Move Me On 184: struggling to see beyond tightly regimented teaching strategies

Teaching History feature

Published: 4th October 2021

Trainee is struggling to see beyond the tightly regimented teaching strategies adopted in their previous school

Move Me On is designed to build critical, informed debate about the character of teacher training, teacher education and professional development. It is also designed to offer practical help to all involved in training new history teachers. Each issue presents a situation in initial teacher education/training with an emphasis upon a particular history-specific issue. 
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Jaya has been in her placement school for several weeks now and her mentor is worried about the very fixed views of teaching that she seems to have adopted as a result of her experiences as a cover supervisor over the previous two years. The strict Covid-19 protocols in place for much of that time meant that teachers were required to remain at the front of their classrooms, unable to circulate or to engage easily with individual students.

Compulsory use of masks, which continued to be strongly recommended even when not explicitly required, also made it difficult to hear what students were saying. Jaya found it so awkward to have to keep asking individuals to repeat themselves, that she tended to avoid any use of question and answer, even to check that students understood the tasks set. Wherever possible she worked through the lesson plans prepared for her by the absent teacher, trying to make sure that she understood what each of the set tasks required so that she could give clear instructions. She even created her own examples (if they had not already been provided), so that she could display what a completed answer or table or diagram might look like. The regular staff were impressed by the effort she invested in showing the students exactly what they needed to produce. The fact that her classes tended to ‘complete’ work, even if much of it was actually copied, meant that Jaya was frequently commended for her effectiveness and came to equate students sitting quietly and writing things down with effective learning.

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