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EngagementThe Let’s Think in English (LTE) secondary programme consists of a suite of high-interest lessons which are intended to be used fortnightly for two years in KS3 and, if the school wishes, as part of the GCSE English course. They are largely oral, based on reading, open-ended questioning and structured group discussion which increases students’ reasoning skills and metacognition (structured reflection). This makes students more aware of their thinking processes and how they think most effectively.

Using high-quality English texts – fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama and film – the lessons develop students’ ability to provide reasoned justifications for their views. They develop students’ skills of inference, deduction and analysis, increasing their confidence and resilience. Structured group discussion and feedback provides experience of rapidly formulating detailed responses to texts. This will be essential in the new GCSE examinations where students will need to draft and write analysis, evaluation and comparison answers on unseen texts in timed conditions.

These skills are most naturally developed as part of the KS3 curriculum, but they can also be developed in KS4. The 30+ LTE KS3 lessons work equally well in Year 10 and 11, and there is also a suite of LTE lessons on GCSE English Language-type texts.

The LTE lessons work well with students of all abilities and students with EAL. When less able and EAL students realise the lessons focus on the development of their ideas, they gain confidence and flourish. When we teach demonstration lessons in schools, the class teacher is often amazed at the quality of answers and comments by students with learning difficulties. As students gain confidence and their oral ability develops, their writing gradually improves, showing significant gains in range of language and grammatical structure.

Over 200 secondary schools in England are using Let’s Think in English with more joining each month, as well as International schools in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Vietnam.

The Let’s Think in English lessons are available only as part of a training and support programme designed to ensure they are taught effectively. This programme is available to individual schools and small clusters.

Let’s Think in English training is based on effective professional development and is specifically designed to enhance teaching and learning. It is centered on exemplar lessons, classroom practice and collaborative reflection. Teacher evaluations of the programme have shown significant gains in all aspects of teaching, but particularly in providing appropriate challenges for the more capable students, implementing alternative strategies in their classrooms, helping their students think critically, and adjusting their lessons to an appropriate level for individual students. Teachers believe the programme makes them more thoughtful and confident.

Let’s Think in English is a long-term teacher development programme. On completion of introductory training, schools are invited to join the Let’s Think in English Networks. In the South-East these meet each term at King’s College London to share experience of teaching Let’s Think in English and work on new ideas and approaches. There are also a growing number of other geographical hubs.

If you would like further information on the Let’s Think in English secondary programme, please contact Laurie Smith at laurie.smith@kcl.ac.uk for further details.

For examples of LTE lessons to download and try, please go to Sample Lessons.

What secondary teachers say:

I feel I have improved both in Let's Think and normal lessons in my questioning; particularly in terms of encouraging metacognition and higher order thinking skills. I have also gained confidence in planning my own Let's Think lessons over the last couple of sessions and this has been really useful as we update our KS3 curriculum for next year. The course has really reinvigorated me in how I approach planning my normal lessons as well and has made me think more inventively about how I can use what my children know to lead them to a better and deeper understanding of the texts to which they are exposed in class. 

LTE has made me rethink the types of questions I ask during my lessons and to plan for a wider range of questions in order to elicit more thoughtful responses. I've also noticed the students have been empowered to ask more insightful questions themselves - some of which I can respond to and others which we have to investigate further, helping the students see learning as a lifelong process.

Let's Think has encouraged me to consider the impact of student responses to a variety of material. Because the emphasis is on individual opinion and how to express that articulately, this has had an impact on their ability to think critically. It has made me slow down in my teaching in their lessons, and others and consider that some detailed work on a smaller piece of text can have a bigger impact overall.

Teaching the LTE lessons and discussing the process with colleagues has given me a lot of confidence in setting higher aspirations for students. It has allowed me to reflect on students' learning and the impact of strategic questioning.

What secondary pupils say:

Personally, I love the LT lessons as I don't just sit down writing notes for the sake of writing notes. I feel refreshed and that I am actually learning something.

I enjoy let’s think lessons because you don’t have to do as much writing. Another reason is that we communicate with one another and share our ideas with each other. We get to discuss our ideas and ask questions about our ideas.

I absolutely adore the Let's Think Lessons, and I think they are brilliant lessons about logical thinking. What I'd prefer from these lessons is when we can actually talk about things that can be based on Modern Literature, or modern themes in general.

In LTE lessons, I have enjoyed stretching our imaginations and thinking outside the box. In our class we have students which strong opinions, meaning that when someone has an opinion, another student will usually object and there is a debate. I enjoy the debates we have because they let us express our ideas openly with the class. In LTE, I think I have developed a lot of confidence, because if I have an opinion I am not afraid to share my ideas others, knowing there is a possibility someone might object. I have also learnt to develop my argument and back it up with evidence.