As a teacher, have you heard yourself saying this to your class, who gaze back at you with a quizzical look, desperately wanting to please you but not able to find the answer you’re looking for?

Do you ever think “Is it me? or is it them?”

Maybe the question you could be asking yourself is “I may have taught it, but did they learn it”. Once you are willing to ask that question an open yourself out to reflecting on your own actions, then you can move on to create more effective learning in the classroom.

Waiting until a week later is too late to find out the children didn’t learn what you’d hoped for during the lesson. Even waiting till the end of the lesson is too late. Far better to keep checking in on what your children are learning throughout the lesson. Sounds obvious? Maybe! But so many teachers still ask one child a question and assume that the whole class has understood.

SO what can you do

I have a few suggestions which I will outline here, and come back to in the coming days and weeks. I didn’t invent any of them but I have really found them useful!

Get those small whiteboards out!

Cheap, but oh so powerful they are the perfect way to find out the current learning of every single one of the students in your class.

Make your questioning count 

Try “Pause, pause, Pounce Bounce”. Now I cannot take credit for this idea, I watched a video of Dylan William where he mentioned it, and Ive seen resources on TeacherToolkit. But it has brought me such success that I have to share it here.

Pose the question, Pause to give enough time for the children to think, Pounce – ask a child to offer an answer, Bounce it on to somebody else for them to comment.

You’ll be amazed at how effective this strategy can be even with the very youngest of children in school.

Know where your students are

There area number of ways to do this, one I offer comes from “Talk Less Teaching” by Isabella Wallace. Boarding and landing cards. After introducing the lesson ¬†give the children an opportunity to think of something they know that might be useful and write in down. At the end of the lesson give them time to write down something they learned.

There you go. Three simple tricks to get your children thinking about their learning and taking control.