Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 1 February 2023


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

You can use Stop and think! at the end of a lesson or a Unit to help learners reflect on their learning. The activity helps them know what they’ve learned and what they’re still unclear about. You can then work together to solve these problems.

Stage 1: Review

10 minutes before the end of the lesson, ask: “What have we studied today?” (This may include the topic, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, skills, concepts, etc.).

Write answers on the board in note form.

Stage 2: Reflect  

1. Say: “Think. What is the most interesting thing you learned today? You have 1 minute.”

Variation: You can use other adjectives, e.g. surprising, useful, etc.

Take feedback from the class. Ask them to give reasons for their answers.

2. Say: “Now work alone. Think about 2 things you’ve learned today. You should really understand these 2 things. Write them in your notebook. You have 2 minutes.” (Tip: learners can have a specific notebook for self-assessment.)

3. Say: “Now think about 1 thing we studied today that you don’t really understand, or which you have a question about. Write it in your notebook. If you have a question, write the question, too. You have 2 minutes.” Circulate, monitor and support if appropriate.

Stage 3: Discuss in pairs

Say: “Choose a partner. Discuss your 3 things. Ask your partner is she or he can help you with 1 thing you’re not sure about.” Give them 2 minutes.

Learners may use their own language or English, or both.  

Circulate, listen and note any general problems or difficulties shared by the class. 

Now give each pair a strip of paper. Say: “If you still have a question, write it on the paper.”

Note: Don’t do this if you are doing the Optional stage below.

Optional stage: Discuss in groups

If many learners have questions and their partners can’t help, combine two pairs to discuss more. Give them 2 minutes. Give each pair a strip of paper. Say: “If you still have a question, write it on the paper.”

Stage 4: Whole-class discussion 

Collect the questions. Use a pot or bag so they can do it anonymously.

Read out the questions (some may be the same) and discuss / clarify together with the class. Elicit as much information as possible from the class. 

If the questions are difficult to answer / clarify in a short time, save them for the next lesson. Decide if you need to re-teach / review or give learners more practice. 

Stage 5: Closing activity 

Say: “Look again at your notes. Look at the one thing you were not sure about / you didn’t understand. How do you feel now? If you understand and have no more questions, put a tick (✓). If you’re still not sure, put a question mark (?).”

Note: At the start of the next lesson, make time to:

  • Discuss / answer any questions you didn’t have time for. 
  • Re-teach / review / practise what learners didn’t understand. 

Every time you do this activity, keep the strips of paper. You can use them later to check and review things learners have found difficult during the course.


Anonymously: in a way that prevents a person from being identified by name.

Reflect: think deeply or carefully about something

Concept: an abstract idea

Circulate: Move around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help.

Monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.