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The way to a golden grade 1

THE THRUST in further education for grade 1 teaching seems to be the driving force behind inspections and government reports.

Many strategies are being put into place, in particular that of teaching observations on a regular basis. I am now required to be observed each term by a middle manager who then subsequently gives me a grade.

While I have a lot of respect for this person, using middle management as observers is not the path to gaining grade 1s as the majority of middle managers within my college, and I suspect in others, come from other professional backgrounds and have only been in teaching for a relatively short time. How are they able to comment on the complexities of teaching?

The concept of mentoring has been in place within initial teacher training for many years and appears to work extremely well. So far, the FE sector does not appear to have embraced this concept. I suspect the business agenda has interfered and therehas apparently been a move away from the concept of "reflective teaching" towards a more business-like and task-focused approach.

As a teacher of 14 years and as a professional teacher-trainer for the post-compulsory sector, I feel that the tide needs to turn again if colleges really want to embrace the golden grade 1.

As a teacher-trainer I believe in positive but constructive feedback to my students. I am able to do this as I can be honest and I understand the teaching process.

My suggestion therefore, is to appoint a professional mentor to the role of observer. This would not only enable the professional to give feedback, but it would also free up the managers to do their job of managing people - a job which gets neglected with all the paperwork in FE.

Janet Hobley

Programme leader

Certificate in Education

Manufacturing Concepts

Grasmere, Moss Lane

Whittle-Le-Woods

Chorley, Lancashire

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