This guest post was written by Michael Davison @davisonpe.
This A-Z is not an exhaustive list. You will see that there are keywords not included, but this is not the point of this tool. It is here to guide and get trainee’s to reflect and hopefully get them thinking about their practice (and it’s a bit tongue in cheek). It is not to dictate. And it may be useful for experienced teacher too!
A is for Adaptability
You will need to adapt constantly in lessons and out f lessons to be effective.
B is for Bull***t
You are going hear a lot of things this year with regards to education and teaching and learning. Only use what is right, forget the rest.
C is for Culture
Develop a culture in your lessons. The right culture allows learning, progress and achievement. Embed the culture and success will be repeated.
D is for Determination
You are going to have good lessons, you are going to have bad, but you must have determination to keep going no matter what. It’s going to be a hard year, that’s good because it will allow you to be successful when you are a full time teacher.
E is for Extra-Curricular
Think of extra-curricular sessions as an extension of teaching time. These sessions not only allow you to promote participation and excellence through teams, but will allow you to develop your practice and build relationships with students.
F is for Fun
Yes you want them to learn and yes you want them to make progress, but students (and adults) tend to do these things more often when they are engaged and are having fun with it.
G is for Goals
All of the pupils you teach will have targets they want to achieve, but what is your goal? For some it might be passing the course for others it may be beyond that. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, with a group or within an activity, then how are the pupils going to achieve?.
H is for Humour
A sense of humour is vital, not only for when the good becomes bad but also for developing relationships with pupils. Show them you’re human, make a joke, get them engaged, but do it at the right time!
I is for Innovation
Don’t be scared to be creative or innovative in lessons. Just because one person teachers a specific topic one way doesn’t mean you have to. Find something that is right for your pupils and is right for you, as long as you keep the main thing, the main thing the pupils will make progress.
J is for Juggling
Learn how to juggle. Time Management is going to be a key skill this year and will be needed both inside and outside of school time. If you can juggle, you keep all the balls in the air and it leads to success, the minute you stop juggling everything drops to the floor.
K is for Knowledge
You won’t know everything about every activity or topic area you are supposed to teach. Remember this is a time for you to learn as well as the pupils.
L is for Learning
No matter what the topic or activity, no matter who the group is or where they are being taught, learning should be central to everything. Are pupils ‘doing’ or are they ‘learning’?
M is for Marginal Gains
Sometimes we have to change little things to have a positive effect on the big things. If something isn’t working you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just make it rounder.
N is for National Curriculum
Know your curriculum, know what you should be delivering and developing and know which level you should be delivering at. Pupils should be learning and developing skills not just taking part in sport!
O is for Objectives / Outcomes
Your lessons objectives should have a purpose and should drive the lessons. If the pupils do not know what they are doing and why they are doing it, then what actually are they doing. If you get your objectives right, you will get you outcomes right.
P is for Progress
This should be essential to your planning and teaching. Ask yourself when planning, if I do this here, will they make progress? If they do, what can I then do to make progress? Planning, Purpose, Progress!!
Q is for Questioning
Questioning is essential to gauge pupils understanding and whether or not they are making progress. Questioning will also allow you to develop your lessons and feedback to individual students. However it’s not the amount of questions that’s important, it’s the type!
R is for Reflection
One of the most effective ways to improve your teaching is to effectively reflect on your own performance. Not just WWW or EBI but keep asking yourself, if something did go well, then why? If something did not work, then why? The more questions you ask the more answers you get.
S is for Simple
Focus on trying to make the complicated things simple, don’t make the simple things complicated.
T is for Teaching
Remember you are a teacher, remember to be professional at all times and remember to be responsible for each pupil you teach.
U is for Understanding
It is just as important for pupils to have an understanding of what they are as actually doing the piece of work or activity. If pupils understand why they are doing something and how it links to the bigger picture of real life or assessment then they are more likely to become more engaged and focused and achieving their targets.
V is for Variety
Don’t be scared to mix your teaching up a bit. Try new ideas and different ways of teaching. As long as you keep learning and progress central to your lesson, add in a bit of variety.
W is for Well Done
Promote praise in your lessons, but praise and reward pupils at the right time and for the right things. Praise yourself, a lot of the time you will deserve it!!
X is for X-Ray
Because in any A-Z, X is always X-Ray or Xylophone! However we could take X-Ray to mean take a closer look at your pupils in order for them all to achieve success. Data, Pastoral Reports and Past Data are all essential tools when lesson planning and will allow you to look closely at group of students to plan for their needs.
You is for You
Remember sometimes it’s not what you do, but what you do that matters!
Z is for Zola
As in Gianfranco. I could have used Thierry Henry here as well. I don’t support Chelsea or Arsenal but I used to love watching these teams play each week, just to wonder what these two players would do. Which new trick they will show, which new bit of genius they act out or type of goal they will score. Apply this to your lessons. Make them, so that pupils can’t wait to get to them. Make them, so that pupils are excited about what they are going to learn and how they are going to learn. Make them lessons that pupils know they will make progress in and know they will achieve in by what they do. Are your lessons Gianfranco Zola’s or Titus Brambles?