Week 1: Teachers teaching teachers

It’s only just become apparent to me how different teaching approaches affect my learning as an adult. I’ve always been extremely aware of the influence my approach (or pedagogy) has on the students I teach, but never have I taken the time to examine myself as a student, and the influence my lecturers have on my learning (as a pre service teacher) through their own pedagogical approach. Undertaking so many subjects this semester, I’m able to make a fairly wide comparison, and I have noticed that I am naturally drawn to the style of one lecturer who has a highly organised style of teaching. The resources for the subject I am referring to have been organised in a logical, simple and user friendly manner. The introductory lectures were short and to the point but very informative. I have completed week one materials for this subject with a feeling of accomplishment and clear understandings of the expectations of students in this subject. All these factors have lead me to think about how much care needs to be taken in considering a pedagogical approach to my teaching that will facilitate effective learning for my students. So far, here’s my top tips:

1. Keep it simple: using headings, make it easy to follow, take it in steps. This is where scaffolding comes to mind- start with the basics, show students how to extend, provide the necessary scaffolding and watch them soar!!  This is where ICT can provide one of the greatest tools in our classroom, as it enables us to organise teaching in a simple, clear and even self directed way.

2. Make yourself aware of EACH INDIVIDUAL within your classroom- who are they? What’s their background, and what is the educational priorities of their parents/caregivers? I’ve observed students in my daughters class that come from such varied backgrounds, and talking to parents I’ve realised that there are massive variations in the parental expectations of school education. For example, I believe that it’s my job to instil a love of learning in my child, to show interest and discuss her new learning with her, and support her through social interactions that will provide a positive environment for her at school. Not all parents see their role as this active or important, and some find any involvement frustrating and annoying. Get to know the students in your class so you can DIFFERENTIATE for each of their needs!  ICT provides an opportunity to differentiate as we can enable students to self direct through various information technology based lessons (for example; web quests, research, applications involving self correction).

3. Nobody’s perfect. We all have days where our teaching and/or learning is on fire, and other days where we are just off kilter. Remember a bad day is just a day, and be ready to be on fire the next day. That means sometimes the educator/student needs to leave something that’s not working and come back to it another time. Know when to stop!

Check out this clip on Vygotsky’s theory of scaffolding.  The graphic with scissor lift (@ approx 3min) is one that comes to mind whenever I see the opportunity to scaffold learning.  What’s your top tips for teaching to maximise student understandings??

youtube=http://youtu.be/pXl7PP3bBKE?t=2m55s

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