Was the teaching style suited to the pupil’s learning style and current ability?
You should take into account all that you understand about your pupil. You should recognise that different pupils will have different preferred approaches to learning, although these may only emerge fully over a number of lessons. Some pupils may be very willing to learn actively and others may want opportunities to reflect before they make the next step in their learning. You should at least be able to give evidence of their sensitivity to these issues. In a one-off session this will probably be best demonstrated by offering a range of options. You should be able to adjust your approach if evidence emerges of a different preferred style.
It is impossible to force learning on a pupil. Progress is always determined by what the pupil is comfortable with. The skill is recognising when the pupil stops learning. The pupil should set the pace of a session. On the other hand a pupil should not be talked out of experimenting, if this is within safe bounds.
When coaching, you should ensure that the tools used are suitable. If a question and answer technique is used this should match your pupil’s level of ability and encourage them to use a higher level of thinking to give a response. Asking closed questions of a pupil who is demonstrating a high level of ability, unless this is to Check knowledge, is of little use. Asking open questions to a pupil of limited ability who is finding it difficult to achieve the task they have set for themselves may be very confusing. These are not hard and fast rules. The effectiveness of any question has to be assessed given the circumstances at the time.
Indications that all the elements of competence are in place could include:
- actively working to understand how you can best support your pupil’s learning process (you might not achieve a full understanding in the session – it is the attempt that demonstrates competence)
- modifying teaching style when or if you realise there is a need to do so
- providing accurate and technically correct demonstration, instruction or information – giving technically incorrect instruction or information is an automatic fail if that input might lead to a safety critical situation
- using practical examples and other similar tools to provide different ways of looking at a particular subject
- linking learning in theory to learning in practice
- encouraging and helping your pupil to take ownership of the learning process
- responding to faults in a timely manner
- providing enough uninterrupted time to practice new skills
- providing your pupil with clear guidance about how they might practice outside the session
Indications of lack of competence include:
- adopting a teaching style clearly at odds with your pupil’s learning style
- failing to Check with your pupil whether the approach you are taking is acceptable
- failing to explore other ways of addressing a particular learning point
- concentrating on delivering teaching tools rather than looking for learning outcomes
- ignoring safety issues
If we utilise the chunking methodology (plan, execute, review, re-plan) then we are adapting constantly to the needs and to the level of knowledge skills and understanding of the learner. In this way we can ensure we are always on-point in terms of what they require of us and what is required of them. It is a dynamic thing that evolves during the session dependant on what happens.
It might also prove useful to regular engage in conversations about what the learner likes and what they don’t like in terms of your delivery. I have learned a great deal about how my delivery is perceived by asking such questions and there have been some surprises.