Kaitlin McEleney

Modern Languages

St. Ambrose High

  • Assessment For Learning

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


There has been much pedagogical debate on starting lessons correctly. Many argue that it is important to ‘hook’ (Phillips, 2001) the learners within the first 3-5 minutes of the lesson. Not only does this set the tone for the whole lesson, it also gives the teacher the ability to ensure that the beginning of each lesson is purposeful. It has been shown that an “Initial Stimulus Material (ISM)” (Fletcher-Wood, 2017) can help to outline the desired outcomes of the lesson, which in turn helps the teacher to ensure that their pupils are ready for the learning ahead. By outlining lesson objectives in the starter activity, we can stimulate the pupils’ curiosity, in turn making them feel more ready to learn.

It is the purpose of this enquiry to explore the efficacy of starter activities in the Modern Language Classroom, regarding pupils’ readiness to learn. As a newly qualified teacher, planning and delivering engaging lessons is a key skill that I aim to develop. In starting out each Modern Language Lesson with an engaging activity I aim to ‘connect’ (Smith, 2008) the learning of each pupil and ensure that they are ready to continue with their learning. In this enquiry, I wish to investigate whether investing time in starter activities has any effect on the readiness of pupils to learn.


This enquiry has two main aims:

  • To explore the effectiveness of starter tasks on the readiness of pupils to learn.
  • To provide information which will influence future practice and continuous professional development.
Download Practitioner Enquiry