CHANGING LESSONS AS WE GO
I have only been observed two times after my initial teacher training. While my stomach rejoices and says 'thank you very much, we do not need to be observed ever!’ my head says that this is too few times and that constructive feedback is essential to grow and that actually watching others teach is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a teacher.
Even during my training, we only had 6 observed lessons totaling 10 hours. The teacher sat silently in the back behind the students writing observations and grading us on a scale which I found petrifying. Never have I witnessed a real-time, live co-operation between trainer and trainee. However, this is a situation that I found myself in during my time at R.E.C, and a situation which came about quite naturally.
As an experienced teacher, changing the plan is something that happens almost every lesson; be it a full activity or just slight modifications. When I was planning the curriculum for NEH, I hadn’t met the students nor had I seen our teacher teaching. I had not anticipated that the lessons would be used for both adult learners and children. During the first grade 8 class that the trainee was in charge of, I realized that he had made several errors on his board chart for plural / singular countable and uncountable nouns. I was there; I could simply tell him to fix it couldn’t I? Otherwise, what was the use of me being in the classroom?
As we progressed through the 1.5 hour class, I saw what worked and what didn’t, and changed accordingly. The students were fine with the slightly odd set-up and didn’t seem to pay much attention to me hopping up and giving English instructions. They were becoming more accustomed to my presence in the classroom and had accepted it as a regular occurrence as children are apt to do in new circumstances.
During the lessons with the volunteer teachers we settled into an easy routine where both of us would teach a section depending on what the section was and how hard it was to set up. I am still more skillful at getting the students to do what I want using the least amount of words possible, and it is far easier to show by example in some cases than it is to explain; especially when our young trainee learns by doing. He is able to watch and then mimic to great success. In the week that we spent implementing this new system, we saw great results. I really feel as though this is the best way to conduct teacher training and am hopeful that we will continue to hone our techniques and improve the results inside our classroom!
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer
Consequences of Not Planning
The Benefits of Planning
Planning for Student Engagement
Going Backwards to Go Forwards
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