Creative And Flexible In The Teaching Techniques Education Essay

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Introduction:

I have realised through my WBE experience that as a teacher you will need to be knowledgeable and up-to-date with the subject that you teach as much as possible. Also you will need to be more creative and flexible in the teaching techniques that you are using with your learners. According to Bloom (1956) cited by Petty (2009) that knowledge is important fact as part of learning structure. As I have learned during my PGDE year that good learning will result of good teaching that consist of interaction and fun. In another word, if someone is enjoying doing something does not perceive it as a chore, but when you dislike doing something that is tedious and displeasure. As a mature PGDE student, who educated overseas, I have marvelled creativity particularly in the area of ICT, but also in the simple yet creative ways that teachers teach and learners learn. For example, perhaps the use of games both on paper and electronic is very effective in teaching and learning process. Let's consider for a moment teaching and learning circa 20 years ago (when I was young a teenager), teaching was very much based upon a talk and chalk theory that was not fun. Nowadays, due to the progression of teaching career, I have learnt new skills that helped me to be creative in the classroom.

Teachers have a great influence and impact on their students and learners. Jonah E. Rockoff (2003) concluded in his studies that raising teacher quality could be the key fact of increasing student's performance and outcomes. A journal of Wright et al. (1997), at the University of Tennessee, claims that ''Differences in teacher effectiveness were found to be the dominant factor affecting student academic gain''.

This module requires writing a reflection report on the teaching and learning experience and also creates a piece of work that could function as a guide or assistance to me as a new teacher and other fellow teachers.

According to (Bell,1992) cited by (Eastham, V., 2011) the curriculum is the offering of socially valued knowledge, skills and attitudes, made available to students during the time they are at school, college or university. Curricula usually define the learning that is expected to take place during a course or programme of study in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Teachers should specify the main teaching, learning and assessment methods and provide an indication of the learning resources required to support the effective delivery of the course.

Rationale:

The teacher handbook idea has been resulted from tutor feedback, peer discussion and some guidance from experienced teachers. Therefore the project that I am producing will consist on teaching; learning and assessment materials that will be combined in one booklet under the title of 'A Teacher Guide Handbook'. I have taken in perspective different stages and theories contributed towards the final production of this project; such as the reflective process and educational theories.

Jasper (2003) suggests that reflective practice is one of the foremost ways that we learn from our experiences. Jasper continues to imply that reflective practice is mainly concerned with using our experiences as a starting point to our learning and those of us that participate in such practice will develop our knowledge and skills base to become professional practitioners.

The Reflection Process:

The process of deciding the project contents was a scuffle for me to consider the teaching and learning values and meet the required criteria, therefore a reflection method had to be followed to help me evaluate and reach into a final conclusion. I have had studied and considered different reflection methods which most of them implies the importance of reflection with personal professional development, learning process and applying your conclusions. Such as Stenhouse (1975) who considered the reflective practice is essential for teacher's development, or Schon (1983) cited by Cunningham (2005) who suggest that professional conduct will befall more insightful. Schon goes onto imply that reflection in action encourages open query into the why of professional acts.

My reflective journey is not only about actions; it is about my beliefs transpire towards the teaching profession and my passionate to provide what is best for my learners. Dewey defined reflective thought as 'active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it and the further conclusions to which it tends' (Dewey 1933).

The reflective practice is also about the feelings, the emotions and the struggle that one might go through during the planning process to the conclusion and action part. According to Bolton (2010) 'Refection is an in-depth consideration of events or situations: the people involved; what they experienced, and how they felt about it.'

Perhaps Gibbs model (Figure 1.1) is appropriate for my understanding of reflection on an experience.

Figure 1.1 - Gibbs Reflective Model

Source: Oxford Brookes University

It is quite simple as it allows you to describe the situation and express your feelings. It also emphasises to evaluate the knowledge that you have gathered throughout the process from the start to the action part.

Most of the reflection cycles models are mainly consist of rebound on errors or problems that occurred during the experience. They also do not give the chance to skip a stage upon the other or avoid it all together, which might not be relevant to your experience. My choice of reflection model is following Christopher Argyris (1982) who created the model of 'Ladder of Interference' (Figure: 1.2) which encourages you to transfer the available information data into actions which also allows you to describe your feelings throughout the process and also involve your beliefs and the theories that affect your choices of data.

Figure: 1.2 - The Ladder of Interference

Source: http://sanamagan.wordpress.com

The base: It is all about observing the entire experience and collecting the data and the information as it is. I have started this teaching & learning process by just observing, collecting and saving information sometimes without knowing. You will end up with a pool of information to start with when the situation occurred. The step when i felt more confused and capitulate as I am not quite sure of what I am actually doing.

Selecting data: It is the step when I have to select from the data pool. This is when I started to choose based on my previous experience or what I have been observing. For example - regarding the project that I am ought to create; the idea jumped out to me based on my WBE experience and how I needed certain skills, guidance and assistance that allow me to do my job right. Therefore I came up with teacher handbook that will contain different guide tools such as - lesson plan templates, classrooms creative activities and subject related information.

Add meanings: Although I have guidance from my tutors during the PGDE, but still I have needed more convenient examples and directions to assist me on planning my lessons for examples or taking certain decisions in the classroom. The 'teacher handbook' that I have produced is simply adding a meaning to my reflection on the WBE experience.

Making assumptions: Having a teacher guide book can be ambiguous idea, therefore I have assumed I will be adding a meaning to it by segmenting it and specify what sort of information exactly I will be gathering. Also based on my experience and the need for a guidance toolkit that could benefit me as a new training teacher; I have assumed that other fellow teachers could benefit from the same meaning of my idea.

Beliefs & theories: The project that I have produced had to reflect, consider and demonstrate my beliefs towards the teaching profession and also the learning theories that I am adopting. For instance; student-centred lesson plan, EMC, equality and diversity, inclusion and democracy. John Dewey (1920) emphasised on progressive education as an idea to make schools more effective agencies of democratic society by engaging students, as they are part of the society, in the social, political and economic decisions. This might sound quite old concept but no doubt that Dewey had a vision towards the future. This is one of the theories that I believe in and affect my teaching experience, thus it had to reflect on my work.

Conclude and action: I have discussed and shared my ideas with my colleagues and experienced teachers. I have taken on board different advices and guidance that helped to gather materials and data. After I evaluated and analysed different options, I have reached to the conclusion of the purpose of the project and the report. Hence; comes the action part to implement the ideas.

The project has to dwell on educational theories that I believe in and I Intend to implement upon my learners.

Progressive education approach is comparable with humanist approach (Roger, C., 1990) as progressive education consists on diversity, individuality and inclusion, but also emphasis on social engagement and each individual should participate in community development process. Again this is another example of the educational theories that I eager to apply which reflects on the design and the content of my work. There are a lot of learning theories and philosophies I would like to explain in more details, but I have chosen those theories and philosophies that affected my choices.

The Product Model:

In this model the curriculum is detailed description of contents also known as behavioural objectives model. The model concerned with the purposes, the content, the organisation and the evaluation of the curriculum Tyler, R. (1949); cited by Kelly, V. (2004). It is very systematic model and focus on transferring facts from teachers to learners and it has some significant advantages as it is precise on diagnosing the need primarily which helps to formulate objectives to target that need. Its content structure helps to make the assessment more precise. Benjamin Bloom in 1956 introduced new dimension into objective model with three domains - the cognitive, the affective and psychomotor as an attempt of develop this model. According to Kelly, V. (2004) the complications of the objectives model that curriculum is planned by target therefore the emphasis is more on the quantity rather than quality. This model is appropriate for less developed educational system or pre-modernism, as it is very systematic and undemocratic which conflict with the free modern society which creates mix messages send to the learners. This model will not be the appropriate approach, on its own, for our proposal as it discourages creativity for the learners and teachers.

The Praxis Model:

Defined as ''A philosophical or political commitment that underpins a teacher's perception of his/her work and role'' Tummons, J. (2009); cited by Eastham, V. (2011). Curriculum as praxis by Grundy (1987) cited in (Education Policy Analysis Archive Journal, 2006) is a conceptualisation of curriculum derived from an orientation towards human well-being and which makes an explicit commitment to liberation of the human spirit. Teacher and learners are motivated to think critically and interact dynamically with each other more.

It will be ideal if both teachers and learners meet on mutual ground with open minded and understanding of one another role. This model will not be easy to be implemented on every level of education and learners. It will require a higher level of experienced teachers as actions require a wise judgement to evaluate the situation. Referring to our proposal it can be considered as model of development. As our proposal is targeting adult learners whom want to pursue their dreams for higher education and better career.

The Process Model:

It is seen as an alternative to the behavioural objectives model. 'Can curriculum and pedagogy be organised satisfactory by logic other than that of the means-end model?' Stenhouse, L. (1975); cited by Neary, M. (2002). It is learner-centred model as learners seen as most important feature in this model. As mentioned before the global economic, political and social changes are creating huge challenge for the new generations. The tradition curriculum approach will not be adequate to prepare them to cope with these rapid changes. Hargreaves, A. (2000) pointed out that the students' negative behaviour and rebellious attitude towards the school system is coming from their feeling of being undervalued and excluded. Esland, G. (1991) suggested that more person-centred curriculum have created the most successful economic benefits on social and life skills.

Altan and Trombly (as cited in journal by Kathy Brown, 2003) offer learner-centeredness as a model for countering classroom challenges because of its viability for meeting diverse needs.

According to Neary, M. (2002) the process model emphasises on the active roles of teachers and learners. Also it focuses on quality and delivering sufficient high standard and improves professional and personal skills, as it can be evaluated throughout the process

The model has some drawbacks as it is based on process not product therefore it can be a weakness if the teacher has not much knowledge or enough materials or not prepared to engage the learners enough in classroom activities. Perhaps this model is the ideal as it represents a practical activities and it moves along with the new education development trend. ''In a school system with good quality teachers, flexibility in the curriculum and clearly established accountability measures, it makes sense to devolve as much day-to-day decision-making as possible to the front line'' (DfE, 2011: article 13).

Ideologies and philosophies:

Scrimshaw's framework (1983) cited by Preedy, M. (1989) effectively divides curriculum space into eight underlying ideologies. Scrimshaw identified the ideologies of progressivism, romanticism, humanism, academicism, traditionalism, child-centeredness, conservatism, liberal humanism, vocationalism and reconstructionism. To choose the suitable ideological approach to the curriculum, we have to identify some these ideologies. Then we need to look at the economical, political and social changes in order to decide which ideology is more prevalent in the current lifelong learning sector.

Progressivism (student-centred) "is a conception of children's unfolding nature, their interests and their developmental needs", Skilbeck (1982). It is emphasising learning by exploring, trying new things and treat student as individual. This ideology encourages experiential and spontaneous, in addition required teachers to provide varieties of resources in order to include every individual. Also focusing on processes and integrated curricula. Integrated or interdisciplinary curriculum is one of the most ambitious and a contentious aspect of educational reform, as it seeks to connect classroom learning to the lives and understandings of all students (Hargreaves, 2001).

Instrumentalist (Vocationalism) emphasises society and the need to fit learners into society and to create a skilled workforce which will improve the national economy. According to Littledyke, M. (1996) the methods of teaching emphasise instruction and the teacher as the director of the learning process in which the learner is the recipient of knowledge.

Liberal Humanistic it is knowledge centred ideology which emphasise of knowledge and focus to meet individual need and progress. Lawton (1973) cited by Littledyke, M. (1996) sees this as representing culture to be transmitted through instruction rather than experiential learning. As in progressivism ideology; teachers providing the guidance and various resources to meet individual needs.

The world is changing rapidly and the economic downturn in 2009 has increased the challenges that will face the adults with less skills and experience. The adults who force to change their careers or college students who need to gain more interpersonal and professional skills in order to compete with the new market order. Thus the mixture of Liberal Humanistic, Progressivism and Vocationalism ideologies are perhaps the ideal choice, as the current lifelong learning sector in a need of the combination of those three to prepare a new generation that robust with knowledge, confidence and skills.

Regarding to our proposal, which is targeting Access for Higher Education learners, the combination is adequate as learning environment in progressivism and liberal humanistic will be more flexible and diverse but it needs the realistic element which will find in the vocationalism ideology. According to what Robert Moore, (1987: as published on British Journal of Sociology of Education) believes is the 'New Vocationalism' is the manner in which its curricular form and content and its pedagogy is derived from a behavioural specification of 'the needs of industry' in terms of the supposed skills requirement of the jobs. The aim of our developed proposal is to enhance our learners' abilities and skills and prepare them to cross the bridge to higher education. It should give them a hope that their social circumstances and the economic challenges can be manipulated towards their interests. This idea of a student's success in an educational arena being linked to social class or culture has been argued by Bourdieu, P. (1973) cited in Makin, J. (Handouts, 2011).

"By doing away with giving explicitly to everyone what it implicitly demands of everyone, the educational system demands of everyone alike that they have what it does not give. This consists mainly of linguistic and cultural competences and that relationship of familiarity with culture which can only be produced by family upbringing when it transmits the dominant culture." Bourdieu (1973) cited by Dumail, S. (2002).

Bourdieu means that 'Cultural Capital' is passed down by each social class. In other words the way of thinking doing and being is passed down from our own social class. If a student is positive about his / her studies, motivated and aims for the higher grades this is what they have had passed to them from their social class. The same goes for a student who is not achieving, de-motivated or simply not trying his / her best. Furthermore Bourdieu is saying that the schools reward the culture capital of the dominant and devalue that of the lower classes. From Bourdieu's quote we can also understand that he is saying that different levels of academic achievement are linked to the different levels of economic success. For centuries the world of academia has always been dwelled by the rich and the economically well off. Those whose families have gained academic qualifications and more often at higher levels and thus have undertaken well paid careers as a result. Those from lower classes or those not so well off took jobs often unskilled jobs from an early age. Thus the idea of the need for education has been passed down through the generation

My teaching experience so far has been around adult learners and I am willing to continue teaching adults learners, as I believe of giving them the chance to pursuit their dreams whom their circumstances and social class worked against them. I would like them to smash the stereotype thought of the academic students are usually come from middle to upper class background.

Role of Creativity:

Teaching method that meets learners' needs and motivates them to achieve their goals, it has to be accompanying with a level of freedom and creativity. Creativity according to Petty, G. (2009) is vital for product initiation and design, teaching, marketing and research. Creative is important for the teacher to develop the learners' ability to think creatively, motivate and enable them to explore and develop skills.

There is a growing movement by the government towards empowerment and encouraging practitioners to be more creative and add their initiatives rather than the authority dictate and impose a curriculum. The House of Commons; 'Children, Schools and Families Committee' published in (2008) a report that emphasises on the importance role of creativity in curriculum designing as well as delivering.

The House of Common (2008) report mentioned that Ofsted associates 'Creative Partnerships' with improved literacy, numeracy, ICT, self confidence, team-working, and an ability to show enterprise and handle change. This is enriching our proposal idea which aiming to embed ICT within business studies in-order to enhance learners' ICT and interpersonal skills.

Teaching Expertise published an article in 2006 on its website teachingexpertise.com under a title 'Curriculum Creativity' that signifies to the 'whole-school' approach to developing creativity. The approach is emphasising on the school that taking control of the curriculum and fostering the professional development of all the staff. Also to get the pupils and parents involved in school issues. All the evidences are indicating to the importance of the role of creativity. Subsequently I am aiming to ensure that my teaching techniques and classroom activity creates effective learning environment and foster equal opportunity method.

Hargreaves, J. (2008) suggested that creativity might be seen as evidence of quality enhancement and therefore welcomed.

Conclusion:

The curriculum is the knowledge and skills that learners will be teach in education or training establishments. The hidden curriculum is something students learn and adapt from the environment around them in the school and it can have a negative effect on the students' behaviour.

It has been clear that the internal, external and global factors are affecting our social and economical status which demands of a constant review to the education system. The curriculum development is the way forward to accommodate modern knowledge and skills that will help new generations to cope with current challenges. There is not one model or ideology you can just use and abolish the others while designing a curriculum. It depends on the nature of the curriculum and the audience that you are targeting. As in our case we have chosen the Process Model with the mixture between the Liberal-Humanistic, Progressivism and New Vocationalism. . Inclusion and diversity have to be embedded and implemented while you are designing and delivering the curriculum to ensure the integration of all the learners. Creativity is a crucial element while designing a curriculum in-order to retain the learners and gain their interest. Thus the government should allow more freedom towards designing new curriculum and foster the 'whole-school' approach regarding controlling and monitoring the success of the curriculum. Assessment, evaluation and quality assurance are attributing to give the curriculum the adequate reliability and validity.

Professionalism has to occur all time, as the teacher is a leader by example and he/she affecting people's lives. It also helps to achieve competency and take the fair and wise decision regarding the students assessment and feedback.

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