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Friday, January 4, 2013

Lesson Observation (Bath, England)

One week in pre-school in Bath, I paid special attention to my CT, Mrs. Williams, lesson planning and how she conducts lessons overall.  When I first arrived to help in the classroom, I had almost no expectation of true formal lessons being taught.  I thought that such a young group of thirty children would not be able to grasp what I think of as traditional lessons.  However, this is constantly proven to not be true with this age group.  In America, students do not perform on this level until about age five, but these four year olds are learning to read, write, and do math among other things throughout each school day.  I also feel that they come across as so competent as first time students because of Mrs. Williams’ teaching methods.

In particular, her organization and conscientiously planned lessons continuously engage the students and make a better learning environment for them in general.  The best lessons I have seen her teach are in mathematics.  She varies her methods of instruction nearly every time I have observed her, which the children find more exciting.  She does this while making her lessons full of meaningful content, but manages to help the students have fun as well.  This is a very impressive and admirable way of teaching that I hope to gain myself as a future teacher.

In one math lesson, the students were told to sit in a circle, instead of their normal carpet rows, and Mrs. Williams placed a series of small white boards on the floor.  The first one had the head of a snake drawn on it and the last one had a tail.  In between, she wrote a few numbers in the sequence of 1-10, leaving five spaces blank.  She then called on a student who could help her to fill in the missing numbers to complete their sequence.   The children noticeably found this enjoyable and eagerly responded to her need for participation.  The class then worked together completing the sequence and counted all together out loud once they did it correctly.  Mrs. Williams’ ability to make the whole class included and engaged in this lesson, as well as numerous others I have seen, makes delivering lessons so much more enjoyable both for the teacher and the students.  She teaches with clear opening tasks and closing points that also make the lesson feel very relevant to the children, which is part of what makes her lessons so effective.

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