Microteach: go small or go home!
Posted on 18th March 2021 at 16:23
Regardless of who you’re studying with, if you’re studying for their level 3 Award in Education and Training, you’re required to take part in 1 hour of microteaching: 15 minutes teaching their own lesson and 45 minutes watching other people’s. This blog post will take you through some of the things you need to know with hints and tips from people who’ve been there!
What is a microteach?
Microteach is a 15-minute teaching session on a topic of your choice.
You can teach anything at all! Over the years, we at SKL Training have watched hundreds of microteaches on a massive range of topics, such as first aid, bicycle maintenance, drugs awareness, fall prevention, cupcake decorating, CV writing, communication, how to fix a clock, the adoption process, anxiety management, self defence, aerobics, badminton, how to change a baby, map reading…
There are no limits to what you can teach and how you do it is up to you.
At the point of writing, we are still in lockdown so many students are of course restricted and having to deliver via Zoom, however in non-lockdown times, you really can do this in any way you choose.
Who is your audience?
Again, that’s up to you. It’s important that you (and your audience!) know who the audience is, though. We are looking to see how you communicate with your students to meet their needs and we can only do that if we know who your learners are.
Although microteach is a real, live teaching situation, you do have control over it as – in essence – it is a simulation.
For example, you might want to teach long term unemployed people aged 16-24 in real life; but your microteach audience is really a mix of people from a mix of age ranges, all of whom want to be teachers and are from a variety of professions. Well, you can ask that group to think of themselves as 16-24 year olds for the purpose of your microteach. They don’t need to act as that group, but you can communicate with them as if they are and we will assess you accordingly. You can tell your group if you’re expecting them to have any prior knowledge or if there’s anything in particular you need them to do or be in order for the microteach to work.
Similarly, if you’re sending a video of your microteach as a distance learner and you’re asking your family to be your microteach learners, again, they can be anyone you like.
At SKL, we ask you to let your group know who they are at the beginning of the microteach just so that everyone is clear.
As the name suggests, microteach is a little teaching session. There aren’t many times in your teaching career where you’ll need to teach for just 15 minutes. One of our Instagram followers, Dave Spellman, left a comment on our Instagram post where we asked former microteachers to tell us their biggest tips in preparation for this blog post. He said “go small or go home!” and, as you can see we’ve stolen it as the title for the post because it is so apt (thank you, Dave)!
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in microteach relates to time.
People often have an idea of what they want to teach, then they try to fit the whole thing into 15 minutes.
Take first aid for example.
You’ll never fit an entire first aid course into a 15 minute session. But you can take an element of it and teach that in 15 minutes. For example, one student showed us how to put on a sling. Another showed us how to do chest compressions.
Former AET student Paul Harriott, a Business Architect at West Mercia Police, advises: “Use your time wisely! 15 minutes flies by so make sure you focus on the key messages you want to get across,”
The time really does fly by. At SKL, we always give students in our live sessions a 5 minute warning when they get to 10 minutes and it’s almost always met with “WHAT?! That wasn’t 10 minutes was it?!”
If you’re in that position and you realise, at 10 minutes, that you haven’t got as far as you’d hoped in that time, you may need to chop some of your lesson out. Don’t just power on and take your lesson to 25 minutes. Some training providers will not pass your microteach if you go over time and some training providers will stop you when you get to 15 minutes. We do neither of those things: you can finish at your own pace. But we do strongly urge you not to run over by any more than a minute or two at the most.
Firstly, this is supposed to be a 15 minute session so you should try to stick to 15 minutes as this type of time management is a skill essential for teaching.
Secondly it’s not really fair on the rest of the group (if you’re in a group session) and if everyone goes over microteach by 5 or 10 minutes then it can really throw the timings of the day out and impact on others’ assessments.
One way you can reduce the risk of going over time is by planning for 12 minutes rather than 15. That way, if you do get everything done in 12 minutes, you have 3 minutes spare for your students to ask questions – or perhaps you can plan an extension exercise (like a quiz) just in case!
Paul also suggests “rehearse and time yourself in advance,” which is brilliant advice.
Former AET student Steve Hughes agrees, adding “maybe have a family member or a friend be the audience”.
You don’t want the first time you deliver your lesson to be when you’re being assessed by your tutor and group in your microteach.
First aid trainer Oliver Reynolds, who recently completed his level 4 Certificate in Education and Training with SKL Training had sage words for any future microteachers:
“Be careful how you save the lesson plan so you don’t lose it and have to write it all over again!” Hmm, that sounds like the voice of bitter experience to us! But certainly good advice!
You will be required to submit a lesson plan with your microteach but different training providers will have different requirements here. At SKL, we give students a template that meets a number of criteria for the course. The plan is more detailed than any plan you’d do in real life teaching, but for microteach it is essential.
Your plan keeps you on track and writing down your aims and objectives helps to remind you what you’re there for.
If you’re in the audience for someone else’s microteach, make sure you take part! One of the things you’re assessed on is the way that you communicate with learners to meet their individual needs and we need to see you give feedback to them too. If your audience is silent this is very difficult to sign off.
So, if you’re in the audience, get involved.
If you’re the teacher, give your students something to do so that they can get involved!
Which brings us to the next point…
Get your students doing something
This is a microteach, not a one-way presentation.
Get your students to do something – even if it’s just answering a question – as soon as you can. Something you can respond to or give feedback on.
Some microteachers get nervous that if they’re not ‘performing’ they won’t pass. This is a myth: you can get your students to do everything from start to finish if you want to! Be creative and think of all of the different ways that you can involve your students.
Your session should be as interactive as possible: we certainly don’t just want to see you reading from a PowerPoint or only including your students in the 14th minute.
Movement trumps sitting and talking trumps listening.
Yes it’s a live assessment and that can be nerve wracking but you’re in complete control of your microteach from start to finish.
By the time you do your microteach, you’ll have learnt everything you need to and you can watch as many example microteaches as you can stand to: we have a private YouTube playlist with almost 40 microteaches on it, so if you’re an SKL student and you’d like this, just get in touch and we’ll send you the link.
Recent AET student Amanda Quintana Robinson urges those who are about to deliver their microteach to remember “You’ve got this!” and it’s true! You have. No teaching session is ever perfect and we aren’t looking for perfection. We’re looking to see you put into practice everything you’ve been studying hard for throughout your Level 3 Award in Education and Training!
Interested in studying with SKL Training? Here’s what our students say:
“I found AET was a great course and really informative. The knowledge and experience I gained from doing the course and undertaking the micro teach and helped me massively in my role as a Business Architect with West Mercia Police. Whilst I don't regularly need to teach, I do regularly carry out presentations and facilitate workshops. The course gave me much more confidence when doing this.” – Paul Harriott
“Brilliant course and well worth participating” – Stephen Hughes
“Thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to each of the 5 day training sessions for AET level 3 and the final microteach assessment. Sarah and Amanda made sure they tailored the course and the timings to suit our requirements which was very appreciated given both our busy work and personal lives.” – Kim Olliver
“The team made the journey to certification so easy. Their support and encouragement is second-to-none. Having reached my 50th year I thought going back in to some form of education would be an onerous task but I couldn’t believe how well laid out their resources were; clear, relevant and insightful. Thank you SKL Training I will be sure to recommend you.” – Grant Phypers
“Wow what an amazing AET course. I learnt so much from start to finish, even things I didn’t think I’d have to know. Even doing it all online l, it was so detailed and to the point. I’m so glad I chose to finally do this course and so glad I chose you. Thank you for everything” – Jemma Wilson
Tagged as: AET, microteach, teaching, AET; Microteach; Training; Teaching, Get into teaching adults, how to pass microteach, microteach tips
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