15 suggestions to maximise your L3 AET teaching experience
One significant element of the Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET) is the 15-minute micro teach that brings you closer to how to become a personal trainer or teacher. It may only be 15 minutes, but it can take much longer to organise, and accounts for quite a lot. Some students on the AET course really do look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned on the programme, tied with delivering their particular area of expertise. However, there are those who are much more apprehensive about the prospect about standing up and potentially teaching for the very first time. The micro teach can be a daunting moment, given it is the one moment where a student gets to practically demonstrate what they have learnt, but most learners do enjoy the opportunity, because they are with fellow learners, and today is a day to practice and get feedback, before returning to the real world.
Below are 15 suggestions to help maximise the overall experience of the day.
1. Design a Lesson plan for your L3 AET Micro Teaching.
First of all, as a teacher you need to have a clear idea of what you are going to do! This is not really such a surprise. You will need a clear idea of the aims and objectives of what the learners in your lesson are going to achieve. This is why you are required to deliver a successful micro teaching session in order to graduate and earn a L3 Award in Education and Training qualification. The plan itself only needs to be 2 pages long, with a clear aim, 1 or 2 objectives, an introduction, activity and summary. Try to allow time for questions. Don’t forget, your learners are not experts in your field, you are! They will be curious and may want to ask for further information. Keep the plan simple, as well as ensuring it only includes details you feel confident on delivering.
2. Classroom layout.
Each lesson can demand a different layout to best optimise a teacher’s chance for delivering the class. Indeed, each teacher is different, so may require a different layout to benefit their own method of delivery! It is OK to change the room to suit your micro teach if you need to. Whilst delivering your micro teaching lesson plan, the room is yours. It needs to be laid out in a manner you feel best suits your delivery style, as well as meeting the individual needs of your lesson. It is OK to ask your learners to help rearrange the room to meet what you require, just remember to ask them to return the room to normal afterwards!
3. Keep it active.
No student wants to learn passively, so keep it as active as possible! Besides, an active style will help promote all of the learning styles (VARK). Generally, students prefer to be active, so communication between the student and teacher should be two-way. A good way to promote communication is to include activities such as group work, quizzes, discussions or debates.
4. Be in control.
Remember, as teacher, you are in control. You do need to be somewhat of an authoritarian at times. The micro-teach example plan is only 15 minutes long, and whilst it is tempting to allow a successful activity to run on a little bit, especially if the learners are enjoying it, remember you still have a lesson plan to work through.
5. Initial assessment.
It is useful to ask the students if they know anything about the topic you are going to cover. Their answers may surprise you! If someone does have some experience, why not involve them? Their knowledge will make them valuable to you almost as a class captain, as someone you can rely on to take the lead in demonstrations and help deliver feedback to the others.
Remember the acronym, K.I.S, or Keep It Simple. Remember, you only have 15 minutes. Trying to introduce something complicated runs the risk of dragging because the students may not pick up on it as quickly as you would hope.
Also, when using material such as PowerPoint remember to slim it down. You only have time for 4 or 5 slides and keep the amount of information contained. If you overfill the slides, then the students will focus on them, not you. Also, by being over-reliant on the slides, that effectively becomes the teacher, rather than you, so students will begin to switch off. Especially if you have given them a hand-out with all the information already on!
7. Video activities.
As many teachers know, videos are very engaging for students, so why not build it into your lesson plan? It is important however to remember that the video needs to serve a purpose within the lesson, to help get a point across. Keep the video as short as possible and encourage learners to make notes so they can offer feedback. Indeed, make it more interactive and have a quiz to complete either post or during the video itself. The L3 AET course guides your through every method you might think approaching, including this one.
8. Lesson close.
The assessor monitoring your micro teach will give you a two minute warning before the end of your time, therefore it is important to ensure you use the time left to bring things in a complete circle and review your aims and objectives with the students. Maybe ask them to complete a lesson evaluation quiz or use a pop quiz to see if the students retained any information on the topics you have covered.
9. Practice makes perfect.
If you are new to teaching or training, it is unlike any other skill going. Being able to stand in front of students, taking charge, and delivering a successful class is not easy! Therefore, make sure you practice. Why not enlist co-workers or friends and family to stand in whilst you practice? Even better, whilst practicing, set up your phone or a camera to record your micro teach so you can watch back and identify any areas you feel may need further refining.
Don’t forget, YOU are the expect in the field you are covering with your micro teach, the students are not. Remember there will be terminology that you may use with great ease but could be confusing to the students. If you can identify them prior to the micro teach, you can build in some pre-teaching work so the students can understand when and if you use it later in the session. It is better for them to understand, than be confused, even if you feel it is cutting into your time. Remember, K.I.S!
11. If you get flustered.
Don’t worry! There may be a particularly challenging question from a student, or you at some point become tongue-tied, don’t panic. It happens to teachers all the time. The best thing to do is relax, take a step back, gather your thoughts, and feedback to the class. If it is a challenging question, you can give yourself vital few minutes by asking the other students what they think. Could even turn it into an activity and get the students into pairs to discuss and then compare each groups ideas. It is better to be honest. Remember, you are the expert, but even experts don’t necessarily know everything! The advantage you have is that at least if you don’t know, at least you know where to look.
Don’t think you are on your own on micro teach day! There will be other candidates there with you. Why not involve them? Whilst there will be a group of you, you are not in competition with each other. Ask for their help in sorting out the room, or handing out papers, etc. If they can help, why not ask? It will help you relax, as well as encouraging a good degree of camaraderie between your cohort.
13. Welcome distance learners.
Today, courses can be delivered via a variety of methods. For example, you may be having the AET delivered via classroom sessions, whilst others may be taking classes online. However, for the micro teach, there is no substitute for being in the classroom. You can certainly help build good relationships by helping any online students figure out where everything is and giving them a hand getting ready. Remember, if you help them, they are much more likely to help you when you need it.
14. Observe, adopt, adapt.
Often teachers, or corporate trainers, lead solitary lives where it is simply them, on their own in the classroom with the students. As such, opportunities for growth can be few and far between. On the day of your micro teach, you are in a room with several others all looking to teach. This is a good opportunity to observe your peers, see how they deliver a class, and note any interesting concepts they have. It is a good time not only to work toward the final result which is the awarding of the AET certificate, but a good opportunity to share ideas and see if there is anything you can take away for the future to use in your classroom.
15. Questions are key.
One key skill for any teacher is being able to ask questions. The micro teach offers an opportunity to hone your questioning skills. Questions are useful for drawing knowledge from the students as well as kick-starting discussions or directing them down new paths. These discussions have the added benefit of not just allowing students the chance to explore a topic on their own, but also to give you a break!
Remember, on the day, your cohort are in the same situation as you, so there is no competition. They will be just as nervous as you, so make use of them. You help them, and for that, they will be grateful, and willing to help you when you need it. Keep positive and be prepared. The assessor is not there to try to trip you up, but make sure you match the criteria laid out in the AET course. As long as you bear in mind these points, and the requirements as laid out, then you’ll be fine!
To learn more about passing the L3 AET Micro teaching and ways of implementation in classroom, we invite you to take the AET qualification with Notting Hill College in Manchester. We offer both online & in-class lectures so you can get certified ASAP.