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Next year I will be having a number of NQTs/GTPs etc in our department. I was considering throwing together a 'checklist' to advise of what I would expect to see in their lessons.
I'm thinking along the lines of
- settling activity for when the students enter (either ready on desk or IWB)
- students greeted at door
- differentiated learning objectives
- At least 3(?) different AfL techniques to be used
- mini plenaries throughout
- Students at the board showcasing/explaining work at least twice(?)
Basically, was looking for some more ideas. Or maybe some feedback on the 'make sure you put this in your lesson' approach
jizz2007differentiated learning objectives
Well, I suppose. If you must. I don't actually think this is the right approach for maths at all - "some/most/all" is about OK, but if you mean the "if you are working at level 4 then you should...", well, I happen to think that's simply wrong for maths
At least 3(?) different AfL techniques to be used
Per each lesson? Seriously? Across a series of lessons, sure.
The thing I believe is utterly critical in maths is to have worked out every question the kids are going to be asked yourself in advance of the lesson. - which is about making sure there are no sudden "falls off the cliff" changes in difficulty where a nice bit of consolidation suddenly crashes as it turns out that hacked together worksheet threw in , say, signed values, when how to handle singed values in this topic hasn't been taught yet! (Or where you happen to know the kids don't remember directed number rules.)
For the AfL I don't just mean techniques that require resources (although mini whiteboards, laminated flashcards, coloured cups etc are all available in each classroom) I mean 'simple' things like thumbsup/down, using the red/green/yellow pages in their planners (which are out on the desk) to show if they need help, 'bounce and pass' questioning, happy/sad/straight faces next to LOs at the end....etc.
I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the new enthusiastic (hopefully!!) teachers to get into the habit of using these sorts of techniques regularly.
Totally agree with working out every question asked beforehand, thanks. I remember being caught off guard by a different style of questioning when I first started teaching.. sent me into a whirling panicky sweaty mess. ahhhh those were the days
jizz2007- settling activity for when the students enter (either ready on desk or IWB)- students greeted at door- differentiated learning objectives- At least 3(?) different AfL techniques to be used- mini plenaries throughout- Students at the board showcasing/explaining work at least twice(?)etc...
Please tell me you are trolling us.
"Please tell me you are trolling us."
Just trying to set high expectations for new teachers in a school that needs improvement.
Again, I don't think any of what I have suggested are unreasonable and I think you'll find that most good teachers do these naturally. Mini-plenaries, greeting students- not exactly radical but things that new teachers might need reminding about.
Ok, the differentiated LOs have always been controversial but apart from that are there any things in that list that really offend you so much that you think I am trolling?? Is it unreasonable of me to expect that students should have an activity to engage in as soon as they enter the classroom? I have observed too many lessons where all that is given are some learning objectives to look at while the teacher waits for the latecomers to arrive...
jizz2007I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the new enthusiastic (hopefully!!) teachers to get into the habit of using these sorts of techniques regularly.
There's a heck of a lot of stuff on that list for someone just starting out (when you're teaching year 7s, you don't just start off with integrating trig do you? After all, that's what the top ones will be getting to, so you could say why not just get the enthusiastic ones going on it from the start?)
The greet at the door is totally wrong for a trainee - the main class teacher should get the kids in, sat down and ready to work before the trainee takes over and "taking over" should begin with doing just starters for at least a week.
Kids up to the front? Not before behaviour of the class is sorted.
"Thumbs up/down?" Let's see some teaching going on first, perhaps?
jizz2007I have observed too many lessons where all that is given are some learning objectives to look at while the teacher waits for the latecomers to arrive...
Really? Well, yes. That is rubbish (no wonder your school "needs improvement").
(The biggest problem with a checklist if it becomes the be-all and end-all. That new Ofsted report talks about "learning walks" being focused on anything but learning - things exactly like "greet students at the door", as it happens. Then your teachers are so focused on meeting all the checklist requirements they don't have time to focus on actually teaching the kids something.
It's the old "guidance for wise men" thing.)
I don't think you want to be too prescriptive. There's nothing wrong with any of those things but expecting all of them all the time seems a bit much. It also reduces the teachers opportunities to figure out for themselves what a good lesson that works for them looks like.
I mush prefer people to figure out for themselves that a settling activity might help or that greeting students at the door is a useful strategy.
I'm not entirely sure what the benefit of using 3 different AFL techniques is or why this would be needed in every lesson. I suppose it depends on what AFL techniques you are talking about.
What does mimi plenaries throughout mean?
Why do students need to be at the board showcasing their work twice every lesson?
At my school, you could add ...
"Stay on corridor to ensure children moving around responsibly
Check all uniforms
Check all desks at end of lesson for graffiti
Respond to any administrative staff interruptions re non-completed pars register
Check all uniforms [again]
Stay on corridor to ensure children moving around responsibly [cycle restarts]"
I kid ye not!!!! And I bet I've missed some out!
The checklist for a good maths lesson should go:
And that's it really
Settling activity is fine, but its essentially behaviour management, if they have the kids well behaved then its not really necessary.
Differentiated learning objectives is again a waste of time if the pupils are learning well. I've recently given up on learning objectives completely and think my lessons are much better for it. As long as pupils are learning why do they need to tick off some "objective", especially differentiated ones?
Finally with AfL, whilst it's important that the teacher has a good knowledge of how the class are doing, why 3 techniques per lesson? If they only use one technique multiple times do they gain a worse understanding of the pupils? Using thums up thumbs down, smiley faces AND colour cards seems like massive overkill given they all mean the same thing..
Basically, I think the idea of a checklist of things that you "expect to see in their lessons" is in itself unhelpful for producing good teaching. I think you should let the teachers teach however they like, as long as the pupils are learning the Maths. Obviously you can suggest what is considered good practice, but being overly prescriptive if it doesn't actually bring any benefit to the pupils is basically Ofstedish.
Also I assume this isn't for KS5?
DBizzleThe checklist for a good maths lesson should go: -Learning And that's it really
While they are things I would like to see in a lesson the very real danger is that that list then takes over. It happens in many places and the real crux of the lesson, ie learning, gets lost.
To burden an NQT/ITT/GTP or even an established teacher with all of those things would simply lead to a focus on the list rather than the things that matter.
Would it not be better to say that you want to see positive relationships and learning taking place in every lesson. Once that is established you can then suggest some ideas and strategies that may work and enhance learning. Otherwise you take away all the risk taking, creativity and chance for a new teacher to develop their teaching skills.
Maybe I'm wrong,but don't students and graduate trainees have to evaluate their lessons anyway? I've had both with me. There are broad questions not prescriptive answers.
What progress was made?
Are there barriers to learning?
How could the teacher help?
Do the children have ownership of their learning and constructive feedback?
What is the next stage?
Personally I would have learning buddies, and meet up with the group to share my own evaluation of my lessons observed too.What is the point in writing the answers? Surely your role is to for the student teachers to learn?
FlapwellMaybe I'm wrong,but don't students and graduate trainees have to evaluate their lessons anyway? I've had both with me. There are broad questions not prescriptive answers. What progress was made?Are there barriers to learning?How could the teacher help?Do the children have ownership of their learning and constructive feedback?What is the next stage?Personally I would have learning buddies, and meet up with the group to share my own evaluation of my lessons observed too.What is the point in writing the answers? Surely your role is to for the student teachers to learn?
I like this.
I suggest the guerrilla school of teaching...
"if it works for you then do it"
conversely "if it don't work then avoid it." at least to begin with.
Sometimes it is best to build up to things.
3 different types of AfL...now what was AfL again...o yes the blindingly obvious that teachers have done for decades before there was ever a buzz phrase for it.
As an NQT next year, I just thought I'd add my perspective on this.
Firstly, I think the checklist is a great idea. I do think I would prefer small achievable targets though! How about starting the first term with 'develop the areas that you personally feel you need to develop - perhaps make your own checklist and we'll discuss together how you can do that'. Then moving on to ' this half term we're looking at x so I would like to see this in all of your lessons. The following half term, another target and so on. Perhaps in even smaller time scales than half termly? Not only will this give the learning over to the NQT's but it will also make sure there is ongoing training and support. Furthermore, they are then more likely to still try things out to see what works and what doesn't work.
The ready made checklist would be an ideal starting point for someone to use as a self reflection activity.
PS I especially liked this one
DBizzle The checklist for a good maths lesson should go: -Learning And that's it really
And the 'falling off the cliff'. I'm terrified of doing that at the minute!!
and make sure all of them know how to breath properly before raising their voice, otherwise they will all have no voice by the end of day 1. then get them to observe the quietest teacher in the school so they see how a calm demeanour can help avoid the spiral up of noise!
With younger classes, use the thumbs up/down/sideways as a min plenary for understanding, something they will be used to from primary and gives v quick feedback to help inform the teacher!
and issue them with a list of contact details for parents and get them on the phone early!
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