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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


In your context, consider how effectively you use classroom talk and how effective your guidance of paired/group activities is. For each of the statements in the list below, reflect on your current practice and consider whether you do these things rarely, always or somewhere in between. You could either do this for a single lesson/single class or for your teaching as a whole.

  • Classroom talk is always carefully structured and modelled, and has a focused purpose. Consideration is made to its specific purpose or structure
  • Pupils are given the opportunity to experience and develop a wide range of skills related to classroom talk (e.g. listening, questioning, summarising, and justifying)
  • Pupils are given an opportunity to talk about processes and knowledge before reading or writing. Consideration is made to its specific purpose or structure
  • Paired or group tasks are carefully structured and modelled to maximise opportunities for learning. (E.g. ‘Person A, you are the speaker – talk for 30 seconds about x. Person B, you are the questioner. Listen carefully and then ask two questions about what Person A said’.)

Summarise your reflections from this activity. If you have considered one class or group of pupils, do you think that your responses would be the same when considering a different group?

Theory to Practice: 20 mins

1. Independent planning

Planning for different groupings. Perhaps, in your self-assessment above, you said you ‘rarely’ give opportunities for structured classroom talk, or for collaborating in different grouping; or perhaps you said you ‘always’ do. You are now going to plan a lesson in two different ways. Use this opportunity to experiment a little:

  • Think about a lesson that you will be delivering next week with a particular group of pupils.
  • With a clear learning intention in mind produce two different ways of grouping your pupils (e.g. mixed attainment or near-attainment? Mixed gender or single gender? All in pairs, or all in fours? Or home and away groups, like Sarah?)
  • Think about how the size of the groups and their prior attainment may affect motivation and behaviour.
  • For each grouping, summarise your thinking behind the grouping and what you intend the outcomes to be for each group/sub-set of pupils.

An interesting development here would be to try and create the worst possible groupings and explain why these groupings might not work – in doing this you will be considering (and then ignoring) all of the key considerations for effective group work. We are not suggesting that you should teach this deliberately poorly grouped lesson!

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.