Why you should see other teachers in action, not just Maths
I believe that it is imperative that during your initial teacher training you should conduct observations of class’s other than your chosen subject. This is a great opportunity to see the same pupils in different learning environments and subjects. Through my experience I saw students that were very passive and sometimes disruptive in maths lessons, which were very engaged in more practical activities such as in their PE lesson. This gives you an insight into the pupil’s preferred learning style and their reactions to certain environment and you can try to incorporate some aspects into your own classroom.
Now I am not suggesting that you start playing basketball in your maths lessons but making it more active such as a problem solving game, treasure hunt or relay questions could encourage these students to become more involved. When you go into different subjects you can see different delivery styles. Sometimes in maths you see lecture style deliveries, where teachers explain the method, provide some examples and then the students work through questions on the topic.
In subjects such as science it is interesting to see a discovery style of learning where the pupils are allowed to carry out experiments and document their own findings, creating a self-learning environment. We should try to translate this into all subjects to give students the confidence in their own ability to tackle non-routine problems presented to them in exams but also in the real world post school.
Before you start teaching your own lessons observations are key to establishing pupils reactions to differing classroom management techniques. It will obviously be beneficial for you to observe Math classes in order to see how different topics within your subject are taught and explained. However, your main learning will be outside of Maths classes where you can focus on the pedagogy and behaviour management instead of the content of the lesson.
Even after you qualify you should make this is priority; you will learn something new every time. For example if you would like to include more group work in your lesson but are nervous/ unsure of how to control the class in this situation then find a teacher that does this regularly and ask to observe them. In short, observations will be the times that you learn the most about pedagogy and it’s practical effects.
By Nicola Chambers