Alexander Wright


Greenfaulds High School

  • Assessment For Learning

How do different plenary approaches affect learning outcomes?


During teacher training, student teachers are commonly taught structure their lesson into three parts; the Starter, the Main Body, and the Plenary. Such lessons are structures are Ubiquitous in teaching in Scotland and throughout the UK (Gershon, 2013). However, the standard for professional registration in Scotland requires that teachers engage in ‘reflective practice’ and ‘Evaluate and adapt classroom practice…to enhance teaching and learning’ (General Teaching Council for Scotland, 2012). It has been argued that teachers have a tendency to slip into a safe space or a routine with their teaching (Carroll, 2011). An example of this can be seen in research which should that commonly used lesson strategies have to be implemented in very particular ways in order to achieve measurable positive results (Stevens, 2014). It is therefore essential that we critically examine commonly used strategies, such as plenaries, to assess their overall effectiveness and how best to implement them. The purpose of this study is to apply this critical approach to the use of plenaries in the classroom.


The aim in this practitioner enquiry was to explore the link between the effectiveness of a Plenary and to what extent it was linked to other parts of the lesson. The main focus was on how important a link between the starter and the plenary activities was in improving the successful achievement of the learning outcomes set for the lesson.

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