Subject Planning and Teaching

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Subject Planning and Teaching

January 5th 2009

New teachers starting their initial training frequently say that they aim to “pass on their knowledge for the benefit of other” (Wood, K., 2000 cited in Davies and Brant, 2006; 7).  I have to agree with the statement made by Wood. I am a trainee teacher whose aim is to pass on my knowledge and understanding to other people so that they better understand the world in terms of Business and Economics.

During my placement at South Bromsgrove High School (SBHS) I was given the opportunity to do just that within a department that taught Business and Economics. There were four members of staff who shared the teaching within the department with two of the teaching staff specialising in Economics. The groups that I had the opportunity to teach ranged from a low ability Year 9 ICT class to Year 12 Economics class.

Very early into my placement I was provided with a ‘teacher’s tool kit’ (see, appendix 1) that I was able to use when planning lessons and was introduced to the idea of ‘Smiths accelerated learning cycle”. This is essentially a “means of helping teachers in classrooms raise students motivation and achievement by providing life long learning skills on understanding how we learn rather than an expedient preoccupation with what we learn” (Smith, 1998; 25). The framework used by the school meant that I knew that I had to include the following when planning my lessons:

Starters- An engaging activity which recaps previous learning or introduces the lesson content. Ensures students start today’s learning as soon as they enter the classroom

The big picture- Highlights the relevance of the lesson content to everyday life and how it fits into the unit of learning

Objective- Objectives are shared with the students and discussed, emphasising the learning language

Activity and demonstration of learning- A variety of challenging activities and opportunities to demonstrate learning through multiple intelligences supported by peer and self assessment

Revisit the objective- Designated time for students to review the lesson objectives and their personal targets

Review- A student centred plenary focusing on the lesson content or metacognitively reviewing how the learning has taken place.

Preview- A brief outline of the next lesson, how it relates to this lesson and how it fits into the unit of learning

When planning my lessons I ensured that I covered these points as best as I could as it was the schools philosophy to do so.  With this framework I was then able to consult with my mentor who gave me the scheme of work that he had been sent by the examining board ‘Edexcel’ (see, appendix 2).

The scheme of work was very explicit in telling me what I needed to teach, the difficulties I was likely to experience and the type of language that I should use within my lesson content i.e. handouts and PowerPoint’s. With the Smiths model and the Edexcel scheme of work I was able to start thinking about planning and delivering lessons.

The research that I undertook for my first assessment taught me that individuals learn in many different ways. “The work of Gardner (1983) and others leads us to take a very different view of intelligence” (Davies and Brant, 2006; 146) the fact that there are many forms of intelligence (see, appendix 3) and that these intelligences can be developed meant that lesson had to include a wide variety of tasks for a whole range of abilities and learning styles.

Once I had been introduced to my teaching group I was able to begin to building a picture of the different types of student ability and behaviour that I was likely to expect when teaching the class.                                      The class itself was a Year 11 Business Studies GCSE group which consisted of 18 boys and 11 girls, none of the students within the group were SEN registered and 55% of the students were predicted to achieve A*-C. With this type of class as with all classes came the issue of differentiation.                 Hart (1996) argues “that differentiation has a central part to play to ensure equal opportunities for all students” (Hart, 1996; 190). As a trainee teacher I am acutely aware of the difficult nature of differentiation, Brant and Davies (2006) suggest that “the difficulties in successfully differentiating between the needs of learners are frequently underestimated” (Brant and Davies, 2006; 191). In order to tackle this, I worked hard to create tasks that would appeal to a wide range of students; an example of such can be found in appendix 3. These worked really well as they appealed to visual, audio and kinaesthetic (VAK) learning styles.  

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I was quick to appreciate the importance of differentiation within the class as it affected the planning of my lessons due to the fact that I had to design tasks that ensured all students were attentive (see, appendix 4).

  An example of two students from the class can be seen below:

         I have labelled the students as A and B for the purpose of anonymity. Student A was studying A Level accounting which meant that I needed to consider a task for him so that he remained attentive throughout the finance lessons (Profit and Loss) for this I ...

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