†An Roinn Oideachais agus EolaŪochta
Department of Education and Science
Subject Inspection of Metalwork and Engineering
Roll number: 72160E
Report on the Quality of Learning and Teaching in Metalwork and Engineering
This report has been written following a subject inspection in Carrowbeg College, Westport. It presents the findings of an evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning in Metalwork and Engineering and makes recommendations for the further development of the teaching of these subjects in the school. The evaluation was conducted over one day, during which the inspector visited classrooms and observed teaching and learning. The inspector interacted with students and the teacher, examined studentsí work, and had discussions with the teacher. The inspector reviewed school planning documentation and the teachersí written preparation. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the principal and the subject teacher.† The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment on the findings and recommendations of the report; the board chose to accept the report without response.
Metalwork and Engineering are core subjects in Carrowbeg College; therefore all students study the subjects in both junior and senior cycle. †The subjects are offered as part of all programmes available in the school. The subjects are appropriately timetabled for in each programme.
The subjects are well resourced in terms of equipment, tools and materials. There are two rooms used to teach the subjects in the school, one for practical lessons and the other for theory lessons. The occupational health and safety grant received by the school has been used to upgrade and purchase new items of equipment. The teachers are advised to use the remaining balance of the grant to prepare for the implementation of the revised engineering syllabus by identifying the optional areas of the syllabus the teacher wishes to specialise in and purchase appropriate items of equipment from the Department of Education and Science engineering equipment list.†
The school management has facilitated the subject teacher in attending the in-service organised by the Department of Education and Science through the Technology Subjects Support Service (T4). The school management has also provided in-school CPD during staff days to assist in teaching and learning.
The subject teacher has developed a subject plan. It clearly sets out policies and practices in relation to the organisation, provision, planning, teaching and learning and assessment of Metalwork and Engineering in the school. The plan would be enhanced by the inclusion of development priorities for all aspects of learning and teaching in the subject. The suggestions and recommendations contained throughout this report could form the initial basis for these priorities. It is suggested that these priorities should be included in the school plan where appropriate.
The subject teacher has developed long-term schemes of work that provide an outline of the knowledge and skills that students in each year group should acquire. The subject teacher uses a teacherís journal to record those topics that have been covered by each year group. It is recommended that the subject teacher should build upon this good practice and develop medium-term schemes of work that provide a detailed description of the learning outcomes for each unit of study (both practical and theory). It is further recommended that by monitoring class work, homework and student projects the teacher should use the medium-term schemes of work to record individual and class progress and attainment. This should highlight student and class strengths and areas for development. It would also help to give greater focus to revision lessons at the end of each topic and term and would also help to identity if the teacher needs to change† teaching strategy for a particular topic, if the sequence of topics needs to be changed or if a particular skill or knowledge area needs to be revisited.
The subject teacher is informed of students requiring additional educational support at the start of each year. This is to be commended as best practice as it allows the teacher to plan and prepare for such students in each class.
The teacher had planned and prepared for each lesson observed during the course of the evaluation.
A very good standard of teaching was observed throughout the inspection. All lessons observed had a clear focus and in all instances the teacher shared the learning intentions with the class at the beginning of each lesson. All lessons observed had a clearly defined structure. The subject matter in all lessons was appropriate to the particular year groups.
A range of teaching methodologies was employed in the lessons observed. Each practical lesson began by assessing what stage students were at in the completion of projects. This provided the teacher with the opportunity to identify student difficulties and to set clear objectives for each student. Demonstrations were subsequently provided to individuals, small groups or the entire class group. Each demonstration focused on the key skills required to complete projects and there was a high level of student-teacher interaction during these demonstrations. Ongoing support, advice and direction were also provided to each student in all practical lessons observed. In the theory lessons observed there were very good levels of student-teacher interaction through questioning. The teacher is to be commended for integrating practical examples of the subject matter under study to engage students. It is recommended however that students should take short, concise bulleted notes and labelled diagrams to aid revision. The teacher should also reflect on the most effective techniques for the introduction of information and communication technologies into theory lessons.†
Classroom management was effective and conducive to a safe, orderly and participative learning environment. Tools were easily accessible to students and were stored in an orderly fashion. Classroom discipline was supported by appropriate lesson content and pacing and by constant movement around the classroom by the teacher. Teacher-student interactions were engaging, purposeful and mutually respectful. In all instances student responses were affirmed.
In all lessons observed students were actively engaged in all classroom activities and discussions. Students clearly understood the subject matter covered and the directions given by the teacher during demonstrations. Students were generally able to complete assigned tasks. Studentsí practical work in the lessons observed indicated a good level of manufacturing skills. The majority of students clearly understood the subject matter under study in the theory lesson observed. This was evident through studentsí answers to questions.
Studentsí assessment occurs through formal examinations, in-class questioning, monitoring of studentsí practical work, homework, and class tests. The results of assessments are recorded and sent to parents on a regular basis. Further communication of student progress is carried out through parent-teacher meetings. Project work is monitored carefully and student progress is individually profiled with oral feedback given and marks awarded. Marks awarded are agreed between the teacher and students after a self-assessment by the student, this is to be commended as excellent practice.
The frequency of homework given to students varies with each year. When given it is used to consolidate the learning that has taken place in specific lessons and is regularly monitored. It is recommended that homework should be given to all year groups on a more regular basis.
The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:
As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:
Post-evaluation meetings were held with the teacher of Metalwork and Engineering and with the principal at the conclusion of the evaluation when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.
Published October 2008