15 Tips For A Successful Micro Teach
The 15-minute micro teach has always been regarded as the litmus test for any aspiring teacher or trainer undertaking the Level 3 Award in Education and Training. Where most learners relish the prospect of delivering their individual subject, others naturally feel apprehensive about delivering their chosen topic to a group for the very first time. The micro teach can be a daunting experience but most learners enjoy the ‘buzz’ of the micro teach day and enjoy the positive atmosphere that learners bring to the day. Below are 15 helpful pointers to prepare you for the day and maximise your micro teach experience...
1. A Clear Lesson Plan
Have a clear idea of your aim and objectives of what you want your learners to achieve within the 15-minute lesson. The plan should be no more than 2 pages, with a clear aim, 1-2 objectives, introduction, middle section or activity and summary. It is key to allow for questions from group members who will be naturally curious about your subject. Try not to over complicate your plan and only involve subject content that you feel confident delivering.
Tip- Remember a lesson plan can be hand written- simply write out your plan from the Level 3 Award in Education & Training work pack. The trainer of the course will provide you with advice on how to structure your plan during days 1 and 2 of the course.
2. Initial Assessment
Ask your learners if they have any prior knowledge of your subject, you may be surprised about your learner’s previous experience and knowledge base. If a group member is experienced within your chosen subject, why not involve them within a demonstration or ask them to provide feedback to fellow group members who are less experienced. Your chosen group member could act as a facilitator and help with the flow of the lesson- remember two heads are better than one!
Everyone is supportive of each other on the micro teach day, why not ask other candidates to assist you with the set-up of your micro teach? You could ask other delegates to help you to rearrange the classroom layout to suit your micro teach or even give out your hand outs or resources? By delegating responsibilities will help you to relax and get to know your fellow learners better.
Tip- Delegating responsibilities is a great hallmark of any teacher- never feel you have to do it all by yourself!
4. Observe, Adopt, Adapt
As a teacher and trainer you will at some point be observing your learners or colleagues. Try to be both positive and constructive with your feedback and think about how you provide feedback effectively. The micro teach is an excellent opportunity to see different teaching delivery styles and techniques. If you see an interesting starter, activity or resource- make note! You can use this within your own future practice.
Tip- If using other people’s resources always remember to ask permission in advance, most trainers will be welcoming and often share resources with you.
5. Keep It Simple- If Using PowerPoint
Use 4-5 slides maximum and try to keep content to a minimum. If using handouts, try not to contain too much information as this will distract your learners from the main micro teach session. Learners will be more focused on what you have to say about your subject rather than on the white board. Try to adopt a blend of teaching approaches, if you are delivering a lecture be mindful that some learners may ‘switch off’, group engagement is important here.
6. Video Activities
Videos are engaging, interactive and can help learners understand your teaching practice. A key tip here is to keep them short and interactive. Why not include questions for the learner to complete during the videos and get learners to feedback after the video? You may wish to get learners to write down their thoughts or answers to the video and quiz them on these after the video to ensure they are not passive. If you are testing your learner’s knowledge after a video, they must keep focused throughout and provide their opinions to the group.
Tip- As a teacher and trainer it is essential to watch your video all the way through prior to showing your class. Be mindful of language used and the content shown. Embedded videos on a PowerPoint will help the flow of your lesson.
7. Be In Control
More often than not any planned activity will last longer than expected. Allow for the activity to flow but be mindful of timings here. Remember that you are in control and dictate the timings of the lesson- show your authoritarian side and be prepared to move the lesson on if required.
Tip- Use interactive websites such as https://www.classtools.net/timer to provide learners with an update of timings.
8. Welcome Distance Learners
If you’re a learner on the face-face course, welcome any distance learners to the teaching environment on the micro teach day. They may be nervous and unfamiliar with the surroundings initially. Get to know them and discuss their chosen subject- everyone is it in together! They will welcome your helpfulness and will hopefully return the favour when you are delivering your lesson.
9. Questions Are Key
A good hallmark of any teacher or trainer is the ability to ask questions. Whether open or nominated, the micro teach is an opportunity to hone your questioning skills. Questions draw knowledge from learners and allow for discussions to unfold and provides yourself a break from the flow of teaching. Your learners will be interested within your micro teach topic and naturally curious about the content.
Tip- Get to know your fellow learners and try to understand what type of questions they should receive. If they are a confident speaker use an ‘open approach’, used ‘closed’ for learners with less confidence.
10. Lesson Close
Your micro teach should come ‘full circle’, with a two-minute warning from the assessor. At this stage you should review your aim and objectives. Perhaps here ask questions to group members or conduct a lesson evaluation quiz or ask the group members questions on the subject you have just delivered.
11. Practice Makes Perfect
For anyone who is new to presenting it is imperative to practice your micro teach in your own time. Why not present in front of friends and family members who will provide you with some honest feedback. If no one is available, why not record your micro teach on your phone and play back to see your delivery style.
Tip! Mehrabian’s rule of personal communication stated that the largest communication method was body language at 55% (38% voice and tone and 7% spoken words). Remember to adopt a positive body language style to promote confidence and openness.
You may well be an expert within your micro teach topic field but your learners may not be. If a learner does need clarification on certain terminology from your lesson, simply relax and explain to them the content and try not to worry about the timings of your lesson. The 15-minute window is a very short space of time, it is better than learners understand your content rather than rushing through your lesson leaving your learners confused.
Tip! If you do not cover all of your objectives within the lesson don’t worry, it is better to have more activities planned than not
13. If You Get Flustered
Whether you become tongue-tied or simply a question from a learner stumps you! It happens to all teachers and trainers at some point in their teaching careers. The best advice is to relax, pause, gather your thoughts and feed back to the class. You could ask the group members what their thoughts are regarding the question, or even get learners to discuss in pairs or groups to take the attention off you. Remember that you are in control, so do not apologise. If you do not know the answer to a question is it better to be honest rather than providing the incorrect facts, it may be a learner within the classroom does know the answer and can help you out.
14. Keep It Active
Active learning is one of the most enjoyable experiences and will promotes all of the learning styles (VARK). Generally, most learners prefer to be active within the learning process rather than passive where communication from the teacher is a one-way process. Within your lesson why not try to promote interactive teaching such as group work, paired work, discussions, debates or even competitive games and quizzes.
15. Classroom Layout
When it comes to the classroom layout, what works for one teacher does not work for another. If you wish to change the classroom to suit your micro teach then do feel free to make it your own. It is important to make yourself as comfortable as possible in your delivery. Ask learners to help with the arrangement of the classroom and remember to return it to normal once complete for the next learners lesson.
Tip! Ann Gravells Level 3 Award in Education and Training text book page Shows a range of different classroom layouts which you can use for your micro teach P.25-27. She talks about her book via this youtube video.