Observation of other teachers (A4)

Reflection on the first observation of another teacher

Subject-Sociology

How men and women are treated differently in society 

Professional conduct:

The teacher began the lesson on time. She seemed to have her materials prepared and took the register before teaching. During the lesson, the teacher discussed the topic without making any inferences that could be misconstrued as inappropriate. The topic concerned the differences between men and women in society, there were many potential comments that could have caused aggravation. When an inappropriate statement arose, the teacher would not directly confront it. Rather, she would include why the inappropriate statement was such when she next addressed the class. In this way, the teacher could challenge the statement without causing disruption. 

Planning, teaching and learning:

Each student had a handout which included different graphs. The teacher made sure to take the time to explain what each graph meant. The seating plan was similar to the boardroom layout but had two tables in the middle. I thought that the reason was a behavioural reason, to put the students who are most likely to misbehave in the middle to manage them better. When asked, the teacher told me it was predominantly aimed at ease of access for the teacher to check students’ work, so the teacher can access every student quickly.

Application of subject knowledge:

The students were shown a video from the popular show ‘Friends’. The students found the clip entertaining, though it also captured what the teacher was trying to explain, being the Chivalry Hypothesis. It was well chosen for the age group. The teacher also demonstrated the knowledge through a personal anecdote which resonated with the students well, making the knowledge easily accessible by framing it in a scenario relatable to their lives.

Assessment of/for learning:

When writing feedback the teacher categorised it into three sections: what went well, even better if and do now. The categories frame the feedback in a positive light, encouraging the students to improve rather than instilling any sense of shame or inadequacy. The students engaged with the feedback, as feedback is important in improving our students and this is a good way to make it more accessible.

Maintain a positive learning environment:

The teacher spread questions around the room which encouraged engagement, thus aiding in the creation of a positive atmosphere. The teacher also used humour to explain the content of her lesson which is not only informative but genuinely entertaining. Not only does it make the environment better, but the students want her respect and seem to like her. In regards to behaviour, when giving instructions the teacher took great care to be polite to everyone, but was also affirmative, speaking softly through with imperatives. Giving commands gently was a good way to assist with controlling the class. 

Inclusive practice:

Every student was asked a question at some point during the lesson. The teacher also managed to vary the order in which they asked the student, increasing engagement as students can’t predict what the order will be. Random selection is useful and can be more inclusive.

Provide support for maths and English

The teacher walked around and helped the students to complete the set worksheet, making sure that grammar, spelling and punctuation were corrected. This was also addressed in the worksheet they were given back for feedback.

Reflection on the second observation of another teacher

Subject-Philosophy and Ethics

Monism and Dualism 

Professional conduct:

The teacher makes sure to greet all the students in a friendly manner as they walk through the door. This is a good way to build rapport before the start of the lesson, building a positive learning atmosphere early. Likewise, the teachers makes the students clear up the room before they leave and says goodbye. Being polite at the end and maintaining consistent rules aids in promoting professional relationships.

Planning, teaching and learning:

The seating plan was separated into island tables, and while the students are working the teacher is going from table to table offering feedback. The work is divided between what Aristotle observed and what he reasoned, highlighting the distinction between the two. The teacher used an IWB clock to time for 10 minutes, the allocated time set for the students to complete the activity. As the clock is always displayed comma the students know what is expected of them, and the teacher knows how long the lesson should go on for.

Application of subject knowledge:

Bertrand Russel’s quote about a chicken is explained by the teacher who uses a laminated copy of the quote and a small demonstration. This use of miming helped the students understand and seemed similar to total physical response (TPR) used mainly in teaching ESOL lessons. Students write down what they have learnt in their own words, which helps to see how complete the students understanding is. 

Assessment of/for learning:

The next activity begins by splitting the class into threes. There are 6 boards and 6 groups, the groups go to the boards and then decide who is 1, 2 and 3. A3 paper with information coinciding to the task has been put on the walls to help guide the students. The teacher is standing in the middle of the room so she can observe effectively. Each student is an ‘expert’ at either the first, second or third way and they fill in their section on board. By making the students learn in groups and then splitting these groups up to teach the other students what they have learnt, the teacher can assess what has been learnt by each student more effectively. 

Maintain a positive learning environment:

One student’s head was on the table, the teacher taped their shoulder and kept speaking. In this way, the lesson could continue without disturbance. The teacher said ‘If you have finished you can have a biscuit’, which though relates to Skinner’s modal of positive reinforcement, seemed to be done because the student appeared tired. When students get too loud the teacher calls the students by their names, which is effective in regaining their focus. Additionally, when the student’s behaviour gets hard to manage the teacher begins to clap loudly and says ‘I’m a bit puzzled by this undercurrent of muttering’. The clapping gets the students attention, while the statement makes them consider for themselves the atmosphere of the class.

Inclusive practice:

The teacher makes sure to question all students and to mix up the order she does so. By mixing up the order the teacher keeps her students engaged, and by asking all the students she keeps her practice inclusive. The teacher also makes sure that those students with glasses or who find it difficult to see are at the front of the class, making sure everyone can view the PowerPoint and knows what the next instructions are.

Provide support for maths and English:

As the teacher moves around the room she makes sure that grammar and spelling are correct when checking the worksheets. She also collects all the work completed at the end of the class for feedback, at the beginning of the next class they have received the work back, marked in relation to their spelling and grammar.

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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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