Yippie micro-teaching is over. Yes, I tried to imagine that my peers were my students and it turned out quite ok. So let’s start from the beginning of the lesson. The class was generally quite cooperative although I had some funny answers from them. So in general, I think the class was quite mild as I thought I will be getting more misbehaviour from them.Room for Improvement
I thought my highlight of the lesson which is my class activity went quite well. However, one thing that I thought I could have improved on was to familiarize myself with the use of the visualizer and how to zoom in and out. This happened when I was doing the demo. When I placed the Petri dish on the visualizer and realized that it was not projecting well on the screen, I had difficulty trying how to zoom. It took quite a while and that disrupted the flow of the lesson slightly. I’ll make sure I am familiar with the equipments in class in future. The consolation was that the class was quite patient and did not become rowdy while waiting for me. During the class activity, the class actually did try to attempt the scenarios using the beans given to them. However, it was pointed out later in the debriefing session that I should have grouped the class instead of letting them form the groups on their own as it turned out that instead of 4 in a group, I had a group of only 2 members.
Also, I tried to elicit answers from the students but when they contributed responses, I did not note them down on the whiteboard. After my peers mentioned that, it then made me realize that putting the points on the whiteboard is a way of validating the contributions made by the students as well as makes it easier for students to take notes as everything is presented nicely for them on the board. They are after all Sec 1 kids so I should not have assumed that they are able to take down notes like how we are able to do so.
Mr Yee also pointed out that there wasn’t enough wait time when I asked students questions. I guess this is something that new teachers are very uncomfortable with. I mean, I get a little uneasy when I pose a question and then there is silence. However, the rationale behind having the wait time is to allow students to really think through the question. If insufficient wait time is given, it not only does not allow the students to think through but also sends the message that they need to think because the teacher herself will provide the answer if no one answers.
It was also pointed out that my lesson was skewed more towards population density (where I had the group activity) and less emphasis was given to teaching population distribution. Well, maybe it was because I was so excited about the group activity and neglected the part on population distribution. But then again, I did reinforce the concept of population distribution wherever appropriate when we were doing the group activity.Plus points
Some of the good points that were pointed out were that I had my instructions for the group activity on the slide instead of depending on verbal instructions. This was a tip I picked up during the Classroom Management module. In a class of 40 students, there are different kinds of learners and as teachers, we should always keep in mind that we have to cater to their different needs. Hence the projection of instructions on the slide as well as the verbal delivery of the instructions will benefit all the students. It will also allow for students to refer back to the instructions half way through the activity to see if there are on the right track.
Another compliment that was given was the fact that I tried to make linkages across different subjects as well as across different topics. For example, in the calculation of population density, I emphasized the importance of units and linked it up to Maths. Also, I tried to link population which is a human geo topic to the previous physical geo topics that have been taught. For example, when I talked about the factors affecting population distribution, I made references to fertile land on floodplains which was taught in the topic on rivers.
I felt that I really benefited lots from this 1-period micro teaching session. It allowed me to be aware of how to maintain students’ attention before making any announcement. It also taught me how I can monitor student progress by giving questions after every teaching provide them with imperative feedback and the possibility of choosing both volunteers and non volunteers to answer questions. It also made me realize the importance of summarizing main points before transition and linking the subject being taught to other disciplines.