Lesson plan? Forget it and start again

30th July 2010 at 01:00

FE teachers should rewrite prepared lesson plans at the drop of a hat to meet the needs of the learners on a particular day, a new guide to professional development says.

The guide, produced by the Institute for Learning and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, sought to identify the characteristics of "brilliant" teachers through feedback from over 5,000 FE staff, expert advice and representative bodies.

It found that one of the skills most valued by students was the ability to transform prepared lesson plans if their class needed something different, as well as personalising the curriculum to individual learners.

One national learner panel member said: "The teacher needs to show they want to listen to us in the first place and that they are prepared to adapt their methods and styles to help each individual and the whole group."

The guide said that evidence from Ofsted showed that teaching was best where colleges and providers focused on continually improving through professional development. Lecturers themselves rated reflective practice and online resources as the most helpful activities in enabling them to improve. Events for Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and 14-to-19 networks were the least popular.

But the guide said that keeping up with Stem subjects was a priority, along with subjects such as digital media, low carbon industries and general enterprise.

It said that other changes which teachers needed to keep abreast of were developing skills to teach 14 to 16-year-olds, understanding emotional or behavioural barriers to learning, adopting a more work-based approach and emphasising employability skills, and understanding safeguarding young people, especially with regard to technology.

In a twist on the instructions given before any school or college trip, students also expect teachers to be "ambassadors for their organisation". A national learner panel member said: "Staff should be able to talk positively about their college or provider."

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