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Teaching activity

Students as Co-planners and Teachers - Free Resource Download

Sam Ashraf

5th August 2016

This is not a new idea…but one I have thoroughly enjoyed. Have you ever asked a student to co-plan and deliver a lesson?And I'm not just talking about group work where students make a presentation and deliver to their peers.

In my department I have many students who study A-Level Biology and I don’t think we use their knowledge as much as we could. Why don’t teachers take advantage of this and encourage their students to take risks and improve their confidence?

So this year, after being asked to help our learning champions co-plan lessons, I decided to ask one of my Year 13 students, who also studied A-Level Biology, to join me in planning and delivering a lesson on neurons and synaptic transmission. At this point I should add that although this student was extremely dedicated and hardworking, she suffered from lack of confidence. Not only did she suffer from a lack of confidence in herself, but also her own abilities too; this was a deliberate attempt to help her. Let’s put it this way…she is one of those students who kept the teachers on their toes!

We spent about two hours together (not to mention how much time she put in at home) planning the lesson, including what we needed to cover and what activities would support learning. We decided on using the build a neuron activity from tutor2u, as part of the lesson.

The day finally arrived for us to co-deliver the lesson…I was amazed by how much this young lady had grown in confidence. She stood in front of a group of Year 12 Psychology students and took on the role of the teacher. She was articulate, in charge and didn't falter once. I was so proud to see her believing in herself.

For this young lady stepping out of her comfort zone gave her a chance to challenge her confidence issues. As teachers we do more than educate the young people we stand in front of everyday. I hope we help them to grow into wonderful young people who are able to contribute to wider society. I loved working with this student and we both definitely took some risks that day (not to mention that lesson was an observed lesson too – yes I am a little crazy!)

We ask our students every day to step out of their comfort zones…shouldn't we too?

The tutor2u Build a Neuron activity

Why not try the build a neuron activity described in this blog post?

Sam Ashraf

Samira is Head of Psychology and Literacy & Numeracy Co-ordinator in an outstanding academy in Slough.

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