October 13, 2013 by gemmalunn
During the two week practical block you will be observed 6 times! These observations are broken down as follows:
- Observation 1: This is unassessed and just like a warm up for what’s to come!
- Observations 2-5: These are internally assessed and account for 40% of your Unit 4 mark. You need to produce detailed lesson plans (see below) and reflections which make up the Teaching Journal which along with any lesson materials is 20% of the mark.
- Observation 6: This is externally assessed by a Trinity examiner and accounts for the final 40%.
There’s no point denying that these two weeks are pretty tough! You will feel stressed, come close (if not succumb!) to tears , question everything you know about teaching, and be sleep deprived but I think if you go in knowing this and knowing that everyone else who has done and will do the Diploma goes through the same rollercoaster of emotions it helps!
I had a ‘breakdown’ on the first day when planning my first observed yet unassessed lesson I had thought of an idea for the lesson the weekend before but after meeting my class I thought what I’d picked was too easy and I could not for the life of me think of me think of anything else to teach and still at 8pm had not planned my lesson for the next day! I frantically searched websites, blogs and past lessons for inspiration until settling on a previous lesson that I’d taught quite a few times (Room 101 published here on Alien Teachers) and that had always gone down well. It was a good decision as I had been confident delivering the lesson and the feedback was positive.
I’m glad to say the week got easier (I couldn’t have coped if it hadn’t) don’t get me wrong it was still pretty stressful and I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep but I felt much more relaxed. As previous Dippers said, the second week is slightly easier than the first, as you feel more confident, are more used to writing the lessons plans and also you have a weekend to get ahead.
I learnt an incredible amount in the two weeks about both my pedagogy and teaching in general. Even though your teaching will be analysed to the nth degree it’s important to still take the advice and observations on board and take these away at the end in order to keep improving your practice. You’ll probably (and hopefully!) never again be observed to intensely in such a short space of time!
A website I’ve referenced before is www.passthediploma.edublogs.org they have some great posts on the Diploma in general and this post: ‘How I got a distinction in Unit 4 teaching practice’ is also very useful and helped me a lot before and during the two weeks. The author (Fiona) gives three pieces of advice:
- Keep it simple.
- Think global not linear.
- Keep it real to your learner.
This combined with the advice of out Tutor makes an otherwise overwhelming task seem far more achievable and much less stressful:
- Teach them (the students) something (sounds obvious but is vital!)
- Make sure they enjoy the lesson.
Below I’ve put links to an example of a lesson plan and some lesson slides from a lesson I gave during the practical block. It’s by no means perfect (but good enough to get a Distinction!) but hopefully it might help give people an idea of what’s required. You don’t have to use PowerPoint I just find it useful to keep me on track and good for visuals etc. I made my own recordings which whilst they are not truly authentic still get you brownie points (or so I was told!) You can see I played it safe and followed the ESA format and whilst I don’t always think this is the most appropriate teaching method I found it helped me keep my lessons simple and focused.
Feel free to post any questions about the Dip or share any experiences below.