Rise in NEETs shows how important it is for students to get the full value from employer engagements

Comment by KIRSTIE MACKEY, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays

Observation lesson preparation tips

Comment by SIMON ADAMS, Regional Director for Teach In

Many interviews for teaching jobs include an observation lesson in which the candidate is asked to run a live lesson with a class of students, observed by some or all members of the selection panel. This is what is known as an observation lesson. For those of you who feel nervous about teaching in an unfamiliar

The case for employer engagements in careers education is clear Last week’s ONS figures showed a slight increase in the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in the UK. This underlines how essential it is that young people are trained in the transferable skills that will help them to navigate today’s ever-changing work environment. Every teacher knows that employer engagements are important for their

students’ future careers. Young people are 86% less likely to become NEET if they experience four or more contacts with employers before leaving education. Young people with more encounters with the world of work have been shown to benefit from a wage premium of up to £3,500. However, research has established that the right types of employer

encounters can have much wider benefits for pupils, benefits that they can in turn bring back to the classroom.

Employer engagements can help with academic attainment as well as shyness and motivation A study carried out by the Education and Employers Charity and Barclays LifeSkills highlighted that nine out of ten secondary school teachers believe that employer engagements have a direct impact on exam results. Teachers noted that they are particularly motivating for those students who cannot see themselves going to university. Teachers also find that employer encounters boost self-confidence, build

transferable skills that aren’t in the mainstream curriculum and help to bring classroom learning to life. Girls, in particular, reap the benefits of employer engagements, with 79% of teachers seeing positive effects compared to just over 57% for boys. Employer encounters can be anything from a work placement to a CV

workshop. Through creativity and strong relationships between schools and employers, it is possible to really tailor engagements so that they suit students’ needs. For instance, mentoring or careers sessions from employer volunteers give pupils new role models to focus on beyond their immediate family and social circle. This is particularly important when 1.1 million children (9%) are living in long-term workless households.

Make it simpler for educators Despite these benefits, it can be difficult for educators to find time in the school year for good employer encounters. I believe there are two key actions that will help make this easier: The first is more central guidance on where to look for employer

interventions, with an employability framework that makes it clear for educators what “good” looks like. The second is a whole school approach to employability, championed by

school leadership. The teaching of employability skills does not have to stand alone, we need to support teachers to make critical links between the curriculum and the world of work in their teaching. The pupils that educators support today are employers’ future hires and

society’s future voters and taxpayers. By working together, educators, businesses and the Government can help young people develop a wide range of future-facing skills that will help them thrive in successful and fulfilling jobs.


environment, here are some tips on how to triumph in an observation lesson:

Preparing for the lesson Check with the school, or your recruiter, to ensure you know the key stage and content you are required to teach, as well as the length of time you will be required to teach. Some schools only observe 20 to 30 minutes of teaching whilst others observe a full lesson. Write out a lesson plan and print out copies for the observers to

follow. Make sure you use a lesson plan template and link the lesson content to the relevant sections of the curriculum. It is crucial to plan ahead regarding the use of ICT and to have a

back-up plan, should it fail so you don’t waste time trying to fix it, when you could be showing off your teaching ability.

Getting Started At the start of the lesson be sure to introduce yourself and write your name and lesson objectives on the board so that learners understand the context of the lesson, and how it fits into the big picture. What’s your hook? Plan an interesting activity to get the students

engaged immediately. Remember classroom management starts when students arrive at the door.

Keep it simple Don’t try to cram in too much or plan complicated activities that eat into the limited time you have to display your teaching prowess. Ensure you plan to reactivate key learnings from previous lessons, if appropriate. Follow the typical lesson pattern of using starter activity to engage students, a main activity that develops through the lesson and end with a plenary to summarise and reinforce learning.

Classroom management If possible, find out the behaviour management policy and code of conduct before you start. Try to involve as many students as possible when moving from one

activity to another. Plan how and when you will check for learner understanding and make sure you vary your techniques to show your breath of skills when managing a class. Keep a close eye on your timings as the observers will want to see

you running the lesson on schedule whilst still ensuring students are engaged and progressing with the learning activity.

Be explicit Interact with the teaching assistant, if you have one, by briefing them before the lesson on what you plan to do, listening and clearly explaining how you would like them to support you in the lesson, maintaining interaction during the lesson. Use open and closed questioning to suit different students, and be

prepared with extension questions. Make sure you have alternative explanations to scaffold learning when required. Remember, smile, be confident, listen to the students and respect their learning environment.

June 2018

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