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Planning an activity and the 5 key elements

I have the privilege of visiting dozens of classrooms across different schools every year, to see new teachers teach and training teachers in there placement schools.
Each is a different experience and I always take something from it to improve my own practice. I do find that the feedback is always different, but there are some key themes that I tend to come back to more often than not.

This is blog one on things I often give feedback on (see blogs on behaviour and boardwork later in the series)

Setting up an activity is crucial for teaching, it gives you valuable time in the lesson to prowl like a tiger and hear what the pupils are saying and gain valuable AfL.
If you want the pupils who are keen to get on with the task to get on with the task you need to be clear in your mind of  5 things, but often trainees only give pupils the first and not all of the others.

1 What is the task? What are you doing? – read this sheet and makes some notes, look at this graph of x and y, do these questions, calculate the rate,

2 How are you working, what is the mode? is it a pair talk activity, or in silence or as a debate, (or hands up, or cold call) or talk about it together and write it on your own..
3. What will it look like when it is done? – you will each have this table in your books which looks like this, or is on the handout, or there will be 3 sentences using these key words, etc each pair will have a table of results, ..
4. How long will you have to complete it? is this a deliberate ‘exaclty 3mins 35 seconds with a timer’ or have you got a more vague sense of time in mind and you will tell them when they are half way, and 2 minutes to go.
5. How does it link to the rest of the lesson / topic and help pupils think about the key ideas.

Questions at interview

What is your third favourite amphibian?

Ralph age 11

This is my favourite question this year, but they won’t ask you this sort of thing at interview!

If you are practicing your interview technique, set it up on zoom, and record it. Get someone to choose the number of questions in the titles (5-6 in all) it should take at least 20 minutes to answer these questions fully.

Try structuring your responses to interview questions using the STAR method

  • Situation – give context for your anecdote
  • Task – explain what you were asked to do
  • Activity – describe what you did
  • Result – explain how the situation played out.

About you, your experience and background

(Choose 2)

Why do you want to be a teacher?
Tell me about yourself
How will you manage challenges at work?
What experience do you have in schools?
How would you establish a good relationship with pupils in your class?
What qualities do you have which would make you an effective teacher?
If I walked into your classroom during an outstanding lesson, what would I see and hear?
Tell us about a behaviour management strategy you have used to help engage an individual learner or group OR What behaviour management strategies do you tend to employ in the classroom?
How would you handle [specific subject situation / misconception]?
What are your interests or hobbies outside of the classroom?
What strengths do you have that help your teaching career?
How would you organize this classroom?
How do you manage your teaching duties?

About Us

(Choose 1 if you have a particular school in mind)

Why do you want to work in our school?
Why do you want to teach at this particular level or this particular subject?

About Education

(Choose 1)

What are the core skills and qualities that pupils look for in teachers?
What makes a good lesson?
What are some of the current issues in education?
How do you ensure that you are accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes?
Explain your experience with a particular teaching strategy or technology (especially online teaching based questions)

Wider roles and responsibilies

(Choose 1)

Safeguarding and equal opportunities. In any teaching interview there is a question about safeguarding, which could be…

What is a teacher’s responsibility in keeping children safe?
Tell us how you dealt with a safeguarding issue in school.
What would you do if a child disclosed a personal issue?
How do you like to communicate / build relationships with parents?
What do you want to be doing in five years?

Being Reflective

(Choose 1)

Give an example of when you have improved teaching and learning in the classroom and how you knew you had been successful.
Can you tell me about a time you’ve failed?
Tell me about a lesson that didn’t go well and what you did about it
Give me an example of a classroom situation where the children have been challenging – what did you do to overcome this
What are you learning right now?

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