Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce!

Type of strategy: AssessmentProcessing

Intended Audience: StudentsTeachers

Simple, yet sophisticated, AfL (Assessment for Learning) questioning technique to help teachers move from good-to-outstanding. It also helps address differentiation in the classroom and encourages teachers to take risks.



  • Give the context of your approach to the class. 
  • Insist on hands down before the question is delivered.
  • Provide a question or a series of questions, ensuring that you ask the students to remain reflective.

2. PAUSE...

This is the hard part.

  • Ask the class to hold the thought; ... think; ... think again...
  • If students are captivated and engaged, try holding the silence for a little while longer and...
  • Push the boundaries. Keep the reflection for as long as possible.

3. BOUNCE(!)

  • Insist the answer to the question comes from student A and possibly student B, directly and fast!
  • Of course plan in your mind who you are going to ask, before speaking to the class.
  • Name student A to respond and don't move.
  • Possibly don't speak and nip any comments, grunts or noises in the bud! Its magic when you can hear, see and feel a captivated learning audience. We've all seen it.
  • Wait for an answer... pause... decipher the support needed if no response is evidently on its way. (Of course, at this stage, you can instigate various strategies for peers to support the questionable student A).
  • If student A does manage to answer, the fun part starts here...


  • Ask another student B (immediately) after the BOUNCE response, their opinion of student A's answer.
  • This can be developed by asking student B and C their opinions to student A's response, irrespective if the answer is correct or not.
  • An additional strategy is to bounce the question to a group A...and subsequently, a sub-group B if group A do not deliver a suitable way forward.
  • This ensures the teacher is engaging a significant number of students with the question at hand, whilst using this strategy, it also ensures the entire class can be called upon at any given time by just returning to phase 1 or phase 3.

Many, many teachers are very reluctant to hold onto a question or a stumbling block in class. I know because I have done it; but my greatest lessons are often the ones that involve the ethos being established from the outset and (me) not being afraid to tease out "why?" student A or B thinks the way they do...

Ensure that all your students understand a concept. Test it before moving on. Try it tomorrow. Don't accept student E or student K shouting out the answer to maintain pace or behaviour. Don't allow student T to answer the question because (you know they won't let you down and) they will help you move on during an observation lesson!


How to move your lessons from good to outstanding

Submitted by: Melissa Lim