Research Article 2

Lesson Starters: An outdated idea or a meaningful teaching tool?
Karen Stephens
University of Leicester


Current Ofsted guidelines (2014b, p. 18) state that inspectors should ‘not give the impression that Ofsted favours a particular teaching style’; neither should inspectors ‘focus on the lesson structure at the expense of its content’.  This paper proposes that starter activities can still be used to good effect with their function tailored to achieve specific outcomes.  Based on a research project (Stephens, 2010) designed to generate training material to be used in starters and plenaries INSET training, with the specific aim of developing a model that would constitute the basis of future training, this article considers the impact that well selected starters can have on student behaviour, classroom collaboration and learning.  Existing guidance and rationale for using lessons starters is explored through a review of guidance documents and pedagogic literature.  Concepts and suggestions found in available guidance documents have been restated to add support to a 3-Part Starter Model (3-PS Model) which has been developed and used in the training of student teachers and newly qualified teachers.

Keywords: starters; behaviour; collaboration; learning; thinking; motivation.




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