Training provider specialising in first aid qualifications and accredited teaching and assessing qualifications. We pride ourselves on professional, personable training and are passionate about we do. We are SME's within the first aid, health and safety and teachers training sector. We offer both in-house training and open courses nationally at great value for money.
Training academies utilize teaching and assessing skills to help train students to an NVQ standard. Teaching can be a very rewarding career, giving the opportunity to train, mentor and qualify students to become successful hairdressers themselves.
Check out these four smart steps required to set up your very own training school...
The Level 3 assessing qualification takes roughly six weeks to complete, with either two days classroom attendance or entirely distance learning. During the process you will complete eight practice assessments on two staff members within a salon. Once the eight assessments are finished you will become a fully qualified NVQ assessor.
Holding this qualification means you can skip one of the units in Step 2
Step 2 - Teaching
It’s important to match up your own experience / qualifications with some formal teaching skills. An entry level teaching qualification like the Level 3 Award in Education & Training (PTLLS) will cover topics such as roles and responsibilities, lesson planning and schemes of work. Candidates also get real life teaching practice by delivering their own 15 minute micro lesson to a group.
The course can be completed over 3 classroom days or through distance learning for those who are pushed for time. It requires writing three essays, which are in a straightforward format through the use of templates.
If you hold the Level 3 assessing qualification you will only need to write two essays
Step 3 - IQA
Running a training academy requires you to monitor and observe other assessors and teachers within the organisation. This is important for internal quality assurance purposes and helps to maintain high standards within the academy.
Awarding bodies will require one person within your organisation to hold this qualification before signing up with them
Step 4 - Awarding Body
Once steps 1-3 are complete you are now ready to sign up to an awarding body. They are responsible for the framework of the qualifications that you wish to teach. It is also often possible to purchase resources and use official logos / accreditation on your company materials.
The awarding body will monitor your centre to ensure you are adhering to the necessary standard of the industry. They will also issue nationally recognised certificates to successful learners, which will reflect well on the academy.
Train Aid recommend TQUK who run a range of NVQ qualifications in Hair, beauty and barbering
Remove any glasses and bulky items from the pockets
Place the near side hand above the shoulder on the floor
Bring the far hand over so that the knuckles rest against the nearside cheek
Lift the far leg to a 90 degree angle so that the foot is flat on the floor
Place one hand on the outside of the knee, the other palm to palm and gently roll towards you
Hook the far leg over towards you for extra balance
Pull the shoulder so the casualty is right the way over
Finally lift the chin onto the hand to help maintain an open airway
It’s always advisable to roll the casualty towards you and this is also the safest way to support the head
When Not to Use
The general rule is to place all unconscious casualties in the recovery position. However below are some key times when it is best to avoid using the recovery position
When a major head or spinal injury is suspected
Broken legs or ankles
However the airway is always of the highest priority. If blocked it is advisable to roll a person into the recovery position (irregardless of their injuries). Consider a first aid course to learn how to safely move a person using a modified recovery position or log roll.
As the centuries have passed, the importance of arriving on time has not diminished. For any teacher or trainer who experiences learners being late to their lesson will tell you their feelings of annoyance at the interruption of your lesson and the frustration of having to repeat your instructions to the latecomer.
The extra follow up procedures and the administrative tasks such as letters home, emails to managers and colleagues can become a chore, which can drive teachers or trainers out of the profession. In addition, from the perspective of the learners who have arrived to your lesson on time the teacher or trainer’s attention is taken away from the delivery of the lesson itself and the transferring of vital information can be disrupted.
Punctuality is a serious issue within education, there is nothing worse than committing your precious time to planning an outstanding lesson for learners to arrive late, unapologetic and unfazed by the impact this has on you or your learners. Think of an important lesson such as an observation, that feeling when you are in full teaching mode and a knock on the door five minutes into a lesson. Thus can disrupt any teacher’s delivery regardless of how experienced they are and often the flow of the lesson fails to recover following a late arrival. This issue of punctuality is nothing new within teaching and training and understanding how to combat this issue varies depending on each institution.
So what is the answer for learners who are consistently late? Do you take a hard line approach? - for a learner who is a minute late do you lock your door and wait for when you are ready to let them in? It sends a clear message to your learners that you do not tolerate lateness, however that learner will miss teaching time and will ultimately need to catch up on the taught content somehow.
Alternatively, do you adopt a softer approach and let your latecomers into the classroom - this minimises the disruption of the lesson and avoids confrontation but can inadvertently send a message to your other learners that you do accept lateness. Possibly making others feel like it is acceptable to arrive late to a class.
So what is the answer when it comes to punctuality? Consider these simple steps to help solve your time management woes.
1 - Ground Rules
Nothing helps more to eradicate lateness of learners than high expectations of the agreed ground rules. It is important early on to highlight the importance of the classroom rules or ‘contract’ in order for a productive and cohesive learning environment to take place. Why not have your classroom rules clearly presented and make reference to these when a learner arrives late.
2 - Be an Example
One of the great hallmarks of any teacher is to be a role model to your learners. The way that you dress, communicate and even your punctuality habits will all be scrutinised by your learners. The best way to promote good time keeping is to practice what you preach. By arriving to your teaching room or environment early and setting up shows a clear signal that you are proactive, motivated and that you care for your learner’s eagerness to learn. By having a starter activity set up and welcoming learners to your lesson demonstrates an organised and controlled approach.
Arriving late and having learners waiting outside of your teaching room shows a disorganised attitude and your learners are less likely to take your advice seriously.
3 - Catch up Sessions
Not that this is a requirement for any teacher or trainer to offer catch up sessions. However, if time does allow within your busy schedule you could offer a weekly session for those learners who are late to your class. A benefit of this approach is that learners do have the opportunity to ask you questions on what content they have missed. You could even make the sessions compulsory for those who are late to your lessons.
4 - Signposting
Is there a genuine reason behind why your learners are late? Perhaps there is something that your learner has not disclosed to you such as a family member is ill or they have to work late. Perhaps speak to the learner after the class and seek out the reasons why lateness is becoming a regular occurrence. If time does allow, why not chat to the latecomer and seek out what support and interventions can be put in place to assist them with their punctuality issue.
5 - Get your Learners to do the Hard Work
When a learner does arrive late to a lesson why should it be you who has to repeat your instructions? Why not delegate a class member to explain to the latecomer what they have missed? Not only does this allow for you to continue the flow of the lesson but minimises disruptions. The learner who has to explain the instructions will perhaps make the latecomer more aware that they are impacting on other people’s time and this will encourage better punctuality rates.
6 - Reward Early Arrivals
When welcoming your learners to the lesson it is a good quality to thank them for their time. Even though arriving to a lesson on time should be more of an expectation, the reminder that they are here and on time is a good quality for every learner. Having interesting and dynamic starter activities will promote curiosity and learners will not want to miss your lesson time.
7 - Keep Records
For every time a learner is late, it is important to document how many minutes have passed since the start of the class. If this is a serial offender, it would be beneficial to show them how many times they have been late and see where there is a regular occurrence. The best time to conduct a meeting with them would be during an ILP session and show the figures - they may be shocked by their build-up of lateness. If there is a dispute from the learner, then these records can be used as evidence.
8 - The Late Bench
The late bench was established for learners who sit at a section of the classroom (usually the front) where the latecomer does not impact on the other learning around them. The benefit of this is that learners can complete the work they have missed independently with minimal disruption to the lesson.
9 - Give Them a Warning
When learners are late, it is best for them to knock on the door and wait outside for when you are ready to greet them and let them into the learning environment. It is best to stay calm and ask them for a reason for being late. It would be best to ask them the reasons they are late and if there is anything you can do to resolve the issue. If they are a repeat offender, then state to them the clear consequences of lateness and that you do not wish to send letters or inform managers of their time management.
It is important to give them a choice and hopefully they can turn this issue around
10 - When you are Late?
So what happens when you arrive late to your own lesson? Whether a meeting overran or an accident occurred on the way to work, lateness happens. If the opportunity arises, try to contact a staff member to open the classroom or training room for learners and see whether they can begin a starter activity or continue with coursework prior to you arriving to the lesson. When a teacher or trainer does arrive late, be honest and simply explain the true reasons as to why you were late- apologise to your learners and suggest a compromise. Perhaps you let your learners leave the class early or you could promise a fun or interactive activity for the next lesson to make up for it.
The main thing to remember not to be flustered, remain calm and follow up on any activities you have said you would carry out
The head to toe survey is used as part of the secondary assessment to help establish if any injuries are present on the casualty’s body.
Head and Face
Look for any fluid loss coming from the ears and nose which can be a sign of a skull fracture. Also check for any deformity around the skull and neck.
Check for any misalignment which could indicate damage to the collarbone and other bones around the shoulder.
Check for any sign of deformity and for open fractures around the upper and lower arms. Also look out for medical bracelets which could be an indication of a known illness. Medical tags can also be worn around the neck.
Gently feel the abdomen for soft spots which can be an indication of internal bleeding. This is also a good time to check your hands to see if any blood is present, which is an obvious sign of external bleeding.
Check to see that the pelvis is in alignment. If out of place then a fracture / dislocation may be present. This injury can cause one leg to be longer than the other which can be checked visually.
Legs & Ankles
Look at the upper & lower legs and both ankles for signs of deformity, open fractures and blood loss.
Carefully check the spine for misalignment and any signs of deformity. If in doubt do not press too hard or move the casualty from their current position.
Watch this video and learn how to perform the DRABCD…
Visibly check the surrounding area for any dangers. Remove any dangers before proceeding to check the casualty, to remove any risk to yourself and other bystanders.
Look inside the casualty’s mouth for any visible instructions, including blood and vomit. It is important to remove any obstructions before opening the airway via the head tilt lift chin maneuver.
Check the casualty’s breathing by looking for chest movements, listening for the sound of breathing and by the feel of breaths against your own cheek. Spend a maximum of 10 seconds checking for a normal pattern of breathing.
CPR is only required when a casualty is not breathing normally. In this video case the casualty is breathing normally. Look out for future ‘How to Videos’ to learn how to perform CPR
Defibrillation is only required when a casualty is not breathing normally. In this video case the casualty is breathing and defibrillation is not required. Check out this how to video to learn how to operate the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
The idea of an action research project or ‘focus group’ is to pause from the hectic pace of teaching and to take stock of your own strengths and areas for development. Failure to reflect on your own skills could mean that you are making the same common mistakes as a teacher and ultimately expending your precious time and energy. The project can be focused on the organisation as a whole rather than the teacher or trainer’s own skillset, for example you may wish to revamp your organisations code of conduct or behaviour management policies if you believe they are outdated.
The best way to decide on an action research project is to think about your ‘Achilles heel’ within teaching. Try to target an area that you perhaps keep putting off or something you feel intimidated by. You may wish to trust your gut instinct when deciding a project, however asking your colleagues, line manager or even your learners can provide you with some honest advice which can be pivotal in your decision.
The advantages of an Action Research project?
There are many advantages to delivering an action research project, firstly not only will you improve upon your own target area within teaching but it is a signal of intent to your colleagues that you are a forward thinking and dynamic teacher who is not contempt with simply stagnating within your teaching career. Your organisation will be thankful that you are deciding to pursue a project which could assist some much needed amendments within the company, which will make other members of staff thankful that you are making a positive change for everyone.
Another key benefit to an action research project is that you will be demonstrating that you are a proactive staff member and the project can be used as a point of reference when you apply for both internal and external positions. Furthermore, the results you will gain from an action research project can be used collaboratively with partner organisations or companies which will increase your teacher profile. Ultimately, better quality teaching will lead to higher learner satisfaction rates, greater learner retention and more enthusiastic learners.
Timeframe for the project
The project can be anywhere from typically three weeks to six months. It is best to be broken down into logical stages, whereby background reading into your project is essential (the answer to your question may already be solved). Hypothesis, Literature Review, Method, Results, Analysis, Conclusion, Future Implications and Evaluation.
Action Research project ideas?
The action research project can focus on developing an area of the teaching specialism which is unique to you. Typical ideas could involve:
To improve your behaviour management skills within the classroom
To update your organisations legislations such as behaviour management policies
To increase the scope of stretch and challenge opportunities within your classroom
Embedding equality and diversity within the classroom
To increase interactive teaching within the classroom
To promote group work within the classroom
To promote starter activities and early engagement within teaching
To introduce peer and self-assessment within teaching
To reduce off task chatter and learners not listening to instructions
To line manage a department of teachers
To introduce work platforms such as Google Drive to a department
To promote social media within the classroom
To promote e-learning both inside and outside the classroom
To promote employability skills within teaching and learning
To increase functional skills within your classroom
To improve the punctuality of learners
To improve rich questioning within the classroom
Does promoting music within the classroom improve learner focus and retention of learning?
Promoting evaluation skills with your learners.
To promote the ‘learner voice’ opportunities and classroom reps
Considerations for the project
The best advice for any project is to ‘keep it simple’, you need to focus on an idea which has a clear target, an intervention strategy, a method for gaining results and an opportunity to analyse your results and promote your findings. By over-complicating a project can lead to a drawn out and lengthy process and the value of the project will quickly diminish. A good way to keep on track of a project is to promote it to staff members - why not announce your project during a staff briefing and suggest an end date for the project.
If an action research project does not render the results that you had hoped for and that the intervention strategy had not worked, do not be disheartened- celebrate your failures and take note of what methods had not worked. You may wish to revisit this target in the future.
Tom- “We are here to talk about the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Competence and Vocational Achievement otherwise known as CAVA qualification, and the different assessment methods available for learners to use on their practical assessments.”
Tom - “We will begin to look at workplace assessments which is unit 2 of the CAVA course and then we will move on to look at vocational assessments which is unit 3.”
“For anyone who has attended the initial two classroom days of the CAVA qualification will have gone through the theory of principles and practices of assessing, and will return to their workplace and carry out 4 workplace assessments. They are specific in that they need to include three types of assessment methods:”
“Observations - observing candidates within their work roles”.
“Questions - supplementary questions asked by the assessor to the learner after the assessment has taken place.''
“Work Product- This is produced by the learner to demonstrate their knowledge or performance of the assessment”.
“We are going to be discussing the observations looking at the benefits of each method”.
Nick - “In terms of the CAVA assessing qualification, we have seen a variety of observations within the hair and beauty industry, construction, local businesses, where assessing is becoming a lot more prominent in the upskilling of staff. The scope of assessing is getting larger for both new staff members and the upskilling of current staff.”
Tom: “The key with the observations is that the candidate assessor needs two learners in a work role, they do not have to be apprentices, they can be experienced colleagues and the key thing is that they are assessing against some form of industry standards that they are mapping the evidence to the criteria.”
Nick - “The key thing is the criteria, a good hallmark of any assessor is making the staff member aware of the different criteria to show them exactly what exactly they are going to be looking for. One bit of advice I offer learners attending this course is to be open to staff members or learners, and have a prior meeting to go through the set criteria of the observation.”
Tom - “Observations are the primary method for the workplace assessments because they help authenticate the learner / staff member within a work role with a degree of high validity and reliability. In terms of what we recommend for these observations, we stress on the course that it is important to be organised and plan the date and time of the assessment with the learner. Then you can let them know how they are going to be observed and provide constructive feedback in a positive style throughout the whole experience.”
Nick - “I believe early planning is important to communicate with the learner or staff member who is going to be observed and also your manager to talk to them about whether or not a shift needs to be covered. Record keeping is important within assessments to make staff aware of timings and setting up a familiar system with staff so they understand who is going to be assessed and where.”
Tom - “The next step is the supplementary questions. These take place after the observation have place and the questions allow for the candidate to expand on their knowledge and to show that they fully understand the criteria.”
“One common query is how many questions should I ask? As an assessor there are no set amount and it does depend to a certain extent to how well the observation went and if the assessor got everything they wanted from the observation. If the observation was somewhat limited and they were not able to prove that the candidate met the standards, then further questions will become a lot more involved.”
“Often candidates will often ask if they can pre-populate or write the questions beforehand? Yes you can as you are going to link these to the standards but at the same time there has to be a degree of flexibility if there are certain avenues and areas that you are mapping these standards to.”
“There does not need to be open questions or leading questions, which leads to the candidate coming out with the answers.”
Nick - “Yes I agree, I think the questions are a vital part of assessing and I think it is an opportunity for the candidate to assess the learner’s knowledge about the company’s own policies, legislations and procedures. Also to check to see whether they are staying current and that they have an updated knowledge of these legislations. If learners do have gaps in their knowledge, then perhaps you can sign post them to any updates or changes in legislation and make them more aware.”
Tom - “There is nothing wrong with informing the learner what they are going to be questioned on. That comes into the planning again - for example ‘please read up on this area of your course or this area of the industry as this is what we will be asking you questions on’. The other thing to consider is the fact that with these questions and the answers.”
“How do you record that as a candidate on the CAVA course- we have a couple of options you can write them out in full or you can do audio recordings. From our experience a few of the learners do use the latter option, which may be easier and more practical than writing up the written responses.”
Tom - “The third assessment method on the workplace assessment pathway is the use of work product. The key thing with the workplace assessments is that they are within a work role and what the work product actually does is authenticate that actual work based assessment took place. A good example that we have seen in the past is a risk assessment that has been completed. It can be a checklist such as a vehicle checklist or a course register from a classroom which can be signed off by a member of staff.”
Nick- “The work product is evidence that the assessment took place, such as a checklist. We do see photos of work evidence such as hairdressing and nails (beauty), which show the photos of the customer’s end result.”
Tom - “We often get asked about confidentiality and GDPR, we appreciate that some information is sensitive and can’t be shared, so there is nothing wrong with removing names if required.”
Tom - “One of the most common questions is what is the difference between workplace and vocational assessments? A workplace assessment is where you are observing or assessing someone within a work role (day to day) E.g a personal trainer is working with a client or if it is someone working within a construction site working on machinery working on that role. The vocational is more the training side, often the theory or knowledge side of assessing typically based within a classroom or training room. You are observing someone or questioning.”
Observation - “With any vocational observation it is common to conduct a role play or scenario as opposed to a real life environment. An example would be first aid training where there are scenarios set up where skills such as CPR and choking are demonstrated on peers or manikins. The format is very similar where the assessor is observing them perform their tasks, they are graded and mapped against the criteria but they are not within a work role. It is an effective assessment method as you are simulating a work role.”
Written Questions - “These are a common formal of vocational assessments, these enable learners to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject, they are often marked against a criteria. It is an opportunity for the learner to reflect on their own role. The written questions could be designed by the tutor or written by an exam board. It is important for the questions to be mapped against the grading criteria.”
Skills Test - “These can often be multiple choice or short answer questions common on qualifications such as first aid or manual handling courses. It might be set under test conditions. The downside to skills tests are that the learner may feel under pressure within an exam scenario, however a key advantage is that a number of people can be assessed at once. A skills test is a recommended method which can be designed by the assessor such as making a 20 question multiple choice test. Tests can be standardised and they have a required pass grade.”
Assignments - “There are a number of courses which require assignments as part of their assessment method such as the Level 3, 4 and 5 teacher trainer courses. These assignments can be marked by the assessor and to use the criteria as a reference point. An advantage of assignments is that learners can provide their own opinions or points of view can be shared.”
Professional Discussions - “This is where the assessor can speak to one candidate to check whether or not there are any gaps within the knowledge. These can be a discussion to see whether the learner does need any additional training to improve their own practice.”
Tom - “Hopefully we have distinguished between vocational or workplace assessments. On the workplace pathway of the qualification there are three mandatory methods: observations, questions and the work product which are set out by the assessor. With the vocational pathway it is important to include three different assessment methods overall (written questions, skills test, assignments or professional discussions).”
In the same vein as exercise can be therapeutic for mental health, education is a fantastic tool for furthering oneself- it requires focus, vigour, resilience and ultimately the sense of pride and achievement felt upon achieving your goals.
It is arguably the duty of our teachers and trainers to find the right accord to inspire and to care for the individual needs of each learner. By simply adopting a conscientious approach you can help pick up on the signs that a learner is experiencing some difficult times.
awareness of mental health has helped it come out of the darkness and into the light in recent years and all for good reason. Statistics state that 1 in 4 people will experience some sort of mental health issue within their lifetime. Whether this may be the end of a relationship, a bereavement in the family, a loss of job, addiction or simply a personal issue, an individual’s mental state can be naturally rocked by these changes.
Recognising the signs of mental health issues can be difficult, the classic example is a learner states that they are ‘fine’ when in most cases they are going through a personal struggle alone through a ‘tunnel vision’ mind set and reluctant to reach out for help for fear of being labelled or any perceived repercussions.
When a learner does disclose that they are going through a difficult period- reassure them, there is no shame in admitting there is a problem and support is always available to dealing with issues head on. As a teacher or trainer it is important to understand that we are not trained councillors, we are merely supporters that can recommend channels to overcome these challenges. Ultimately each learner is different when dealing with mental health, some may openly accept your advice, others may prefer to go it alone. The process to overcoming issues can be a short or long process dependant on the individual. Be understanding, supportive and above all patience is key.
Here are a number of ways to recognise the signs and ways to provide support to your learners
Use Your Specialists
Every education and training organisation will have a staff member who is trained within providing support for mental health issues. Typically, personnel, pastoral teams or a safeguarding officer. It would be beneficial to know who your ‘specialists’ are and who to sign post your learners to. If you do have any concerns, why not approach your designated staff member and seek advice in person.
Presence of Contact Information
For any learner who does not want to speak to someone face-face, the presence of websites and contact telephone numbers within your classroom can be a vital point of contact. For example, having a wall detailing numbers of mental health charities such as Mind or Samaritans can help learners to be proactive and promotes the exposure of seeking help for mental health issues.
The individual learning plan meetings are an excellent way to speak to learners, not just about the academic progress but to see how they are feeling and coping with the course content. When these meetings do occur, try to ask open questions which will allow for a greater response from your learners. A learner may need additional time within an assignment for example. Following the meeting, try to implement an agreed plan to help your learner progress with their qualification.
Examples of Mental Health Cases
As previously mentioned, the subject of mental health is gaining more exposure in present day than ever before. A useful idea is to show examples of famous people such athletes, writers and actors who have suffered with setbacks and mental health problems and have overcome these with support. Try to make this relevant to your own subject by creating more awareness. this in turn will hopefully let your learners recognise that the person that they aspire to become has overcome adversities to get to where they are now.
The prevent strategy is a Government initiative for all schools and registered childcare providers to prevent children and young people to be drawn into terrorism and being radicalised by certain groups. If you notice that your learners are behaving different in class, they could be distracted, agitated or even researching topics which are related to terrorism.
The first port of call is to speak to your specialist such as a safeguarding officer and then the correct channels such as the police can be notified of any concerns. It is also good practice for all of your learners to be recognise the signs if their fellow peers are being radicalised and who to report their concerns to.
Recognising the signs
Recognising the signs of abuse are not always easy and some learners cover any signs or try to avoid attention being drawn to them. The basic signs of abuse can be changes in behaviour, injuries and signs of being withdrawn and reluctant to socialise with fellow class members. If you do detect any signs of abuse, then it is best practice to record all of your concerns and approach your designated welfare staff member as soon as possible.
The main types of abuse are:
Greeting Your Learners
When learners enter your class be sure to greet them and welcome them to the learning environment, you will be able to tell from their expressions and body language whether or not they are their usual selves. If you do notice something different in their behaviour- ask them for a quick chat after the lesson has ended to see if everything is ok with them.
Have a Time Out
If you see a learner that is ‘pent up’ or showing signs of distress, do not wait for the allocated break, and allow for them to have a time out there and then. A learner who is frustrated within your lesson is no good for yourself or fellow learners. Let them have a walk, some fresh air or water and when they are ready, have a quick chat with them outside of the classroom and allow them back in. They will be thankful for this and it will allow for them to refocus on their work or task better. For anything serious, do use your judgement and follow this up if necessary.
Late assignment submissions or simply being late to your lessons are classic signs that something is not right. For every time this does happen, record these occasions and document their behaviour. If you do approach them and are open about their time keeping, reassure them and provide alternatives such as catch up sessions or meetings with learning support. If they are negative and demonstrate closed behaviour, then you may wish to pass these concerns onto your specialist’s.
Let your learners know that you are both approachable both before and after your lesson. It may be your learner has a question regarding your subject, but sometimes they may wish to get their feelings off their chest. If this does happen, do listen to them and offer advice and support.
The AED can analyze the hearts rhythm and deliver an electric shock where necessary, which can jump start the heart back to life.
This life saving machine can often be found on the high street, in leisure centres, airports, stadiums and many more locations. It is the only proven method for treating ventricular fibrillation when a casualty has suffered a cardiac arrest.
Time is of the essence when a person stops breathing and the quicker the AED is placed on the casualty the better the chance they have of surviving.
On the flip side, there are many advantages of lesson planning. Nothing breed’s self-confidence in a teacher more than a well-planned lesson, especially for newly qualified teachers who rely on timings and structure to teach their subject specialism.
A key benefit of lesson plans, is that once created they can be saved, stored and even shared with your colleagues. This can reduce preparation time and can even assist you if you are a course leader who requires other staff members to deliver a subject area.
From an organisational point of view, lesson plans help to break down the teaching qualification and go hand in hand with a scheme of work, it can show whether or not you as the teacher have time for ‘active learning’ or if a lesson should be more focused on completing coursework or revising the subject content.
Lesson plans can identify which teaching activities are to be implemented within a lesson and can help track what techniques you have utilised within a lesson to avoid repetitiveness with your learners – variety is the spice of life!
Lesson plans do not need to be too detailed, simply a page outlining the different sections of the lesson is sufficient. Many educational establishments such as Ofsted would wish to see a lesson plan when observing teachers but it must be reflective of daily teacher’s life.
Teachers may create a three page lesson plan for every lesson, but this is simply unrealistic and problematic to teachers in the long run. In essence, a lesson plan should be one page long, detailing the different activities to be delivered. Above all, keep lesson planning simple!
What should a lesson plan contain?
Aims are what teachers and learners want to achieve in a lesson or a course. Different classroom activities are planned in order to achieve these aims. In other words, the aims on lesson plans often describe what the teacher wants learners to be able to do by the end of a lesson, or what they will have done during it.
There should ideally be one aim to the lesson, keywords for a lesson aim could be: To demonstrate, to investigate, to develop, to create. The aim should ‘marry up’ with the scheme of work and can be used to track the progress or the course or subject delivery.
Objectives are the individual stages that learners must achieve on the way in order to reach the overall aim of a lesson. The objectives must be clear to all learners and are the steps the learner will go through to complete the aim. Learning objectives should include active verbs such as ‘state’, ‘explain’, ‘outcome’, ‘list’ or ‘describe’.
There should be a maximum of 2-3 objectives for the lesson, any more could become confusing for the learner.
Embedding functional skills such as numeracy is key for later life. Most careers wish for learners to have a minimum of level 2 within numeracy and therefore by promoting opportunities to develop these key skills within your lessons will contribute to their career prospects.
Promoting numeracy does not need to be explicit, try to make it relevant to your own subject content. For example, calculating the cost of running a business in your subject area, understanding the price of equipment or researching the salaries of career paths stemming from your subject.
The key to this functional skill is to keep matters simple, numeracy could be simply counting out loud or even working out percentages.
Literacy and Language
Creating opportunities to promote literacy and language can help your learners to boost their confidence, freedom of thought and interaction with their classmates. Typical activities include: Discussions, paired work, role plays, reading journals, articles and websites, reading aloud in class and group work.
Why not create debates within your lesson which are relevant to your subject. For example discussing key topics such as Brexit will not only prompt discussion, but will help learners to improve their written answers for ‘Analyse’ based questions. This in turn, will require learners to examine strengths, limitations and different points of view.
Remember to promote the ‘ground rules’ of the classroom which will make learners understand that different opinion and points of view will be shared, but should be listened to and respected.
As good as ‘busy’ and interactive lessons are, it is equally important for learners to have some time of independent learning to think, reflect and improve their own practice. Independent learning could involve answering questions in a mock exam, independently working on an I.T project, reading a textbook in silence or even working on a skill such as carpentry.
By allowing your learners to become more independent and ultimately more resilient, they will rely less on the teacher and be more proactive when something goes wrong. Remember, one of the fundamental aspects of learning is acknowledging what errors have been made and rectifying them for future practice.
Equality and Diversity
Promoting equality and diversity within the classroom can help learners understand more about the individual differences and contributions of people from all walks of life.
Equality is ensuring that all learners with your classroom have the same opportunity to achieve regardless of their individual characteristics. Some learners may need reasonable adjustments or extra time in order to complete a task, others may be independent and can help others once they have completed their task.
Diversity is recognising that all people are unique and are different in terms of their personality, cultural background, religious beliefs, the list goes on. A way to promote diversity within a lesson is to create resources with multicultural themes, actively promoting multiculturalism within lessons and using a variety of teaching and assessment methods.
Stretch and Challenge
Extension activities are opportunities for those learners who have completed their set work. Activities could range from watching a YouTube video on a particular subject, reading a journal or article or even helping their classmates by reading their work and providing feedback and support.
Another way learners can stretch and challenge their own knowledge is by becoming a class representative or ‘rep’. This is where learners will take responsibility for the group and make classroom decisions, reps are also a good way for learners to provide their thoughts on the lesson content.
Extension activities can even be stored on a virtual learning portal such as ‘Moodle’ which can be accessed by learners to complete rather than having paper based extension tasks. By showing the stretch and challenge logo on a PowerPoint can become an incentive for learners to focus and challenge one another to complete a task.
Key to success
Employability skills are important for your learners to understand what career paths and avenues your subject could take them. Job search engines are a great way for learners to see what key skills are required for specific roles.
Another way to promote employment skills is to deliver activities and create assignments which are geared towards industry, for example, mock role play job interviews, group presentations, CV writing or even creating an invoice or balance sheet.
Experiencing employability opportunities will make learners more confident in their own abilities for when they apply for jobs.
Health and safety
Not all lessons are ‘chalk and talk’ others require learners to use specialist equipment, tools or even PPE. By giving learners the chance to hone their skills is important to their development and interest within the subject.
For every practical based lesson, try to estimate how much equipment is required and whether or not a risk assessment is needed prior to the lesson. It is good practice for teachers to keep stock of their apparatus and consult superiors if stocks are running low and any broken equipment needs to be changed.