Monday was my first class where I was leading and where the other teacher in the room was there for ‘observation’ and just if anything happened. Following a class on Reflective Practice I have decided to reflect on this lesson referring to the Gibbs Reflective Cycle (Do, Review, Learn, Apply).
The lesson was an ‘easy’ lesson to take as I did not need to prepare a lesson plan as the students were continuing their work from previous lessons (to research artists). I felt that it was a good way to be introduced to teaching as it felt like a step up from the co-teaching I have been doing so far.
For the lesson however I prepared a simple slideshow just outlining what was expected of the students to help them understand and give me something to structure to the class with.
Review and Learn
- I was nervous to start as it was my first time being with the students without their typical teacher however I have been shadowing their classes for the past couple of weeks so the students know who I am and their reaction to me opening the class door and introducing the class seemed alright. Their acceptance calmed my nerves as I got into the flow of the class and I feel that I will not be as nervous with next weeks’ lesson.
- One issue that I am aware of is my need to understand Lesson Objectives more, I have added this to my Individual Learning Plan and will research them and ask my tutor about suitable books that may help. I had set out lesson aims but understand objectives need to be more specific, I am just unsure on them.
- Before the class began I made sure to enter earlier to set up the SMART Board and I am glad that I did as it was not as simple as it should have been. There were a few issues with the power-point and getting the screen set up which could have delayed the class if I had not been early. I feel I was right in going in early to set up because of this but feel that as I take more lessons I will learn more about SMART Boards so should have less issues (or at least learn/know how to deal with these issues) however I feel I should try and work with a MAC more as this is what was connected to the SMART Board and this is where the issues came from.
- I had set up the power-point with a dark grey background (this helps me so I thought this would be a good start) so not to have black on white to allow for inclusivity however on the projection this dark grey was washed out and did not have the effect I wanted. Having this issue has taught me that the colour of the background on the power-point needs to be darker to allow for the washout that the projector creates. I will however find out which colour is best as I do more power-points and I might even need to use a specific colour once I have class profiles as I might have to cater for a particular students needs.
- Some students also had issues with their MAC and I was unable to help them with their issues, this made me feel a little useless and I felt like I had failed the students by not knowing how to help with their issues. Again this comes from my own lack of knowledge with using MAC and to remedy this I should strive to do more on them and learn about printing at the college.
- On the slides I did have what students should cover to help them in their research however I feel that having this on a handout might have also helped the students. I could not have two slides up on the screen at once as I also needed up on the screen a list of artists for them to research so giving this handout could have solved the issue of the students needing the information. This handout would also be useful for the students in their studies in general so would be a better use of resources than say having the list of artists printed, this handout could also include notes on annotation as I noticed many students struggled with what to write for their annotations.
- The students did not seem to get a great deal done in the class; I do not know if this was my expectations being too high or the students slacking because it was a new teacher for them? Perhaps I gave them too much choice in terms of their contemporary artists and instead should have selected three or four for them then to choose two from. If I did do this I would then give more details of the artists to the students, so the students could not waste time researching as much of the extra details and instead concentrate on image analysis. This would also give more structure to the lesson as it was a very open lesson but I would have to be wary of the lesson becoming too ‘taught’. I was however glad to see that students were using the examples I suggested and saw a pattern of the type of artist they were attracted to. This will help me when it comes to planning further lessons as it will allow me to do what I previously mentioned without too many of the students disliking the artist and having no interest in them which I feel is an issue with artist research.
- Questioning students is a big part of lessons and I feel that I missed some opportunities for open questions with this lesson. I could have asked the class about their historical research, asking them, in an open question if they can tell me the four artists they were given to research. This doesn’t seem a lot but it would have also allowed me to understand where the students were at and allow me to compare the student’s progress with their classmates before I conducted one-to-ones.
- I feel that at the end of the class I should have also gone over the deadline, re-covered what the students need to achieve and mention that they needed to complete as much work as possible for next week. I did mention that students need to start making sure their research is printed and in their books but do not feel I went into enough detail. This point is something to be aware of and I should leave myself a note to remember, perhaps introducing these facts (homework) at the beginning of the class and having a slide at the end of my slides to remember again.
- One of my worries is that I gave all the students enough attention, making sure that I did not miss out on the able students just because there were students less able. I feel that I did manage this in the class and have come to realise how observations can help as an observer may pick up on how you disperse your time amongst the students. I am (at the time of writing) waiting for feedback from the tutor who sat in the class with me so I will return to my reflections with this feedback.
- One student was late arriving into class, I made sure not to disrupt my introduction too much for that student, just saying hello and telling them to find a seat and noted down their lateness. I however failed to ask for a reason why the student was late once the class was set to task and realised when I was making my notes on how the session went. This was obviously just a forgetful moment but again I could leave myself a note on my sheet to remind me of this fact if a student is late until it becomes embedded that I need to do this.
- While conducting one-to-ones I noticed that it would have been useful to give post-it-notes to the students listing what we were covering needed to be done. Giving the students this written confirmation would have ensured they could not ‘forget’ and also would show other tutors what had been covered in the one-to-one and that the students are aware of work that needs to be done, especially if a week later they still have not achieved the work. I did mention to their tutor that many students were unsure on what they needed in their workbooks and would find a list useful which she then made and uploaded to Moodle.
- Remembering names is an issue I am aware I have, reading out a register is one way to help learn and remember names however the registers for this class are still an issue so I got the students to write their names on a sheet of paper. I then used this sheet throughout the class to put a face to a name. I understand this is not ideal but it was working and I now feel more confident in naming and knowing the student to the name. I feel that if I was newer to the class than an icebreaker would have also helped with learning students names however felt that now I have been with the students two weeks it would have been more disruptive then beneficial to have a icebreaker.
- Students are allowed their phones in creative lessons and I personally feel that smart phones can help in certain classes, however while in an IT room phones are not needed. I am also not against students listening to music (as long as it is not loud enough for others to hear) so allowed them to have their phones out for this however I did notice students using phones to go on social media sites and message friends. Where I noticed this I did tell the students this was not acceptable and gave them a warning, if they repeated this I warned them that the next time I would remove the phone from them. I have been told that we have every right to request students hand in phones and return them at the end of class, and that students are aware of this policy, so felt I was justified in my ‘three strikes’ system in regards to phone use.
- One thing I realised I had missed was a way to assess if my slides had been useful for the students from their point of view (other than seeing them use my suggestions for their contemporary research). I am unsure how student feedback can work so need to ask about it as while in the early days of training any feedback is really useful for me.
With all this in mind for next weeks’ lesson (and as further development) I need to:
- Change the colour on my presentation background
- Set clear lesson objectives
- Practice more with using SMART Boards (continuing development)
- Develop a understanding on MAC and printing at the college (continuing development)
- Create a handout for the students covering ‘artist research’ and ‘annotating’.
- Start the lesson with questioning the students
- Mention deadline/ work requirements at start and end of lesson.
- Make a note about dealing with late students
- Take post-it-notes to all lessons (buy larger sized notes)
- Student Feedback (next week and continuing development)