Research suggests that (when the strategy is new to pupils) two or three worked examples often provide a greater benefit than one alone. Once the procedure is understood, teachers can scaffold problems to help the pupils move towards independent practice.
Understanding what your pupils already know is key. Using worked examples when pupils are already proficient can potentially hinder learning. As teachers, our role is to be aware of which concepts our pupils find challenging, what prior knowledge and experience they bring with them, and adapt our teaching accordingly.
There are a few simple strategies that can be used to help optimise the effectiveness of worked examples, which can be remembered using the handy acronym FAME. The EEF’s new ‘FAME Approach’ tool is designed to provide some prompt questions to help you with your planning.
Once pupils have experienced complete worked examples, scaffolding can be reduced as they move towards independence. Research suggests that removing the steps in the solution in reverse order provides greater support for novice learners.
For example, having modelled and explained how to calculate average speed using worked examples, the two faded examples below could be attempted by pupils.