Step into their shoes

18th May 2007 at 01:00
Englishcross-curricular Ages 11 to 18

"I'll do it too". Pupils may become more motivated in a timed or independent assignment if they see that you, their teacher, are doing the same thing.

Set out the instructions for the task and put yourself in their shoes. For example, begin with "Before we start, let's discuss what's worrying us, ie, we don't know how to start" (a common one in the English classroom) or that "we won't have enough time" (possibly leading to some collaborative planning before embarking on the task).

Once you all understand the instructions, undertake exactly the same task as your pupils under exactly the same conditions. As you perform the task (for example, a timed analysis, set of comprehension questions or piece of creative writing) jot down any problems you encounter and use them as a basis for a plenary summing up.

This technique can be extended by copying your work for the class for the next lesson and, if you are feeling particularly brave, allowing them to critique based on their knowledge of what constitutes success in this type of activity

Kerry Hopkins is head of English at The Grammar School in Leeds

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today