Aaron McAleese


St. Margaret's High

  • Assessment For Learning

Exploring the Possible Effects on Readiness to Learn of Starter Tasks in the Classroom


Starter activities in my subject area of mathematics have been used widely and for varying reasons. These include settling classes, retrieval practice and linking into the lesson ahead. (Stephens, 2014) lists six different types of starter activity all with differing uses. The focus of this exercise will be to look at starter activities as a motivator- to identify whether pupils are in the correct mindset for learning. This idea stems from the fact that their attention and energies are quickly focussed on a task (Cowley, 2010). This is also supported from (Tauber, 2007) who states that students may be ‘too busy’ to misbehave if they can engage with their starter activity.

Being a secondary teacher with 50-minute lessons for each class, it is important to settle pupils as efficiently as possible to ensure as much time as possible for teaching new concepts and practice. As a practitioner who uses starter tasks for every class, it is important to consider how pupils feel post starter in terms of their readiness to learn.


The aims of this research were:

  • To investigate the effectiveness of starter tasks on preparing pupils for engagement in learning.
  • To then use these findings to inform future practice.
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