Oracy: Exploratory talk (exploratory questions)

UK lesson studies show that over 60% of questions teachers ask are factual rather than procedural, speculative or process-orientated. Over 70% of children’s own responses were also found to be 3 words or fewer. Sinclair and Coulthard (1975) developed the Initiation – Response – Feedback framework. If followed, this framework allows us not only to …

Car park questions

Pupils often have lots of questions they want to pose. This can sometimes disrupt the pace and flow of a lesson. As a way of addressing this, ‘Car Park Questions’ encourages pupils to ‘park’ any questions they have during the lesson along the top row. In the bottom row, pupils are asked to complete the …

Collaboration: Peer support

When pupils work together they hone their creativity and critical thinking skills to help each other make sense of new material. It increases self-confidence as they discover they’re capable of mastering difficult concepts without help. Strategies to facilitate this: 1) Live question board – Using padlet pupils post their questions on and the teacher responds …

Think hard questions

John Hattie states the art of great teaching is knowing when to go from surface to deep learning i.e. moving from knowing ‘stuff’ to being able to link ‘the stuff’ together and use it to solve more complex problems.  One strategy to use is think hard questions where teachers consider the most challenging content prior to …


Strategy used to encourage pupils be actively involved in questioning and class discussions. Once a pupil has answered a question, ask them to: Add to the comment Build on it Challenge it!  

Question tokens

Tell the pupils they can only have one of their questions answered, then they have to use other means to find out the answers to their questions. Give them a question token to hand in so you know once they’ve used it up!  

Heads together

Give pupils a number 1-4/5. Pose a question and say “heads together” where pupils discuss answer. Select a number 1-5 and that child from each group stands and answers the question on their whiteboards. Heads together!

Yes tags

When questioning purposefully disagree in your questioning by adding a negative question at the end of a question to encourage the child to fully justify and provide further reasoning for their answer. For example, “That’s right, isn’t it?…”

Questioning to address misconceptions

A simple but effective cue card with 7 steps to use when a child provides a wrong answer. Take the time to explore that aspect further by prompting them and cueing them. Addressing misconceptions