I am just back from a day of visiting students on their final teaching experience and have spent the day considering the idea whether trainees should plan their own lessons, from a few elements that arose.
I would have to say that this has exercised my thinking at different points in the past thirteen years as a link tutor, for universities, Teaching School Alliances and a SCITT.
This thinking has been premised on a relatively straightforward notion; how does one get better at thinking about being a teacher? Teaching is a multifaceted set of demands, beyond the personal attributes of professionalism (TS8), behaviour management (TS7), having expectations (TS10) and subject knowledge (TS3).
It’s very hard to describe a dynamic event in a 2D diagram, but a while ago, I sought to describe the idea of impact, to help trainees explore the thinking elements of teaching in a way that would fit with their day to day experiences and came up with this…
· Plans are a distillation of broader thinking.
· An experienced teacher should have the capacity to interpret the narrower plan into a more holistic whole and add personal value to the plan.
· An inexperienced teacher or trainee may take the plan as a whole and find themselves in difficulty if children start to demonstrate that they are insecure in learning.
Trainees and NQTs are learners and need support, as per this diagram.
Trainee placements are in disparate schools, with variable approaches to planning and other school elements. The best that a training organisation can do is to provide generic advice on these, with the understanding that the trainee will encounter different realities in different schools.
They therefore need mentoring into planning in the school style and will still do so in their NQT year or even as a new appointee. The assumption that anyone is “ready-made” is misplaced.
Trainees, at the end points of their training may be offered the opportunity to plan a theme over a period of time, where they can explore all the different dimensions, but equally it is likely to be already decided. They still need to be taken through the process to fully understand the pre-determined lesson plans, in order to extract the essentials for their own lessons.
It shouldn’t be a magical mystery tour through someone else’s planning idiosyncrasies.
They also need to know the children to be able to calibrate their challenges and to be able to consider when children may not understand something.
Rather than argue that trainees should be following detailed school plans, I’d argue that both the trainee and the mentor gain a great deal from the reflective journey of mentoring and coaching, reviewing the school approaches.
Schools need to talk with trainees about their planning approach.
It’s the bread and butter of their existence, but should be capable of review, even within the learning journey of a trainee. It should be based on easy to understand concepts.
Order and organisation (TS4) is fundamental to good teaching for progress. Disorganisation or lack of understanding of the nuances of the intended plan have more often been reasons for a trainee receiving negative feedback from an observation. Where they have receive the plan from a colleague, they do often feel aggrieved or let down.
Evidence of Impact? Rational thinking...