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Lesson Study

“What impact will using rich tasks have on engagement and achievement of more able students?” Angus, R., Blackledge, H., Withell, S., (2015)

Subject Area: Maths 

Planning

What did existing evidence suggest could improve outcomes?

Had any colleagues tried anything similar?

Give a brief summary of your approach as originally planned.

“We decided to focus on challenging more able students in the classroom. We looked at enriching, open ended tasks to improve engagement and also challenge our own teaching.”

Enquiry question

What was your enquiry question?

“What impact will using rich tasks have on engagement and achievement of more able students?”

Delivery

What did the approach look like initially?

“Initially, rather than using a rich task, we increased the complexity of an easily accessible task. We realised when teaching the lesson that we weren’t challenging students. They didn’t discover anything for themselves.”

How was it modified?

“We planned another lesson and used a different activity that challenged their approach of how to solve a problem. They had to concentrate on other peoples work to solve their own work. We challenged the way they approached a task. We then planned another lesson with an open ended task and found that the most able learners responded really well to the task. Top set students achieved more than set 3 students.”

What do you think were the key ingredients required to make your final approach a success?

“Experienced teachers having a useful discussion and sharing ideas about relevant materials.”

Evaluation

How did you evaluate the impact of your enquiry project?

Did you have a parallel or historical group to compare against?

How did ongoing evaluation inform any changes or refinement to your approach?

“We really enjoyed using tasks that we wouldn’t normally use. It took us out of our comfort zones and we saw student engagement that we weren’t expecting e.g. some students who usually presented as confident and comfortable with the work found it difficult and vice versa. We need to start using tasks like this early on, so students become independent learners.”

What was your experience of the enquiry process?

How would you improve it next time?

“It was really useful sharing ideas with colleagues that have different approaches to delivering lessons. For less able students, give them a structure to begin with and then take it away. For a more able class, give the students more time to feedback to each other”

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