Research School Network: Teacher Inquiry Groups – Session 1 A look at how teachers at Durrington are mobilising research evidence through Teacher Inquiry Groups

Teacher Inquiry Groups – Session 1

A look at how teachers at Durrington are mobilising research evidence through Teacher Inquiry Groups

by Durrington Research School
on the

It was an INSET day at Durrington today and the first meeting of our Teacher Inquiry Groups’. During these sessions teachers with a similar inquiry question, framed around one of the five teacher threshold concepts below, meet to discuss their work:

- Formative assessment
- Vocabulary deficit
- Metacognition
- Memory
- Cognitive Load Theory

One of the key objectives of these meetings was for teachers to consider the research evidence around their chosen topic, how this could be mobilised in their classroom and then how they will engage in practice with purpose’. You can read more here.

Each teacher has committed to making a few small changes to their teaching, in order to develop their practice.

Here are a few examples from today’s sessions:

Formative assessment

Use multiple choice quizzes at the start of a topic to elicit prior knowledge and highlight misconceptions.

Don’t be afraid to re-teach a topic if homework/​classwork shows that students aren’t getting it – plug their knowledge gaps.

Start a new topic by giving them a blank piece of paper and asking them to write everything they know about X’. A really useful planning tool for future lessons – based on what they do/don’t know.

Use self-completion knowledge audits to continuously allow students to reflect on their understanding and focus their improvement.

Engineer effective classroom discussions’ to develop students ability to openly discuss and critique work more confidently.

Use comparative assessment of student work more.


When modelling a response to a task, share my thought processes in terms of how I will plan, monitor and evaluate the strategies I use.

Plan more time for discussion prior to the modelling stage and reflection once they have tried out a new strategy.

Use content checklists for students to monitor their own understanding.

Encourage students to annotate questions with how they plan to tackle them.

Use the I, we, you’ approach to modelling’

Cognitive Load Theory

Talk less when students are on task.

Reduce superfluous information when I’m explaining/​modelling e.g. declutter my powerpoint slides.

Give students more worked examples and use these with them.

Make sure that I fade away’ the use of scaffolds for students e.g. sentence starters.

Reduce my use of powerpoint and use simple diagrams on the board when I am explaining something.

Vocabulary Deficit

Expect more students to use more tier 2 and 3 vocabulary in their responses.

Discuss the etymology and morphology of words.

Use explicit vocabulary strategies such as test sentences.

Make sure that students are using their knowledge organisers to include more tier 3 vocabulary in their written responses.

Develop portfolio exemplars’ of writing and using this to illustrate tier 2.5 vocabulary.


Use Cornell note taking to support self-testing

Review the flashcards students are producing – slim the question and answer down on each one.

Build in review lessons to my planning to support spaced practice i.e. the opportunity to return to key topics.

Plan my retrieval questions more carefully, so I am always going back last week, last month, last term.

Encourage students to start producing a cumulative quiz’ document – by adding more questions every lesson.

Review our KS3 curriculum to ensure spaced practice is planned throughout.

At our next Teacher Inquiry Group’ meeting (11th March), we’ll discuss the successes and challenges we have had with these new approaches.

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