Skip to main content

Phrases to Promote Pupil Reflection

Plausible Estimation tasks are unusual in that students have to decide how they will tackle problems - in many classrooms, this is unfamiliar (and perhaps uncomfortable, sometimes even for teachers!). Students often work without planning, get lost, and engage in 'busy work' such as attempting accurate calculations using very large numbers.

When you give advice, it is easy to give too much away, and to provide too much guidance. It is fine to structure problems for students on the first occasions they encounter PE tasks, but the whole point of teaching about PE is for pupils to develop the ability to see PE tasks that arise in their everyday lives, and to be able to tackle them on their own.

Here are some phrases that can overcome these problems!

If you use the same questions repeatedly, there is a good chance that pupils will automatically ask themselves these questions when doing an unfamiliar maths task (one teacher involved in curriculum trials routinely asks students 'what questions am I going to ask you, and what are the answers?').

What are you doing, now?

How does this fit with your plan about how to solve the problem?

What have you done, what are you doing, what are you going to do next?

In the early lessons using PE tasks, you might need to be more directive. Here are some questions that lead students in particular directions:

Can you break the question up into smaller parts?

What do you know, and what do you need to know?