11 May 2017
Nicola is our Primary Education Studies Course Leader in Cambridge, and she has put together her top tips for arranging and get the most out of primary teaching observations.
With just over half a term still to go of the academic year, you should have plenty of opportunity to see some teaching in primary schools before the end of July. Visiting primary classrooms – as varied an array as possible and preferably in more than one school - is really helpful preparation you can do for your BA in Primary Education Studies.
Students who do this always ‘hit the ground running’ faster than most. Such experience familiarises you with a range of teaching and learning problems that occur in classrooms and helps you to get your own brains and imaginations working hard on some of the possible solutions.
It is quite possible that you will also see some inspiring teaching of outstanding quality. We hope you do ... but that would be a bonus!
For some of you, full-time work or other commitments might make this very difficult but if you can just engineer one day out to go visiting, and take time to reflect carefully on that experience using the questions on the next page, it’ll be well worth it. For those of you with more flexibility, you should endeavour to spend as many days as you possibly can observing primary teachers and their classes.
Simply phone or e-mail the Head Teacher in any comprehensive schools near you, explain that you would like to see some teaching and learning before you begin your BA Primary Education Studies and ask if you could possibly visit for a number of days and sit at the back of a few classes. Normally, Heads Teachers are only too delighted to welcome an enthusiastic, aspiring teacher into their schools. But as they are likely to be busy and hassled, you can maximise your chances of their saying ‘yes’ and welcoming you warmly by:
If you are enjoying thinking deeply about questions like these, in relation to real lessons, by the time you arrive in September, you will be off to a very good start. Spending time in school is an absolute privilege and should help affirm why you are joining the Primary Education Studies course in September. Enjoy!
Nicola is Course Leader for our BA (Hons) Primary Education Studies degree in Cambridge. She has experience of working in schools, and teacher education in higher education settings. She passionately believes in providing children with the best possible education, and considers supporting our undergraduate students to prepare for initial teacher education to be an important step in this process.