Tutor Observations

Enclosed in this text are Tutor observations throughout the course. I hope they may be of some use to someone.

The first observation I was teaching Level 3 2nd year Health and Social care students. the subject Public Health which is vast. The amount of material it covers is huge, a lot based on Acts and facts so you have to know the subject, conduct your research well prior to teaching. Plus the Lesson Plans have to be detailed and the timescale precise. Strengths were – good start to the class, reiterating health and safety/acceptable standards. Good rapport with students, calm and conversational in approach. Circulating which enabled for direct questioning to students but this does require developing. Good use of whiteboard to record discussion following research into socio-economic factors.
Developmental points – always ask for prompt start to lesson and a student came in 8 minutes late. Aim and objectives should on Lesson Plan should match those on slides. Ensure all students are questioned to avoid bias, requested to use the ‘pose, pause and pounce directed questioning to ensure all learners are included. Check students know what socio-economic is and write on whiteboard. Q & A with students putting answers on whiteboard. Mainly 2/3 for this observation.
Second observation – teaching the same class as first observation – level 3 health and social care – Public Health, what I describe as a ‘dry’ subject, how can I make it enjoyable whilst covering the Poor Laws, Acheson and Black Reports etc…legislation. My philosophy – incorporate humour and relate to our own homes/lifestyle. Strengths – good class start, friendly and welcoming but reminding students of acceptable standards. I voiced the term ‘socio-economic as ‘flogged this to death’ – good approach to student understanding, low key approach to discipline – reprimand with a ‘smile’ works. Worked room well by attending to each individual student. Quickly bought a late-comer up to speed with minimal disruption to rest of class.
Developmental points – maximise slides on screen (my IT skills are not too good at all). Consider ‘terminology’ i.e should we be using ‘lower class’? I tried to explain what a ‘bed Manager’ is at the hospital but not clearly enough for students to grasp the role, ensure all students are listening when tasks are being set. I allowed students to put themselves into two groups but this resulted in one group of four students and another group of eight students – I should have designated who will work together, also I was not assertive when asking for feedback.
1/2/&3 – overall 2
Third observation – subject The Impact of Diet through different life stages. Level 2 ‘mature’ students, there have been ‘issues’ with this group as they have had to amalgamate and it has caused major disruption to learning, several students very opposed to this. Behaviour and inappropriate language can be an issue, plus there are several ‘strong personalities’ within the group. Strengths – good tone of voice, well projected. Willing to negotiate assessment methods as some students expressed a desire to present their work rather than write an essay. Used naturally occurring opportunities to reinforce issues around diet e.g checking E-numbers.
Developmental points – Although the feedback from students was good, ensure all students are given the opportunity to feedback, as already stated there are several ‘strong’ personalities and they can ‘overpower’ peers.
1/2 overall mark 2 for this observation.
Fourth observation – with the same students as last observation, level 2 matures, the ‘issues’ in the group have become worse as one student has reported four of her peers and Tutors alike, Head of School is aware and it was decided I would need a ‘chaperone’ for this lesson as the actual Tutor was away, I was not prepared as a student myself to be on my own with them and also Tutors were in agreement. So there are tensions within this group.
Strengths – good clear start, checking students progress. Good choice of video clip – it was appropriate and something these students are not used to as it is very ‘teacher-led’ (pedagogy). Good range of activities – Quiz, video clip, research and asking students to produce posters. Good conversation throughout the lesson – used humour which lightened the atmosphere. I made a mistake and requested four pieces of legislation when it was three and the students were quick to notice, so I laughed at myself and told them ‘if I had a brain I would be dangerous’. I had found more recent research than was in the Unit booklet.
Developmental points – as always challenge latecomers as there was 3, however they all offered explanations as to why they were late and apologised but not immediately, and more directed questioning required to ensure all students participate, as stated there are several strong personalities within the group.
1/2 overall mark 2 for this observation.

I would like to mention the Seminar we attended at University of Hull. I was dreading the day, the drive there, issues regarding parking and the thought of ‘delivering’ to fellow PGCE/Cert Ed students filled me with impending doom. The drive was fairly smooth, we were escorted to the disabled parking area, this was just outside the building we were in. However automatic doors were not too disabled friendly. I thought the disabled facilities were not brilliant, food and refreshments upstairs – there was a lift though. These are my personal opinions – I thought the first speaker was good, succinct but it was difficult to hear him at the back of the lecture theatre (Dr. Sailoo). However, the wonder that is Trevor Gordon burst into the lecture theatre. He had me in awe from the start. He’s loud, he moves around, he asks awkward question and he covers a controversial subject. I found him truly inspiring, and from talking to my peers the comments were all similar that he was really excellent, he made it interactive, he tackled sensitive issues, he made it ‘fun’ and incorporated humour, he was blunt and direct – straight to the point. Again this is my opinion but I really enjoyed watching him and got a lot out of that session. It was also nice to speak to other students from another University regarding the course. The presentation was not as bad as I thought and peers were very supportive. It was good to share experiences, one student teaches in an inner-city school and many of the children are from less priviledged backgrounds and it was really interesting to hear her teaching strategies and behaviour management in that area. I do have to add the issue regarding the ‘lunch’. As stated refreshments were upstairs, it was a hot day and there was nowhere to fill water bottles up. There certainly was not enough food for all and very little in the way of vegetarian sandwiches, that was poor. I just wanted to mention the Seminar and my own personal thoughts about it.

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Observations throughout the course

I wish to share with you all my ‘progress’ through the Cert. Ed. Course/Observations. The initial was by Mentor (who happens to be Head of School), it was pretty dire in so far as I had not built any rapport with the students involved, although I had started to get to know them that ‘rapport’ was not there. It was mainly 2 & 3. I was not aware at the time until it was pointed out after and on reflection I did not address the students by name – none of them, how do you participate in ‘inclusion’ if you do not know the name of your students? Also time management was an issue. These were the developmental points.
Second Mentor observation was conducted by one of the Tutors in Health and Social care – her background was social work. The observation was with her ‘own’ students – she is programme leader for them. They are all female 16 – 18 year olds, mixed ability, Level 3 2nd year students. Strengths were good questioning and explanation of the topic, gave good relevant examples linked to my own workplace, clear explanations when students asked questions and related it to familiar scenarios, Detailed lesson planning, prompted good discussion from students who were all engaged with the subject. Developmental points – direct questions to all individual students so all are challenged from the beginning, check learner progress more effectively, time the activities and let the students know where they should be up to at a certain point in time. Some students not included until later in the session. Give students a range of varied activities eg group research task/case study to make sessions more student led.

Third Mentor observation was Teaching and Learning Coach – progress now with scores mainly 2’s. Again with the Level 3 2nd year care students, all female 16 – 18 year olds, pending University placements.  The topic was not something I am familiar with, nor have the desire to be familiar with – caring for children or younger people.  Strengths were – active promotion of student independence, respect for myself (trainee) was demonstrated by the students and they listened carefully, good attempt by myself at stretching and challenging to encourage students to complete their assignments to merit/distinction level.  Developmental points – forward planning of alternative arrangements for research rather than relying on one method for research which was via mobile phone (some students were sat doing nothing – these are 2nd year students, many of whom are going to University in the summer – my argument was University will not spoon feed them, why should we and at that level the students should have taken it upon themselves to use their initiative and say they could not get internet access on their phones – but I was informed this was not appropriate at some students are happy to sit and do nothing).  Greater support for students when tackling independent work – provide ‘scaffolding which I was not aware of to develop self efficacy and closer assessment of student progress.

Fourth Mentor observation by actual Mentor (Head of School) and this was a ‘workshop’ with no delivery by myself – she stated as long as she observed the students learning something it was not an issue this was a workshop.  Positive comments – all students included – aim demonstrated on whiteboard, also the whereabouts of the students known as some attended Library for research/Open Access, alternatively this was 1 to 1 support with students – these students are classed as ‘mature’ – there has been great issues with this group, initially they had to amalgamate which caused major disruption and unrest, then 1 particular student reported at least 4 peers and tutor (s) to my knowledge.  Head of School has been involved with this group.  Tutor who is programme leader is a vastly experienced Tutor, even she has had issues!!! These students are Level 2.  The fact this one student has reported peers has caused disarray amongst the group and caused ill-feeling amongst peers.  They challenged her within one of the classes whereby both myself and Tutor ‘strongly suggested’ to leave this issue outside of the classroom.  Observation stated it is apparent the students have respect for myself, the use of my own experience and case/studies have been of great assistance along with the less ‘pedagogical’ teaching they have been used to as I have used real life case studies (all identities protected, no names given), quizzes, Youtube video clips, plus the use of ‘props’ or items they may come across in their particular chosen field of health/social care.  The progress has been slow but obvious on reflection.  Areas of my practice which are good have been commented on, plus I have received criticism which I feel to be appropriate and constructive and all relevant points will be a consideration for future teaching opportunities should they arise.