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3 things that you can do right now

Be open to trying new ideas.


Explain and make explicit the pedagogical approach you take in class.


Do not be defensive if your mentee questions why you are doing something.  So long as they are not being critical, they are probably just trying to understand how to do it themselves.

In this section

Vary Pedagogies

In this section we focus on:

  • utilising various pedagogies in structuring teachers' learning processes, knowing the use and value of new developments in pedagogy and learning technology

‘There’s more than one way to shine a penny.’ As the expression goes, most experienced practitioners know that using a variety of different pedagogical approaches is a key element to ensuring all learners in our classrooms are having their needs met. Jimmy relies upon the concrete resources in the class, while Jenny is capable of calculating times tables quicker than you but is completely lost when given a multi-step word problem. Both Jimmy and Jenny may look exactly the same on a data spreadsheet but will need alternative strategies to ensure they make the progress that they need to. As a trainee teacher it is difficult enough to ensure the children are listening, let alone start to consider the varying needs of everyone in class. For a teacher in the early stages of their career, understanding how you are going to work around the fact that your entire class grouping has been flipped on its head because you are teaching ‘time’ for the first time, can cause some sleepless nights. Your job, therefore, as a mentor, is to explicitly talk to your mentee about the approaches you take with each child. Point them out. Explain them in detail. Allow the mentee to take a journey through your thinking as an experienced practitioner. A useful phrase to keep in mind when working with a mentee is to ‘think about the things you do without thinking about it.’

When it comes to varying pedagogy, be prepared to justify the approaches you are taking in class with your children. Mentees ask questions – lots. This is great! Try your best to not be defensive but be generous with your time when explaining why you have used a certain strategy with an individual child or group of children. If you’ve recently had an inset day looking at the most effective ways of varying learning within maths lessons, discuss the implications of this with the mentee. Don’t be scared to say that you too are learning and getting your head around a new strategy. Equally, if your trainee teacher has recently had a Friday full of training around an approach to teaching literacy that you’ve never seen, allow them the opportunity to talk it through and maybe try it out. You might love it and make it part of your teaching practice, you might despise it and never let it near your classroom again, but you’ve modelled the importance of being a reflective practitioner who is willing to try new things. Being a reflective and open practitioner is something every training programme and school will be telling their trainees or employees to be and you modelling this to them is incredibly powerful.

What makes great pedagogy? Nine claims from research

This paper outlines the argument for using research informed pedagogy.  It considers at length the ‘behaviours and attitudes’ of the most effective teachers.

Read the paper here.


Coaching v mentoring: what works best for teachers?

This article highlights the key differences between a coach and a mentor.  Andrew Jones, a UK based teacher, outlines how the two roles differ and the skills required for either to be successful.  This is an interesting read that allows us to critique our own approach to supporting our mentee.

Read the article here.


STEM Resources Primary Curated Collections

A fantastic online resource that covers a wider range of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) materials that are useful to all primary teachers at any stage of their career. Invaluable pool of resources for both teacher educators and trainees.

View the resources here.

Practical Pedagogy: 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn 
Mike Sharples (Routledge, 2019)

Very accessible, this book outlines different approaches to teaching within the classroom. It’s unlikely that all 48 will match your own ethos but it is a great starting point when you are looking for something new to solve a problem in class.  


Teaching, Coaching and Mentoring Adult Learners: Lessons for professionalism and partnership
Heather Fehring and Susan Rodrigues (Routledge, 2017)

This accessible book collates the experiences and knowledge of Teacher Educators from across the world.  The book focuses on adult learners specifically and how best to impact on their progress.  Each chapter is concluded with a provocation to stimulate professional reflection.  If you are looking for an accessible starting point, this book is for you.


Teacher Professional Learning and Development

This free online book from the University of Auckland outlines how teachers can invest in their own professional development. 

Read the online book here.


For Learning in Teacher Education - FLiTE website (www.go.herts.ac.uk/FLiTE)

Teacher Educator Story 5 considers providing learning opportunities for student teachers and Story 12, guiding student teacher professional learning. FLiTE resources can be used for individual or collaborative professional development of teacher educators working in initial teacher education partnerships.

Download the resources here

Teacher Educator - Story 5

Teacher Educator - Story 12


Facing dilemmas: teacher-educators’ ways of constructing a pedagogy of teacher education, Teaching in Higher Education, Tillema, H.  & Kremer-Hayon, L. (2005) 10(2), 203-217, DOI: 10.1080/1356251042000337954 

View the book here.

Coming soon.

Vary Pedagogies - Further Development

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Vary Pedagogies