Taking your Students on a Lesson Journey

Jane Wood-Chambers

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Engaging the pupil in the learning process requires thought and planning and a certain skill is needed to hook the learner into the subject matter at the very beginning of the session.

We all know that there are certain books, films, experience, parties and exhibitions that we just know from the get-go are going to be our type of thing and we will have a wonderful time and also learn something new.

Accessing a lesson for a learner is no different; an assessment will have been made by the individual pupil at the very start of the session, about whether or not they will enjoy it, be able to learn something from it and be able to progress in their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

"We often plan our lessons with the idea that we are going to impart knowledge."

We look at the curriculum frame then the medium-term planning and then draw down to plan in the short term, the lesson. We pull out the learning objective/intention and then start with our exposition.

Occasionally we add in a key question and start a discussion, but more often than not it is some form of explanation. Starting with what the pupils know about a subject/theme can, however, be by far the best way to start a session.


It quickly allows for an assessment of what the class know, highlights any misconceptions the pupils may have and but more importantly it engages the learner; this is especially true if the starter of the session is a well-chosen question.

Discussions can then ensue, and the pupil’s ideas, thoughts and knowledge can be recorded. Often it is also useful to ask the class during session 1, “What would you like to find out about…" Some creative answers can then be collated and as the sessions unfold the pupils will take you on their journey of investigation and research.

Use your sessions as opportunities for you to showcase your skills as a teacher; guiding the learning through your answers and further questioning.

In Year 5 in Science, the pupils will study living things and their habitats and are asked to describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.

Starting this area of study with the question, “What insects do we know and how and where do they live?” will enable you to start with what the children know. A list of the insects and their habitats can be recorded alongside any questions the pupils may generate. 

When asked the question, “What do worms do underground Miss?” you can respond by saying, “I am not sure; shall we build a wormery and have it in the classroom so that we can find out?”

Be creative with your sessions and allow the pupils to take you on a journey of learning!


 About our Community Expert


Jane Chambers-Wood
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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