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3.1 Planning and Delivering Learning

Introduction

Becoming an effective classroom practitioner involves the development of a range of skills. Many of these skills only develop with practice and you will continue to develop and refine them throughout your career.  This module is designed to provide you with an understanding of the key elements of classroom practice and start you on your journey to becoming a skilled classroom practitioner. 

The skillset required of a teacher is broad, encompassing both preparatory work, such as lesson planning, and immediate reactive intervention, such as adapting an activity in progress.  The aim is to produce an effective learning experience for students which encompasses not only the learning outcomes that are desired, but also delivers it in a manner which is most appropriate for the learners, while supporting the broader aims of education. Key elements of becoming an effective classroom practitioner covered in this module includes:

- The Curriculum: The curriculum encompasses the core set of learning which is to be delivered.  Sometimes it is specific to your field of expertise, but often it is set within the broader context of a general curriculum.  Many countries have national curricula which all schools must follow, but these are generally refined, adapted and localised to fit the school and social context.

- Lesson Planning: Preparing and planning lessons is essential to effective classroom practice.  A lesson should have an overarching aim of what the students are expected to gain, as well as specific learning objectives which are measurable and achievable for the students.  Careful lesson planning will provide structure and minimise difficulties in the classroom.

- Assessment: Assessment may be formative or summative.  Formative assessment is usually done informally; by identifying how well students have learned what has been taught, future lessons can be adapted to meet the needs of the learners.  Summative assessment is usually more formal and conducted at the end of a scheme of work to determine student achievement. 

- Learning Styles and Differentiation: Students vary in their preferred manner of learning as well as their ability.  An awareness of the different styles of learning, and the incorporation of a range of activities designed to suit different learning styles, allows teachers to ensure that learners both have an opportunity to learn in their preferred learning style as well as being exposed to other methods of learning.  Differentiation involves the adaptation of activities to accommodate students with different levels of ability or special needs, and is a key skill in ensuring that all students are able to engage effectively with the material being taught.

- Core values and underpinning learning: Beyond the explicit curriculum which you will follow lies the "hidden curriculum" - the transfer of norms, values and beliefs.  Although much of this is transmitted subconsciously, a reflective practitioner will aim to ensure that what is being transmitted is in line with the norms values and beliefs that the educational establishment promotes.  Literacy, numeracy and digital literacy are key skills which all students will continue to develop throughout their education, and it is expected that subject specialists will incorporate opportunities for these to be developed within the field of learning.

- Behaviour management: In order to facilitate effective learning, classroom and behaviour management are essential skills to ensure that students are involved and engaged in the learning process.  An awareness of behavioural theories and management techniques can assist smooth lesson delivery.

Understanding the principles of planning and delivering learning is critical to effective classroom practice.  These principles will provide you with a baseline understanding of how learning occurs in practice and how learning can be delivered ensuring that the correct content is being taught in a manner which engages learners effectively. Determining learning outcomes explicitly in lesson planning and assessing against them provides feedback on the effectiveness of your teaching; by paying attention to learning activities and differentiation needs, learners with a range of learning styles and abilities can remain focused and involved in the lesson.  Understanding the principles of behaviour management can identify where disruption to the learning process may occur and provide strategies to develop to get the learning back on track. Recognition of the importance of the hidden curriculum and the key skills of numeracy, literacy and digital literacy will allow you to broaden your teaching beyond the narrow subject focus to ensure that your practice is aligned with the broader curriculum of the institution - both explicit and implicit.

Before you begin this module, we should ensure that it's clear what we would like you to take from it.

Goal for this module

The aim of this module is to start to develop the skillset required to become an effective classroom practitioner, recognising that this is an ongoing activity which will continue to be refined throughout your teaching career.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Understand a curricular document and where a discrete lesson fits within the wider scheme of work and curriculum.
  2. Prepare a lesson plan based on schemes of work, identifying the aim of the lesson, the learning outcomes that you wish for the students and the activities that you will undertake to enable them to achieve this.
  3. Recognise the difference between formative and summative assessment and create activities which assess students against recognised learning outcomes.
  4. Recognise and identify learning styles and be able to develop lesson plans which cater to a range of students' styles, as well as providing differentiated plans to involve learners of different abilities.
  5. Acknowledge the importance of the hidden curriculum and reflect on how your classroom practice aligns with the norms, values and beliefs which are expected.
  6. Determine opportunities for the incorporation of activities which support students in the key skills of literacy, numeracy and digital literacy, and incorporate these into your lesson planning.
  7. Understand the principles of good behaviour and classroom management and be able to apply them in practice.
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