The power of observation

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
Observing lessons in schools made a dramatic difference to the styles of many of the lecturers who took the Hull college course in teaching key stage 4 pupils.

Betty Fussey, who lectures in plumbing, said: "I saw some really good lessons in schools and I was able to adapt the strategies.

"Schools have 45-minute lessons compared to one-and-a-half hours in college, and we struggled to hold their attention. I introduced more diversity in the classroom."

Ian Smith, who lectures in carpentry and joinery, said: "I have a better knowledge of the pupils' background. They are conditioned to targets and goals, rather than being self-motivated. If you give them smaller goals they respond better."

Ruth Marrow, curriculum manager for personal services, said: "Post-16 students are there because they want to be. But when education is compulsory, the problem is engaging them.

"More pastoral care is needed. Discipline is very strict in schools, but in college it is free and easy."

Around a hundred staff at Hull college are involved in delivering programmes to the under-16s.

Elaine McMahon, principal, said: "The 14 to 19 strategy has many challenges. One is how college staff deal with 14 to 16-year-olds and give them a good experience. This qualification is about what we can do for the learner, to guarantee a quality experience."

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