10 Top Tips for Microteach Sessions

I’ve recently been acting as a ‘student’ in some micro-teaches given by candidates for maths teaching posts and thought I’d pass on some tips. I’ve been amazed at how the quality of the teaching varies and how poorly-prepared some candidates are.

Here are my 10 tips for micro-teaches:

1. Turn up on time.

Lateness can’t always be helped, but for goodness sake – if you are late, give a good reason and look like you realise that it may have caused some inconvenience.

2. Be prepared.

Bring whiteboard pens that work. Have your presentation on a memory stick as well as on email. Print out your printouts! Otherwise you just look lazy. It should all be ready to go.

3. Look interested.

Have some energy! Look pleased to be there and excited about what you’re about to do. Smile and look like you’re enjoying yourself.

4. Know what you’re delivering.

If you’re handing out work or covering topics on the board, you need to know it back-to-front. Know what the questions are and how they could cause the learners problems. Have an idea how long things will take. Prepare! Don’t just harvest stuff from the Internet and hope it works.

5. Keep a steady pace.

You’re nervous, so find a method of actively slowing yourself down if that’s how you react. I put large dots throughout my notes as reminders to take my time. Don’t try to fit in too much to the time-slot. A micro-teach is just meant to be a taste of your teaching, so try to show the basic elements – your explanations, how you engage the learners, and most importantly…

6. Check for understanding.

This isn’t a presentation, it’s a micro-teach. The panel don’t want to just see you talking, they want to see how you get learning to happen. So question your learners. Find out their names (use name badges or signs) and cold-call them. Your questioning skills are probably the most important part of your skill-set as a teacher – show them off.

7. Use technology correctly.

PowerPoint has an edit mode and a presentation mode. If you present in edit mode, it looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’re relying on an Internet connection for short videos etc, have a back-up plan that’s just as effective/engaging. And don’t use pdf or Word documents as presentations; they’re the wrong software.

8. Trail, deliver, review

Trail what’s coming up by communicating objectives, ideally visually. Deliver exactly what you said you were going to deliver. Then offer a brief review (assessment) at the end. This is stuff from teacher training – if your delivery is muddled and confusing, it won’t look good.

9. Be distinct

Have a ‘hook’. Have something the learners will remember – ideally an innovative and effective method of delivery or recall that shows you’re not just doing the same old content in the same old ways. Be original.

10. Don’t shoehorn in E&D.

It should be apparent from some aspect of your teaching that you actively seek to deliver an inclusive lesson. Whether this comes from the delivery or the content is your decision, but make sure it’s a natural fit.

I hope that’s useful. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments. Micro-teaches should be an enjoyable way of showcasing your skills – have fun with them! The panel will expect you to be nervous, so don’t worry about that; expect to be nervous and work around it. Remember that preparation creates confidence.

Good luck!