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Observation of an experience teacher: Observing Mentor

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The experience teacher that I observed was my mentor who teaches science at the CTC Kingshurst. Although this is not my subject specialism it is still very useful for me to observe this lesson as it is practically based, as is my subject, and also the lesson is aimed at a similar age range..

The lesson that I observed was for a group of ten post sixteen students studying IB Biology. The objective of the lesson was for the students to carry out an experiment that they had planned as part of their coursework portfolio on ‘Factors affecting the rate of an enzyme catalysed reaction’. In previous lessons the students had covered the theory behind enzyme catalysed reactions and were given the title of the piece of coursework to be planned. They had been given a coursework front sheet which outline what they were required to do and what they were being assessed on.

The lesson had been well planned and clearly fitted into a scheme of lessons that delivered the topic of enzymes. I was provided with a comprehensive lesson plan before the lesson. The lesson objectives were clearly written and explained and linked directly to the assessment criteria. The plan showed a three part lesson plan divided into a starter, main and plenary, with sufficient time for each activity allocated.

At the start of the lesson students came into the room, there was a punctual and definite start to the lesson. The objectives of the lesson were shared with the group and the assessment objective was made clear. A register was also taken.

The starter activity consisted of directed questions regarding previous lessons in terms of theory and planning the experiment to ensure that all students had a competent understanding of the theory required to understand the experimental aims. These questions were pre-prepared and presented using an interactive whiteboard and powerpoint which was very time efficient and allowed the teacher to control the amount of information given. No demonstration was necessary in this lesson as the student were being assessed in terms of the practical planning skills as well as carrying out the experiment and concluding and evaluating.

The students were self motivated and enthusiastic, this was also facilitated by the strong teacher-student relationship. The teacher was encouraging and supportive throughout the lesson and always looked to challenge and extend the students knowledge.

The lesson as a whole was very student centred due to the nature of the assessment; the main teacher activities involved recapping previous knowledge through directed questioning. The teacher also recapitulated the main safety points for the practical and the assessment criteria for the coursework. The main part of the lesson involved the students carrying out the practical task to obtain results for them to analyse, conclude and evaluate. The skill sequence of carrying out the practical was summarised through teacher led questioning of students regarding their methods/plans. This allowed the teacher to ascertain whether the students had managed to plan a suitable experiment and thus who may need more support and direction.

Each student was assessed based on the same criteria due to the nature of the course; written work was assessed in terms of content; practical skills were assessed during the lesson as the teacher circulated around the students providing support where needed and noting key points about the competency of the students when using the equipment and carrying out the practical to obtain accurate results.

The lesson ended with a plenary set of questions based on the results they obtained and what they mean; as well as important evaluation points that had been noted during the lesson.

The lesson as a whole was well prepared and organised. The students always knew what they were expected to do and responded well to the challenges set. The teacher had a very good working relationship with the students and circulated well and supported students where necessary so that all students could complete the assessment task. Questions were clear and understood by the students; some questions were directed to students whereas others allowed students to volunteer ideas and answers. The students work with interest and enthusiasm.

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