As the season for final placement of PGCE students is fast approaching, we can only expect more lesson observations take place. During this period, anyone could easily forget the basics, most especially because much attention is now being placed on children’s learning with a single lesson. However, the good news is that how you manage some logistical classroom challenges can play crucial roles in your success.
In this piece, we will be discussing some useful tips which you must keep in mind to pass your lesson observations successfully. Read to the end!
Understand your children learning clearly
While you can’t find this rule in the trainee teacher’s handbook, it is one of the most crucial tips to achieve success. Endeavour to set a few goals which you want your class to achieve by the end. If possible, keep the goals in writing and ensure that you work towards the goals while in class – you can even mention them at least once during a class session.
Although this tip is most important in younger classes, it is still one of the basics people usually forget quickly. As much as possible, try to control your students while moving from one spot to another to prevent noise. In fact, if care is not taken, chaos can ensue while your students are moving about to get water bottles or stopping by the bin for a quick chat.
Do not disturb
You may decide to work with a settled team during observation. However, you should ensure that children don’t start forming a circle around your chair, trying to get your attention to check out their spellings. Learn to signal your temporary unavailability to the students and ensure that they get used to it.
Before the lesson observation, ensure that all the children’s targets are up-to-date and try to get them accustomed to it. Most likely, the observer will ask one or two of your students about their current stage. Advisably, don’t leave other subjects out as some observers can even check a pile of books placed on the shelf.
Check the Stationery
Some days before the observation, endeavor to check the stationery cupboard and see if there is any item that is not available. If you notice that you don’t have some, endeavor to restock. Otherwise, it can be embarrassing to see one of your students raising his/her hands, requesting for a new whiteboard pen, only to realize that there is none left – admittedly, that won’t be your proud moment while the observer watches.
Avoid over-reliance on technology
While the use of interactive whiteboards and media for lessons can be impressive, getting stopped half-way through your lesson because the computer demands an important software update may deflate your moral. Hence, you are encouraged not to depend solely on media, and endeavor to have a plan B ready. If it is imperative to use video or internet, make sure that you check everything twice a day before the observation – and again, in the morning of the inspection. Outside of the classroom however the opposite can be said for the use of technology, as using good lesson observation software can help enormously.
The Mystical Good Idea
Over time, we have learned about the mystical ideas that usually come to the head of teachers during a night before their lesson observation. They start thinking about deviating from their planned activity to spring up a surprise. If you are thinking the same currently, put it aside! Advisably, you should go ahead with what you have planned earlier. The kids are already accustomed to your program; teaching normally as you always do will help feel good during the lesson.
Teaching Assistant (TA) deployment
As for those who have a Teaching Assistant, you are encouraged to inform them earlier about your plan before the D-day. Try to get them busy and not just a second observer. And as we mentioned earlier, stick to your routine plan and avoid unnecessary surprise.
Get rid of any insects from the room
While this tip may sound unusual, in your best interest, you are best advised to get rid of any rogue wasp that can disrupt your lesson. Whether the fly keeps moving from our notebook to another, or couldn’t stop flying around the room, you will end up being the victim. So, try to sweep and keep your lesson room neat a day before and shut the windows.
There is always something to note
Worrying is just inevitable, most especially if the lesson observation is a crucial one. However, one thing which you should never forget is that a perfect person doesn’t exist. Regardless of how well you perform or plan for the occasion, the observer will always find an area where you can improve. Whether it is a case of an unclosed window or a lack of fundamental point in your subject knowledge, don’t beat yourself up. Get settled and do your best while at it; after all, you can only become better by improving.
With all the stated tips up there, there are only a few other things which you shouldn’t overlook. Firstly, don’t postpone photocopying until the final day; mysteriously, something negative always happens. Avoid performing a complete-class modelled write on the whiteboard – it doesn’t always end well. Lastly, parent helper is not the way to go.