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Feedback to trainee(11 Posts)
I have a trainee teacher in my department in one of my classes and he sends his lesson plans to me ahead of delivering the lessons, asking for approval.
I'm a bit stuck as to how much feedback to give in terms of changing the plans for the lessons.
Obviously, after teaching I discuss what went well and make suggestions for improvements, but when I can see the lesson isn't going to meet the objectives I would expect and I don't see how some of the tasks are worthwhile, how much can I tell him what to teach instead? We've passed the stage where we plan together and I'm aware that my style isn't the only way, and he's put time into planning the lessons, but they need working on.
For example, next week's four lessons are asking the kids to practise a variation of exactly the same skill, as though he doesn't know what else they need to know, despite having our medium term plan and having discussed this at length. When giving example responses, they are worse than some the class can already come out with.
On top of this, the resources (and formal plans) are littered with basic spelling and punctuation errors. I've seen and politely corrected the odd one at a time up until now when going through a single resource, but I've now got a number of documents with too many go count. They are not typos, but common patterns of errors, as though he doesn't know the rules.
Any advice as to what to address first? How much 'correcting' should I be doing without taking over?
I think it sounds like a big issue if he can't get basic spelling right and isn't planning appropriate lessons following the MTP. Ad hoc feedback on each lesson plan isn't going to address the underlying issue, but your approach depends on your level of responsibility for him. If he has a university mentor and you are just supervising him for teaching your class I'd raise the issue with his mentor to deal with. If he is school based and you actually are his mentor then I'd be having a meeting with him to raise the issue and prepare an action plan.
What subject is this and age range OP?
Has one of his targets been to look for and correct spelling mistakes in his resources? If not, it needs to be. Then if he doesn’t address it, it’s a failed target (reset it for the next week etc) and evidence you may need further down the line.
If what he is planning doesn’t fit the SoL, that’s a teacher standard he isn’t meeting. Again this needs to be made clear to him with targets set.
As a PP mentioned, if there’s a university mentor, raise him as a concern.
Thanks for your responses.
It's secondary English. Although SPAG is important cross-curricular, I wouldn't have expected someone with a degree in the English to be making such basic errors.
The issues have been set as targets, but are still there when more work is produced.
I've been team teaching parts of lessons up until this point and have shared examples of what the instructons and explanations should look like. I've even planned starters for the kids which address the punctuation rules that the trainee is struggling with!
The training is through a university, but school based and there is little in the way of formal observations/reviews until after Christmas.
I suspected it might be! We have had more trainees than you would think like this!
You need to flag up concerns like this with the training provider and the senior person in your school.
@Piggywaspushed I was surprised, but hopefully the university will have seen this before too, then!
I will email the tutor tomorrow and see what advice they might have.
I would email the tutor and explain he needs a lot of support and get advice.
Are you his mentor in school, or is he just in your class?
As someone who trained last year, I hope someone would have flagged up with me before hand if what I'd planned was inappropriate and I was spending too long on one skill. My mentor did talk to me about medium term pacing, and when to move on. So for that issue, I would give him a heads up along the lines of "Unfortunately, we can't spend 4 lessons mastering X- by Wednesday, we'll need to move on to the next thing, which is Y. This does mean you'll have to replan some of the lessons, and I'm sorry about that- if you're ever not sure what to plan for the next lesson then I'm happy to help you work out what the topic should be." I'm sure you can phrase it better than me.
Last year, I would have absolutely expected the class teacher to dictate to me what to teach if I'd got it wrong (although I usually checked in advance if I wasn't sure).
With the tasks that don't work well, have you tried giving him some ideas of what to do instead? Maybe give him suggestions of people to observe so that he can get ideas? I think there's a balance between letting people try stuff out, and steering them towards things that are actually effective. Does he respond to the feedback he's given after the lessons?
I don't know what to suggest about the SPAG stuff- but I did train with some people last year who really struggled with stuff I'd consider basic- like how to use an apostrophe. Ultimately it's something that someone is going to have to address at some point- whether or not that should be you probably depends on how much responsibility you have for him. I agree that setting him a weekly target and being really explicit about the stuff he's getting wrong might be the way forward here- but are you the person in charge of setting targets?
The thing with the planning is that it has all been discussed and I've been clear that he can ask if unsure, but then he sends me what he's completed and it's unrelated to the meeting we've had.
Sorry for being vague about the level of responsibility I have - the idea was that I'd be a 'joint' mentor for the trainees this year, with a view to taking over from our assistant head of department next year (he is stepping into the HoD's shoes...) I've had experience of having students in my lessons and have taken on some of the meetings/target setting and organising for the trainee to observe colleagues this time, but the 'official' mentor has been off for just over a week.
I can contact the tutor, reset the targets and have the discussions about planning, but the accuracy thing is just worrying me because I feel like when I ask him to check, it's not happening because he doesn't realise the problems! It feels a bit blunt to have to explain homophones and apostrophes to someone at this level.
Like others have suggested, I'd set literacy error checking as a target and link it to the standard for all teachers demonstrating literacy and also the one for subject knowledge. Signpost him to some SPaG guides if you think there's a subject knowledge issue there rather than laziness/silly proof reading.
In terms of his planning, could you ask him for his weekly journey for the following week and then have him talk you through it so he has to communicate and consider a bigger timeframe than lesson to lesson?
I agree with keeping logs and keeping the tutor involved. You may need to refer to it later. Some ITT course can be reluctant to accept concerns from schools and can be quick to say "but remember they're trainees". Speaking from experience, the more evidence you've got of concerns and support, the easier it is if you have to have an uncomfortable meeting with them
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