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10 Ideas for plenaries in business lessons

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Reviewing what has been learnt in the lesson is not a new idea. I hope here to give you some quick ideas for plenaries that work, tried-and-tested ideas from business lessons. These can be adapted for any board and any level. The best tip of all is to do the plenary some 10 minutes before the end and not when everyone is loading folders into bags and packing up to leave. Good lessons start with good timing, keep one eye on the time, even if you have to set a timer on the board to remind yourself. A good plenary will last a few minutes and you need a settled group to achieve this.

What is a plenary?

This is a small section at the end of the lesson where a teacher will review the aims and lesson objectives to consolidate the topics students have learnt in that session.

What is a mini-plenary?

This is a quick check back on a section of a lesson to make sure everyone understands before you move on. It helps students to unpack information and to clear up any misconceptions before moving on. An example of this is a quick Q&A with your group, it requires no planning and keeps them engaged as they will not know when you are going to ask questions. They can refer to their notes and it's a chance to see if everyone has understood. I would put two of these in an hour-long lesson.

Alternatives to the Q&A

For your main plenary, you may wish to plan more varied plenaries so that your students become accustomed to that as part of your lessons. Here are some suggestions:

1. Give a list of words or phrases and ask which is the odd one out e.g. Span of control, delegation, chain of command, finance etc.

2. Tell me three things you have learnt. If you have students organised in team tables this works well. If you want to get them up and moving then give a large sheet and board pens to each table and ask them to write 3 things then move to the next table. You can expand this to suit the group. A variation on this is to draw what they have learnt, useful when theory includes diagrams like the product lifecycle.

3. Show a definition or short question answer which is wrong and ask students to identify the mistakes. This is a nice pair activity and students seem to enjoy this more than some of the others. Perhaps the joy is in finding the error, or maybe in the realisation that they understand more than they thought.

4. True or false questions. Appoint a question master and they say phrases and students guess true or false. To get them up and moving make the left side of the room false and the right side true. They have to move, and if unsure should stand in the middle of the room.

5. Gapfill. A classic as old as time, but good when there is lots of business terminology that needs to be learnt.

6. Chains of reason give good analysis marks and to help students build this skill include it in a plenary.

7. Categories, assign a variety of words into categories e.g. products or services, Job, batch or flow, Tall or flat etc.

8. The visual clues. A lot of business content is very visual and there is some great research showing that dual coding (pictures and words) together helps students to better understand the theory.

9. Ask students to define business terms that have come up in the lesson. This is a great way to clear up misconceptions e.g., stakeholders and shareholders

10. Of course if you are short on planning time and want fantastic lessons already planned with super plenaries that help your students to consolidate their learning then you could buy a complete teaching resources pack from Revisionstation.

Sarah is a business teacher trainer; she has taught business for 23 years and has been a business examiner for over 20 years. If you would like to book a staff CPD session or exam revision session for students (via Zoom) please email:
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