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Chop One Red Onion Finely

Chop One Red Onion Finely

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Published by GeoBlogs
Ideas for lesson planning for PGCE / NQT colleagues
Ideas for lesson planning for PGCE / NQT colleagues

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Published by: GeoBlogs on Aug 01, 2010
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08/01/2010

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“  
Chop one red onion finely....
” 
: teachers as
‘  
curriculum makers
’ 
 
Last week, I was making a shepherd
s pie, following a recipe in acookbook. I came to the instruction
Chop one red onion finely
,and went to the fridge. There was no red onion, so I picked up mycar keys and went to get fish and chips instead...Of course, I didn
t...I changed the recipe from the one in the cookbook. I used
 – 
get this
 – 
a shallot instead, and I chopped it coarsely...I also substituted balsamic vinegar for Worcestershire sauce, abouillon cube for Oxo, red Leicester for Cheddar cheese and somepassata for tomato puree...Guess what, it still turned out to be a shepherd
s pie... and quite atasty one...OK, so what has this got to do with your PGCE placement ?Well... in your first few weeks of your placement you will, if you
relucky be handed some schemes of work which will varytremendously in the level of detail, mapping of PLTS, timings,resource lists, assessment outcomes, literacy mapping,differentiation opportunities, and a long list of other things. Thismay well be tied closely to a particular textbook as the keyresource to be handed out and opened to a particular page. (I hopethis doesn
t happen too often when you get to your school...)This is the
recipe
that you may be asked to follow...I would say that, at the earliest opportunity you should
vary therecipe
to suit your tastes. If the students are happily discussing the
 
 
results of their group work, don
t call a halt just because the lessonplan says you should... go with the flow... vary the tasks.Discuss your reasons for doing this with your mentor, and reflect onthe results...No apologies for using the diagram below, which is geographical incontext, but can of course be used in any subject. It is what we call
living geography
or
curriculum making
.Curriculum making is defined as:
the creation of interesting, engaging and challenging educationalexperiences which draw upon teacher knowledge and skills, theexperiences of students and the valuable subject resource that isgeography.
 The missing ingredient in the lesson plans that you have been givenmay well be the student experiences. These can feed into thelesson planning if they are allowed too. Also think about the
 
 
opportunities that have been provided for students to thinkgeographically. One thing that we have seen time and time againwhen reading through submissions for our Quality Mark, is thatexciting lessons lead to a dramatic reduction in negative classroombehaviours.As you gain confidence, you might try going a little further awayfrom the recipe. You might also discover that the original recipewas the best, and your slight changes didn
t actually improve theend result. Some recipes are
classic
after all...At the end of the lesson, the students will have hopefullyprogressed a little further in their development as geographers andcan begin to articulate this.A final helpful aspect of using my analogy...As I was cooking the pie, I tasted it, and I thought it was quitegood... The true test came, of course, when the people I wasmaking it for tasted it. You might have what you think is the bestlesson ever, but it needs to be tested with some consumers with
discerning
tastes. Think about this as being your
formativeassessment
.A final pie-related metaphor... if all you had to eat was shepherd
spie every day, you
d get a bit fed up of it. Don
t overuse anyparticular technique, resource or pedagogical approach. The phrase
death by worksheet
is just as likely to have been replaced with
death by mystery/YouTube clip/IWB drag and drop
etc.

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