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Spring week 6

Mentor materials

Developing the learning for standard 4

Learning intentions

Your ECT will learn how to:

  • use the Module 3 ECT audit (year 1) as a stimulus for discussion around the mentee’s current knowledge and practice in relation to Module 3 (ECF standard 4)
  • support the mentee to make accurate judgements about their progress in this module so far
  • agree with the mentee areas for particular focus and further development as they start to apply their understanding to the ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how to’ statements relating to Standard 5 – adaptive teaching

Topic introduction

So far in this module, your mentee has spent time addressing the core issues involved in planning and teaching well-structured lessons. The unit began with an audit, where you had the opportunity to guide your mentee in reflecting on their current experiences and the reality of their teaching practice. As your mentee worked through the needs analysis at the start of this module, they will have placed their current practice in one of 3 categories.

Emerging: I don’t feel very confident in this area. I have substantial gaps in my knowledge and/or practice which definitely need to be addressed.

Developing: I have some knowledge about this, and/or there is evidence in my practice that I do this some of the time or to some extent. I am in a position to build on this with further work in this area.

Secure: I know a lot about this, and/or I do it in my practice consistently and well.

One of the roles of the mentor is to support mentees in developing a realistic analysis of strengths and areas for development and equipping them – through reflective practice, modelling and worked examples – to make progress towards unconscious competence in each of the key areas. In this session, you have the opportunity to use the ‘conscious competence’ model again to help your mentee reflect on their understanding in relation to the key ‘learn that’ and ‘learn how’ statements in Standard 4 – classroom practice.

Research and practice summary

As this session is an opportunity for reflection, there is no research summary – reference may be made to the summaries included in previous sessions.

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

Start this session by briefly following up the actions that the mentee set at the end of last week’s session. Ask your mentee to summarise:

  • what they did
  • the impact of this on pupil learning (include how they are evaluating this)
  • what they will do going forward to build on these actions

Clarify the Learning Intentions for this session with your mentee.

Theory to Practice 40 mins

Discussion with mentor<:

Discuss with your mentee their strengths and areas for development in relation to Standard 4.

To support this discussion, use the ‘conscious competence’ model and its relevance to teacher development:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence: You are unaware of the skill and your lack of proficiency
  2. Conscious Incompetence: You are aware of the skill but not yet proficient
  3. Conscious Competence: You are able to use the skill, but only with effort
  4. Unconscious Competence: Performing the skill becomes automatic

Your mentee has spent the last 6 weeks exploring their understanding and practice in the following ‘learn how to’ areas:

  • planning effective lessons
  • making good use of expositions
  • modelling effectively
  • stimulating pupil thinking and checking for understanding


The core focus in this session is to identify which areas of the module your mentee perceives to be their greatest strengths and which are the biggest priorities for development. This discussion should focus on some of the actions that your mentee has taken over the course of the last 6 weeks – some of which will have been a success, and others which will have not worked yet and require re-visiting.

It may be the case that areas that the mentee perceives to be strengths actually need to be developed and that areas of development are stronger than your mentee thinks. Through careful questioning here, you will be able to continue the process of identifying the reality of your mentee’s current practice.

Questions that you might ask in relation to each of the sub-groups of ‘learn how to’ statements:

  • What have you done in order to develop your practice in relation to these statements?
  • If you consider yourself to be ‘secure’ in a sub-group – what evidence do you have from your current practice to support this? (Your mentee could tell you a ‘story’ from one of their lessons.)
  • If ‘emerging’ or ‘developing’ – what evidence do you have from your current practice that suggests that these are areas that could be improved? (Encourage your mentee to move from a ‘general perception’ to more concrete examples.)
  • Can you describe how you have progressed through the conscious competence model for each of the sub-groups? What has been the most significant ‘realisation’ for you in this part of the module?
  • What questions do you currently have about this sub-group of ‘learn how to ‘statements? What would you like to explore further?

You will probably find that your mentee is operating within stages 2 and 3 of the ‘conscious competence’ model – largely moving from conscious incompetence to conscious competence. If there are any areas where you consider your mentee to be ‘unconsciously incompetent’, then it may be useful to look at developing a more focused plan in order to support their development. This may inform the work that you do in Standard 5.

Consider these sub groups:

  • planning effective lessons
  • making good use of expositions
  • modelling effectively
  • stimulating pupil thinking and checking for understanding

Having explored Standard 4, it may be helpful to identify two sub-groups that seem to be areas of greatest strength and two that are priorities for development. By identifying clear goals for this module, both you and your mentee may find it easier to identify which tasks to pay particular attention to as you move on to the Standard 5 sessions.

Collaborative Planning:

It takes a considerable amount of time to embed effective changes in practice, and consistent focus is required in order to build new teaching and learning habits. With this in mind, it may be useful to set a specific goal in relation to Standard 4. This could either be building on an existing strength and something that your mentee is excited about developing or it might be working on something that they currently find more difficult.

This goal may tie in with some of the earlier work done in Standard 2-promote good progress and Standard 3-demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge, as there are a number of common threads relating to modelling, introducing content in small chunks, scaffolding the introduction of new material and equipping pupils to become increasingly independent.

Agree on a specific goal and record this in the mentee’s Learning Log.

You might find it useful to translate this into ‘goal statements’ e.g.:

‘By the end of the year I will improve pupil outcomes by making more effective of use of pupil groupings. I will develop high expectations for all groups, make greater use of changing groups and ensure that groupings are based on subject specific criteria.’

Next Steps 5 mins

Agree with your mentee how they will now put their learning from this week’s session into practice in their teaching. 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.