Having spent so long thinking about the ‘big picture’ for the linear A-level – Which topics fit where during the course of the year? How best to carve up the specification between teachers? – that I’m finding it quite tricky to plan individual lessons. I suppose this is the natural challenge when moving from classroom teacher to HoD, but it’s unsettling!
As a department, we’ve decided to change our teaching approach this year: rather than spending time covering content in lessons, we’re going to get the pupils doing much more reading and note-making in advance and then discussing the key issues in class. Some might call this a flipped classroom, but it’s actually much more like ‘reverting back to the old days when prep actually meant preparation’. Planning for this has required a different mindset, but hopefully will make pupils much more confident about tackling information independents, which has to be beneficial in the long-run. I suspect that it will take a while to bed-in, and I’m expecting some resistance from the Y12, but hopefully the fact that they’re at the start of their sixth form courses means that we can set the tone early.
I’ve read through the appropriate chapters in the textbook and made a note of all the questions I’d like to ask on each topic – some relatively closed to check understanding; others much more broad to develop thought and discussion. I’m intending to use those notes as a prompt in lessons, and so lots of lesson plans just seem to say “Ask questions”. Hopefully it will fall into place once the students get here!