I reflect back to a teaching session which I delivered on complex hot water systems (12th January 2010). I decided to use this session to evaluate my teaching style, teaching methods and communication skills by asking for feedback from the students. To gain their feedback I produced a student feedback form and at the end of the session I handed it out. They were encouraged to fill in the form and were told that any feed back would be greatly received, positive or negative, and that it was anonymous. I told the students their feedback would enable me to evaluate this session and make any necessary improvements for future sessions. This was received positively by the group. All ten students completed the form and after the session I analysed their responses. (Wallace, 2007, P.5 ) notes, "if we do not record and examine our experiences, then how may we learn from our experiences, both positive and negative".
I was heartened by the responses I gained from the questionnaire which were very positive and looked at the responses objectively. I have learnt that not all students are happy to deliver and share their findings with their peers. To help the less confident students in future sessions I would group more able and less able students together hopefully building confidence. What also came out of the questionnaire were some students found it hard to concentrate for long periods of time and in reflection I probably gave out to many handouts with lots of information whilst talking at them a lot; to much teacher talk. So in future I would break up the lesson more with practical, hands on activities to achieve the learning outcome. I realise that this impacts very much on individual learning styles and how I must always be aware of how all my students learn best. Gravells (2008 p29) quotes an old Chinese proverb"; I hear - I forget, I see - I remember, I do - I understand." There are three different styles of learning often referred to as aural, visual and kinaesthetic as noted by Fleming (1987). Most people learn by a combination of more than one style.
I believe that the feedback form was the right tool to give a true reflection on how the group perceived my teaching style, methods and communication skills. As with any lesson it should always be reflected upon and improvements made where necessary. I greatly value the student's comments as they are invaluable to both my and their progression. What I take away from this exercise is the need to be able to adapt my teaching style (Gravells 2008 p18) notes" differentiation is about using a range of different approaches and recourses to meet the needs of different individuals and groups."
Gravells, A 2008, Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector. 3rd Edition. Learning Matters limited.
Wallace, S 2008, Teaching Tutoring and Training in the Life Long Learning Sector. 3rd Edition. Learning Matters Limited.
Theories and Principles for Planning and Enabling Learning
As part of my teacher training it has been a requirement to be both observed and to observe teaching. Both of these I have found invaluable for my personal development. I reflect upon and identify factors which will affect learning taking place and the potential impact of these on a learner's achievement. A range of strategies for teaching is essential to ensure that learning takes place and to do this I will need to identify the different learning styles within the classroom.
Communication is, as a general statement, composed of 65% body language, 25% tone of what we are saying, and only 10% of actual words spoken. Body language includes facial expression, eye contact, gestures, posture, non verbal signals and appearance. The way you present yourself in the first instance can draw in your learners and get them interested in what you are about to deliver. Gravells (2008 p24) notes "smiling is the single most effective way of communicating positive signals to your learners". The tone of your voice and the pace of delivery will help the learner to process the information being delivered. I am aware that listening is just as important as speaking clearly. Each having the same level of importance. Communication will not take place if either one of these fails. This is apparent in a question and answering session, tutorials and formative assessments. In improving my two-way communication skills, along with respect from both sides, has created and establish an excellent teaching and learning platform. Petty (2004 p37/38) notes "Communication requires the following chain to wok perfectly; what I mean what I say what they hear what they understand". The message can be corrupted at each arrow in the above chain. The message sent is not the message received and what is taught is not what is learned that is why feedback is so vital. I have learnt that it is very important that you do communicate with all of your learners. I understand that each learner will have their own style of learning and it's my role to be able to connect with them enabling learning to take place. It is essential that the learning style of each student is identified on the lesson plan and therefore work should be differentiated to accommodate this at the planning stage of the lesson. It may take the form of different resources, activities and very much your delivery.
I realise that learning the theory behind how to teach is just a part of it but your own teaching style is something that for me will be on going and ever adapting, developing with experience and maturity within my new found career. I am always looking for ways to improve, develop and realise that sharing good practise between colleagues and even different departments is a very good way of doing this. I have regular meetings across two of the Campuses to promote standardisation across my curriculum area.
Petty, G 2004, A Practical guide Teaching Today.
3rd Edition. Nelson thornes Limited. Cheltenham
Gravells, A 2008, Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector. 3rd Edition. Learning Matters limited. Exeter
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