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KS1 and lower advice

Discussion in 'Primary' started by HSanders2015, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Hello!

    From September my school has put me in charge of CPD and staff training. We are a small international school in the Middle East and part of my remit is to provide mentoring for teachers by giving confidential, friendly and informal observations of lessons across the school.

    I am a trained secondary teacher with almost 20 years of experience and feel quite happy to watch secondary lessons and perhaps suggest some areas for improvement. I have also worked in enough small schools to feel reasonably happy with top KS2.

    However our school is opening a nursery this year and the SMG also want me to watch KS1 lessons and lower!

    Does anyone have any advice, book recommendations, websites which would give me some ideas of what to look for when observing a 'good' lesson with children anywhere from 2-7 year old!

    It would be great to have some ideas of current thinking and best practice to share with my collegues who teach these age groups.

    Thank you very much!

  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Why not turn it around, and ask the teachers what they would like you to observe. They're the ones with the expertise in this age-group, and may not appreciate a secondary teacher who has read a few books/websites telling them what to do.

    Perhaps give them the opportunity to say "I want to do X differently, but I'm not sure whether it will achieve what I want with these particular pupils. Please could you observe how they respond to the teaching." Then you'd really be working together to improve practice.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I think your best option would be to focus on the idea of a 'friendly and informal' observation. Go in, watch the lesson, and have a chat with the teacher about what the children were learning, how they responded, what s/he felt went well and not so well. I don't think you necessarily need to offer advice, especially in a situation where you have no experience with the age group. A lot of people don't like observations because they feel they are being judged; I can imagine it would be much nicer to know no-one is going be making suggestions afterwards about how you could have done things better, but just having a chat, letting you (the teacher) reflect aloud.

    By the way: I work in a small school and what I would like most, in terms of CPD, is to observe other teachers working with my age group. As my school only has one class per year group, this would have to be arranged with another school. Perhaps this is something that teachers at your school would be interested in, too? It might be possible for you to go together with a teacher from one of the lower year groups, and you could then discuss the things you observed.
  4. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    Perhaps you would learn as much by watching what the children are making of it all! It is easier when sitting in to notice the ones who are just not engaged at all, are interfering with others' attention, have to sit awkwardly to have room on a table (especially left-handers), are being shown things upsidedown (or cannot see) because of the teacher's position, are making very odd unmatched replies to questions/remarks (but are not being funny). The last group are likely not to be understanding all the teacher's language - maybe just picking up a few words.

    Then if you have an informal chat away from the group, you could comment on what you'd noticed about specific children and work round to whether the teacher had any thoughts.

    If you Google Ican-CCB.pdf and check out p52 et seq, there are some super tips for talking to young children which you could look out for, and more useful info.
  5. Thank you very much for the ideas there are good pointa in all three replies which fit nicely together - it is very much along the lines I was considering myself.

    It is absolutely the direction I am going to take in terms of not wanting to give the impression I am some sort of expert. I just want to be the most help I can be!

    A majority of the teachers are not trained in the UK and are getting to grips with the primary NC I would just like to be able to point them in the direction of some further reading of the latest ideas and as was mentioned being a sounding board for ideas etc.

    The observations really are intended to be 'observations' rather than formal assessments of the teaching I won't be sharing them with anyone except the teacher - it's really more of a mentoring role.

    Thanks for the links 'langaugeishearttosay' - i'll check them out!
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    For EYFS check out http://www.abcdoes.com and alistair bryce clegg books
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

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