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What to observe during Pre-PGCE classroom experience

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by MissBeatrice, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. MissBeatrice

    MissBeatrice New commenter

    I have just organised a classroom experience placement at an infants school to support my PGCE application and I was wondering if there is anything in particular that I should be looking out for and observing while at the school?

    Thanks in advance
    Miss Beatrice
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Possible things to look out for ;
    the way the teaching assistant works:
    what learning gets assessed / recorded, by whom and when:
    how the children are grouped:
    the teacher's planning:
    the class routines and how autonomous the children are;
    behaviour management methods and systems.

    If you have a chance to spend time with more than one class it would be interesting to compare how different individuals handle the issues above. All of the above could be laid down in school policies but there will be some differences depending on the age of the children and how the individual teachers interpret the policies.

    Good luck and have a fun time!
    Kartoshka likes this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Try to have a chat with the class teacher about workload as well while you're there. Ask about marking - what, how, how often...

    And see if you can visit classrooms in a range of settings (PRU, SEN, rural, inner city...)
  4. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    One thing I can suggest is to observe in as many classes and as many settings as you can. Experience is absolute key.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Yes, these are all good points. I would certainly look at making observations during the day and then at the end of the day writing up a reflection on what you had seen, how your ideas had changed or been reaffirmed and then thinking forward as to what you should look at the next day. Do this for each day.
    In the interview, have this reflective log to hand, pull it out, explain what you did and offer the briefest of highlights not of what you saw, but of the best reflections you had and how they affected your observations the next day.

    See, it’s not the experience so much as what you did with it. If you used it to grow your understanding and how you used it.

    Good luck.
  6. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Observe the staff and appreciate what they really feel about teaching. What you observe in the classroom is just a part of what teaching is about. Go to staff meetings and briefings. Look at the work that teachers do outside of the classroom and all the other little 'extras' they end up doing all unpaid and in their own time. Ask the teachers how they juggle work life balance or how many hours they work per week. You will meet some teachers who take it all in their stride but also those who struggle with the demands of the job. When considering a teaching career no doubt you imagine inspiring young minds and 'making a difference' and that is a fantastic part of the job but for every hour you spend in the classroom you may be spending another two planning, marking, running clubs, trips, evidencing your work, tracking progress, meeting parents and a whole host of other duties. Make sure you embark on a teaching career with a clear view of what will be demanded of you - being a brilliant classroom practitioner just isn't enough.
    drvs likes this.
  7. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    Excellent advice from Mr Media! Couldn’t add anything to it!

    Whilst I agree you must have an open mind about work load, please be aware that School marking policies vary massively, which can make a real difference to work-life balance. Don’t let this be a deterrent to you as balance is ALWAYS possible!

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