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Follow up session

Activity 1

Report and reflect on the lesson

Reflect on the lesson you have just taught and listen to any recordings you made of your questioning.

  • What strategies did you use?
  • Which questions appeared to promote the most thoughtful and reasoned responses from pupils? Why was this?
  • Which questions didn't work so well? Why was this?

You may like to watch the video of the three teachers discussing these same issues.

Activity 2

Solve a problem, 'thinking aloud'

Problem solving is an invisible, messy process that goes on inside people's heads. One reason why some pupils are reluctant to persist in problem solving is that they do not recognise that it is perfectly natural to get stuck, make mistakes, backtrack, look for alternative strategies and so on. It is helpful for a teacher to model this process by tackling a problem from start to finish, thinking aloud and involving the class by careful questioning. Try working out an answer to the following problem, thinking aloud as you do so: About how many dentists are there in the UK? Afterwards think what it would feel like, doing this with a class, not knowing the answer beforehand.

Activity 3

Watch some teachers 'thinking aloud'

Watch Gwen, Jeff and Chris as they solve the dentists problem together. After watching the video clip, compare their comments with your own experience:

  • Did you feel under similar pressure?
  • Would you feel afraid of thinking aloud like this in front of a class? Why?
  • What other ideas have you got for making thinking more visible?

Activity 4

Plan questioning and "Thinking aloud" for future lessons

Plan some ways of applying what you have learned in this PD module to other mathematics lessons that you teach. Choose one topic that you plan to teach next week. Think of some ways in which you might incorporate effective questioning and 'Thinking aloud' into your teaching of that topic.