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“Why new teachers should not have to plan lessons. They should just get on with the teaching”

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Almost every plan I've ever seen has presumed that everything taught in that lesson will be understood/learnt in the proscribed timeframe. There is never any contingency for this not happening...

    Hence plans are taught, rather than children...
    nearmiss, lanokia, TCSC47 and 4 others like this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I agree that whilst not needing'to re-invent the wheel' every time, using planning from elsewhere is useful as a starting point. But as a starting point only. We all know even with our own planning, we constantly have to adapt/tweak it for different groups/ years etc.
    Any teacher needs to be clear in their own mind what they're trying to achieve. Which outcomes they expect? For whom? Then how can they adapt any resources?

    Then with that planning, delivery with the class, adapting depending on how they react will inform planning in the classroom during the lesson.
    -myrtille- and Godmeister like this.
  3. Godmeister

    Godmeister Occasional commenter

    I can't believe I'm going to wade into this whole debate again, but here goes...

    Helping beginning teachers with resources is a good idea. Having SAMPLE lesson plans is a good idea. Following a set of pre-planned lessons is not a good idea.

    I re-plan my already planned lessons from previous years constantly based on the needs of the very different classes in front of me, even if they are supposedly of the same level as last year's groups. I use different resources based on their specific needs, focusing on different skills (MFL) than how I approached a topic previously.

    I just can't see how following a set of plans based on what even an experienced teacher taught to their specific group the previous year is a good idea. Using that as a guide yes, but not having NQTs plan their own lessons based on their own groups still seems bizarre to me. Did that other Y8 teacher teach every level, every ability group, every possible class scenario with every possible dynamic? I doubt it.
    -myrtille- likes this.
  4. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    2 form entry primary. New curriculum. Cross-curricular 'Topics' (for want of a better word) agreed for each year group, following whole school discussion. Curriculum leaders ensure progression of skills, concepts & content through these topics across the school, which feed into the SoW which staff of each year group team work together to produce for their year. From this, class teachers plan lessons to suit their class & their teaching style & themselves, When staff move year groups, the SoW is in place, they just plan lessons from this.

    I used to work with a fantastic teacher - but her approach & teaching style were very different from mine. I could never use her lesson plans (nor she mine) - but we could work together to produce SoW which were the starting point for our individual planning & teaching.
  5. pixiewixiepixie

    pixiewixiepixie Occasional commenter

    I don't think I've ever been able to follow my own lesson plan let alone from someone else. However, when starting teaching, writing out plans is an excellent way of understanding how to plan and over time, it becomes second nature. It's when it becomes an aim in itself that it's a problem - if it means a teacher works more than 8 hours a day because they have to write out the paperwork when it is already in their head, just to show evidence,, then it shouldn't be done - there are other more important jobs. If they are given time to write out the plans so they fit in an 8 hour day, then fine.

    Remember, teachers are not 'professional' workers so this is part of keeping an eye on what they are doing, ensuring everything is done in the prescribed way, like factory workers plucking chickens on a production line.
    lizziescat likes this.
  6. -myrtille-

    -myrtille- Occasional commenter

    I'm astonished by the people on this thread who say they work in schools where all planning is centralised and teachers teach the same lessons! If this sort of thing is going on no wonder teachers feel deprofessionalised and undervalued.

    I'm glad to say that although we have a detailed week-by-week scheme of work, it's not lesson by lesson and there's plenty of room to deviate from it. I generally find that my colleagues and I cover the same stuff but play with the order of it to suit our classes (or one of us will find something that should have been a 1-week, 3-lesson job takes 4 lessons, and with another class it takes 2 lessons). So long as we end up at roughly the same end point at the same time, ready for assessments, I think this is the way it should be.

    Like Scintillant, I find that if I closely follow another teacher's lesson, it's not a good lesson. That doesn't mean it wasn't a good lesson when they taught it, it just means it doesn't suit my style or my class or that I haven't got my head around it properly so I feel like I'm going through the motions.

    I also find the suggestion that NQTs don't know how to plan and resource a good lesson quite insulting. On my second PGCE placement the teachers I worked with were always pinching my resources to use with their other classes, and specifically asked me to organise and leave them behind as they found them really useful. Different NQTs will struggle with different aspects of teaching, and personally I think behaviour and relationships are the toughest one that you have to learn from experience, not planning. But that's an individual thing.
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    As someone who trains a large amount of teachers I can safely report there is a complete spectrum from 'fully resourced with an autocratic HOD who doesn't flex' to 'no SOWs and despite that our school is outstanding!'

    As a PGCE trains teachers for any type of school we give them the planning skills to both cope with the school that has no SOW, but also the ability to challenge and refine the planning of the autocratic HOD. We also help them collaborate to share their resources across their placements and build a set of resources to help them in their first year.

    LastLy, this is so secondary and you will find the primary phase shaking their heads at you for not really understanding how planning works with the younger age groups.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    We don't have a full and comprehensive set of lesson plans. We have a curriculum and we have a variety of resources and units of works which cover various outcomes from that curriculum. Individual teachers pick and choose how best to teach those outcomes and group them together by choice into what works for the teacher and the class. Support is given to new teachers but , as shown in the standard I posted, this sort of planning and curriculum development is something all teachers are expected to lead.
    Godmeister likes this.
  9. Godmeister

    Godmeister Occasional commenter

    Exactly @Flere-Imsaho. A complete set of SOWs and resources to support the teaching of said SOWs yes. A full set of lesson plans no - how on Earth is that differentiating for different groups/abilities/circumstances?

    Imagine these scenarios for example. And before anyone says anything, these aren't exceptions they are pretty regular occurrences in my experience.

    "My Y8 group already get concept X so I need to move on." - But the lesson plans say there are 2 more classes on topic X.

    "My Y8 group still don't get concept X they need more time." - 3 lessons have already been spent on topic X. All classes should understand at exactly the same time. Topic Y must be started.

    "My class have missed several lessons due to various trips/interventions in other subjects/whole school activities/(insert myriad of other ideas here). How do I decide which lesson plans to miss out? Oh wait, I'll have to plan lessons myself to compensate for this." - Cue issues with HoD or school over not using centralised lessons.

    I just don't get how you can have "full sets of lesson plans". Full SOWS obviously and resources to teach them yes.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. badpower

    badpower Occasional commenter

    I am a great believer in owning what you teach. The lessons you teach will only ever become yours if you plan them. the danger here is that teachers become nothing more than automatons reading from a board who cant answer questions or offer appropriate support to students as they themselves have not prepared the material.

    Schemes like this have been mooted for a few years now as a way to reduce costs in schools. one teacher planning the lessons and marking what is returned and a team of teaching assistants delivering the content. It is a bad idea and will leave these young teachers ill equipped to develop their careers further as they do not have the necessary skill or experience to lead a department themselves one day.
  11. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    OK. Some of the comments here start to help me make sense of the article. There would appear to be schools out there that don't wish NQTs to use tried and trusted internal lesson plans, in which case I would support what I believe Ms Rivzi is trying to say as quite valid.

    We must not forget we are only talking about NQTs. nobody else. When they have got their feet under the table and have figured out a few things about teaching, then they should be able to take on the complete range of lesson planning. But during their first year so much is being thrown at them that I honestly don't think many will even know what time of day it is, I certainly didn't!

    Those of us who spend too much time here will have read the recent forum posts on why the drop out rate of new teachers is so unacceptably high. Well maybe we have one of the reasons here.
    Maths_Shed likes this.
  12. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Is it not just shifting the problem a year forward? The second year becomes a new NQT year because of the range of additional responsibilities the teacher will have to pick up. Maybe you need a longer NQT period.
    lizziescat and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    When I started as an LFA (ILEA speak for an NQT), my mentor, and other teachers in the department, showed me what resources they used, how they worked with different classes, the SoWs, etc. to get me started. Gradually, once I had gained some confidence and developed my own style of teaching, I adapted what I had been given, added to it, until I was 'doing my own thing'.

    Of course, teachers should plan their lessons but to what extent depends on the definition of the word 'plan'. If you mean a teacher should know what he is going to do in a class, what he is going to teach and how, fine. If you mean that he should write an exhaustively detailed document that takes him three times longer to write out than it does to teach the lesson, no.

    My first HoD had a sort joke to warn us off 're-inventing the wheel'. "Two people are given the task of putting screws in wood, How do you tell which one is the teacher? One goes to buy a screw-driver, while the teacher starts prospecting for iron ore." This was pertinent in the Seventies, when one of the 'buzz words' in TTCs was 'originality'.
  14. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    It might help for me to be clear about where I am coming from on this. I am a retired physics/science/CDT/engineering teacher working in secondary and FE. with all my lessons having a large practical element. I don't know exactly how my own experiences would compare with those of teachers of other subjects and schools, but I would think that at least all science departments would recognise what I am talking about.

    Pretty much all science lessons were class practical lessons so we relied heavily on our technicians to set up a sizeable amount of equipment. Our technicians had to have at least a weeks warning to fully prep a lesson, so In many cases we were planning a lesson before we had taught the previous one. Without a decent set of lesson plans available, I am certain I would not have survived my first year in teaching.

    As I say I don't know how this compares with others, but I certainly didn't feel any loss over the fact that I was having to follow somebody else's lesson plan. Far from it, I was immensely grateful!

    And to resort to the old cliché that is used whenever somebody wants to make a point about how we should teach or whatever. This is not just about the teacher. This is as much about the student. A NQT knows very little about teaching. That is why they have special status. To allow them carte blanche over what and how they taught a class, before their strengths and weaknesses were known would be wrong and could lead to significant damage to the education of their students.
    Maths_Shed likes this.
  15. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    But they don't have carte blanche, do they? I thought NQTs got support and training?
  16. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    That is to the good then.
  17. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I certainly like it. I haven't read it in detail yet but the honesty shown by the author, Dani Quinn (?) immediately endears me to her. As you have said she is a colleague of Ms. Ravzi and my first thoughts are it is wonderful to see a school that has staff who are enthusiastic and want to get out there in the media, presumably encouraged by the school itself.

    Her opening sentences quoted from the blog -
    "This is my sixth year of teaching and I think it’s the first time I have taught equations properly to a KS3 class. I was almost there last year, and thought I was doing it well, but I now know there are several topics where I completely let the pupils down. This post is about how I could have been better-prepared earlier in my career, and avoided leaving later teachers with a mess to clean up."

    Over the years I have met more and more BSing teachers who pretend they know it all. To admit anything less would be to open oneself up to the "name blame and shame" of OFSTED. The thing I enjoyed in teaching was that every lesson was a learning experience for me in so many ways, never mind my students, and I never ever felt that my lessons were perfect, though I did feel that this was being required of us. Before I go any further, I feel compelled to point out that I had some of the best exam results of anybody, not only in my own school but in all the five secondary schools in our area. You see how much I (and other teachers) have been cowed and put on the defensive by the Bar Stewards that even here where I am anonymous (I hope!) I hesitate to admit any faults.

    In the blog Ms. Quinn goes on to justify why she wants to write a maths text book. I would suggest that she may be able to do this because her department has sufficiently good lesson resources already in place, allowing her the time and energy to step back and have a look at what is actually happening in her class and learn from it.

    Rock on Ms. Quinn! More power to your elbow and best wishes with your endeavour.
  18. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Apologies --- Ms. Rizvi not Ms. Ravzi The edit time ran out before I noticed!
  19. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I was asking - I don't know how the NQT thing works.
  20. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    In my last school I taught across 3 subjects.
    1) lesson plans resources etc written by HoD and woe- betide anyone who didn't stick exactly to this.
    2) no lesson plans). A general and out- of -date SoW which made no sense e.g. Learning objectives which had nothing to do with the resources or inaccurate /wrong resources
    3) SofW written and a lesson plan and resources for every lesson BUT we were free to use these or adapt as we saw fit. The lesson plans etc were really useful as, with the best will in the world I wasn't going to spend 30+ mins x 6 lessons every night planning for the next day.

    Surely 3 is the desired staring point for NQTs who will be mentored to i) adapt lessons for their own needs and ii) to create new lessons to try out ideas, develop the SoW etc.

    I was always shocked, however, by some departments expecting NQTs to write a new scheme of work. They hadn't got the time or (yet) the skill to do this.

    But of course NQTs need to develop their planning skills otherwise who will be doing the planning in the future?

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