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What is a micro teach?

September 5, 2022

Table of Contents

Micro teaching (also known as micro-teaching or microteaching) is a type of instructional practice that involves brief and focused practice sessions for learners. Teachers use micro-teaching to help learners acquire specific skills, knowledge, or attitudes more quickly or effectively than in a typical lesson. It’s especially useful for rapid skill acquisition within the scope of further education, vocational programs, and certification testing. The goals of a micro teach session are to increase learner performance and retention.

They’re often used when interviewing against roles within further education and also learning and development. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your skills and knowledge on a subject.

They can also be used as part of an assessment to gain a teaching qualification.

What is a Micro Teach?

Micro teaching is a powerful instructional practice that can help you accelerate and enhance learning in a variety of situations:

·       In a one-on-one setting

·       During a small-group activity

·       In a large-group setting

·       As a pre-assessment

·       As a formative assessment

·       As a summative assessment

·       As an alternative assessment strategy

·       To practice a new skill or concept

·       As a tool for reflection or self-assessment

·       To affirm what learners already know

·       To challenge learners’ existing knowledge and skills

·       To explore new instructional methods and learn how they feel

Planning a Micro Teach

Here are some questions to consider when planning your micro teach:

·       How long is the micro teach and where will it take place?

·       Who are the learners and how many of them are there?

·       Am I being observed? If so, by who?

·       Is it in person or online?

·       Will the learners need a copy of your session in advance?

·       Will the session be recorded?

·       What equipment and resources are available for me to use?

·       What is the topic? Are you able to choose your own topic

·       How will you find out about any individual needs, and any prior knowledge that the learners might have?

How to Conduct a Micro Teach Session

In this section, it outlines the essential steps to conduct a micro teach session, from identifying learning objectives to receiving feedback and reflection.

Prepare a clear micro teach lesson plan and communicate it

Starting with a clear idea of your lesson plan is a good idea. For a 15-minute micro teach, draft a lesson plan no more than 2 pages long. Make sure it has a clear structure, leaving time to check for understanding and for Q&A. It’s important to communicate this at the beginning to learners.

A good micro structure should have a clear aim, 1-2 objectives, an introduction, a middle section or activity and a summary conclusion.

In a classroom setting, asking learners to help you prepare your session is a good ice breaker.

Be aware of the intial assessment

Put simply, consider your audience before you begin delivery. Are you pitching your lesson at the right level? Are there additional learning needs to consider? Is your content too technical or just right?

Keep your micro teach simple

This means keeping visual content to a minimum, so 4-5 slides. Don’t overwhelm slides with text. If using handouts, keep the content to a minimum. You don’t learners too distracted from what you’re saying. Consider your audience and deliver any technical content at the requisite level; overcomplication is a sure fire way to lose the interest of your audience

Use engaging media

Videos are great for engagement, just make sure that they are good quality and that they work! This is especially important when remote teaching or interviewing so it’s a good idea to test videos before the lesson, perhaps with a friend or colleague.

Another good option is a quiz, or if you have the software a virtual quiz or survey. Better still, pair a quiz with a video so they’re actively paying attention.

Questions are important

Alongside your lesson plan, developing a question bank cheat sheet can also be useful. Open questions are particularly useful at prompting discussion. Questioning can break up the flow, it keeps learners alert and you can use them to check for understanding.

Consistently check for understanding

Practise beforehand

Maybe it goes without saying, but practicing is fundamental to success, particularly in an interview setting. The practice should be consummate to the importance of the micro teach. If you’re micro teaching daily then a mental run through may suffice but if your dream job rests on it, then it costs little to run through the micro teach with a friend beforehand. Make sure the person or people you practice with roleplay for you.

Be patient with your learners

Taking the time to ensure key concepts land and stick is super important. This may mean that your timings drift off course. You can mitigate this by planning in some stretch content prior to the conclusion of the micro teach. It’s a great time to experiment with your open question bank too. This will allow you to factor in time for learners that may struggle with the content.

Finishing your micro teach

Wrapping up by recapping your session, perhaps over 1 slide is a nice way to conclude your lesson before taking questions. At this point, you should always provide a list of extra resources that learners can use should they wish to dive deeper into the topic.

Limitations of the Micro Teach Session

While micro-teaching is highly effective, it does have some limitations:

·       It can be difficult to demonstrate your full skill set during a micro teach interview

·       There may be an increased risk of student burnout due to the short duration of each individual micro teach

·       Learners may not have time to fully process the information, and it may not stick as well as it would if they had more time

·       Practice sessions are not an opportunity to reinforce bad or inadequate habits, or learners may leave with the wrong impression or wrongfully perceive that they have fully mastered the skill or concept

·       It is critical to establish a clear structure for each micro teach session and enforce it to ensure that learners remain on task.

·       It can be difficult to create a micro teach session that is both meaningful and rigorous.

·       It can be hard to create a micro teach session that is applicable to all learners.

Common Mistakes When Delivering a Micro Teach

Monotonous delivery is one sure fire way to ruin a micro teach. It’s important to vary the content, pace and pitch of the delivery to maintain learner interest.

Issues surrounding the use of technology are usually forgivable but as remote delivery becomes more the norm, audience patience decreases. Test your tech beforehand and arrange to have a backup ready just in case.

If delivering a micro teach related to apprenticeships, remember the role of the employer. Don’t overlook the necessity to contextualise the session to include the employer or industry relevant content. Apprenticeships rely heavily on relationships with employers.

Key Takeaways

Micro-teaching is a powerful instructional practice that can help you accelerate and enhance learning in a variety of situations. The best micro teaching sessions are interactive, engaging, and low pressure. They’re a great chance to shine during interview so embrace this part of the process.

We wouldn’t be practicing what we’re preaching if we didn’t leave you with some extra resources to refer to for further consumption:

Check out this useful infographic and this video full of tips.

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Alex Lockey
Director | Bolt Jobs
Founder Alex Lockey is an expert in further education, learning, and skills sector. He leads cost-effective hiring solutions and is known for successful talent placements. Dynamic and driven, Alex seeks innovative solutions to solve sector hiring challenges.