Applying my skills to a new topic/task

On January 8th my youngest son has his first level 2 BTec exam for Creative Media Production. He has never found exams or preparation for them easy. School up to Year 11 was always linked to support from TAs / LSAs and a healthy dose of help at home from Mum and Dad. Revision has been varied trying to find ways to retain facts and link points together. We have done this so that he can do his best. It has caused tensions at times but we have stuck at it.

In 2014/15 he did a level 1 course which was assessed by work on assessments and no exams, it suited. The change this year to an exam and assessments structure has worked, again with Mum and Dad support as deadlines and procrastination have not been a good combination. Exams cause that almost panic and we step in like an extra emergency service to support (idea for this came from a parents’ card about my contribution over 5 years to their son’s education).

So another assessed piece is suddenly mentioned with 72 hours to go – flexible plans are made to take this onboard and meet deadline. Quotes like ” I am lucky to have a Mum and Dad who support me” are used as reminders that yes we are pushing but for a reason.

I and my wife have never taught Creative media production. We are both consumers of many media products and are aware that this means we know some aspects of the course through applying common sense. Teaching skills also come in handy.

Since September I have used the following;

– look up the syllabus online

– find the criteria for pass, merit and distinction – both syllabus led and in college materials 

 – explain the principle of a mark scheme and why you use it to narrow down what content to include

– download and print off exam scripts to practice

– go through son’s answers with him and use mark scheme to show examiner guidance

– go through examiners report with him and see if errors he made were the same as students in that exam cycle and conversely where he spotted points that others missed for positive reinforcement

– exam timing and how long each mark should take

We have a wide range of skills as teachers and as adults that can be applied to a variety of circumstances – stating the bleeding obvious probably – this has reinforced for me the positives about my teaching and highlighted how I need to differentiate for the individual pupil.

Good luck supporting your own teenagers when the time comes.

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