Monthly Archives: May 2008

What makes a good A-Level teacher?

We’re getting to that time of year again when year 12’s are leaving.  In the past I’ve done a questionnaire to find out how my teaching has impacted on their learning, whether they think that there’s anything I should be focusing on.  This year I disposed of the questionnaire and instead we had a slice of cake and discussed what makes a good A level teacher.  I typed the results into bubbl.us (because I love it!).

I think it’s quite interesting that they now prefer lessons in which we answer a question, when at the begginning of the year they were desparate to be taught the story of Italian Unification.  There was also lots of praise for the debate lessons we undertook – students claimed that being forced to have an opinion and argue for and against such opinions made things seem more memorable.  

Two things left a real impression:

  • their willingness to engage with targets, as long as they’re agreed rather than imposed.  I held off making a big deal out of targets this year, and didn’t make students re-do work that did not reach the level expected of them.  Next year I think that this will be one of the places where I focus more; and
  • the extent to which they apprecited and learned from the individual chats we had about essays.  When I was training I watched David Rodgerson (author of the excellent bookThe Early Tudors: England 1485-1558) do this with his 6th formers, but to be honest I’ve been too nervous to do it before.  I’ll certainly do it next year.