Planning your school visits : What to think about before you go

If you have been asked or volunteered to talk to a class, here are some ideas to help you plan your session. It is important to remember that you are going in to a school as a visitor and that you will not be expected to deliver lessons as a teacher. Each class will be different and you will need to be able to adapt your delivery and activities to meet the needs and demands of the pupils. This interaction should be fun and exciting and not just for the students, keep it light and friendly and you will have a great experience.

1) Give students an overview of what they will be learning. Don’t teach isolated segments of content without showing how they link into the whole.

2) Ensure students understand your expectations of their behaviour from the outset, what they should do if they have a question, don’t understand etc.

3) Help students to understand the relevance of what they are learning. Not only in terms of practical usefulness, but also how it relates to other areas of knowledge or the overall subject matter.

4) Use a variety of approaches. Research shows that students have different learning the main ones to consider are Audio, Visual and Kinesthetic (movement) try to encompass each of these at some point

5) Make tasks clear. Investing time at the outset by giving a full explanation to the whole class can save time later having to clarify the task for individual students. This may also involve teaching the language of the subject so that instructions are understood (key words and definitions can be kept on display in a subject classroom).

6) Use a variety of resources – video, audio, pictures, books etc

7) Design activities to develop understanding rather than closed questions to produce the right answers (right answers and understanding do not always go hand-in-hand). Activities that require the student to process information rather than just transfer it from one place to another will improve motivation by challenging the student as well as deepen understanding.

8) Be aware of your tone, keep it light but firm, don’t rush your talk, and move around.

9) Wait for silence when you want to talk.

10) Reward good behaviour/work

11) Use the classroom support you have available

12) Your primary objective is to inspire and motivate young people about the world of work, be positive, fun, passionate in your delivery.

13) Have some spare activities to hand so that if you find yourself with extra time you have something prepared; mini quiz, take in a prop from your organisation and ask the students what they think it is for, discuss how science affects their lives etc.

For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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