to plan a lesson that you will shortly be teaching. You may choose to focus on a specific part of the lesson, if this best suits your context. Annotate your plan to show how you have drawn on your learning from this self-study session. It is best if you produce a lesson plan where you will be introducing new material to the pupils. Consider as much of the following as you can in your planning:

  • how you plan to break down the new knowledge and concepts into small steps so that you do not overload pupils’ working memory
  • how to script your expositions to include examples, analogies or metaphors
  • how you could include both a verbal explanation and graphical or concrete representation of the same concept
  • how you will explicitly link the new ideas to what has been previously studied and learned
  • how you will plan your questions for specific points of the lesson to (a) check pupils’ prior knowledge, (b) assess their understanding, and (c) assist them to break down problems
  • the types of questions used to extend and challenge pupils (modelling and developing pupils’ vocabulary)
  • the wait time between question and response in order to elicit more developed responses


2. Observe a colleague

Ask permission to observe part of a colleague’s lesson, where they will be introducing new material to the pupils. Be sure to tell them what the focus of your observation is, so that you can be there at the right time. You should aim to observe a colleague who is known to be good at introducing new material. But remember, you are not there to judge them.

When observing, consider what is happening at the start of the lesson, body of the lesson and at the end of the lesson. Also observe the whole class, small groups and individual pupils.

During different parts of the lesson, and to different groupings of pupils, how does the teacher do any of the following:

  • How does the teacher breakdown content into small steps?
  • Are steps taken to reduce load on working memory? If so, what steps did they take?
  • How do they explicitly link the new ideas to what has been previously studied and learned?
  • Does the teacher include both a verbal explanation and graphical representation to explain the same concept?
  • Do their expositions include examples, analogies or metaphors?
  • How is questioning used to assess pupil understanding throughout?
  • Does the teacher use different types of questions to extend and challenge pupils? How do they model and develop pupils’ vocabulary?
  • Is there appropriate wait time between question and response to elicit the more developed responses required?

N.B. Don’t expect to see all of this in one lesson.

After the observation, annotate your notes to show how they reflect your reading around expositions and questioning.

Next Steps: 5 mins

Be ready to share this, and your other learning from this session, with your mentor in your next meeting with them.