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CPD, Fifteen minute forum

Adventures in IRIS


On Thursday 7th may Tom Haward delivered a thought provoking session about his use of IRIS to explore how he questions students, particularly focusing on a Yr 13 Government and Politics lesson.

Tom started by explaining the context of the lesson; he used cartoons to stimulate students investigating  the 2nd Amendment with the enquiry question being:

“In what ways is DC v Heller (2008) significant?”

Slide5 Slide6

When making use of IRIS to complete his reflections Tom really concentrated on his question distribution, the quality of his dialogue with students,  and how the complexity of questioning developed throughout the duration of the lesson.


As a piece of analysis alone, Tom’s ability to be able to analyse where his questions were directed and the style of questions produced is incredibly valuable.  It would be rare for a colleague observing a lesson to be able to produce this type of feedback.  Tom drew from this that despite consciously trying to distribute his questions evenly between the students, actually two dominated the conversation.

Slide12 Slide13

The next thing that Tom bravely shared was a transcript of his dialogue as he introduced the activity.  The conclusions that he immediately drew were that the use of precision language at the start of a lesson is of vital importance!



The next layer of analysis investigated the layers of meaning that can be derived from the source pictures.  A short summary of Panofsky’s ideas can be read here.

Tom looked at the time spent discussing each source and how his questions promoted student’s ability to decode the deeper meanings found within the images.  This analysis really made attendees think about how their questions might develop during a lesson, particularly when trying to develop complexity of thought about a particular topic.

Tom closed by encouraging us to think about how deeper learning can be achieved from items such as images, sources and artefacts if the way in which we question students is evenly distributed, developing in complexity and delivered using precision expert language.

Key takeaway tips:

  • Keep language precise.
  • Make use of tools such as IRIS to complete detailed reflections on practice that concentrate on one aspect of pedagogy.
  • Detailed analysis of our practice can lead to some surprising discoveries!

Tom’s session presentation can be found here:

Adventures in IRIS MAy 2015

Tom’s lesson resources can be found here:

Question Journey

2nd Amendment Question Journey

a Redacted Transcript



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