INTERVIEW GUIDE: Primary observed lesson
You may be asked to plan and teach a lesson as part of your interview process. If this is the case, you will have been made aware of this in advance. The school will have sent a brief to you, via your consultant, and informed you which subject area they would like to see being taught. This brief may include information about the class (how many children there are if there is a child with a specific learning need etc.)
Things to consider before the day
- Read the brief to see which subject area the school would like to see you teach (Literacy, Maths, Phonics, P.E. etc.). Decide on an area to teach, within this subject e.g. Maths – Place Value, Literacy -Character Description, P.E. – Throwing and Catching etc. Think about what you want the children to know at the end of the lesson and the steps that they will need to take to get there. This will become your Learning Objective and Success Criteria.
- Look at the Primary National Curriculum to ensure that your lesson covers objectives for the year group in question.
- Think about the activities that the children will complete during the lesson and the ways that these activities can be differentiated so that all children can access the learning and make good progress. Consider different learning styles that children in this class may have i.e. visual, kinaesthetic, audio, sensory etc. when planning these activities.
- Write your lesson plan, detailing how you would use adult support in the classroom, questions you will ask to check children’s understanding, and the ways in which you will ensure all ability groups progress in their learning. Think about which group you would like to work with (lower, middle, higher). Remember that even though you are working with one particular group, you must also keep an eye on other groups to ensure they are making progress with their learning. Think about how you will introduce the lesson in order to maximise the children’s engagement. Is there a learning ‘hook’ that you could use to help? E.g. a book, a puppet, a game or a letter from a famous author. Also, think about how you will assess children’s learning at the Plenary stage of the lesson.
- Prepare your Teacher’s Toolbox in advance with resources that you will need for your lesson i.e. post-it notes, stickers, puppet, book etc. Ideally, try to ensure that any printing, photocopying or laminating is carried out prior to the day.
- Print at least two copies of your Lesson Plan so that you can give one to the Teaching Assistant and one to the panel who are observing you. This will enable them to follow the lesson and the Teaching Assistant will be aware of how they can support children in the lesson.
- It is a good idea to ‘walk the lesson through’ as much as possible in advance so that you are confident with your lesson and clear about how you will deliver it.
Things to consider on the day
- Introduce yourself to the Teaching Assistant and share your lesson plan with them while informing them of the lesson and how they can support children. Remember the Teaching Assistant will know the children very well so it is best to consider any advice that they offer at this time in terms of your lesson.
- Help to settle the children on the carpet or at their tables (as required) and introduce yourself to the children. You could say something like ‘Good morning, it is very nice to meet you all. My name is ‘x’ and I cannot wait to learn with you all today’.
- For KS1, you could draw a ‘Smiley Face’ on the board and write down the children’s names as you ‘catch’ them making good behaviour choices – children love this and will want to impress you with their behaviour choices so as to get their name on the board.
- For KS2, you could reward ‘points’ for children who are attentive and ready to follow the lesson. Simply marking on the board with a tally of points for ‘class’ vs ‘teacher’ can be effective. If everybody in the class is ready after your signal, they earn a point. If not, you do. The class could have a 2-minute treat such as a song, dance or joke at the end of the lesson if they obtain more points and ‘beat the teacher.’ Explain this system to the children carefully before you implement it.
- Begin the lesson with a warm-up or starter activity before introducing the Learning Objective. It is really important that children are engaged with this section of the lesson as it usually encompasses key skills or important instructions for the main part of the lesson. Use ‘teacher modelling’ to show the children the skill you are teaching and then ensure that you check pupil’s understanding (Assessment for Learning, AFL) to identify misconceptions and assess which children may need more assistance in the main part of the lesson. You could use strategies like Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Traffic Light Cards, Post-It Notes or Think Pair Share for children to show you how they are getting on with their learning.
- When it is time for the children to begin their main learning activity, you can direct the Teaching Assistant to the group that they will be supporting. Although you might decide to support a particular group of children, you must ensure that all children are on-task and progressing with their learning. It is a good idea to position yourself so that you can see all children as they work i.e. sit where you can observe all children in the class without having your back to any of them.
- Ensure that everyone stays on task by encouraging children to concentrate and praising them as they complete their work e.g. ‘Oh wow, well done! Let’s try another one…’, ‘Excellent, you’ve chosen a wonderful adjective to describe!’ Ensure that your questioning is appropriate to all ability levels and ensure that the more able children are challenged appropriately. If children struggle to access the learning, use short and clear instructions to help them. You could model how to complete the activity and then support the child as they ‘have a go’.
- When your group are confident with their learning and can carry on independently, it is a good idea to circulate the classroom and check in with groups who have been working independently. This will give you a chance to quickly check children’s work and offer them praise for their achievements.
- Carry out the Plenary stage as outlined on your planning. You will need to assess children’s understanding at this stage so that you can see who is confident with the new skill that has been taught and who will need targeted support during the next lesson. If you plan to incorporate ‘Self’ or ‘Peer’ methods of assessment in your lesson ensure that you have resources ready and that you allow enough time for the children to assess the work, record and share their reflections.
- At the end of the lesson, praise the children for their achievements and thank the Teaching Assistant for their support and wish them a lovely day.