Become the teacher that every pupil remembers – for all the right reasons.
“Invaluable! The best spend I’ve ever made! It’s like having your subject tutor there to ask those all important questions and to keep you on target. Into Teaching definitely keeps the stress levels down! It’s getting me through my first few weeks as a teacher. The fact it is easily categorised means it is a good resource for clarification. It prepares me for what is to come, stops me feeling overwhelmed and lets me plan ahead, especially on teaching practice as you don’t have the support of your peers there.”
Jenna Stevens, PGCE Student
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“Impressive! Into Teaching has proved to be an extremely useful and valuable resource for the learning teacher. It’s very useful for assignments because it contains up-to-date advice, information and effective examples. This year I will use Into Teaching with NQTs to remind them if matters and encourage them to try different ideas.” Alison Bawden, CPD Coordinator
Learning to become a teacher is, or should be, an enjoyable experience. Especially if you are strongly supported by tutors, peers, family, friends and so forth. Learning to become a truly effective teacher, however, can be extremely demanding.
As you will already have learned, teaching is a complex process. You will have to make judgements on a huge range of variables in a very short time.
A class full of pupils can come from a wide variety of backgrounds with widely different ambitions and motivation. And, whilst some may well be model students, others may come with serious SEN and emotional problems that would make teaching them a challenge for anyone.
To become the best teacher you can, you will have to develop a range of strategies and approaches that can deal with all eventualities. You will need to apply the right approach at the right time to the right pupils.
But such skills are not easy to master and can take years to develop. This is why experience is such a vital part of teaching.
Your job now, as a trainee, is to get a breadth of experience quickly! ‘Easier said than done,’ I can hear you say. Well, you’re right. Your PGCE year is far from a walk in the park.
What you could do with is a mentor. No, more than a mentor. Someone who could be there for you night and day; coaching you through every problem, worry, pitfall and new experience. Someone whose advice you can trust. Why? Because they’ve been there, they’ve made the mistakes themselves, learned from them, and have come out at the other end as an influential, inspiring teacher.
If you agree that such a person would make your journey towards NQT status (and beyond) easier, then I can guarantee that Into Teaching is something that you simply can’t miss out on.
The teams here have ensured that Into Teaching is strongly developmental so that you are able to read what you need at each stage of your PGCE year.
Our authors are engaged in teacher training across half a dozen leading universities. We are committed to writing practical, down-to-earth articles which will help you in your professional development.
Below are four practical tips you can put to use right away. To take full advantage of the wealth of information we have to share, you need to subscribe to Into Teaching today.
I have arranged a very special offer for a limited period only, whereby as a visitor to Teaching Expertise you are entitled to receive a huge 15% off the standard price of a subscription. As well as this, for today only, I am offering a FREE copy of a special bonus issue for those of you who respond straight away.
I look forward to welcoming you as a subscriber and wish you every success in your future career.
Lillian Chen Into Teaching
P.S. – When you subscribe, I will send you your first issues of Into Teaching with a FREE storage binder, as well as your FREE bonus introductory issue and a FREE index.
“Into Teaching is great for evidence in assignments as a PGCE Student. Good to refer to in if looking for information on any issues but especially SEN. With great tips and advice given in a manageable format, Into Teaching is a very well put together document. I really like the way it’s easy to navigate through with a new index every issue.” Cat Shephard, NQT
Into Teaching tip # 1
Know the signs of an outstanding lesson
Like every teacher, you dream of lessons which lead to pupils who are engrossed with what they are learning and work independently, manage their resources, use the vocabulary of the subject, and groan when the lesson ends.
Typical signs of an ‘outstanding’ lesson are well known to Ofsted inspectors and experienced teachers alike. But would you know how to recognise a successful lesson?
An outstanding lesson starts with you planning and matching the work to each pupil’s ability. It often ends with assessing their learning. Between those two end points, poor teaching can often cause poor behaviour. For example, teachers who are always giving out worksheets or using only commercial schemes and ruling the class with iron discipline.
As you teach check how your pupils are working.
Is the work too hard or too easy for certain groups? Has anything gone better than expected. Can you follow this up, now? Most importantly, check the achievement; that is, what did the pupils actually gain in the lesson?
It is surprising how many lessons look good with pupils working quietly, on task, or the teacher providing superb visual aids, witty repartee, or a warm caring environment only to find at the end of the session that there is very little progress in learning.
Make it a routine of your teaching to assess what it is that pupils thought they had learned. It is surprising how often your intentions and their understanding are poles apart. Set time aside to talk to pupils and simply ask them what they have learned: you may get a shock!
Remember that all teachers are different.
It is easy to look at your mentor or other experienced teachers and think that is the way to teach. Other teachers you observe may present you with different models of teaching. Keep observing for a purpose, discussing and reflecting.
Be careful not to confuse teacher performance with good teaching. One of the simplest and best checks for some areas of the curriculum is to look at the work in your pupils’ books over a half term and talk to the pupils. If the books are lively, varied and tidy, and pupils enjoy their work, you are probably doing well.
With the information provided in Into Teaching you can develop your own teaching approaches that suit your personality and strengths.
Our easily digestible articles and advice will enable you to develop your own style, methods and thinking. You will become a very good teacher and, best of all, you will not worry when someone arrives in your room with a clipboard to observe you. You will have been doing that yourself every time you teach.
“Great source for assignments and hints in relation to teaching methodologies, classroom setting and behaviour management. Good source for any upcoming new information in relation to teaching.” Aoife Walsh, PGCE Student
Into Teaching tip # 2
Use Ofsted to your advantage
Most teachers come across Ofsted’s Framework for Inspection during a school inspection but many do not see Ofsted as a source of helpful and supportive advice.
Ofsted’s harsh culture tends to be worrying and stressful, so teachers rarely think of an inspection as a positive opportunity. This is a pity since Ofsted’s criteria for judging teaching can be a helpful tool in developing and assessing your own teaching. This is especially important for you as a trainee.
Many teachers do not like being monitored or having their teaching judged. First-rate teachers sometimes freeze or change the way they teach completely when they are being observed. In some cases teachers ‘perform’, that is, teach in a way they would never normally teach. They behave in a way that they think an Ofsted inspector would like them to behave. Such approaches are not normally successful during an inspection or in day-to-day teaching and are not a professional way to act.
Ofsted inspectors are trained to judge lessons and make judgements across a number of categories and then make an overall judgement as to the level of the teaching.
This overall grade can range from ‘outstanding’ to ‘poor’. If you understand and use their teaching criteria to evaluate your own lessons, then you can inspect yourself. If your teaching is also observed by your mentor, together you will develop a good understanding of what is taking place. Then, when you come to be ‘Ofsteded’ (sooner or later), you will have a good idea of what to expect because you have been grading your own performance on the same criteria.
Learn exactly how you can use Ofsted’s Framework for Inspection by subscribing to Into Teaching today. Remember – the special offer available to you won’t last for long!
“Since I discovered Into Teaching, I have not looked back as it provides me with all the updated information on teaching, including conferences etc. It provides a platform for colleagues to share ideas.” Thembi Ationu, Teacher
Into Teaching tip # 3
Communication and power relationships
Have you ever taken part in a conversation when someone interrupted while you were talking, or a phone chat when the other person hung up? In both cases the other person exerted some power over you: power arising from their use of language. They set the agenda, whether you agreed it or not.
As a teacher you have immense power over your pupils, and rightly so. You have the knowledge, understanding, status and language skills which give you authority over your pupils and, for most of the time, with most children in most lessons, you set the minute-by-minute agenda and you control the nature and direction (and volume!) of communication.
The person with the power has the responsibility to communicate effectively: and I will revisit this idea once we get to powerful children. All this is obvious.
Consider how your pupils, regardless of their ages, might be taught how to use their communication skills to manage power responsibly.
Across many parts of the curriculum, from working with test tubes to using geographical terminology, there is a consensus that children learn by doing interesting and enjoyable things. However, only occasionally is this principle applied to language and power issues. Rarely are children given power so that they can become proficient in its use.
Fluency, spoken or written, automatically gives power to the speaker. Think about how powerless you (might) feel when (if) you travel around a country where few can speak your own language, and you can’t speak theirs. Sometimes it is embarrassing! Even learning a few key words gives you far more power over the situation than before. Similarly, effective use of language is empowering for children in the classroom, in relation to the use of both English and second languages.
Power brings with it responsibilities, one of which is to decide on the communication modes and direction at any given time. Children need to learn that. As the teacher you need to decide whether, when and how to relinquish power over classroom communication; who speaks, writes, presents, listens and so forth. Relinquishing power can be highly effective.
What strategies are effective in helping children manage power over classroom communication? Into Teaching can help you find out!
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“Into Teaching is keeping me up to date with all the government requirements of my subject and is helping me maintain a balance with all the red tape. The ideas for lesson planning and classroom management have proved to be invaluable. Whether you are an NQT or a teacher with many years experience, Into Teaching is an essential aid to the teaching job.” Julia Waddington, Teacher
Into Teaching tip # 4
Lesson planning: it’s a four-step process
A lesson plan is often referred to as a short-term plan – it is the scaffold for prior thinking about teaching and learning in your lesson. The act of writing the plan forces you to address the key issues in children’s learning, and when you evaluate a lesson the plan provides a window into your own professional growth for both yourself and your tutor/mentor.
A plan is not a script, but should clearly state:
- what the pupils are going to learn (objectives)
- how they are going to learn it (learning activities)
- how you will know that they have learned it (assessment).
Notice that the focus is on pupils’ learning, not on your teaching! This is because the plan should be a structure to support the process of children learning in your classroom, not a set of mechanistic directions for you to follow.
Planning is more than one logical step after another: in reality there is much to-ing and fro-ing in your thinking.
Your starting point is deciding what the pupils are going to learn. Remember, your lesson does not exist in isolation, so you need to know what they have already done, what they are going to do next and how your lesson fits into the overall unit of work.
It is important to know the pupils’ prior attainment so that you can judge the level at which to pitch the activities. The syllabus or scheme of work should specify the general content area, which may be expressed as an enquiry question such as ‘Why did the Romans invade Britain?’ or a topic title such as ‘Surrealism’ or ‘Electricity’. From this general starting point you will need to decide what specific things you want your pupils to learn in this lesson – the learning objectives.
These may be grouped under the headings of:
“It highlights those areas of teaching that are not necessarily academic but that are of interest and importance. Really useful bite size information that is easy to understand and always of relevance. I would recommend it to any PGCE student.” Emma Sealey, PGCE Student
Into Teaching‘s four steps will help you create the perfect lesson plan. Choose an option below to order Into Teaching today and benefit from the amazing special offer for Into Teaching e-bulletin subscribers. A massive 15% off!
Into Teaching is written specifically to guide you and other PGCE students through the different stages of teacher training.
Into Teaching will help you to:
Achieve effective classroom practice – each issue brings a wealth of practical tips and advice from the experts.
Cope with the day-to-day realities of the classroom – we help you to cope with bad behaviour, discipline, learning styles, lesson planning and much more.
Manage your own professional development – for example, we show you how to make a positive impact in your first placement and NQT position.
Be a successful teacher – we draw on the experiences of teachers, NQTs and trainees to bring you the very best advice and tried-and-tested methods of successful teaching.
Build a library of supporting materials to refer to as and when you need to – we deliver Into Teaching throughout your ITT and Induction years, so we can deliver materials that address your developing needs as a student teacher and will be useful for years to come.
“Into Teaching is well organised, easy to follow and understand. It focuses on all the important facts and offers the much needed guidance and advice on all relevant areas of education and teaching. I would be lost without it. Nothing is as good as Into Teaching.” Keziban Osman, PGCE Student