What were the main things you discovered about how the pupils learned
We found that pupils actually enjoy
completing extended pieces of writing if they have something to help guide
them. The majority of our case study pupils wrote a lot more than they usually
would and at a far higher level. Our post lesson discussions all highlighted
the fact that the pupils felt more secure if they had a structure which they
could clearly follow and one which took them through a step-by-step approach.
what ways will this change your teaching in the future?
Consistency and practice are very much
key to helping the pupils with their extended writing. We intend to use the
structure we developed on a regular basis in order to allow students to become
rehearsed in how to structure their essays and feel confident that they know
how to plan a longer piece of writing.
What were the main things you learned about the pupils that you did not know so
In the first Lesson Study, we
discovered that pupils liked being given an element of choice over which
structure they wanted to use. Pupils also liked to challenge themselves.
Although these are very positive things, pupils struggled in this lesson as the
majority of the class selected the most complex structure to use – this
actually hindered the quantity and quality of their work. Had they chosen a
structure which matched their ability level, their writing would have been of a
better quality due to their being less confusion in implementing the structure.
what ways will this inform your future practice?
For the other two research lessons,
students were all given the same, basic structure, but ‘tear-off’ slips were
made available to help or challenge students. Students therefore began at the
same level but could receive additional help if they needed it or an additional
challenge if they found they could add more to the quality of their response.
What other things have you learned about teaching or learning not captured in 1
The amount of information on a piece of
paper should be limited as much as possible. During the third lesson study,
when extra help was implemented into the structure, pupils completely ignored
it because they wanted to begin writing immediately and did not take the time
to see the ‘helpful hints’ that had been provided for them. We also discovered
that one of the most able case study pupils did not like to be too restricted
by a writing structure and found it difficult to work within the boundaries of
will this change your teaching in future?
Limit the amount of information which
is initially given to the pupils. Information and instructions can be built in
slowly over a series of lessons. Once pupils become confident using a stripped
down structure, more complex concepts can be implemented. For example, with a Year
7 class, the evaluation part of the structure could be removed until the
students are confident in their use of the Zig-Zag arrangement of their written
Are there any implications for the Humanities curriculum, assessment or pedagogy?
History, Geography and Religious
Philosophy have already implemented the Zig-Zag structure into KS3 schemes of
work. Geography is also trialling a more complex version of the Zig-Zag
structure with their A-level students. All feedback has been very positive – in
one class, all students achieved two sub-levels above their usual working level
when they had the structure in place. A feedback session was held for the
Humanities Faculty and all resources created through the lesson study process
have been distributed.
What key learning will you share with colleagues in school and within the
We intend to share the structure we
developed with all colleagues in the school as we believe it could be
implemented across a range of subjects. We are aware that the use of the
‘Zig-Zag’ structure is being trialled in GCSE PE and in IT. One key thing we
would like to share with our colleagues is how powerful it is to be able to
watch one another teach in a non-judgemental, learning environment. By focusing
purely on how the students learnt, it really diverted attention away from
teacher and much more on how we can improve the overall outcome for the
students. Common misconceptions were picked up on that would have been very
hard to identify by the one classroom practitioner delivering the lesson. We
would strongly recommend other colleagues become involved in the lesson study