By Rachael Ellard
As TD’s across college are now being observed in sessions I thought I would speak to two TD’s in my section to get their advice on running a successful practical session:
Know your students – read through group profiles and update these for practical skills, talk to other tutors in the section and make sure you are aware of any situations that might affect the students. This helps you plan your groups, handle potentially difficult situations and allocate tasks appropriately.
Keep practical spaces organised – Keep equipment tidy and organised, make sure students know where to get things and also how/where to store them correctly. This allows for a smooth start and end to the session with students being able to get on without prompting.
Make students think for themselves – don’t just answer students questions, try and encourage them to think for themselves, use questioning to draw the answer out of them or direct them to use information sources in the room i.e. posters, handbooks etc.
Stretch & Challenge – Try and push learners outside of their comfort zone and ensure they are developing a range of skills i.e. handling animals they aren’t as confident with.
Develop leadership skills – select a team leader for each group and give them a set of extra responsibilities. Change this from week to week so everyone has the opportunity to develop these important employability skills.
Extension – always have extra tasks on hand for those that complete quickly, this could be asking them to support others who haven’t yet completed, completing other tasks in the centre that need doing or evaluating the task they’ve completed/ peer assessing each other’s work.
Assessment dates – plan these in advance and ensure students are aware of these and how they are progressing towards these week by week. Liaise with theory tutors to ensure practical work is supplementing and supporting theory sessions. Plan time for mock assessments and get the students themselves to reflect on how they could improve. Make sure students also receive verbal and written feedback.