The Development of a Teacher

I have always found it interesting charting my development as a teacher and how the focus of my attention within the classroom has changed over the years. Often, I consider how I have taught specific topics before, mapping them against how I teach them now. Throughout the 14 years I have taught I have come across many frameworks that map this development, but the one of the most flexible I have found was in “Beyond the curriculum: learning to teach primary literacy”[1].

While this framework discusses the development of student teachers, it is just as applicable to what we see in all teachers, especially with a renewed focus on curriculum within the classroom. The paper describes three categories of student teacher; Task Managers, Curriculum Deliverers and Concept and Skills builder, as well as listing what areas of practice they focus on when evaluating their lessons.

3 Categories of Student Teacher

 What they doExamples from evaluation
Task ManagerFocus on busyness, order, and authority

Focus on rules and regulations over (rather than alongside) learning

Product orientated

Task focused rather than learning focused
They all completed the tasks.

They were all engaged in completing the activity.

They all produced what I wanted them too.

All students completed the word search on motion time graphs
Curriculum DelivererFocus on curriculum knowledge and coverage

Consider the aspects of the curriculum being taught as isolated pieces of content

Miss opportunities to consider the broader curriculum framework
We completed all the learning objectives/specification points.

I covered all the ideas I planned to cover.

I covered the specification points on distance and velocity time graphs.
Concept and Skills builderFocus on the subject and the concepts and skills required to be proficient within it

Consider the internal structure of a subject when delivering new learning; what prior knowledge do pupils needs to access what they need today
Students understood the core concepts of the lesson and linked it what they already knew. They can see how these concepts will develop in future lessons.

I linked the ideas from distance and velocity time graphs to students understanding of speed, acceleration, and forces, and developed their ability to find the gradient of a graph and the area under a graph.

I made links to other areas of science by discussing a quantity over time is known as a rate.

When I consider topics I have less confidence teaching, or that I am teaching for the first time, I can see myself working through this framework. As a science teacher, when teaching outside my specialism of Physics, I need to carefully consider how I become a concept and skills builder. What prior knowledge am I assuming students have, and is my knowledge of those areas activated in my mind when I am teaching? Without doing this I cannot effectively build on what student know about a concept, and ensure they are prepared for future learning.

This has huge implications for how we support staff, especially second subject teachers. If we consider how many of our staff teach more than one subject, and how many of them are non-specialists in their second subject, we need to ensure we are providing the right support and subject specific guidance to ensure they are concept and skills builders in all the subjects they teach!

[1] Twiselton, Samantha (2002) Beyond the curriculum: learning to teach primary literacy [thesis]. Doctoral thesis, University of Birmingham

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