Teaching theories and assessment
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Published: Wed, 03 May 2017
Firstly I am to give an overview of the key theories of teaching and assessment that I use everyday within my work as a tutor.
My teaching involves a wide range of learners from E2e students (16-19) and adults (19+), so I use a large variety of different (sometimes contradictory) methods.
Pavlov- Pavlov identified two types of learned response to a subject.
Reflex response- a response to a subject or situation that is unconscious (involuntary)
Conditioned response- a response that is learnt or taught (voluntary)
Through this theory I firstly use teaching material to start to condition a response and the ideal goal is that these conditioned response turn to reflex responses after an initial “settling in” period.
Maslow- Hierarchy of Needs- This is almost common sense. Learners cannot learn if they are uncomfortable, stressed or distracted. I believe people learn more efficiently if they find the solutions to their own problems. As we all do in life.
Skinner- “Operant conditioning”- This applies to both sets of learners. It is my experience that learning takes place more effectively if it is delivered as a series of small steps that combine into a total goal or conclusion.
But before learning can take place the students need to be motivated to learn.
In the case of the E2e students Taylor’s theory of “economic man and McGregor’s “Theory X” comes into play. The motivating theories for these students are financial and are rewarded for attending learning sessions even if they do not want to.
On the other side of the scale, many of my adult students are of a more mature age and are financially comfortable and have no need for a financial reward. Their reward can be found in other theories:
Mayo- Social man- Many of my adult learners are on the courses not only to learn, but to meet new people and enjoy the social aspects of learning.
Once the learner is in class it is essential that they are motivated to carry on learning. Hertzberg’s theory is then very applicable. The student must feel that they are being praised and that they feel good about their learning and all criticism that is given must be very carefully worded and must always be constructive.
This then brings us to the importance of assessment. There are many practical theories that are applicable to my everyday teaching.
It is important that I not only assess my students’ work, but my own teaching.
Firstly formative assessment is used with students as an ongoing process. It is essential that students work are continually assessed to not only give students motivational feedback, but it is a measure of comprehension and how much the student has understood and is also a reflection on your teaching practise.
This method is usually provided informally on a one to one basis, giving the student the opportunity to add his own opinions on his or her learning progress which in turn starts the process of self assessment.
Self-assessment is usually introduced when the student is building in confidence in a subject. Now that the student has a greater understanding they are able to assess their own work and able to reflect on their own achievements or failings now that their knowledge of the subject becomes more advanced.
One of the most successful assessment methods seems to be a multiple of both self and diagnostic assessment.
This where the student is set a short test on a relatively regular basis so the student is confident in the given task and after completing the test the student assess his or her own test either individually or in a group. That way the student is able to congratulate themself or the others around him or the group is able to provide constructive feedback together. It is a great morale boost when the student has done well and is a great form of support when the student needs extra help.
The summative assessment method tends to be used more for the E2e students that are achieving nationally recognised qualifications and usually take the form of coursework that is produced throughout the course and given a final mark.
As I said at the beginning I have found that some of the theories that Firstly the most complicated group to teach is the E2e group. As I said earlier they are initially influenced through
Learner Profile A:
Wayne has recently left school without any concrete qualifications. He has joined CG Partnership because of the financial reward he will get attending the group and believes it will be easier than working for a living. He is being pressured to go to college by other staff members, but doesn’t really have any interest in this path and is only interested in socialising with his friends and spends most of his spare time either drinking or taking drugs. He struggles to gel with the rest of the class and “can’t see the point” in a lot of the class activities.
His is a victim of low self-esteem and often adheres to peer pressure to “play the class fool” for attention.
Due to his poor school attendance his level of basic skills is very low and struggles with any written task and fails to grasp the simplest numerical concepts.
He tends to rebel against any form of authority and “will not be told what to do”.
His only interests tend to be music, skateboarding and surfing the Internet.
Learner Profile B:
Bob is 68 years old and has been out of education for many decades. He has a degree in engineering. This is his first experience of education since leaving school and attends the sessions along with his wife.. He lives locally and owns his own home. He has been retired for 2 years and is financially stable. He now has plenty of time on his hands and is eager to learn new skills and enthusiastic to keep up to date with modern technology. He wants to use his new found skills in everyday life and believes his new found skills will allow him to enjoy further aspects of learning. He sometimes becomes confused when faced with technology or principles he is not familiar with and sometimes struggles with different approaches to teaching as he is used to traditional teaching methods. Saying this, he perseveres and is quick to accept new principles that are presented. He is sometimes outspoken in class, but this because he enjoys the social aspect of the course and clearly revels in the company of others and enjoys being part of that group.
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