The effective teaching and learning assignment
Throughout the induction period of my placement, I observed numerous teachers and I found that there are two main factors for effective teaching and learning. The first of which is planning.
Planning has a huge importance in the classroom as it provides structure to the lesson. This implies that a lesson plan allows a teacher to put timing in place for a lesson which will allow the pupils enough time to work but still ensure there is time for a plenary activity a the end of the lesson. This plenary is generally used for assessment for learning purposes so it is essential to have one in each lesson. In the lesson plan it is essential to highlight the lesson objectives and the lesson outcomes (Appendix III & Appendix II) .This helps as prior to the lesson the teacher can ensure good subject knowledge and can find and vet good resources that can be used throughout the lesson. The plan also covers the keywords and key concepts to be covered in the lesson. As a trainee teacher I find this very effective as it summarises the basis of the lesson and it helps to draw our attention to the main aspects of the lesson.
I also found that planning for the possible misconceptions helped as when students answered with wrong answers the teacher would have some constructive criticism as opposed to just telling the pupil they are wrong he/she could tell them it was a good idea and along the right track but could be improved on with a little help from another member of the class.
The lesson plan also gives the teacher a chance to evaluate and risks that could occur during a practical and set out a risk assessment form for said practical. Health and safety are huge issues in a science lab so these risk assessment forms have to be prepared in advance to a lesson. (Appendix I & Appendix III)
An effective teacher ensures that there is effective learning in the classroom. The lesson plan is a great way to assign time to assess pupil progress in the classroom and to evaluate the knowledge and understanding gained by the pupils throughout the lesson.
A lesson plan also allows the teacher to accommodate pupils with SEN. In the classroom can be seen as discrimination against people with disability if such accommodations are not made, this is why planning is necessary. If there is going to be a support teacher in the class with you it is essential that you give them a copy of the lesson plan before the lessons commence. This is as the support teachers may have to make certain accommodations for the pupils they are helping depending on the lesson. I witnessed this in a year 8 class I was observing. One of the pupils was quiet badly visually impaired. If there was a PowerPoint associated with the lesson the support teacher would have to set up a special laptop for this pupil to avoid straining her eyes. It is the responsibility of every teacher to make the teaching and learning environment as inclusive as possible, and planning for the pupils with SEN is a great help for such inclusion.
Planning homework ahead of a lesson is essential also as it allows the teacher to allocate homework, that is suitable for the class and that can be used for assessing pupil progress. It is also necessary as if there are SEN pupils in the class who have issues with literacy or numeracy it may be required to have homework sheets printed off to help. If this were not completed prior to the class, it may cause for a rushed effort and some pupils may not require the materials they need to complete the homework.
As a PGCE student, I also found the plan was good for personal evaluation after each lesson as it allowed the trainee teacher to self-evaluate the lesson and set personal targets for the upcoming lesson. This is essential in a teacher as if you are constantly setting yourself targets you will constantly be growing as an effective teacher.
???Self-assessment is essential for progress as a learner: for understanding of selves as learners, for an increasingly complex understanding of tasks and learning goals, and for strategic knowledge of how to go about improving. (1) (Sadler, D. R. 1993)
Planning is not only essential for in the classroom it is also needed into to gather resources for practical work. This is necessary as if the materials required for the practical are not prepared before the lesson and the equipment is not tested then allocating the apparatus and testing it will eat into lesson time. This would not be a form of effective teaching, as the pupils would not be learning for this period.
An effective teacher always follows the curriculum and the Q standards. In a lesson plan, it is essential that these criteria are adhered to. A lesson plan with this content allows the teacher to teach a lesson secure in the knowledge that the lesson being thought is useful to the pupil??™s future education.
A plan also allows a teacher to try to hit on the three main aspects of teaching, hearing, doing and understanding. This is mainly true for practical work. In a good lesson plan there will be time allocated for an explanation of a practical a demonstration and the class practical, this is because most pupils will learn best from doing the practical, but for safety reasons it is always best to demonstrate a practical first.
???Tell me and I??™ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I??™ll understand??? (2) (author unknown).
???Effective planning leads to effective teaching??? (3) (author unknown)
This statement is vey true as without an effective plan a teacher can not possibly ???wing it??™ and still be an effective teacher.
The second factor, which I feel, influences the effectiveness of the teaching and learning in a classroom is the assessment for learning (AFL).
Formal exams have a tendency to scare pupils into cramming which does not asses the ability to learn but merely the ability to memorise. AFL is based on ensuring the pupils understand the lesson and are progressing. This can be done in a fun way though posters, PowerPoint, or even games. This helps the pupils to see that learning can be fun.
???Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot (??¦) escape the effects of poor assessment.??? (4)
AFL is essential for effective teaching and learning as it allows the teacher to see whether the pupils understood the main objectives in the lesson or whether the topic should be revisited.
AFL can be done through peer group assessment, which can help build a healthy competitive behaviour in the classroom; it also pushes the pupils to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of those around them. This is because they do not want to make the same mistake twice when there peer is marking their work as it may end is some teasing.
This is essential for effective learning as it shows the progression of each pupil throughout each lesson. This assessment method will help to give the teachers an idea as to the best circumstances for certain pupils to learn. So if the class as a whole shows a vast understanding of the lesson objectives after a lesson with a practical it will show the teacher that a more hands on approach would be better for this class as they seem to learn better by doing that just merely by listening and doing tasks.
AFL also helps the teacher with the personal evaluation as if there has not been effective learning in a lesson the teacher knows to amend their lesson plan and try to teach the topic in a different way to encourage effective learning in the classroom.
AFL is also good as it helps the teacher know if the pupils target grades are realistic or if they will just dishearten the pupil, if this is so the teacher may deem it necessary to speak to previous teachers about these target grades and get them dropped to a more appropriate level.
This is very important in the classroom as if a pupil knows there are not reaching their target grade it can have a huge effect on their confidence and may cause the pupil to act out and end up with behavioural issues. This is why assessing a pupil throughout every lesson informally can help the teacher to understand the pupils method of learning and build on this so that when it comes to more formal assessment the grades will not dishearten the pupils and may even help them to strive for even better results.
???Feedback is often the spark that ignites motivation??? (5) (Marzano)
So to summarise in my opinion planning and assessment for learning are not the only factors which influence effective teaching and learning but they are major factors involved in it. I believe that if all teachers produced a sufficient lesson plan and assessed informally in each lesson it would lead to an education system that would rival any other in the world.
1. Sadler, D. R. 1993. Cited in Brookhart, S. M. 2001. Successful Students??™ Formative and Summative Uses of Assessment Information. Assessment in Education. Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 153-169
2. Author unknown Traditional Chinese proverb
3. Author unknown old proverb
4. (Boud, 1995: 35, Available at http://www.reap.ac.uk/TheoryandPractice/Policy.aspx , accessed on 04/10/11)
5. (Dr. Robert J Moranzo, http://www.slideshare.net/guest6aa75b4/module5-1693058 accessed 04/10/11)