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Top 4 Micro Teaching Tips

Ann Gravells, Education Consultant

I’m often asked for some tips regarding delivering a micro teach session so I thought I would write something here. I’ve also added a short video.

What is a micro teach session?

Most learners taking a teaching qualification will at some point deliver a short session to their peer group. This is the opportunity to demonstrate skills, knowledge and understanding in a non-threatening environment. A point to remember is that the session is not about you – it’s about the learning taking place. Time will go quickly so it’s best to rehearse the session in advance.

1. Planning your session

Think carefully about the topic you will deliver and have a realistic aim which can be achieved within the time allocated. Prepare a session plan which shows the teaching, learning and assessment activities to be used (along with timings for each) and shows the resources which will be used.

There are lots of things you will need to ask in advance, such as:

  1. How long will my session be, when and where will it take place?
  2. Who will observe me, will they need a copy of my plan, will they make a visual recording for me to view later?
  3. What equipment and resources are available to me to use?
  4. How many people will there be in the group?
  5. How can I find out their learning preferences, any individual needs, and any prior knowledge?
  6. Can I show a video clip? If so, how long can it be?
  7. How will I receive feedback afterwards?

Your session should have a beginning (the introduction), a middle section (the development) and an ending (the summary/conclusion) which should show a logical progression of learning. You should not be speaking for the majority of the session and your learners should be active not passive.

2. Delivering your session

You may feel nervous which is quite normal. However, try to imagine you are acting a role and this should help boost your confidence and calm your nerves. You are the teacher in this situation; you need to stay focused, be in control, and not let any personal issues affect you.

A few tips:

  • Before you start, take a few deep breaths, smile and use eye contact with everyone; this should help you to relax. You can then introduce yourself by saying Hello, my name is …, followed by your session aim.
  • Don’t tell your learners if you are nervous as it probably won’t show.
  • Be aware of your posture, speak a little more loudly and slowly than normal as being anxious or nervous may make you speak softly or quickly.
  • If you feel you are shaking, it is highly likely no one will notice.
  • If your mind suddenly goes blank, take a couple of deep breaths for a few seconds and look at your plan to help you refocus; it might seem a long time to you but it won’t to your learners.
  • You will need to establish a rapport with your learners and engage and interact with them from the start. Asking the question What experience, if any, do you have of this topic? is a good way of involving your learners in your subject from the start and helps you check any prior learning.
  • Keep your plan handy as a prompt. If you feel you might forget something, use a highlight pen beforehand to mark key words which you can quickly glance at.
  • Keep things simple, don’t complicate things or try to deliver too much too quickly. Conversely, don’t expect too much from your learners, as your subject may be very new to them.
  • Try to use names when talking to your learners and if possible address everyone in the group at some point during the session. Having your learners’ names written down in advance will help, perhaps on a sketch of the seating plan.
  • Encourage your learners to ask questions, perhaps if they need to clarify any points at any time.
  • Develop your session by using a variety of teaching and learning approaches to reach all learning preferences and to keep your learners motivated.
  • Ask questions, summarise, and recap regularly to reinforce your points. Don’t be afraid to repeat things.
  • It’s useful to have a spare activity if you have extra time, and to know what you can remove if you are short of time.

The timing of activities needs to be followed carefully; if you are only delivering a 15-minute session you may not have time for group activities. If you do set activities, think what you will be doing while your learners are working, i.e. moving around them and observing or asking questions shows you are in control.

Longer sessions benefit from a mixture of teaching and learning approaches and different assessment activities. If you have delivered a practical task, you will need to observe that your learners have the skill to demonstrate it, and have the required understanding to explain why they are doing it that way.

3. Assessing learning

At some point during your micro-teach session, you will need to assess that learning has taken place by each learner. Assessment should take place at key points, for example, by asking open questions to check knowledge (ones that begin with who, what, when, where, why and how).

Try to use the PPP (Pose, Pause, Pick) method when asking questions. If you have a small group, you could plan to ask one open question to each learner. You might like to plan your questions in advance.

If you are assessing group activities, you will need to determine what each individual has achieved.

Once you have assessed that learning has taken place, you need to give feedback to your learners in a constructive way. If you don’t, they won’t know if they have been successful or not. Assessment should not be in isolation from teaching and learning and feedback should not demoralise your learner.

If you are unsure of how to end your session, simply say Thank you, I’ve enjoyed my session with you today. This will indicate to your group you have finished. Make sure you tidy the area afterwards.

4. Evaluating your session

Evaluating your session is an important aspect of your own learning and development. You might think you have done really well, but you might have received some helpful feedback afterwards, from your tutor and your peers, which could help you improve further. Listen carefully and ask questions to clarify any points you are unsure of. Try not to interrupt or become defensive, and don’t take anything personally.

When evaluating yourself and your session, consider:

  • your strengths
  • areas for development
  • any action and improvements required.

from both a teaching and training perspective and a subject perspective.

Ann Gravells is an author, creator of teacher training resources and an education consultant
Ann Gravells Newsroom Strap
The above is an extract from Gravells A (2013) Passing Assessments for the Award in Education and Training London Learning Matters SAGE.

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