Reflective evaluation on ‘Preparing to teach’ “It is common for reflection to be treated as if it were an intellectual exercise – a simple matter of thinking rigorously. However, reflection is not solely a cognitive process; emotions are central to all learning. ” (1998: 194) Boud and Walker. I agree with the quote above as reflective practice is looking at what I have learned and how I can make use of what I have learned in my teaching practice.
In this assignment, I will discuss what I have been taught and how I have incorporated professional terminology and a variety of teaching tools; to see how I can manage many styles of learning and adapt my teaching to be able to plan, prepare for and provide for the individual learners needs. Reflection is a practical device of self assessment and evaluation as it allows you to identify areas where you feel you are performing well and highlight the areas that need improvement. By recording my feelings in my reflective journal I am able to see where I believe my teaching practice will excel and where I will require further assistance.
In this essay I will use my time in college to reflect on my learning gained over the module, evaluate the value of learning and identify three things I wish to develop in practice. In order to reflect on my learning I will utilise the concept of various theorists to evaluate my learning and experience over the past module. This essay will utilise Schon’s ‘Reflection on action’ (1987) theory which is to look at what I have done and stop to consider how my actions, thoughts and experiences within that situation will affect what I choose to do later.
It will also utilise that of Kolb’s theory by referring to the ‘experimental learning cycle’ (1984). This illustrates how we teach (Do), reflect and abstract (Review) and experiment (Develop). “Reflective practice is a process of reviewing an experience from practice in order to describe, analyse, and evaluate and so forms the learning from practice” Reid (1993) During the past module we have been given opportunities to develop our teaching skills by delivering twenty minute lessons and a number of small presentations.
There have also been a vast number of occasions to learn new techniques and theories during lectures and various observations. Through my time in lectures, as well as learning, I have observed three tutors and have picked up various styles and techniques from them. I have seen how the class react positively to each teacher and looked at why the students react this way. I can see that a lot of it comes down to knowing your learner and your environment and how to teach to everyone’s individual needs. The sessions are broken down to ensure that all students are engaged throughout. The Trainers Pocketbook” 9th edition states, “The brain goes into auto shut-off after only 10 minutes if it is not given something to stimulate it” Townsend (2003) During these lectures I have learnt a lot about the first time you a meet a class and how to create the right balance. By ‘creating the right balance’ I mean to gain authority and the respect of your students but to also relax and have fun. It is in my opinion that if you are stressed and uptight it will pass onto your students and they will no longer enjoy what is being taught. By creating a positive atmosphere you encourage the students to be positive also.
Through observing tutors both in and out of my teaching area, I have witnessed many different forms of teaching. I have had the fortune to observe a class behave one way with a teacher and then see the same class behave totally different with another teacher, which enabled me to compare the two. One teacher (teacher A) showed authority instantly. They brought the students closer for discussion, which ensured that all distractions were out of sight and all students could be seen. The teacher delivered the lesson, whilst firing questions to each student, which promoted a tutor/student led discussion.
When a student came in late he was asked to wait outside until the lesson had been delivered. In doing this no disruption was caused. Once the discussion was over the teacher spoke with the student, handed him a late form and then filled him in on what he had missed. I was glad to see that student had been disciplined but then forgiven in order to give him a fresh start and a chance to catch up with the rest of the class. The second teacher (teacher B) was quite different. They didn’t seem to obtain the same authority and during the delivery of the lesson the students were not brought closer but remained by the computers, eaning that some were distracted. There wasn’t a chance for the students to share their knowledge during this point as no questions were asked. I learnt here that it is vital to keep your students engaged and involved throughout, but whether you have a well behaved or disruptive class the teacher must be the one the control them and ensure that learning is carried out. Before I was accepted onto the course it was required of us to give a small presentation on our thoughts and feelings of the role of a teacher for the interview. I was able to look at my own thoughts as well as those of others to compare, which taught me a number of things.
I found what it is required of a teacher and being a good teacher isn’t necessarily what you know but it is who you are and how you teach the knowledge you have been given. The presentation gave me a small insight into what it is like to talk in front of adults as in the past I have mainly taught children below the age of 11. I was surprised at how confident I felt during this time and I felt that I could move onto a larger group at ease. During this module we were given the opportunity to plan and deliver two twenty minute lessons.
Whilst planning and delivering lessons I learnt a lot from myself, tutor and peers. I excelled in confidence but spoke too fast, which meant that some of the students couldn’t keep up. I also need to ensure that all learners are involved, so producing an activity to include all is vital. Through observations and mentor and tutor discussions I can identify areas that I and they feel I need to work on and the areas I excel in. By self assessing my lessons against the ‘standards for excellent teaching’, I can see to what extent I meet each standard and how I think I can improve on each one.
I still have a number of reservations but I believe that with time and experience I will feel more confident in these areas. So that I can focus on what I need to do next I have set myself three targets and included how I think I can combat these. I would like to have confidence in my classroom control techniques. I have observed teachers with great behavioral control techniques and wish to utilise these myself. I must be aware that what can work for others may not work for me, so it may be a case of trial and error.
I want to make sure that I gain authority and the respect of my students’ early to ensure that I and my students enjoy my lesson. I aim to do this through research, experience, discussion and observation. I need to make sure that I speak slow and clear to ensure that all my learners understand what I am teaching. I can do this by filming or recording myself, so that I can see it for myself. I need to breathe through my words and check that all learners understand me. I also want to ensure that the delivery of the lesson is understood by all.
I feel that there are times when I need to describe what to do but I have not described it in the best way possible and the students’ feels lost. I must again speak slow and clear and have full knowledge of what I am teaching, so that I am confident in describing a task. I will make good use of my reflective journal over the next few months to see how I am working towards my targets. I will keep up with my mentor and tutor meetings to assess my progress and my areas of improvement. I hope that by the end of the academic year I will have achieved these targets and be able to see how and where I achieved them.
Referencing http://serc. carleton. edu/details/images/9499. html Townsend, Tony (2003) Trainers Pocketbook Boud, D and Walker, D (1998) “Promoting reflection in professional courses: The challenge of context. ” Studies in Higher Education, 23(2) 191-206 Kolb, D (1984) Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. London: Kogan Page Schon, D. (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner Reid, B. (1993) But we’re doing it already! Exploring a response to the concept of reflective practice in order to improve its facilitation.