For information regarding the PGCE Teaching Practice click here
School Experience, together with Teaching Practice, has a central position in the PGCE programme. It is through school experience that you are given opportunities to acquaint yourself with the world of the school and the classroom. Through observation of teachers at work as well as conversing with them you will be able to explore the various challenges and issues of professional practice in actual school and classroom situations.
Your observations will be focused on a set of issues and challenges which teachers have to deal with as they go about their work. Some of these include: student motivation, managing the class, communicating effectively, planning curriculum activities, organising a learning environment, marking students’ work, assessing and keeping records, self-appraisal and so on. The weekly tutorials in the Faculty, then, will be an occasion for you to analyse classroom observations and interview data with the help of appropriate readings. You will also be encouraged to develop a reflective attitude towards issues of professional practice.
Gradually, your tutors will engage you more actively in the teaching and learning process. For instance, you will do this by helping individual students with learning difficulties, teaching small groups and, when you have developed enough confidence, taking the whole class for a lesson. By the time you will take the classes for Teaching Practice, therefore, you will already have acquired some of the rudimentary skills of teaching.
School Experience is planned in three phases:
Phase 1: October – November
Phase 2: January – February
Phase 3: April – May
During phases 1 and 2 you will normally be required to be in schools for the whole day on Wednesdays (on Tuesdays if your area is PSD) observing in classes you will be taking for teaching practice, but another two mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for methodology seminars and tutorials and may include school visits to carry out assignments. During phase 3 you may change classes or school level and the work you carry out is more intimately connected with the Situations and Themes Programme than with the methodology of your subject.
This part of the course is intended to give you experience of a substantial stretch of teaching practice in which you can apply the theories you have covered in a realistic situation.
You will do two six-week blocks of teaching practice: the first in November - December and the second (final) in February - March. During these two sessions you will be visited by examiners: normally four times in each block. These four visits will be shared between at least two examiners. The Teaching Practice Committee is in charge of your school placement and you are normally placed in a different school for each teaching practice session.
You will be attached to one or more secondary schools in which you will be assigned between sixteen and twenty lessons per week.
After every visit, the examiner will provide you with feedback on a formative assessment form. In most cases examiners will fill in the form and hand it to you at the end of his/her visit; some examiners prefer to fill the form later and send it to you within the following few days. Some examiners also discuss your performance with you immediately after the end of the lesson when circumstances permit.
Please note that examiners’ visits are not, as a rule, pre-announced.
The first two or three days in each block are intended to allow you to settle down and therefore examiners will not be visiting you then.
Towards the end of the final teaching practice you may have a visit from the external examiner. In such cases you will be given an advance notice of the time and date. The external examiner normally sees a (cross-section) of students – some fourteen or fifteen in all.
As soon as you are assigned a class/classes for teaching practice you should hand in to the Teaching Practice Secretary one copy of your timetable. You are also requested to pass copies to your examiners.
Before you go out for teaching practice, you will have learnt who your examiners are going to be. It is advisable to meet them before teaching practice starts. Once you know the name of the school you have been assigned to please make initial contact with the Head of School who will hold an introductory meeting with you and others assigned to his/her school.
Before you go out for teaching practice you will have learnt who your tutors are going to be. It is advisable to meet them before teaching practice starts. Once you know the name of the school you have been assigned to please make initial contact with the Head of School who will hold an introductory meeting with you and others assigned to his/her school.
Your first teaching practice is not formally assessed and all visits are of an advisory nature. Your Final teaching practice is, on the other hand, assessed on a PASS/FAIL basis.
Note that during your teaching practice placement you should consider yourself under the authority of the Head of School and you should conform as much as possible with the usage of the school (e.g. dress, assembly, supervision, school hours etc). Try to participate, where possible, in activities organised by the school (eg. Prize day, concerts, Parents’ day).
Teaching Practice File
1. Paperwork: Your teaching practice file should be neatly organised and should contain:
a) Schemes of Work: These are to outline the work which will be covered up to the end of the block teaching practice period.
b) Lesson notes: These are to present the steps to be covered during the lessons.
c) Self evaluation reports: This gives you an opportunity to reflect on lessons conducted. Identify the good points and the weak points. Attempt to find reasons to account for success or otherwise of lessons and suggest how things might have been done better.
d) Class profile and a pupil profile: The class profile (for each class you will be teaching) will give a brief description of the ability level, problems, good points etc. For the pupil profile you should select two or three pupils who are “special” in some way (e.g. ability, behaviour, educational or other needs) and indicate:
- The Problem
- How you propose to deal with it
- Whether your “remedy” has worked or not
Note that profiles, whether class or pupil, should be cumulative. Each entry should be dated.
e) Record and Evaluation Sheets Handbook.
f) Your Record and Evaluation Sheets Handbook contains a sheet which will show your attendance at school. Please make sure that the attendance record is signed and dated by the Head of School or his/her delegate.
2. Absences or changes in time table should be immediately communicated to your examiners. All absences are to be covered with a medical certificate. These are to be attached to the attendance record sheet. Note that a teaching practice may receive a failing grade or “incomplete” if absences (even medically covered) exceed the number as stipulated in the regulations. Regulations stipulate that:
i. A student will be considered as not having completed a Teaching Practice session if for any reason whatsoever he/she fails to teach the full duration of Teaching Practice or its equivalent.
ii. Students who fail to attend five days or less will have that particular period extended by the same number of days. If students fail to attend for six or more days the Teaching Practice will be considered to be incomplete and the full teaching practice will have to be redone.
3. If you are unable to attend school, or, if for some reason a lesson(s) is/are not going to be held, you should inform the examiners in good time. You are also to inform the school of your absence.
4. A few days before you go out on teaching practice, the Teaching Practice Committee will hold a briefing session during which more details will be given and during which you will be able to clear up difficulties.
5. Once Teaching Practice is over you are to hand in your Record and Evaluation sheets Handbook to your Main Examiner within the designated dates set by the Teaching Practice Committee. You are responsible to pass on the Handbook for your main examiner to recommend your assessment. Results for the whole group will be published even if your final assessment is missing.