Withholding Answers from Questions


Via Amjad Ali.

Contemporary educational ideas all my staff should know about

Originally posted on headguruteacher:


Key ideas from different sources. Key ideas from different sources.

As I look ahead to starting my new job at Highbury Grove,  I’m thinking about all the conversations we are going to have about learning.  To a large degree I want my teachers to be as up-to-date as possible within their own subject domains. They should know the latest OfSTED position ( eg with Moving English Forward or Mathematics: made to measure ) and be up to speed with exam specifications and assessment requirements.  Subject knowledge and subject-specific pedagogical knowledge are going to be key drivers of everything we do.

However, in order to fuel the collaborative effort of reaching the ambitious goals we have for the school, we’ll need to establish a shared conceptual language for talking about teaching across the school as well as within departments. Inevitably, different teachers will have engaged to different degrees with certain ideas depending on the books…

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Great Lessons Series

Tom Sherrington’s Great Lessons Series:

Part 1: Probing
Part 2: Rigour
Part 3: Challenge
Part 4: Differentiation
Part 5: Journeys
Part 6: Explaining
Part 7: Agility
Part 8: Awe
Part 9: Possibilities
Part 10: Joy

DiRTy Technology



Use the Showbie app to provide feedback for students – as explained by Mark Anderson on his blog ICTEvangelist.com.

Feedback Starter

Feedback for Starters by Calderstones Teacher’s Toolkit.

Easy Differentiation

Fail-safe differentiation from Calderstones Teacher’s Toolkit.

Instead of…

instead of...

Silent Debate

Whilst not a new idea, this is great for getting students thinking together, reflecting and building on ideas from other students and is also great for reluctant writers, as ideas written down are not permanent (perfect when you don’t have a mini whiteboard available).

Essentially, using whiteboard markers and desks, write down a focus question – one question, or perhaps different questions on different tables – and have students create mind maps with their responses. You can have them come up one by one whilst working on another task, or have them rotate through if you’ve got different questions. It’s great for planning before starting a task as well. For example, using it to gather ideas together before writing:



The point is not to discuss first – just write down responses. It’s easily differentiated as more able students can build on responses from those who are struggling.

Read how other people do it here and here.

Think Tax

gold_coinsA similar idea to the Question Cards written about previously, this takes it a little further.

“At the start of the lesson students are given Gold Coins- the amount depends on you/the student- I gave 3…

The task is then set- students must try to earn as many coins as they can and obviously not use up any!
They do this by answering each others questions or expanding on points made by others.

The twist is- if a student answers another students question- they take that students coin!
If they ask me a question- I will charge them a coin- THINK TAX! I will shout this out!

The may also use a coin to buy an independent learning strategy- such as an iPad? Mini Laptops? Textbook? Folders? Revision Guide?

Most importantly the aim of the coins are to make the students think for themselves and not get charged THINK TAX!”

Click here to read more about it.

Questioning Strategies

On top of the various questioning techniques already available on the blog, such as the question quadrant, here are 10 other strategies to use when questioning from Alex Quigley.


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