Micro-teach (A6)

My level six introductory lesson on the I Ching, aimed at twelve students, had three simple lesson objectives to be achievable in ten minutes. Five minutes consisted of a lecture during which the students were expected to fill in their worksheets. The text on the slide was size thirty-six to help students with learning difficulties. After the lecture, one minute was allocated to making sure the students got the correct information, allowing time for students who hadn’t completed their sheets. The last four minutes were left for the students to read each other’s futures with the I Ching. A Zeetings link with a virtual copy of the I Ching displayed was placed on the whiteboard at the beginning of the class. This made time for the students to access the link, the divination method also displayed on both the PowerPoint and the whiteboard. The students were told to read chapter two of the set text for next week’s lesson on the I Ching’s Bronze Age origins and were told to complete their hexagrams.

The Zeetings link didn’t work as well as I had hoped, because ten minutes wasn’t enough time to make sure everyone could obtain access. To combat this, I would bring more copies of the physical text and have the index pages marked to make the final task faster and smoother. I would also reduce the length of the lecture part of the lesson by a minute, allowing six minutes for the final activity. There wasn’t quite enough time for everyone to finish their hexagrams, though admittedly the students were set to finish them in their own time. Additionally, I would add a demonstration on how to construct a hexagram. Some students got confused by the instruction of throwing the coins six times, thinking they were meant to shake the coins six times and then throw them, resulting in decreasing the activity’s pace. A demonstration would decrease the likelihood of confusion.

One of the lesson objectives was incorrectly displayed, stating the students would discuss the relevance of the I Ching to Chinese culture. I should have added this topic onto the worksheet to integrate it into class discussion. I would also have put less information on each slide, as I received feedback that it was difficult for the students to understand everything I was trying to tell them. More positively, I think the learning objectives were simple enough for everyone to achieve, measured through discussion, comprehension questions and the completion of the worksheet. I linked visual information with verbal information, better facilitating learning by taking due to the nature of working memory into account, which uses different modalities. One of the ways I did this was within the first slide of my PowerPoint, in which six pictures of different divination methods were displayed. It worked well at eliciting responses from my students, but what I did forget to do was to ask them what they thought the lesson would be about after we went through what each of them was. I would adapt this next time.

My assessment task was clear, each student to know what they should do. My ideas progressed linearly so they could be easily followed, and the sources of information I used were both relevant and trustworthy. As I used multiple activity types comma my learners had to use different forms of mental processing, again increasing the effectiveness of learning. The divination task seemed to be enjoyed by my students, and doing a physical activity should help increase the effectiveness of the learning experience. I had bought replica ancient Chinese coins which added to the novelty of the task, increasing enjoyment thus promoting learning. I had placed the coins next to my students’ seats before the commencing of starting the task. This aided efficiency but also induced curiosity on what the lesson would be about before it commenced. The hope was that the realia would also elicit any prior knowledge.

Overall, I think the lesson was a success, as learning took place and the students engaged with my activities. Although adaptations could be made to increase its effectiveness, the lesson did complete the task it set out to accomplish, each student engaging with accessible material and seeming to have comprehended the lesson objectives. In the future, I would reduce the amount of information on my slides, make sure all the lesson objectives corresponded with tasks that can be assessed and I would make more time for making the hexagrams. My lesson was also two minutes longer than it should have been, so my pacing and timing are also in need of review.

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Published by Coffee & Alex

Alexander Clarke is a sole trader who writes and teaches. He’s published articles, blog posts, short stories and poems. He’s taught philosophy, theology, ESOL and PSHE.

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