6. Using TESSA materials to support teaching practice

Supporting student teachers on teaching practice

In many institutions there are no existing materials to support teaching practice or school experience modules, and TESSA materials have been used frequently to support this part of the curriculum. Using the materials in this way is a good starting point as it familiarises teachers (and their supervisors/tutors) with the TESSA materials and there is often less resistance to their use in this area than to integration in more formal taught parts of the curriculum.

When pre-service teachers are on teaching practice, some will be supported by another teacher and the head teacher, but some will be left on their own. If they have access to the internet, then they will be able to use the TESSA materials to gather ideas for activities and to plan their lessons. If access to the internet is an issue, providing each student with a hard copy of the five units in their subject (Biology, Chemistry or Physics) will ensure that they have some concrete ideas for classroom activities.

At the Egerton University in Kenya, pre-service students complete an assignment during their teaching practice. They have to create a learning resource, use it with their classes and then write an evaluation of their resource. When they leave the school, the resources that they have created are given to the school.

Last year, Dr Wambugu decided to focus on the theme of ‘problem solving and creativity’. Before the students went on teaching practice, Dr Wambugu set her Physics pre-service students the task of planning a lesson using the Physics unit on ‘creativity and problem solving’. She asked them to write out the plan and to provide some notes to explain why they had chosen particular activities. She then asked them to work in pairs and provide feedback to each other on their plans. When she set the teaching practice assignment, she specifically asked them to create a resource which could be used in a lesson to promote students’ creativity and problem solving skills. She was very pleased when they produced their resources – they were much more imaginative and creative than the ones she saw last year. Using the TESSA unit had inspired them and helped them with their assignment.

Teaching practice supervisors are expected to visit pre-service teachers and observe their teaching. The TESSA Teaching Practice Supervisors’ Toolkit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   has some detailed guidance on how to assess teaching practice.

The ‘toolkit’ was developed by teacher educators working in Nigeria, but the ‘tools’ they have developed apply to all teaching practice supervisors. The toolkit is an OER which means that the resources can be downloaded and adapted for use. For example, the resource on ‘recognising a good lesson’, could be used for the basis of a discussion by a group of teacher educators before they observe pre-service teachers in school.

Appendix 2 contains some of the ‘tools’ that are likely to be most useful for teacher educators, and a list of all the activities and case studies that are available. The activities are for teacher educators to use in their work with pre-service teachers, and the case studies show how the activities can be implemented in practice.

5. Using the materials in your own teaching