Having experienced teaching in Year 1, Year 5 and Year 4, I have noticed some differences in the structure of my lessons.
Most lessons follow a structure which begins with a whole-class input, lead to independent/group work, and ends with the class coming back together for a plenary (AfL). It has become clear that in KS1, pupils generally do not have the same attention span as KS2 and the whole-class input (which I generally conduct on the carpet area) must be condensed and kept short to maintain engagement. In Year 4, I have generally planned this portion of the lesson to last 10-15 minutes however on occasions, it has crept up to 20 minutes and I have noticed restlessness amongst a proportion of the class.
It is necessary to consider the time scales for each section of a lesson and break it up to allow pupils to engage fully and move on to the next section before they lose interest and disengage. Even at Year 4, which I thought would be able to maintain their attention for much longer than Year 1, children have a limited capacity for attention on one task. Just the transition from one areas of the class to another can be what is needed to regain attention.
- to be aware of children’s individual and group capacity for focussing on one concept at a time
- to plan rough (flexible) timings for each part of a lesson in order to maintain engagement