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6.2 Before the school experience review

In preparation for this important meeting the mentor will need to:

  • discuss with the school co-ordinator the student teacher's achievements and areas for future development;

  • review the evidence from observations and mentor session records to check that targets set during the placement were achieved;

  • review the student teacher's school experience file;

  • discuss with the school co-ordinator the draft comm
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5.3.5 Discussion with the school co-ordinator

In this session the tutor should:

  • thank him or her for making the arrangements for the visit and for the support they are giving the student and stress the importance of the partner school's training and assessment role, and the school co-ordinator's quality assurance role.

  • seek confirmation that the school co-ordinator is actively involved in all summative assessments and check that they know the schedule for returning the school exp
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5.3.3 One-to-one tutorial

In this session the tutor should cover the following areas:

  • assessment of the student teacher's subject knowledge development during the school experience placement;

  • review of the student teacher's files;

  • timetable coverage;

  • teaching activities, including marking and keeping records;

  • target achievement and progress against the ITP, assessment outcomes for the level and the standards f
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4.1 Introduction

Evidence about teaching and learning is now collected for many purposes: systematic teacher appraisal, induction training for newly qualified teachers, developing the skills of initial trainees or honing those of more experienced practitioners as they work towards threshold targets. Much of this evidence is gained through observations of lessons and conversations or interviews with teachers, student teachers and pupils. As Wragg (1994) has suggested, if lessons are worth observing they are al
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3 The mentor session

The weekly mentor session involves:

  • discussing progress in the student teacher's teaching standards and professional qualities, using the evidence from written observations and the student teacher's school experience file;

  • agreeing the focused observati
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2.4 Achieving targets

Setting tasks at the end of the mentor session each week may appear, on the surface, a fairly simple task compared to the previous in-depth discussion and evaluation of teaching that will have taken place. Targets may be viewed as providing a sense of momentum and achievement during the school experience placement as those set one week can be ticked off the next. However, is it really as simple as that? What should a mentor do if the student teacher is not achieving the targets set? In the fi
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2.3.2 Synthesis

  • Look at the lesson as a whole in relation to the agreed focus.

  • Draw together an overall picture of the lesson where the identified strengths and suggested needs for change are all represented.

  • Help the student teacher to identify connections and possible misconceptions.


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2.3.1 Analysis

  • Have as the starting point the student teacher's perceptions and concerns about the lessons.

  • Consider the evidence collected and impressions formed.

  • Identify the various strengths of the lesson. This is particularly important, as student teachers can become demoralised if the discussion concentrates only on their weaknesses and suggestions for change.

  • Identify those aspects that could usefully have been don
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2.3 Co-analysis of practice

Carrying out observations of the student teacher is an important part of mentor activity and one of the major ways that mentors gather evidence to improve practice. Observations are most useful when they are followed by an opportunity for the mentor and student teacher to debrief the session, consider the implications of what happened and set targets for further development. This process of observation and debriefing is called co-analysis of practice.

Observations provide evidence for f
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1.1 Introduction

Mentoring as part of the initial teacher training process is now familiar to many teachers in schools. However, acting as a mentor and the tasks involved in that role will vary depending upon the course a student teacher is following. In the OU flexible PGCE there are specific roles and responsibilities for both mentors and student teachers and it is important for participants to understand the expectations for each as they work together in the school-based aspects of this programme.
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you will:

  • have an understanding of the role of mentor in relation to supporting a student teacher in the early stages of becoming a teacher;

  • recognise the skills of coaching, support and guidance required of the role;

  • have considered the issues connected with the assessment of teacher competencies.


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1.5.7 Referencing

We mentioned above that we need to reference sources to ensure we abide by copyright legislation. But there is another reason we need to give accurate references to items we use – so we can share it.

Consider this scenario. A friend says they’ve just read an interesting article where Joshua Schachter, founder of Delicious has spoken about why it isn’t a faceted search system, and you should read it. How would you go about finding it? Would you start looking in a news database, a s
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1.5.4 The 5 Ds

If you don’t use a system at all, then you could suffer from the effects of information overload:

  • losing important information

  • wasting time on trying to find things

  • ending up with piles of physical and virtual stuff everywhere

One technique you might like to apply to your files (be they paper or electronic) is the 5Ds. Try applying these and see if you can reduce your information overload.


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1.5.3 Desktop search tools

Finding your paperwork or electronic files can be a problem. You may find that even if you do have some sort of filing system, your structure soon gets quite large with files in multiple locations, which can be hard to navigate. You may find yourself making arbitrary decisions about which folder to place a document in. It may make sense now but in the future, when you look where you think it should be, it’s not there.

At times like this you may resort to the search command from the Wi
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1.4.6 P is for Provenance

The provenance of a piece of information (i.e. who produced it? where did it come from?) may provide another useful clue to its reliability. It represents the 'credentials' of a piece of information that support its status and perceived value. It is therefore very important to be able to identify the author, sponsoring body or source of your information.

Why is this important?

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1.4.5 M is for Method

Method is about the way in which a piece of information is produced. This is quite a complex area as different types of information are produced in different ways. These are a few suggestions to look out for:

Opinions – A lot of information is based on the opinion of individuals. They may or not be experts in their field (see P for Provenance) but the key message is to be clear that it is just an opinion and must be valued as such.

Research – You don’t have t
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1.4.4 O is for Objectivity

One of the characteristics of ‘good’ information is that it should be balanced and present both sides of an argument or issue. This way the reader is left to weigh up the evidence and make a decision. In reality, we recognise that no information is truly objective.

This means that the onus is on you, the reader, to develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read, and to take account of this when you interpret the information. In some cases, authors may be
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1.4.3 R is for Relevance

Relevance is an important factor to consider when you are evaluating information. It isn’t so much a property of the information itself but of the relationship it has with your question or your ‘information need’. For example, if you are writing an essay about play therapy, a book or website about maths skills in the under-10s would not be relevant. So there are a number of ways in which a piece of information may not be relevant to your query:


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1.4.2 P is for Presentation

By presentation, we mean, the way in which the information is communicated. You might want to ask yourself:

  • Is the language clear and easy to understand?

  • Is the information clearly laid out so that it is easy to read?

  • Are the fonts large enough and clear?

  • Are the colours effective? (e.g. white or yellow on black can be difficult to read)

  • If there are graphics or photos, do they help
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1.4.1 PROMPT

There is so much information available on the internet on every topic imaginable. But how do you know if it is any good? And if you find a lot more information than you really need, how do you decide what to keep and who to discard?

In this section we are going to introduce a simple checklist to help you to judge the quality of the information you find. Before we do this, spend a few minutes thinking about what is meant by information quality.

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