Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hints For Working With Pre-Service Teachers

Student teacher in China teaching children Eng...
Student teacher in China (Wikipedia)
by Richard D Boyce

In recent years, there has been much public discussion about the quality of students being accepted into university teacher preparation courses.

"Teaching standards are falling," is the catch cry because we are not attracting the right calibre of people for the teaching profession.

If this is true, then the supervising teacher at the 'pract' school has to be alert to make sure that the pre-service teacher in his/her charge is right for the 'job'.

My guiding premise when I worked with pre-service teachers was simple. Before I could give them a 'pass' mark, or not, I had to ask myself these questions:

  1. Do I want this person teaching in the room next to me?
  2. Do I want him/her to teach my class another subject in the period before I teach them?
  3. Has he/she got the necessary character to do the 'job' effectively in one of the most stressful careers on the planet?
  4. Can I help prepare him/her so I am happy to have him/her as a colleague next year?
  5. Would I like this person teaching my child?

I know these questions might seem harsh but we are dealing here with the development of our next generation. Therefore, if there is any doubt in your mind about the suitability of your pre service teacher, pass that on as early as possible to the responsibility. Until the situation is resolved one way or the other, continue to give this person the best guidance you can.

If I find the pre-service teacher is struggling early in the practicum, I inform the relevant authorities that remedial work is necessary immediately. If, on the other hand, the person is not putting in the effort, I also put in an early report to get the situation addressed.

Given a positive situation with the pre-service teacher, I get on with the job and give him/her as much as I can and well beyond the minimum required of me. I do this because I only want the best prepared persons working beside me. Additionally, I want them to start their career on a very positive note with the hope they will have a long and happy one.

Here is how I go about preparing the newcomer to our profession.

  1. I see it as a challenge to me to work hard to show my teaching at the best it can be.
  2. I teach using a variety of teaching approaches so that the pre-service teacher has observed as many teaching pedagogues as possible.
  3. I encourage them to become my 'assistant' teacher during all my lessons, helping students, whenever possible. This gives them extra unscripted teaching practice.
  4. I give them as many small and big opportunities to teach as I can, e.g. taking small groups who need extra help or some problem solving practice.
  5. When I know I will be away from my class, I set up a teaching program that enables them to do the teaching under the guidance of the relief teacher.
  6. I seek opportunities for them to observe other teachers with special skills to expand their knowledge.
  7. I encourage them to be involved in extracurricular activities such as sport, camps, playground duty and all school meetings.
  8. I find out if they have any special skills and seek ways in which they can use them at school or in my class.
  9. When the pre-service teacher is teaching lessons and in control of the class, I am in the room ready to rescue them if there is a content problem in a team teaching style approach.
  10. On the discipline front, I wander around when necessary to forestall any problems developing. When the pre-service teacher is not in the room, I set behaviour guidelines for the class to ensure they give the pre-service teacher a fair chance to start well.
  11. As the teaching practicum continues and the pre-service teacher is progressing well, I might leave the room, for a few minutes at a time, to give him/her the opportunity to work alone to see if he/she can handle any problems. Usually, I am only next door, ready to return at a moment's notice.
  12. I always have a time in the day where my time is devoted entirely to the pre-service teacher for help and advice and planning to be discussed.
  13. I make written comments on all teaching done by the pre-service teacher. I note the positives in the lessons and suggest ways to improve their presentation. I insist on a written plan of every lesson. This is where my comments are written. I don't accept poor presentation of lesson planning.
  14. When I realize a pre-service teacher is at risk of failing the practicum, I talk to them immediately and let the authorities know of my concern and of the remedial action I have begun. I keep them informed of the progress or otherwise. I also talk to their other supervising teacher to see if the problem is confirmed by them or simply isolated to my subject/class.
  15. When I critique a lesson, I look at a variety of issues/skills.
    • (a) Use of voice (b) Use of boards, screens ... (c) Teaching position
    • (d) Questioning (e) Content (f) Pace of lesson
    • (g) Discipline (h) Work ethic of the class
  16. As well, I might concentrate on a specific skill such as teaching position or use of voice. The pre-service teacher and I would agree for me to do this particularly if it was a skill that needed to be developed further.
  17. I would plan, wherever possible, all the lessons to be taught during the practicum in advance so that my pre-service teacher could plan ahead. I start with easy lessons first. Then I would give a topic where there will be a continuous set of lessons so that the whole topic can be taught and be tested by the pre-service teacher. This will give them an idea of how successful they have been. I insist on homework being set and corrected and that they set up their own discipline process.

A Final Comment: Don't be a mentor or supervising teacher unless you want to do it. Personally, I always found it rewarding.

The whole purpose of the eBooks produced by our author and published on the website is to help prepare young teachers to start and continue their careers on a high note.

The four teachers involved in the project have worked extensively with pre-service teachers during their long careers in a variety of teaching areas from primary to high school.

They have taught English, Mathematics, Economics and Physical Education classes as well as on the sporting fields of the schools in which they were involved. Therefore, what is in this article we know works in the real world of teaching.

Article Source:

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment