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How to improve pace in lessons

(20 Posts)
ElfrideSwancourt Sat 02-Dec-17 07:23:04

My head keeps telling me my lessons lack pace - I'm aware of this but have no idea how to fix it.

To make things worse, we've changed to White Rose maths (I'm primary) and only have 45 mins for a maths lesson - I really struggle to fit it all in.

Any tips/book recommendations/advice would be very much appreciated.

user1487372252 Sat 02-Dec-17 07:28:32

Use a timer for each task you set. Try to keep your intro and explanations concise. What has your head suggested ?

ElfrideSwancourt Sat 02-Dec-17 07:34:40

Thanks for your suggestions.
My head hasn't offered anything, just told me I--am shit-- need to improve. I feel so demoralised I want to give up.
We had no training at all when White Rose maths was introduced but now are being told our planning is rubbish.

redcaryellowcar Sat 02-Dec-17 07:39:30

You might find some/ all of your students really benefit from your steady and methodical approach. I wish it were possible to have a ‘second opinion’ in these situations?

larrygrylls Sat 02-Dec-17 07:41:41

There is always a compromise between pace/depth/progress of slower pupils. So don’t stress too much.

You need to start with a clear lesson plan: what you think they already know and what you expect them to know at the end of the lesson. Write a plan with timings and stick to them. Finally, prioritise. If you are struggling to fit it all in, make sure the important learning gets done.

Without seeing a lesson it is hard to know. I would ask a friend among the staff to observe me in your position.

parrotonmyshoulder Sat 02-Dec-17 07:44:55

I agree with a PP - ‘pace’ doesn’t necessarily make a good lesson or a good teacher.
You need to develop your own style - fast pace suits some activities/ children/ situations. Steady, structured, with time to process is necessary for others. Some of my students with ASC need at least ten seconds processing time, and I really mean that. It’s a very long time. I imagine them in a mainstream classroom and see how incredibly difficult it must be for children like them, and their teachers who are trying to please a headteacher with a buzz word.

What do you think is good about your teaching?

Pluckedpencil Sat 02-Dec-17 07:48:19

I would ask someone you respect to come watch too. Either that or discreetly video myself and check timings afterwards to seen where the time goes

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 02-Dec-17 08:01:38

Is time being lost in lessons giving out books etc? I've seen that be criticised by Ofsted. If so, maybe set up some slicker systems for getting resources out and in again.

I'm taking a student this year from a university that uses these 'agenda' things during training. It is basically a decision to focus on a really small thing and nail that then move on to the next thing- a few 'agendas' are worked on each week. You could set these for yourself, say, 'get lesson introduction and pupils working on first task in 5 mins'. When your class are used to that, 'model new learning, ask 5 targeted questions, explain and start main task in 15 mins'. That type of thing?

larrygrylls Sat 02-Dec-17 08:03:00

I think ‘pace’, correctly used educationally, is not just about going fast. It is about smoothly transitioning from one activity to the next, keeping the students engaged and all students accomplishing as much as possible.

Lessons where teachers take 10 minutes over the register, give back work slowly and keep getting distracted clearly lack ‘pace’. Equally a lesson to a slow set which might be ‘slow’ but all students are engaged, interested and learning does not lack pace.

Does depend on a fair and knowledgeable observer to know the difference.

ElfrideSwancourt Sat 02-Dec-17 08:13:09

@larrygrylls I think you have described me well- even the register can take agessad

I will try using a timer next week. I do feel that the lower attainers will get left even further behind.

I'm going to email the head this weekend and ask him how I can improve pace and to observe again soon.

BlondeB83 Sat 02-Dec-17 08:14:45

Kagan strategies! Great for getting everyone on task straight away.

PolkaDotFlamingo Sat 02-Dec-17 08:17:30

Completely rubbish that he’s telling you to improve pace but giving you no clue on how he actually wants you to do it. I suggest you ask him to model a lesson for you (with your class as they are all completely different - no point in you watching someone else’s when there will be different issues), and others, to observe that shows exactly what he means.

larrygrylls Sat 02-Dec-17 08:20:26

It sounds like behaviour management is the issue.

The key is to genuinely have high expectations. This means enforcing them. Dont be afraid to use the school sanction system. Make them earn your respect,not vice versa.

They will actually respect and like you more for it.

AlternativeTentacle Sat 02-Dec-17 08:36:17

The register can be taken whilst the students are on the first task. Do you set your room up with a task on the desk as soon as they come in? Are there extension activities for the speedy ones?

Perhaps do some you tubing on different good teaching methods.

ElfrideSwancourt Sat 02-Dec-17 12:00:35

Thanks for all your really helpful suggestions I will be following them up.

I think I'm going to become one of the statistics- this is my 4th year teaching and will almost definitely be my last.

I just can't take the relentless pressure and being told I'm shit.

Doomhutch Sat 02-Dec-17 12:04:07

I found my pace improved markedly when I moved my clock to the back of the room! Once I could actually see how long I'd been talking for it really helped.

Piggywaspushed Sat 02-Dec-17 12:07:37

You need to speak to him properly about this. imo 'pace' is usually a euphemism for something else, as a few posters have hinted above it often means students are either a bit disengaged or distracted.

Please don't just speed everything up! That could make those issues worse.

curlscatsandkids Sat 02-Dec-17 12:21:29

Which year group do you teach? Make sure all resources are ready and quickly accessible for children.
Have you tried using a ppt as the basis for each lesson- all objectives, success criteria, examples, tasks, hyper linked to www demos/clips, all on each page. When prepared well it can make the pace keep up as there's no need to check planning or which quests your asking of write up on board. It's all there ready to go through.
All lessons ready to go! High expectations!
Keep them on their toes!
Go in positive and show any head or other observer that you mean businesses!

larrygrylls Sat 02-Dec-17 14:47:59


What do you enjoy about teaching? What do you feel is preventing you from reaching your potential?

Before you give up teaching, try another school, think about s different age range, demographic, maybe try private. There are a lot of different schools out there with different ethoses and pupils. If you still want to teach, try to find a school which suits your strengths.

ElfrideSwancourt Wed 06-Dec-17 04:49:55

@larrygrylls good question! I really enjoy being with the children and seeing them progress, feeling that I'm making a difference.
I think I would enjoy tutoring, so I'm going to email a couple of local companies and see if they're interested in me.
I also really enjoyed doing supply before so would be happy to go back to it.
I've now lost any confidence I had in my abilities as a teacher.
I do have everything on slides and all resources prepared and books given out before lessons. Unfortunately my TA is as unhelpful as she can possibly be, so no chance of her giving anything out- she sees that as beneath her.

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