Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce!

Reading time: 4


In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
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I’ve updated this PPPB post to allow you all to deliver effective questioning in the classroom next week!


This article features on The Guardian Teacher Network here.

I have also added an Action Research Project – PPPB by Caroline Fagence and her appendices here – University of Exeter 2013

My supporting resource to this article below can also be found on the TES Resources website. It has been viewed over 10,500 times (Nov ’12), and I have to say…one of my favourite resources and strategies to use in the classroom. It definitely helps achieve ‘Outstanding’.

Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce in cartoon, by @TeacherToolkit
Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce in cartoon, by @TeacherToolkit

Where would I be without Twitter?

Following this tweet below on #ukedchat 3.11.11, I have decided to elaborate on this AfL strategy, before sharing it with the world via The Guardian Teacher Network Blog. I am scribbling up my experience of this as the requests from Twitter were numerous, so I want to keep to my promise and get this published tonight (4.11.11).

My tweet on 3.11.11 was:
“@TeacherToolkit, #ukedchat Missed out tonight, look forward to reading ideas. My favourite T&L strategy at the moment is “Pose, Pause…Pounce, Bounce” #AfL”

Firstly, this concept is not mine.

So it is at this point, where I will be honourable and credit a colleague who I think has a money-spinning idea here. It was shared to me and my staff at a INSET day I had organised @CrestGirls. I have since spoken with Dylan Wiliam who has a number of resources and has championed the idea. He says a teacher had passed the PPPB analogy to him.

The session was delivered by the fabulous Mrs. Pam Fearnley. I can just about trace her path via the first few links in this Google search. If you ever want someone to give your team a reality-check, she is the woman for the job. Firm, entertaining and inspiring. Her favourite catchphrase is “bring home the bacon”, so if that’s what you want to start doing in the classroom, this strategy may be for you, or for your teaching staff.

What is it?

It is a simple, yet sophisticated, AfL questioning technique to help teachers move from good-to-outstanding. It also helps address differentiation in the classroom and encourages teachers to take risk.

Why is it useful?

For many reasons. The reason I came across this technique was for us to develop our awareness of the new Ofsted criteria in 2009. This technique was a whole-school initiative deployed through our Teaching and Learning group with the fabulous Mr. John Bayley.

The strategy encouraged teachers to take risks and tease out the ‘learning’ in class. It also developed our school focus on differentiating objectives and learning experiences by varying our questioning techniques. NO more closed questions!

How does it work?

I have listed the 4-part approach below with additional information that I hope explains the method. Maybe I should film myself doing it eh?

Pose your question to the whole class.

1. POSE 

i.e. give the context of your approach to the class.
insist on hands down before the question is delivered.
provide a question or a series of questions, ensuring that you ask the students to remain reflective.

Pause and wait for as long as possible before anyone is asked to answer…


This is the hard part.
i.e. ask the class to hold the thought; ….think; ….think again….
if students are captivated and engaged, try holding the silence for a little while longer and…
push the boundaries.

Pounce on a student(s) to answer…

3. POUNCE(!)

i.e. insist the answer to the question comes from student A and possibly student B, directly and fast!
Of course plan in your mind who you are going to ask, before speaking to the class. Name student A to respond and don’t move. Possibly don’t speak and nip any comments, grunts or noises in the bud! Its magic when you can hear, see and feel a captivated learning audience. We’ve all seen it.
Wait for an answer…. pause…. decipher the support needed if no response is evidently on its way.
(Of course, at this stage, you can instigate various strategies for peers to support the questionable student A)

If student A does manage to answer, the fun part starts here…

Bounce the students response onto another student(s) and allow time to tease out concepts and opinions…


Ask another student B (immediately) after the POUNCE response, their opinion of student A’s answer.
This can be developed by asking student B and C their opinions to student A’s response, irrespective if the answer is correct or not. An additional strategy, is to bounce the question to a group A…and subsequently, a sub-group B if group A do not deliver a suitable way forward.
this ensures the teacher is engaging a significant number of students with the question at hand, whilst using this strategy, it also ensures the entire class can be called upon at any given time by just returning to phase 1 or phase 3.

Many, many teachers are very reluctant to hold onto a question or a stumbling block in class. I know because I have done it; but my greatest lessons are often the ones that involve this questioning ethos being established from the outset and (me) not being afraid to tease out ‘why?’ student A or B thinks the way they do… Don’t tell students the answer straight away. You are doing their own thinking-processes a dis-service.

Ensure that all your students understand a concept. Test it before moving on. Try it tomorrow!

Don’t accept student E or student K shouting out the answer to maintain pace or behaviour.

Don’t allow student T to answer the question because (you know they won’t let you down and) they will help you move on in an observation.

Explore! Tease the topic in hand… Teasing out their thinking skills and understanding it, is far more important than moving onto the next page in the lesson. That’s what learning is all about, right?


The questioning technique can be further deployed by developing a series of targeted-questions linked in with Blooms Taxonomy. There is an example of my worksheet here and this can be adjusted to suit any topic and a list of students names can be scribbled in, alongside the (level/grade) rows.

There is a Powerpoint version here.

Even better if?

  1. The Pose, Pause, Bounce, Pounce vocabulary could be modified into something fun
  2. If I could trace Pam Fearnley?

Enjoy exploring and teasing…and if you do, please tweet me back and tell me how it went. Please use the #PPPB hashtag. This strategy is now part of my everyday practice.

Credit: Pam Fearnley (for PPPB idea via Pupils First Ltd.)

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