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Help reviewing starters and plenarys

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by anthonybiggs, May 24, 2011.

  1. Hi All,

    I am on my initial placement and doing observations and taking starters and plenaries.

    Has anyone got any tips or even an outline of how to review a lesson starter or plenary and also of how to review a lesson held by someone else?


    Any help would be amazing!

    Hope your all well.

    Anthony
     
  2. Hi All,

    I am on my initial placement and doing observations and taking starters and plenaries.

    Has anyone got any tips or even an outline of how to review a lesson starter or plenary and also of how to review a lesson held by someone else?


    Any help would be amazing!

    Hope your all well.

    Anthony
     
  3. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Key things to think about would be:
    • How well does the starter engage students and 'hook' them into the lesson? Does it build on last lesson's learning?
    • How well does the plenary allow the teacher to assess students' understanding? Some plenaries are able to highlight the understanding or lack of understanding of the whole class.
    I'm sure there are many other tips others can give ... hope that helps though.
     
  4. People talk about lesson objectives (and learning outcomes) and they're really important ... but don't limit yourself to just a LESSON objective. Everything you do in the class should have an objective (I'm using "objective" as a normal word in the English language, not something with a PGCE/GTP/ITT definition) and that is how I evaluate my own teaching.
    So, the first thing to ask is "did it achieve the objective"? Did you achieve what you wanted to from the starter/plenary (or any other part of the lesson)? In order to answer this, of course, you need to know what the objective was. For example, you may use a starter as a way of confirming that pupils have retained the knowledge/skills from last lesson. Or you may be checking the basic skills needed in order to progress today's lesson. In this case, then "achieving the objective" does not have to mean that the pupils could all do the work. In actual fact, doing a starter which tests underlying skills which the pupils completely fail on could mean that the starter was a huge success - as it will tell you to put the brakes on your planned lesson and address the deffeciencies before moving forward - imagine how difficult this lesson wouldn't have been if you hadn't done a starter like that?
    Other objectives for a starter may be to calm the pupils down (first lesson after lunch? Or, at this time of year, straight after an exam o rewards assembly?), or to wake them up, or to simply get their brains working!!
    Assessing a plenary's success is a little more straightforward - although, again, it's not just a simple case of "if the pupils all did really well in the plenary then the plenary was a success" since this could mean that it was pitched too low. As katnoodle wrote, you are basically asking if it effectively allows you to assess the pupils understanding, or to use ITT speak, "to assess the pupils' progress against the stated objectives and outcomes".
    As for observing others - to start off, try to take everything in. Think about everything which the teacher does or doesn't do. If possible (teachers are VERY busy, so don't be offended if they don't have time), discuss anything you noticed with them. Make a note anything which you may like to try for yourself (anything from a software application, to a particular way of standing) but bear in mind that we're all different and therefore a good "thing" in one person's hands could be a disaster in someone else's.
    After a while, though, do focussed observations (eg discipline, pace, questioning, starter, plenary, group work ....) this lightens your load in terms of paperwork but also allows you to pay closer attention to certain facets of the lesson/teacher.
    And don't do what I do and leave your paperwork to build up - write everything up ASAP afterwards, as otherwise you may have some really good notes but they won't make as much sense after a while!
    Good luck
     
  5. By the way, are you saying at the moment that you sometimes give the plenary at the end of the lesson which someone else has taught? I'm not criticising, but I find that really odd. I often tweak my plenay to reflect what exactly happened in the lesson, and the idea of delivering (and, possibly even designing!!) a plenary to someone else's lesson seems so weird to me ... but maybe I'm just a bit obsessive and like to do all or nothing. As I said, not a criticism - just a point of interest.
     
  6. Thanks you to everyone that has commented.

    What i am doing is what Edge Hill have guided the school to let me do. I HATE! it with a passion but im just getting on with it and keeping my head down.

    What they have said is that i am to do "parts" of lessons. For example i take the starter and then the classes original teacher takes the rest of the lesson. Or the class teacher takes the starter and main and i take the plenary.
    I find this annoying as i take only part of the lesson and dont plan a full lesson on a the schools lesson plan. Also when students come in to find me teaching they assume i am the teacher for the whole of the lesson and then i am not so there is a conflict of leadership.
    Also there is no scope what so ever to break away from the 3part lesson structure (its good most of the time but come on... we can mix it up a bit).
    The University has also paired me with a Second Year student which again is unusual. He gets to teach full lessons and do all planning associated with his lessons.
    I must say however this is ALL EDGE HILL UNIVERSITIES policies, not the schools. The school i am at is fantastic!


     
  7. 2 things then ... firstly, I imagine that this is just for a short period of time and you'll crack on with full lessons soon.
    Secondly, when you're not delivering "your" part, what do you do? Don't just sit at the back and make notes; get up and move around, see what the pupils are doing, support them, correct them, extend them; talk with them. Obviously, check this with the teacher first, but observations don't need to be totally passive.
     
  8. haha yeah i do, how strange i thought id set it up properly. And ive had to wipe that out too as some of the kids have mutual friends of mine as i am a young trainee. You should add me be good to have a conversation with someone who knows more about the system.

    Are you a lecturer or teacher? Private message me.
     

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