Plenary Sessions (Lesson Endings)

This morning, Sunday 9th January, 2011, and in the professional development workshop, there was a good discussion about “plenary sessions“.

The main objectives of the workshop were to identify the key features of effective plenary sessions and to suggest some ideas for plenary activities.

It all started by eliciting the types of plenary the teachers used for the last four lessons and why they have chosen to use these types of plenary.

There was an agreement that when planning, a teacher should make sure that it:

  • provides a range of opportunities to review learning
  • identifies questions to consolidate and extend literacy skills
  • builds links between plenary and other elements of the lesson

During the plenary session, the teacher should:

  • challenge the students to justify their ideas
  • provide feedback to clarify and extend the students’ thinking
  • assess the learning against the lesson objectives

After the plenary, the teacher has to:

  • review success and record information
  • use the information to inform future plans

It is important to mention here that effective plenary sessions should:

  • Review the learning objectives of the lesson
  • Summarize  key learning points.
  • Consolidate, reinforce and extend earlier work
  • Correct errors and misconceptions
  • Assess what students have learnt to during the lesson to inform future planning
  • Enable students to use their new learning to test prior knowledge

The audience watched three clips exemplifying different ideas for plenary sessions by three teachers from our school and conducted a discussion about their effectiveness and how to develop these ideas for future lessons.

Finally, teachers were advised to share their ideas for plenary sessions.

You can download today’s presentation on plenary sessions here.

Undesirable Practices in the Classroom

On Sunday the second of January 2011, I conducted a workshop on the Undesirable Practices in the Classroom. The following is a summary of the workshop objectives and points discussed during the workshop.

Workshop Objectives

  • Identify some of the negative practices in the classroom.
  • Improve instruction by avoiding these negative practices.
  • Make instruction more interactive.

Phases of Instruction

  • Planning phase
  • Pre-instructional phase (Starter)
  • Instructional phase (Main Body – Activity)
  • Practice phase
  • Assessment phase (Plenary)

Planning Phase (The lesson plan)

Some teachers don’t:

  • take lesson planning seriously
  • take the different phases of instruction into consideration when planning
  • think of the different phases of instruction in relation to the objectives of the lesson they are to teach
  • consider the anticipated problems and their possible solutions
  • prepare suitable visual aids that can facilitate their work
  • identify clear teacher’s or student’s roles
  • identify tasks for formative or summative assessment.

Pre-instructional phase

Orientation (Starter) is seldom related to objectives.
It could be boring with no aim at all.

Orientation (Starter) in this case doesn’t:

  1. Help draw students’ attention
  2. Prepare students to achieve the objectives
  3. Provide students with the prerequisites necessary for understanding the new stimulus.
  4. Arouse students’ interest in the lesson

Instructional phase (Presentation)

Presentation (Main Body) is sometimes boring, vague, irrelevant and frustrating. This is due to:

  • Lack of good preparation
  • Unawareness of objectives
  • Inappropriateness of teaching methods
  • Lack of students’ participation
  • Concentration on certain students
  • Unavailability of useful visual aids

Practice phase (Formative assessment)

Practice sometimes becomes useless or less effective when it is not

  • well planned
  • varied, graded or related to the lesson objectives
  • challenging or does not encourage critical thinking

Practice sometimes becomes useless or less effective when it does not

  • provide enough opportunity for students to participate effectively
  • enhance student’s learning
  • provide sufficient learning guidance
  • give immediate feedback on students’ performance

Assessment phase (Summative – Plenary)

Summative assessment is often ignored because:

  • It needs careful planning
  • Teachers are usually left with too little time for carrying it out
  • It requires the teacher to collect students’ answers to mark them
  • It requires the teacher to take decision regarding the students’ performance

Finally I asked the teachers to think of ways to avoid these negative and undesirable practices in the classroom.

You can download this presentation here.

Professional Portfolios

On Sunday dated 26 December, I conducted  a workshop on professional portfolios and how a teacher can prepare his professional portfolio against the national professional standards so as to be able to get the full professional licence. After discussing the five folders needed for the portfolio and the contents of each folder, I presented the updated version of my portfolio. The presentation was successful and valuable as I talked explicitly about each folder and its contents. Most teachers needed to have a look at one of the examples of completed portfolios.

Now staff are familiar with the contents of the five sections (folders) of a portfolio. This is going to be consolidated by displaying more examples of portfolios from other colleagues in different school departments. To help teachers prepare their portfolios, I have uploaded the five folders template (NPST Portfolio). You can simply download it and use it to prepare your own portfolio. Besides, a blank PowerPoint template is going to be delivered so that teachers can use it to prepare their own portfolios (presentations) which they can use to present their portfolios when being attested.

You can download the five folders template (NPST Portfolio) here.

And you can also download a copy of the updated version of my portfolio here.

Attestation and Coaching


On Sunday 12 December, 2010, Mr Tamer, the ICT Coordinator succeeded in presenting the different stages of attestation; starting with getting the provisional licence and ending up with the full licence. He also discussed the importance of choosing a coach to help and support the teacher in preparing his professional portfolio. There was a good discussion about the qualities of a good coach. Now staff are familiar with the process of getting the full licence. Mr. Tamer clarified the different stages one should go through to get the full licence. This workshop will be followed by occasional visits by Mr. Tamer to school departments; clarifying and giving help and guidance when needed.

You can download the presentation used here.