Last week I team-taught my first class in a secondary school. It was a Year 10 class, top set with 30 pupils. The lesson was the second in a six-week scheme of work, and I was assisted in the planning process by one of the classes’ teachers. The lesson’s objectives were: To understand the symbolism of the landscape of the island in Lord of the Flies (LOF); to analyse the language in Chapter 1 and write how this creates meaning and effects; to select appropriate quotations which demonstrates an understanding of the task. The intended outcomes were: Build on the mind map annotated on the white board about what it is about islands that is intriguing; to create a list of memorisable quotations that suggests what is positive and what is threatening about the island; a written response to the question: How is the landscape of the island symbolic?
The lesson started off with some technical issues because the teacher assisting me accidentally froze the white board, which meant that I could not use the Power Point presentation. I should have felt stressed but decided this was futile and so whilst she dealt with the issue, I started the class. The starter I taught was a brief introduction, as I had not had the chance to meet the class before and initiating positive classroom dynamics was extremely important to me. We played a true/false game, which then lead into the second phase of the starter where I played the trailer for the film I was in with Leonardo DiCaprio called The Beach and another clip about islands. So far so good: everyone was engaged, listening and together we created a mind map of what makes islands so special. I taught them some new vocabulary by asking questions about new words’ morphology, which they answered with general ease.
I then put them into pairs, which meant moving some pupils. Unaware of any behavioural issues meant that I was able to start with a clean slate with everyone, and trust that everyone would work well. For 15 minutes they analysed pages 11-19, recording quotes that showed Golding’s description of the positive and negative aspects of the island. I allowed them to decide how they would work, whether together on both positive and negative, or they choose one or the other and share their responses at the end of the task. Most chose to divide the task, which was the most effective way of working. What I forgot to initially inform them was that because the GCSE Literature examination would now be closed book, that they needed to get into the habit of memorising short quotes. However, when I did remember, I reminded the class. Whilst they worked, I monitored the pairs, ensuring that they understood and were completing their lists with suitable quotes. I had seen in our subject-specific sessions at university that the tutors regularly celebrated pupils and their efforts to stay on task and the right environment for learning as a result of their behaviour, so I reminded the class often that they were working well. In the plenary, I then elicited a few quotations from the class, trying to ensure that pupils that I had not heard from earlier spoke. I also encouraged pupils to build on each other’s responses so as to try and facilitate a discussion. The teacher then continued the lesson, which due to the technical issues at the start, meant that the writing task could not be completed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt very supported by the classes’ teacher, which definitely helped. The feedback that I received was positive, which is encouraging.
Future planning requires me to remind the pupils which assessment objective (AO) the task links to, as this is now the department’s policy. I was also advised to assign less pages to each pair as perhaps 8 were too much for the time allocated. The teacher also said that I needed to tell the pupils to record short quotes due to the aforementioned reasons. I look forward to teaching this class after half-term, and to continuing to learn from the teacher’s feedback.