Guided participation plane: Understanding the science curriculum to plan learning outcomes and key questions

Using Daloz's (2012) model, at this plane of development, the high challenge for a beginning teacher is from the accountability and responsibility they have for planning full lessons for different classes. Therefore, initially, you can provide high support through co-planning of full lessons. Ideally a co-planned lesson should be a contemporaneous account of a face-to-face conversation about the lesson. Therefore, at this stage, co-planning should involve discussion about effective planning with a focus on pupils' learning progression, i.e. emphasising what pupils are expected to have learned at the end of the lesson, indicating one or more learning expectations recommended under the specific unit of work.

In this chapter, the term unit of work is used to indicate different units or blocks of work that originate from the government's approved science curriculum. In England, these units of work can be found in the relevant curriculum documents, for example, Department for Education (DfE) (2013) for Key Stage 3 (age group 11-14) and DfE (2014) for Key Stage 4 (age group 14-16). As mentioned in the introduction to this book, you might need to adopt/adapt these curriculum documents according to the curriculum requirements of the country/examination boards/ school in which you are working. A list of some units of work is also presented in Appendix 10.1 (p. 166) of Chapter 10, which can be shared with the beginning teacher for guidance.

This co-planning support is part of the early development of a beginning teacher, 'however, it is most beneficial when it is ongoing, as the demands and expectations of the lesson plan become increasingly pupil-centred' (Binney, Barrett, Green, Pocknell and Smart, 2019, p. 167). Depending on the developmental stage and needs of a beginning teacher, your support with guided co-planning can vary; therefore, the steps outlined in this section are not absolute and can be adopted/adapted respectively.

Some mentoring support you could provide to a beginning teacher to continue with the co-planning associated discussions on planning a whole lesson is considered next. Some different and more advanced approaches to support a beginning teacher to plan lessons are also covered in other chapters of the book, for example, Chapter 15. You can choose and select a mentoring approach according to the needs of a beginning teacher and focus of your support.

Learning outcomes and pupils learning

An understanding of a unit of work is an ongoing process for a beginning teacher, for which you can provide support to plan learning outcomes that support pupils' learning identified in the unit of work. Before supporting a beginning teacher to write learning outcomes, you need to share some example learning outcomes with them. You could then support the beginning teacher to write learning outcomes for lesson plans they intend to teach. This provides a source of evidence that they can use to demonstrate 'what learning is intended?’ before the lesson and 'what outcomes have been achieved (or not)?' after the lesson. While supporting the beginning teacher to write learning outcomes, it is noted that most beginning teachers often find it easy to identify the activities pupils will complete during a lesson, but they find difficulty identifying the learning which will take place. To this end, Task 6.4 asks you to support a beginning teacher by sharing some example learning outcomes.

Task 6.4 Supporting a beginning teacher to identify pupils learning

Undertake the following steps to support a beginning teacher to identify learning expected by pupils from each of the planned learning outcomes:

  • 1. Ask the beginning teacher to look at Table 6.1, which indicates five-example learning outcomes (LO1-LO5) in the first column; for the 'electricity' unit of work, specifically on 'current, resistance and voltage relationships for different circuit elements; including their graphical representations’ (DfE, 2014, p. 15). In the second column the beginning teacher is asked to write about the relevance of each of the six learning outcomes in achieving expected learning for the given aspect of the unit of work.
  • 2. Next, encourage the beginning teacher to discuss Table 6.1 with you for further guidance.
  • 3. These steps could be followed in the similar way for other aspects of the same unit of work (or other units of work) that you think are appropriate to share.

Table 6.1 Learning outcomes and pupils learning

Learning outcomes (LO)


'Exploring current, resistance and voltage relationships for different circuit elements; including their graphical representations' (DfE, 2014, p. 15).

LO1 Set up a series electrical circuit to measure the current through a resistor and the voltage across it as the current in the circuit is varied

LO2 Record the results in a table and calculate the ratio of the voltage across the resistor to the current through the resistor

LO3 State that the value of voltage divided by current is approximately constant

LO4 State the formula for Ohm's law and explain the meaning of the symbols used

LO5 Plot a graph of voltage against current

LO6 State that the resultant straight-line graph shows that the voltage across a resistor is directly proportional to the current through it.

The relevance of the learning outcomes (LO) in achieving the expected pupils' learning for

’Exploring current, resistance and voltage relationships for different circuit elements; including their graphical representations' (DfE, 2014, p. 15).

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