10 June 2022

Image of Summer Term - 13th June 2022

Whole School CPD Focus:

Oracy and talk for writing

Walkthru Cluster:

Practice and Retrieval


Peer-Supported Retrieval (pg. 120)



The focus of this half-term is to encourage students to talk to one another in an articulate and concise way.  After all, if they can speak in this way then they have a better chance of being able to write this way too.

Wiliam et al suggest that teachers should ‘activate learners as resources for one another’; this is part of powerful formative assessment. One way of encouraging this is to train students on peer-supported retrieval. This will clearly encourage students to learn more and remember more. This means asking students to test one another but providing corrective feedback where necessary; clearly, resources would be necessary here to allow corrective support to be offered. Sherrington suggests that teachers can therefore amplify the feedback that students receive.


So what are the five stages of this Walkthru?


Stage One: Provide Question and Answer Prompts

Teach students how to ask each other question by modelling them explicitly.  You may even adapt a Walkthru (i.e. Probing Questions or Elaborative Interrogation) to train students to use.  Part of the modelling process should include the need to ask questions in different forms and the goals of providing complete answers rather than fragments.  For example: list all the noble gases.  Which of these elements is not a noble gas?  Which of these diagrams shows the atoms in a noble gas?


Stage Two: Allocate Checking Partners

And this stage can often be neglected.  As with any collaborative process, it is important to be explicit about expected behaviours.  If your intention is for students to test one another in pairs or to use a more complex group structure, then ensure that everyone has a clear role and a clear learning goal. Manage the checking partners for optimum engagement and outcomes.  Avoid situations where more confident students dominate and less confident students give way.


Stage Three: Student 1 Assess Student 2

Invite one student per pair to ask a series of questions to check their partner’s knowledge. You may decide to:

  • prepare questions
  • run through an extended explanation
  • rehearse the narrative or a story
  • describe a series of processes
  • adding labels to a diagram or flow-chart
  • complete some problem-solving activities

Student 1 should verify Student 2’s answers, confirming correct complete responses and providing corrective feedback or adding detail where needed.


Stage Four: Student 2 Tests Student 1

As you might expect, you are repeating Stage Three here.  However, having run through this stage already, Student 1 is likely to be in a stronger position and will provide better quality answers.  Multiple iterations of these steps can lead to excellent fluency building and a strong retention of key knowledge/processes.


Stage Five: Discuss Common Difficulties

After the paired quizzing has ended, it is important to consolidate LEARNING with this follow-up discussion.  Difficulties with recall, gaps in knowledge and key misconceptions can be addressed here.  This Stage is vital for cognition as it clarifies the barriers to success with learning knowledge (substantive or disciplinary). At this point, it would also be important to re-teach anything that has not been understood.  Instead of asking ‘does everyone understand?’, try to find out who does not understand.


As with all of Sherrington’s Walkthrus, these common sense approaches are not ground-breaking – but they make sense. By clarifying each stage of the collaborative process, there are no grey areas and students know exactly what is expected of them.


CPD Cascade

‘Get Ahead’ CPD Programme

Remember to complete the CPD activities in time for September.  They are saved in The National College as part of your watch list.


National College

Remember that there are subject-specific watchlists available in National College. Some staff still haven’t accessed.  Please see RLO urgently if you cannot access.

Posted by Rachel Long

Category: Teaching and Learning Digests

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