Wednesday, 16 November 2011

first observation - by Theo

Today I had my first observation by my University Tutor, a man who has trained at least one person in every English Department west of Reading (or so it seems - he's been at the University's Education Department for 25 years). This was a formal observation which would count towards my final grade. So no pressure then.

Actually I wasn't feeling too much pressure. I'd been observed by somebody in the 15 or so classes I had taught prior to today (plus loads as an EFL teacher), so wasn't feeling too unnerved at the prospect of having somebody commenting on my every utterance. Plus I always try to keep in mind that it is through being observed and reflecting on the comments you get back that you learn. So, bring it on.

I was teaching a Year 10 class that I had taught twice before. Their aim at the end of the unit is to write a review of the film, Jaws, and after two classes looking at how film makers use camera angles and sound to create tension, we were now looking at effective language use in reviews. The class went well. Not brilliantly, but a bit more than OK. It wasn't inaccessibly hard, but it wasn't a stroll in the park for them either. They behaved. They learned (something). We finished on time. It was alright.

I've still got loads to do. Both my Associate Tutor (who was quite nervous as it's her first year as an AT and she had to give her feedback first - so essentially she was being observed too!) and University Tutor were complimentary and thought I was doing better than they might expect at this point in the PGCE course. They were really pleased with my planning and consideration of the needs of individual students; I've my EFL experience to thank for that I guess. But there is plenty of room for me to improve, with a few of the things being:
  • I need to think about how to get the students to reflect on their work, to realise what they have learned.
  • I need to cut down the amount of Teacher Talk and build in more steps to the tasks so the students can guide themselves through with minimum input from me.
  • Leaving space for individual work and only doing group work if there is a real point to it.
It's that last point where my EFL background isn't helping. "Discuss with your partner" is such a CELTA staple - language is communicative, and when teaching English as a Foreign Language, just getting students to talk to each other and convey meaning can be a learning objective and outcome all on its own. In contrast, times when EFL students write in silence for 15 minutes or more are rare. So changing what my view of what learning looks like is going to be crucial.

No comments:

Post a Comment