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I barely had to say a word!

Carly Shiel
Noarlunga Downs Primary School
Noarlunga Cluster


Finding 3.5: Framework
Have a theoretically informed framework that enables teachers to plan authentic and meaningful learning with the flexibility to take advantage of 'teachable moments'. Be aware that a research-based, locally tailored program that is flexible and responsive to local contexts and students delivers higher outcomes than imported commercial programs.

The structure of the lessons ensures that I have a better picture of my students’ needs and that the delivery of the content is not only sequential, but appropriate.

I use this sequential approach in all my maths lessons, and in one particular lesson we were learning about (the concept of) time. There were a number of students who, despite many and varied tasks on telling the time, were not showing in their independent work an ability to read the time from a clock. It was in the ‘joint conceptualising’ part of the lesson that I specifically asked one student to share how she went about the task of converting the time on the clock face to a digital time.

She shared her strategy of firstly naming the hour hand time and then figuring out the minutes by counting around the clock in 5s, and then 1s. However, her answer for the hour hand was incorrect so I asked her to show how she had arrived at that answer.

She stated that she knew that it was the correct time as it was the number the short hand was closest to.

I then invited other students to comment on the strategies that she used. It simply unfolded before me that the other students explained to her that this was not the case, and that by changing her thinking about this one part of the task, the rest of her strategies were correct.

This could only happen in this scenario where students knew the sequential structure of the maths lesson, and the talk that was expected to happen in this part of the lesson. I will never forget the light bulb I saw appear above her head! And I barely had to say a word!


Some questions to prompt discussions with your colleagues:

  1. How did the teacher take advantage of a “teachable moment”? What are the benefits of taking advantages like this?
  2. What might the teacher have learned from this experience?
  3. What other interesting or important aspects are in this Significant Episode?


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I barely had to say a word!

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