Group 4: Promoting better progress by boys

Reading lists from other groups.


Knowledge organisers

Use Knowledge Organisers to help students become familiar with key ideas and language, and with how a topic fits together, either through quizzing, or use during lesson. They can also be used later for revision. People have shared a great many examples from all subjects in a Google Drive, which are freely available for downloading. The folder is linked to at the end of this blog post about them.

Pose, Pause, Bounce!

Ask a question (pose). Give some wait time (pause). Ask a student for the answer (pounce). Ask another student whether they agree or disagree with the answer given (bounce). The ‘bounce’ can be done using MWBs in order to keep the entire class active.

Explaining exemplars

There is evidence to suggest that we may be better handing students a set of exemplars for calculations or other logical work than delivering them ourselves on the board.

In this technique, the teacher provides numerous exemplars to students, some of which will be model work and others containing errors. Students have to explain each exemplar to one another i.e. why the steps are each important, where the errors are and why.

This technique could be used for written or numerical work.



Students work in small groups, with each group working on a different activity (different sections of a set text, different experimental tasks etc). Next, the groups are ‘shuffled’ so that in each group there is representation from each of the original groups/activities. Now each student ‘peer teaches’ – feeding back to their new group on what they have learnt. There are many variants on this technique.


(Good) active learning (Learning Scientists)

The following are simple ideas for incorporating more active learning into lessons (from the link above).

  1. Increase attentiveness by including activities that will be enjoyable to students. You can break up a lecture by showing occasional videos, having a quick think-pair- share activity, or having students write a minute-paper. Note that an engaging lecture without these additional elements can increase attention in and of itself – so incorporating good presentation skills (e.g., eye contact, enthusiasm, humor when appropriate, etc.) will also increase attention and therefore retention.
  2. Ask students to take information represented in one format and represent it in another format. For example, students might draw a diagram or a timeline to represent information that they previously read about in a book or heard about during a lesson.
  3. Ask questions throughout class and have students jot down their answers in the margin of their notes so that everyone is practicing retrieval. Consider including daily quizzes over the most important topics, or weekly low-stakes quizzes in your lectures. Here we have a list of resources showing how other instructors incorporate retrieval practice in their classrooms.
  4. Get students to form groups and ask each other questions about how and why things work, and how different concepts work together. Then, the group should work together to find the answers. If students need help, the teacher should be available to answer questions or correct misconceptions.
  5. Always ask yourself whether students know and understand enough of the material to engage in the activity that you have planned. Make sure active learning is paired with active teaching, even if that means the students aren’t as active in the classroom for a while.

No opt out

‘Any teaching sequence that begins with the student ‘unable’ to answer a question, should end with the student answering that question’. (Doug Lemov). In the most basic form, students simply recall the correct answer. This ensures students are active within the lesson. If practised consistently it should result in students always expecting to be involved. Students are not simply ‘left alone’. It also supports students who genuinely don’t know an answer.


  •  “John, what are the products of photosynthesis?”
  •  “Dunno”
  •  “James, what are the products of photosynthesis?”
  •  “The products of photosynthesis are glucose and oxygen”
  •  “John, what are the products of photosynthesis?”
  •  “The products of photosynthesis are glucose and oxygen”

Remember if John tries and gets the answer wrong you should still go back to him for the correct answer. This will ensure the consistency and reinforce ‘No opt out’ as a learning tool, rather than a punitive measure.

Show me

After teaching students a new skill, get them to demonstrate they can do it before letting them loose on a task – e.g. use whiteboards to construct a point sentence to demonstrate they know the purpose and how to do it.

Reading list:

Visible learning

EEF Toolkit: metacognition and self-regulation

Deliberately difficult: focussing on learning rather than progress

Narrowing the gender gap: challenges and solutions

Literacy questions

Interleaving worked examples and problem solving