2.2 Explaining a TESSA section

All 75 TESSA sections follow the same pattern as shown by Table 2 below. Each section is designed to develop teachers’ practice through engagement with activities in their classroom. Each activity is expected to take one or two lessons at the most (unless it specifies longer).

Table 2: Content of the TESSA module section
Key Focus QuestionThis is addressed to the teacher and summarises the area to be studied in the section.
Learning Outcomes Each section has up to three learning outcomes for the teacher. These focus on the development of classroom skills in the context of the curriculum of that module area.
IntroductionSets the scene and outlines the classroom skills to be developed by the teacher and the curriculum content area for the section.
NarrativeThe narrative provides a rationale for the case studies and activities and highlights the purpose of each.
Case StudiesEach section has three case studies, each linked to a particular activity. The case studies illustrate ideas and concepts by describing how one teacher has approached the linked activity or similar activity in their classroom. They often focus on one aspect of the activity or on a particular classroom situation.
ActivitiesThe three activities are for the teacher to undertake in their classroom with learners or in the wider school and community. The activities build towards the final activity, known as the key activity. The activities are learner centred and engaging. Some activities are very short, whereas others are projects taking several weeks. Most take one lesson to complete.

Each section has up to six supporting resources. These take a variety of forms including:

  • web links
  • articles
  • images
  • stories
  • posters
  • examples of learners’ work
  • detailed lesson plans
  • poems and worksheets
  • template documents.

They aim to enrich the teachers’ learning and support the activities. They also support the development of different dimensions of a teacher’s knowledge base, including:

  • content knowledge
  • pedagogical knowledge
  • pedagogical content knowledge.

A few of the resources are intended for use with learners.

Icons are used to show the core purpose of a resource. These are:

  • learner use
  • background information/subject knowledge for teachers
  • teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with learners
  • examples of learners’ work.

Activity 2.1: Becoming familiar with TESSA

This activity will help you to understand how a TESSA section has been structured and the function of each part of the section.

Part 1

Print or download the TESSA section ‘Ways to explore who pupils are’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Click on download button to download on to your device or laptop. You can download it as a word document or as a pdf. Print the whole section or read it on your screen.

Consider the following:

  • As you read Table 2 below, annotate the section (or make notes in your notebook) to identify its different parts.
  • Look carefully at the section ‘Ways to explore who pupils are’, and for each part of the section identify:

    • the key point
    • how the case study provides an illustration of the point
    • how the connected activity enables the teacher to practise the point.


Around Activity 1 and Case study 1:

Key point: How to organise learners to help them to explore differences and similarities so that they treat each other better.

Case study 1: Describes how a teacher organises his class in groups to draw out a list of similarities collaboratively. This is illustrated by describing a precise activity that helps put the idea in the key point into practice in the classroom.

Activity 1: Sets the teacher a similar task, giving support on how to do it. The task ends with questions that invite the teacher to reflect on what happened in the classroom.

Resources: No additional resource for this part.

Part 2

Now repeat the exercise for Activity/Case study 2 and Activity/Case study 3.

2.1 Getting to know the TESSA materials

Tool 3: Active learning