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Observed lesson with Y13 - advice/tips?!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by lucyrose50, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    One of my Y13 classes next week may be being observed and I'm trying to decide what to do in the lesson. I've never been observed with 6th form before, and while I'm familiar with the lesson observation criteria that Ofsted & my school use, an awful lot of it doesn't really apply to a Y13 class of only one student! Does anyone have any tips/advice/feedback they've had from observed A level lessons that would help me make it a really great lesson?
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I think the crucial thing here is to justify
    the time. A year 13 student should be
    someone who can do plenty of independent work and you need the evidence. Also, how have you given feedback? As the speaking test season opens tomorrow,
    at least with AQA, it might be a good time do as much work in the language as possible and refer to the assessment criteria.</font>

  3. Agreed!
    I was observed with Year 13 - I divided the class into "examiners" and "candidates" - by the end of the lesson every student had a good grasp of the grade criteria, every student had practised one element of the speaking exam and it was a lesson full of lots of pupil-talk with only occasional input from me.
  4. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Good idea, but difficult to do when I only have one student in the class!
    I think what worries me is that if she's doing independent work, what am I going to be doing? Normally if she's working on something, I have some books to mark or something to be getting on with myself so I'm not just sitting there, but how's that going to look to an observer? I'd hope that anyone with any common sense would see that this is the only thing for me to be doing, particularly if I clearly state this on my lesson plan, but last time I was observed (with Y7) I was criticised for sitting at my desk during the lesson and told that this was not acceptable, even though I was there for no more than 5 minutes and the reason was that we were doing a listening activity so I needed to be at my desk to press play & pause on the computer!! So I'm sure I'll be forgiven for not having the utmost faith in the common sense of whoever is observing me...
    On the other hand, if I'm playing an active part in the whole lesson then there's not going
    to be any evidence of independent work so I'm not sure what best to do. I definitely want to do something relating to exam criteria, preferably speaking related to the cultural topic (which we're working on at the moment), but I really am worried that whatever I do, I'm going to be told I should have done something different.
  5. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Something I'm also concerned
    about is that since there's only one student, most of my marking/assessment is
    done verbally in class and she corrects things herself while we go over
    it together as she finds this much more useful than me marking work and
    giving it back to her - but this might not wash with an observer who is
    looking through her folder for assessment. Argh! Am I just completely over-thinking this?
  6. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I'm not suggesting that the classroom is the place for independent work. I was suggesting that there should be evidence of it, i.e. homework, advance reading, preparation of the task to be done. A lot of your time for this group of one is in the preparation and marking. There is nothing wrong with the feedback being spoken, provided that the student knows how to improve.
    You're right: you can't have an intensive lesson without a break from each other. That's where the speaking comes in. If your observer isn't a specialist, the more you use the TL the better.
    If you give the student a speaking task, make sure she understands the criteria and makes a list of the grammar (particularly subordinate clauses, infinitives, passives, subjunctives) to include on what is to be said.
    Again, you're right: common sense in observers is often conspicuous by its absence, and they always find something to criticise. Your rapport with the student here is crucial. So when she is doing something in the way of preparation, you have no choice but to leave her alone, but make shure she knows to ask for help. If it is the second lesson of the week, set a speaking task as preparation in the first one, and then spend time going over the criteria before doing the task. Feedback in the form of content, vocabulary, range of expression, etc. is vital. Use the exam board's feedback sheet or a simplified version of it. Follow the speaking feedback with written homework, in which the ideas in the feedback have to be included in the write-up.
  7. bristolmover

    bristolmover New commenter

    How lucky to just have one student to dedicate an entire hour to! In my last place I had 18 A2 French and now I have 3 at A2 and 2 at AS...
    I wouldn't want to let them get on with it - that's for their non-contact time...

    So you have various options:

    A mock speaking exam? You could get them to 'self assess' and set a target.
    A grammar point? Then use it in context (e.g: open by watching a news article which includes the topic and gives them some facts, teach grammar point, give opinion on new item using grammar point and detail - useful for most exam boards speaking)

    A translation into French?

    You can still show them you encourage independent study by providing a list of websites/ resources where they can extend what is done in lesson... set a homework which requires research.

    You have to interact with them to show target lang, that you are preparing them for speaking exam and have a good rapport...

    I would focus on one skill/ section of the exam and work to a markscheme - get them to identify strengths and areas for development and have learned one measurable thing (grammar point/ vocab/ fact) or give a strong, backed up opinion on something by end of lesson
  8. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I also have just one student at A2 this year. I usually give her a text to prepare at home, then we discuss in class, I make sure she adds some good vocabulary and grammar points to her notes, we have quite a lot of speaking (open-ended questions, e.g. can you think of any such situation that you've seen recently on the news, etc). We are lucky to have 2 timetabled lessons in the computer suite so during those lessons I give her news videos from youtube with some questions (French - I've uploaded them on resources), which develops the independent listening skills (obviously, she gets plenty of listening in the lesson too). I wouldn't do that for an observed lesson though, it would take too long. Following on from the reading question and answer session I'll give her a short translation exercise and will let her get on with it for 3-5 minutes before "hovering" and checking what she's done/is doing. That reinforces the grammar and vocabulary we have just seen. If I was observed I'd probably add a "speaking exam" type debate, where she'd have two points of view to choose from (again, following closely from the text), and she'd defend one whilst I took the other. I might make notes whilst she speaks so I can get back on the mistakes she makes or give some feedback later without interrupting constantly and breaking her flow.

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