Other Areas of Research

Before we launched our Action Research program members of Tenzing School at TorBridge High undertook a pilot of action research in 2016. We had been involved in whole school training and wanted to see if what we had learnt could be effectively transferred into our lessons. We worked in groups each testing out a different project. Before the project people were a little unsure but after they had completed it everyone was positive that it was a good way to develop their practice.

Conclusion: All colleagues felt that the techniques could be easily implemented into their practice. Questioning was improved and students did appear to have more opportunities to critically think around subjects. All of the team who participated felt it they had been able to take a number of positives from the experience.

Research Question:

Can we effectively implement the questioning CPL training to improve the level of questioning in Tenzing?

The projects:

Names of people in the research group Debbie Davies

Mandy Kirk

Focus of the research


Mock the week

Here’s the answer – what’s the question?



Using a ‘Christmas carol’ after liaising with relevant staff, to use a part of the text to do the ‘mock the week’ aspect of questioning. We are doing this with year 10’s.


What we found out












We tried the ‘here is the question what is the answer’ format. It was not very successful. The student found it confusing and tried to respond with another answer – the student concerned has ASC.

We also tried the ‘pause, pose, pounce, bounce’ format. This was much better as it gave the student time to think and they also knew when they would have to respond and were prepared with their answer.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future Avoid use with ASC students who could find it confusing.









Names of people in the research group Lynne Hagan

Rachel Perry

Focus of the research


1.Pounce/Pause/Bounce (Thurs P5)

2.Higher Thinking D-C/B-A













1.Chelsea Laurie D – C

–       PTT – Health and Social Care Exam

–       Types of family and benefits of each type

–       Chelsea & RPE work outside in Tenzing breakout


2. To observe Lynne during a Thursday Period 5 lesson and see how effective the pounce/pause/pose/bounce questioning techniques.


Lesson Plan = marking their assessments. Yr 10 health and social care

What we found out  1









–       Chelsea responds well to RPE

–       P5 is not always a positive time

–       RPE’s (PPB) style of questioning has worked well with Chelsea

–       Chelsea finished the lesson

–       Completed all questions to a high standard



–       Strong, clear ‘pose’ questions

–       Name as used in question so it’s clear which student it’s aimed at

–       Good amount ‘pause’ time given for student to think about answer.

–       Good development of answer after student has answered. Further teaching development was good.

–       Good repetition of question when student struggling.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future 1. Use to extract answers in greater depth.


2. Start off with ‘pose, pause, and pounce’ and then develop onto ‘bounce’. Encourage student to bounce question to peers.





Names of people in the research group Marian Manley

Alan Dickens



Focus of the research


Pause, pose, pounce and bounce

Mock the week – here’s the answer – what’s the question?






Group work with targeted students (peer obs)


Worldwide news from previous week: Bowie/Tim Peake/Major Tom


What we found out












Pose, pause, pounce and bounce works really well in lessons, especially in science when exploring new ideas and theories. It has helped strengthen group work in the classroom as students highlight good aspects of each other’s work whilst offering constructive criticism. The ‘mock the week’ question idea tends to be more of a challenge. Lots of students really struggled to try and design a question when only provided with an answer. ‘Pose, pause, pounce and bounce’ is more effective at getting students to stretch their thinking and develop ideas.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future Give the students a series of hints when using the ‘mock the week’ questioning to allow them a chance to access the topic, we found this to be much more effective. It can work well as a homework task; go home and write a question where the answer is ‘x’ with these hints.





Names of people in the research group Carol Faulconbridge

Michael Hagan


Focus of the research


Mock the week – just one more question?



Interview students during tutorial time using technique.

Philosophy and ethics questions.

Can you find the questions to a number of philosophical answers?


What we found out











–       It would work better with a subject with a definitive answer such as maths/English.

–       It made the students think more/engage more rather than thinking of the answer.

–       Encourages them to think more broadly about the topic.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future Would work better with a subject that is not as broad as philosophy and ethics.



Names of people in the research group Teresa Douglas

Rose Bralsford


Focus of the research


The question wall? Decide on pose, pause, pounce, and bounce as more appropriate to maths.








During tutorial session when students are completing the maths tutorial. Observation of year 7 tutees. Questioning technique pose, pause, ponce and bounce was considered the most suitable for a maths tutorial. Focus on particular students in different year groups.


What we found out Posing a question to a particular student. Encouraged engagement and response. When the student gave an answer, I asked another student how they thought this had been worked out and bounced the question again to another student to consider another way to work out the answer. Students were keen to help and support each other if one was struggling with a particular question. This method means you can include students of your choice, who maybe would not have engaged with the task
Recommendation for people using this technique in the future A good technique for Maths as you can pinpoint questions at students that you know need to practice a particular calculation. You can use ‘bounce’ to question students who may feel more comfortable answering a question when an initial answer has already been given by another student. A good technique to use as a starter or as a revision technique to reinforce a particular topic.


Names of people in the research group Lisa Moore

Ruth Golding

Focus of the research


Questioning – the use of Thunks to stimulate discussion









We discussed ideas of how it can be adapted for different lessons.

RGO and LMO both to observe each other using Thunks with a group.

Year 11 Sociology identified for RGO

Year 13 Health and Social Care LMO


The Thunk will be delivered at the start of the lesson as stimulus to the topic.


Observations will be done and students will discuss how they found it. We were going to ask students to record views on Padlet but then agreed this would be better to do in class.

What we found out  

RGO Thunk – “Would you rather be black, poor, or a boy in education?”


Www: Students gained a deeper understanding by discussing the ‘Thunk’. With encouragement from the teacher, they were able to develop their ideas and consider it from many perspectives, leading to some students becoming very involved in the discussion without prompts needed, which was really interesting to see their take on the dilemma. It also gave them the opportunity to discuss in greater depth than often occurs at GCSE level.



Ebi: Initially many prompts were needed to get the students involved, and some didn’t really get involved; maybe linking it more explicitly to prior learning would make the links clearer for these students to get started. Also, perhaps sitting them away from desks in a circle would focus them more from the start.


RGO asked students what they thought of the ‘Thunk’ and interestingly it was the more able learners who felt the question was too vague and they didn’t like them. Although for the rest of the class this may have meant that they didn’t dominate the conversation like they sometimes can in sociology. This enabled other to contribute much more and many learners said they enjoyed it because they didn’t feel the pressure of a right and wrong answer.


LMO Thunk “Is it better for a person to have a career that is poorly paid but rewarding or one that just pays well.


www: all students were able contribute to the discussion and the answers they gave appeared more extended than in a more traditional QA. SE – made links to self-esteem where SR felt that if you didn’t feel valued you then weren’t looking after your own health. MN said the rewards should be enough which led to a discussion around this. Questions were used by LMO to move the discussion on.


Ebi: Try setting up with some ground rules, right everyone has to contribute twice, teacher keep a tally, nominate a chair (Higher Band students) and let the conversation flow without teacher input. Difficult in your room I know but the seating of rows can inhibit think about the room layout for the next one.



LMO asked the students what they thought at the end of the ‘Thunk’; they said it was a complicated dilemma as both were important but they agreed that it got them thinking. It was also interesting to see the change in them once the ‘formal’ coverage of the ‘Thunk’ was over. I think 2 teachers in the room put them onto ‘observation clam up mode’ because as soon as there was only one teacher they seemed to relax and continued with the ‘Thunk’ more informally once the focus was off! I asked them why they hadn’t said these things before and they didn’t seem to know. Perhaps ‘Thunks’ need to be developed initially with teacher support, but then more informally encourage the discussion to continue afterwards in order for the students in ks5 to develop their ideas. Perhaps setting a relevant exam question straight afterwards would be a good idea in order for students to see how developed their knowledge has become and to apply the knowledge in a way that they will remember long after the discussion has ended.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future  

Think about the room layout definitely even if you can move tables get them to look at each other.


Make clear links to prior learning that could help them with the ‘Thunk’


Very good for social science or all humanities subjects


Try before exam questions to improve critical thinking.


Use debating coins they have to spend them before the end of the discussion.



Names of people in the research group  

James Perry, Ellen Seccombe and Jack Cooper

Focus of the research



Open and closed questioning. Developing closed answers.


















JPC will observe both ESE and JPY for 20 minutes in a lesson.

  1. Will tally number of open and closed question asked during the time.
  2. Tally number of open and closed responses to each question.
  3. Note how ESE and JPY develop closed answers and encourage open answers.
  4. Note what strategies are used to achieve this.
  5. Remember to take into account the topic, year group and activity when looking for questions.
What we found out  

As the attached tally sheets suggest there is a difference in questioning styles from JPY and ESE.


  • Background: Year 9 GCSE, revision lesson, period 4, 5/2/16
  • Asked a total of 21 question, open questions 7, closed 14.
  • Open answers 4, closed answers 17.
  • JPY got a negative response from open questions receiving more closed answers back.
  • As it was a revision lesson, JPY often used a closed question to check fact recall and open questions to further develop answers.
  • Overall for a revision lesson questions, were good and well developed.
  • Pose, pause, bounce and pounce will be assessed next to see if that makes a difference to the results.


  • Background: Year 11 R.S GCSE, period 3, 10/2/16
  • Asked a total of 37 questions, 20 open, 17 closed.
  • Open answers 22, closed answers 16.
  • ESE got a positive from open questions as more open questions were answered then were asked.
  • As it was a discussion session, students expressed views even when answering closed questions.
  • Pose, pause bounce and pounce will be assessed next to see if that makes a difference to the results.


Recommendation for people using this technique in the future  

As research is ongoing make sure you become aware of what types of responses you receive from students (Open or closed). If answers need further development begin to use strategies.

PPBP, in theory should improve the level of answering and encourage higher order thinking.

Make sure you ask, a variety of open and closed but it’s important to monitor the response.



Names of people in the research group Mark Waters, Abbey Hunt, James Thomas
Focus of the research


How far does the ‘pose, pause, pounce and bounce’ questioning technique improve the quality of student responses?









The primary group being observed during the research period was a Year 10 History group taught by JTH, AHT and MWA. Responding to a variety of questioning techniques normally used in lessons, the quality of answer that comes from the group is very mixed. Of the fifteen students there are five students that were observed as regularly provided developed answers when asked a question. The remainder of the group tended to try and answer all questions, regardless of nature, with a closed response.


What we found out Following observations of each teacher using the technique it is clear that, while the P.P.P.B technique did result in a higher yield of answers, there was not much of an improvement in the quality of answer. The five students, who had always provided developed answers, continued to do so and also exhibited some increased analysis as they evaluated what their peers had said. The majority of the group, however, still attempted to provide closed answers to all questions, requiring constant prompts from the teacher in order to draw out the quality of developed answer hoped for. As a result, it was extremely difficult to prevent the questioning from reverting back to the teacher-student ‘ping-pong’ model. This may be down to the fact that the group has a large number of students’ content with coasting and providing the bare minimum with regards to their answer. That being said, more students were beginning to give developed answers without prompts after a couple of lessons but progress was certainly slow.




Recommendation for people using this technique in the future  The technique, as expected, was far more successful when observed being used on Year 12 and 13 History students. In these lessons it was clear that the technique regularly resulted in higher quality answers amongst the group and it was clear that students were used to the technique, as when the teacher ‘bounced’ the discussion to them they instinctively assessed the validity of their peers ideas and suggested improvements to it. Therefore, it would appear that when implemented regularly, over and extended period, the P.P.P.B. does result in students improving their evaluation skills, providing more developed and analytical answers to questions to that build upon what their peers have contributed.



Names of people in the research group  

Ian Goldsmith , Claire Young & Vicky Davey




Focus of the research


Determine what students were thinking during a lesson/episode in order to support future lesson planning
















We identified 3 key questions we wanted students to ask students at a distinctive point during a lesson (use of a buzzer) that would be used over a series of lessons.

We identified a mix of KS3 & 4 classes to get a spread of thoughts/responses.

VDA/CYO used their shared Yr7 Hums class & IGO used a Yr10 GCSE class.

The questions we chose were ‘What were you thinking about?’, ‘Which part of the lesson made you think?’ and ‘Which part of the lesson made you think the most?’ One question would be used for one lesson (spread over 3 lessons)



What we found out  

Q1 responses varied from ‘food, lunch, the exam question, different names of graphs, why is … so irritating?’ to more detailed/focus responses such as ‘how to answer an exam question & get full marks without making it complicated’

In Yr7 responses included “I was thinking about that it’s either next lesson or its time to stop and listen to Miss”, “fire alarm!” “nothing was in my brain I wasn’t thinking about anything”, “how it was a nasty place to work when we were talking about bad things” (Victorian child workers), “I was thinking about if there was a way to improve the sentence in the box” and “I didn’t notice that there was a buzzer because I was thinking about my work, Mr Ruse had to tell me to stop and write this”.


Q2. There was definitely more focused responses with all responses focused on a piece of the lesson (co-ordinates of a map, answering questions, facilities of a retirement complex’


Q3. Very focused and virtually all similar in their responses (using scale to get size of premises correct on a map/plan of retirement complex)





Recommendation for people using this technique in the future  

To make the question as focused as possible i.e. options 2 & 3.

It would be interesting to re-visit the original question to see whether students responded in similar fashion to q2 &3 or whether they returned to Q1 response mode


In relation to Yr7, it would be interesting to ask the question at an earlier point in the lesson, i.e., 15mins in rather than 15mins to go.


Names of people in the research group Nina Elliott, Nilufer Yardley


Focus of the research


Spaced Learning













Nilufer will not make any changes to act as a control group.

Nina to do intensive word learning with spaces for other activities to see if this helps word retention


Test word knowledge at the beginning

Read out a list of 40 words

Break and rhythm activity

Read out the list of words again

Break and do mindfulness activity

Read out a list of words and this time attach memory hooks Break and do origami activity

Test the students on the words


What we found out In all three groups that experienced the activity the word learning was significantly better than before approximately 7 words to 30 words
Recommendation for people using this technique in the future TBC



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