Group 3: Progress and Challenge

Reading lists from other groups.


Differentiation by time

With mixed ability group, plan to allow more able students to work at a faster pace by sharing objectives and resources with them during the starter, as well as access to the textbook. Allow them to work independently, dropping back into the main lesson sequence if they need to. Meanwhile, spend longer with the relatively less able in the group, giving additional worked examples, or simply more 1-2- 1 support.

Hinge questions (diagnostic questions site)

Design (or source) multiple choice questions which students vote for on mini-whiteboards. Use to formatively assess whether students have understood key concept(s) and are ready to take things further. A single question may be sufficient if well designed. Individuals can then decide whether to continue with similar work to try to master the underlying skill or concept, or move on to a higher level task.

Flipped Learning

When introducing new concepts, ideas, or language/vocabulary, set some work for students to do in advance of the lesson. This could be (for example) reading or a video tutorial (there are many available if you search Youtube), but it should cover work that you haven’t previously covered during lessons. Teachers have been doing this for years, but often to cover ‘boring / easy’ parts of a course. Try it for conceptually difficult topics: creates more time in the classroom for deep learning. Gives them a chance to learn and think through ideas before any contact time. At the start of the following lesson, quickly quiz students to find out what they know/ don’t know, and to address any common problems or misconceptions, then set work for students dependent on how confident they are with the work covered.


Stretching the high starters (Socratic questioning)

In a mixed ability class, plan questions to ask specific students during whole-class discussion, based on their ability.

  • Lower ability student: retrieval / recall: “Remind us from last lesson, what does _________ mean?”
  •  Lower ability student: listening skills: “Do you agree with what _____ just said? Repeat it please”
  •  Higerh ability student: explore the origin of their thinking e.g., ‘Why do you say that?’, ‘Could you explain further?’
  •  All students: explore their assumptions e.g., ‘Is this always the case?’, ‘Why do you think that this assumption holds here?’
  •  Higher ability: Ask for evidence e.g., ‘Why do you say that?’, ‘Is there reason to doubt this evidence?’
  •  Higher ability: alternative viewpoints e.g., ‘What is the counter-argument?’, ‘did anyone see this another way?’
  •  Higher ability: implications and consequences e.g., ‘But if…happened, what else would result?’, ‘How does…affect…?’

Reading list:

Deliberately difficult: focussing on learning not progress

What makes great teaching

Stretching the high starters

Deep questioning

Hinge questions (diagnostic questions site)