Observations Policy

Dear tutor

The quality, personalised tuition that you proved our students is what we are justifiably proud of here at Intuition.  As part of our commitment to quality we want to support you with your teaching and CPD.

Our academic management team are available to consult for guidance with lesson planning, age / level appropriate activities, ways to develop your qualifications, suitable activities for your students etc.  They can be contacted at:

Our Director of Studies runs monthly webinars which you can join live – the link will be sent to you 48 hours beforehand – or you can watch the recorded version.  You can access any of the previous webinars on the ITL portal which cover a range of subjects including skills and exam teaching.

The academic management team will also be in touch with you to arrange an observation of one of your classes.  When you first join the ITL team we will observe your first course and then arrange a yearly observation to coincide with when you have a student.

To help you with your observation we have included the British Council criteria below which you can use to help you prepare and check your lesson plan and teaching.

The academic management team will:

  • Contact you when you are due an observation
  • Send you the relevant lesson planning documentation to complete
  • Arrange to observe live or watch the recorded lesson
  • Meet with you after the observation to discuss the feedback on your plan and lesson

The feedback is used to help inform our series of webinars as well as our annual in person Teacher Development Day.

Please feel free to contact the team if you have any questions about the process or the criteria and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

Best wishes

InTuition Academic Management Team

Lesson Plan and Teaching Criteria

We have used the relevant British Council Criteria to help you plan and teach your lessons.  We have included practical examples which are not exhaustive but intended to help you translate the criteria into relevant ITL scenarios.

Tutor demonstrates sound knowledge and awareness of the use of English and the linguistic systems underlying it, and provides appropriate models of spoken and written English.

Examples of best practice:

  • You use clear models of language for student to follow by using natural speech
  • You use phonemic script to help with problem sounds / L1 interference e.g. “th” sound
  • You help your students with word and sentence stress e.g. EAsy not eaSY
  • You guide your student on the use of connected speech so that they understand and sound natural e.g. I want to…. = I wanna…
  • You choose texts, teach lexis and explain grammar points using language which is age and CEFR level appropriate
  • You choose contexts which are relevant as well as meaningful for student e.g. business context for professional English courses and school or free time contexts for YLs

The content of the lessons shows that the course objectives, the learning needs and cultural backgrounds of the students have been taken into account.

Examples of best practice:

·         You have a clear profile of your student including background, reason for learning English, level on CEFR for skills, grammar, lexis and pronunciation.  You understand their strengths and what they need to focus on.

·         You use relevant activities to help your student develop e.g. appropriate materials from the ITL portal, authentic materials or an age / level appropriate coursebook.

·         You are able to help non-Roman script learners e.g. writing practice to develop the letters and joined up script.

·         You use a variety of activities e.g. listening, reading, speaking, writing to help your student learn in different ways.

·         You are able to cater for special educational needs e.g more visual back up for students with dyslexia

·         Your lesson plan is appropriately timed and includes stages for review and setting up any homework

·         You plan appropriate stage timings for YLs to ensure movement and breaks e.g. activities including TPR

Lessons lead to relevant learning outcomes, made known to students and achieved through a coherent sequence of activities.

Examples of best practice:

·         Your lesson plan has clear measurable outcomes that relate to the needs of your student e.g. “by the end of the lesson my student will be able to describe what they did yesterday using the past simple”

·         You plan your lesson with clear stages that lead to the overall objectives e.g. using a PPP, TBL, TTT lesson plan

·         You explain the outcomes to the student at the beginning of the lesson

·         You check the outcomes at the end of the lesson and use the resulting information to plan the following day’s session

·         You include a warmer that is appropriate to the student in terms of age and level and gives the student the chance to activate prior knowledge or review language from a previous lesson e.g. Pelmanism to review vocabulary

·         You set homework that links to the work done in the lesson to support and reinforce learning

·         You include any assumptions about the student as well as anticipated problems and solutions in the plan which informs the choice of activities and the lesson staging e.g. my student needs to write a lot of emails for work and will be interested in cohesive devices to write effectively

·         You use supplementary materials that support and enhance the lesson plan e.g. including authentic materials such as newspaper reports, podcasts, literature etc to motivate your student that focus on their interests and are appropriate to their level.

Teaching techniques are appropriate to the focus of the lesson and to the needs of the group and individual learners.

Examples of best practice:

·         You ask clear ICQs and CCQs which are fit for purpose and demonstrate student’s understanding

·         The TTT vs STT is appropriate and allows the student plenty of opportunities to speak by practising and asking questions

·         Any TTT adds value to the lesson and uses graded language where appropriate

·         You identify and work on subskills to improve an overall skill e.g. top down and bottom up processes for reading or pronunciation to help listening and speaking

·         You adapt materials for a student with special educational needs e.g. use of subtitles or closed captioning for a hearing-impaired student.

Tutors promote learning by the effective management of the classroom environment and resources.

Examples of best practice:

·         You model the activity and asks clear ICQs to ensure your students knows what to do

·         Your student has a comfortable seat and table to work at which is well lit and at a comfortable temperature e,g, a quiet room in the house where you won’t be disturbed by other household members

·         You prepare and use visually appealing materials which are error free e.g. the resources on the ITL portal

·         You supplement, omit, adapt or replace any activities in a course book to meet the needs of the student e.g. replacing a reading text in a coursebook with one that is more appropriate to the student’s interests

Students receive appropriate and timely feedback on their performance during the lesson.

Examples of best practice:

·         You note down some key strengths and errors to use in feedback after a task

·         You have a clear correction code for written feedback which you’ve explained to your student

·         You use subtle gestures e.g. 3 fingers to indicate the 3rd person or encouraging facial gestures as your student is performing a task so as not to interrupt and encourage accuracy and fluency

·         You give balanced feedback on both positives and challenges that the student has in productive skills activities

Lessons include activities to evaluate whether learning is taking place.

Examples of best practice:

·         You use concept checking questions that require short answers, are unambiguous and clearly demonstrate to the tutor that your student has understood the meaning – these can be scripted in the lesson plan

·         You use a variety of assessment techniques that don’t feel like “tests” to help students naturally see their progress e.g. video diaries and comparing the student’s speaking ability at the beginning and end.  Using KWL charts, brain diagrams that “fill up” with knowledge over the course etc.

Tutors demonstrate the ability to engage students and create a positive learning atmosphere.

Examples of best practice:

·         You have a clear understanding of the student’s background, their purpose for learning English and why they’ve chosen home tuition and your lessons meet all these needs

·         You are able to personalise their lessons so that the context is relevant and useful for students e.g. email writing for busy professionals, presentations for a student speaking at a conference or aviation English for ATC students

·         The techniques you choose are appropriate to the student and their age / level e.g. recording an adult learner who needs to improve their presentation skills or planning shorter stages for YLs to allow for movement and concentration

·         You understand your student’s interests, strengths and challenges in L1 and ensure that your lessons adapt to these

Sample Observation Planning Form

Teacher:          

Date:   

Type of Course: Super Intensive English for Work

Email:

Phone:

           

Student: xxxx              Level:         B1

My student’s background and reasons for doing this course.

 

xxx is a native Spanish speaker living in Switzerland. She learned English and German at school and currently works as a House Mistress in an international boarding school.  She has learned a lot of useful English on the job but now feels that she would like to change jobs to one with more sociable hours and so is in the UK to help her build her speaking confidence for an interview as well as her writing ability to respond to job adverts

 

 

 

Learning Outcomes

 

My learning outcomes for this lesson, i.e. the skills / systems the student will have acquired, or be better at, by the end of the lesson.  The main learning outcome is listed first.

 

·         Primary focus: xxx will be able to write a job application email

·         Secondary focus: xxx will better understand different cohesive writing devices that help signpost the reader

Lesson fit

What came before the lesson and what it will lead on to

  • In the previous lesson we started looking at paragraph writing using starting and finishing sentences
  • We have been studying some discourse markers in class
  • We worked on job related lexis in one of last week’s lessons
  • We have done some writing in class and she needs to work on cohesion by building the sentences into a paragraph
  • We will go on to work on reading skills where understanding cohesion will be extremely useful

 

 

Language Analysis:

Cohesive Devices:

 

Cohesive Device

Example from text

Form / Meaning

Appropriacy

Discourse Marker -

Additive conjunction

…last Sunday and am writing..

One word conjunction, in this case links clauses which could exist as individual sentences

Appropriate in formal and informal, written and spoken discourse.  Probably the most universal discourse marker and can be used in a variety of situations including as a temporal, causal or adversative conjunction.  Generally avoided at the beginning of a sentence

Discourse Marker – Temporal Conjunction

As you can see from……

Phrasal conjunction which refers to a specific noun, in this case the attached CV.  In spoken discourse we might point to what we are referring to.  Can also be used with “from + -ing” form of the verb to mean the same e.g. as you can see from looking at the chart…

Appropriate in (semi) formal written and spoken discourse eg presentations, academic writing but not for a chat with a friend.

Often used at the start of a sentence

Discourse Marker – additive conjunction

as well as

Phrasal conjunction which joins 2 clauses and eliminates the need to repeat the verb.

In this case it refers to 2 nouns (degree and ELT qualification) but equally it can be used between 2 verbs where the main verb of the clause in conjugated but the verb following the conjunction uses the –ing form

e.g. he plays hockey every weekend as well as going to the gym 3 times a week

Useful in formal and informal speaking and writing.  Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence

e.g.

He plays hockey every weekend as well as going to the gym 3 times a week

Or

As well as going to the gym 3 times a week, he plays hockey at the weekend

(note the use of the comma in the second example to separate clauses)

Discourse Marker – Additive conjunction

In addition to teaching….I also have…..

A conjunction that works in 2 parts when “in addition to”  is used at the beginning of the phrase.  It then requires the second part of the conjunction to include the subj + also

Note the use of in addition to + - ing form of the verb which can be confusing for students

More frequent in (semi) formal spoken and written discourse.  It sounds slightly pompous when used in informal situations.

Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of the sentence

e.g.

In addition to playing hockey every weekend he also goes to the gym 3 times a week

Or

He plays hockey every weekend in addition to going to the gym 3 times a week,

Discourse Marker –

Additive Conjunction

Along with YLs and

Conjunction that can work by itself or with “and”

Along introduces another idea and collocates with “with”

When used with a verb it takes the “–ing” form

Can be used at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence

e.g.

He plays hockey every weekend along with going to the gym 3 times a week

Or

Along with going to the gym 3 times a week, he plays hockey at the weekend

Discourse Marker –

Adversative conjunction

Either in….or…..

Conjunction that works as a sentence frame to offer 2 positive alternatives.

Can be used in formal or informal written or spoken discourse

Ellipsis

And am writing…. / and could start

In both these examples the subject has been eliminated as it was included at the beginning of the sentence and the conjunction renders it unnecessary.  It would be grammatically correct to include it but stylistically redundant

In both cases of ellipsis, it is perfectly acceptable to use in formal and informal, written and spoken discourse

How I will evidence that learning has taken place:

Xxx will be able to write an email using the cohesive devices

 

The materials I am using, e.g. my own materials and / or the page numbers of books:

I will use a Task-teach-Task approach

Own materials – emails that I have adapted for the purpose of the lesson

The aims for my own teaching:

 

To ensure a writing lesson is interactive and communicative and that my clarification stage is effective

 

 

 

 

I anticipate the following problems for my student and have planned to overcome them as described below:

Ellipsis

Students are taught that in English sentences have Subject – Verb – Object so missing out a subject or verb seems alien to her

The highlighting stage will bring this to light and then during the clarification stage I will focus on the technique explaining that it is not necessary when in fact it has been included earlier on in the phrase.  During monitoring I will check she is doing it correctly and help where necessary.

Variety of conjunctions

We will be looking at several conjunctions with similar meanings e.g. along with, as well as etc

I will use patterning to show where and how conjunctions can be used so that she can take home a written record (see above)

“-ing” form

Using the finite “–ing” form after “to” is also alien to students who are used to using the infinitive.

During the clarification stage I will draw her attention to it and remind her that the frame is “in addition to” + “ing” not “in addition” + “to +ing” (see above).

I find this helps students remember the structure better and causes less confusion

 

Time

 

Procedure for Achieving Learning Outcomes

 

T>S

 

S>T

 

  5

  5

5

10

15

15

5

Welcome- and check homework

Warmer- my ideal job.  Using different pictures to elicit jobs and the skills they require.  Discuss which one would be ideal and which skills student thinks they have – can she give examples of these skills in action?  Are there any skills missing?  T makes notes of these to use in speaking extension activity

Task - T gives S application letter with some simple comprehension questions to check meaning

Teach – worksheet with guiding questions for s to notice cohesive devices.  Inductive approach so s builds understanding of the devices used in terms of Meaning and Form.

Task – T asks s to write a job application letter using some of the cohesive devices from the lesson.

Speaking extension activity – Teacher “interviews” student for the job she’s applied for focusing on the skills identified in 1st task. T records the interview using S’ phone.

If there’s time T reviews recoding with s otherwise asks S to review for homework. T checks objectives with S, explains homework task, thanks S & ends lesson

 

Lesson Reflections Sheet

Please complete and email back to the lesson observer 24 hours after the lesson.

My overall impression of the lesson:

 I am pleased with the way the lesson was structured and carried out as a direct response xxx needs analysis. The learning objectives were clear and she was engaged and felt she’d really learned some useful lexis for writing a successful job application.  She also commented on how useful the job interview was and having it recorded meant she could revisit it several times for language, body posture, paralinguistic features etc.

The lesson outcomes – were they appropriate/challenging enough? Did I achieve them?

The lesson outcomes were appropriate and achieved.

What did the student do well and why?

Xxx was able to use the language from the Teach section well in the letter writing as she was very motivated by her own personal circumstances.

What did they have problems with and why?

Xxx struggled to understand some of the syntax in the inductive as she has language interference from her own L1 and German.

With hindsight, what would I change and why?

With hindsight, I would use the previous lesson to prepare the student’s cv as this would have helped her be more prepared for the letter writing and interview.

Sample Lesson Observation: DOS Feedback

Observation no: xxxxxx

Teacher:

Xxx

Student:          

Xxx

Course type:    

Super Intensive English for Work

Level:  

B1

Date:  

Xxx

Observer:

Director of Studies

  

Things to continue:

Lovely rapport and she was happy to ask you for support

Clear objectives for the student for the day’s lesson

Lovely reformulation and encouragement

Good review of the previous day’s lesson

She’s doing most of the talking and work J

Meaningful and motivating context

Clear lesson staging and flow – moved well from controlled to freer practice

Good use of student’s answers from Task 1 in the final interview so it feels as though you’ve really listened to her

Lovely idea to record so she has a record of the interview to use again

 

 

Things to consider:

A quick focus on some pronunciation issues in the final roundup so she’s aware of the phonemes she can work on

I agree with your point on the CV

 

Overall comments and suggested points for action

A lovely lesson xx which was well planned and staged and focused on xxx needs.  You taught everything using a meaningful context which was relevant and level appropriate for the student.  There was also a clear continuation from previous lessons and she obviously felt comfortable and at ease with you.

There was a nice mix of skills development together with the cohesive devices and the proportion of STT to TTT was very appropriate.

Thank you very much for providing the materials and the recording.