These concepts are borne out of the reality that learners in the lifelong learning sector are traditionally at risk of social exclusion and some find it difficult to engage in the teaching and learning process, especially when their experiences of earning are sometimes a negative one or they did not engage in this process the first time around at school. Inclusive practice highlights possible seen or unseen disabilities and learning difficulties.
Differentiation is a concept that focuses on the individuality of learners and how some students learn in different ways. This report will outline the planning, delivery and evaluation of a creative activity that addresses these issues. Using a reflective model the effectiveness of this activity and the lesson as a whole has been evaluated. The report concludes that, if the recommendations are implemented, this ctivity is effective in promoting participation, inclusion and deeper learning. Table of contents 1.
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Introduction 2. Methods 5-8 i. Teaching Methods ii. Method of Evaluation iii. Model of Reflection 13-14 3. Results 4. Discussion 8 8-12 5. Conclusion 12 6. Recommendations 7. References 8. Bibliography 9. Appendices 13 15 The rationale for this study can be rooted in professional practice standards for qualified teacher learning and skills (LLUK, 2006. Cited in Duckworth, Tummons, 2010, p. 64): Ways to engage, motivate and encourage active participation of learners and learner independence. (BK . 2) In teaching and learning the need to be creative is apparent. There is a requirement to meet the needs of learners in respect to learning styles (Bloom’s), learning theory approaches (cognitivism) and to differentiate for the weaker or stronger learner. The following report will outline a planned activity that promotes creativity and engages the learners in a group activity and addresses the above needs. This activity will use a cognitive approach to learning that will ensure deeper learning takes place in an effective way.
The learners are adults who are attending an employability course. The course is a ‘Learn Direct’ course that promotes self-directed learning through an online resource. The learners are given headphones to listen and watch as they are guided through the various elements of English, Maths and ICT. The learners are then given assignments to complete which are then assessed with feedback given. When supporting and assessing the learners it became clear that some supported teaching and learning was required.
Common mistakes, issues and misconceptions were noted and a scheme of work was developed around these issues to address them and improve the teaching and learning rocess. From the scheme of work a course of six workshops were developed that included activities to put the presented material into practice in a kinaesthetic way. Differentiation was required due to the multi-level nature of the learners which ranged from entry level three through to level two. Within the entry level three learners there were a large number of English as a second language (ESL) learners.
It was these learners that the creative teaching activity targeted in an attempt to promote inclusion and participation through engagement in the learning process. Evaluation was ained by using a student satisfaction survey in the form of a questionnaire which used the Lickert Scale as a means of measuring the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process and in particular the creative and innovative activity. The results show that used correctly and managed well this activity is effective in engaging learners in a competitive and fun way.
The teaching methods used in this activity were based in a cognitive approach that employed group collaboration. This lesson was part of the English course and the second workshop on the scheme of work. The topic of subject erb agreement was one that learners were repeatedly struggling with on assignments. New material was presented by powerpoint presentation and chunked accordingly. The activity was introduced and modelled by the tutor. The activity used would require learners to construct sentences in a staged process that would first link verbs to objects e. . play + football. The next stage would require a pronoun to be placed before the verb e. g. He + play + football. The final stage would require the learners to indicate if the verb needed to be singular or plural by adding an ‘S’ at the end of the sentence if equired. The correct sentence would then ensure that the subject and verb would agree, in this case: He plays football. The activity was staged to accommodate differentiation for the weaker and stronger and also to review and confirm prior learning from the first workshop dealing with plural nouns.
The cognitive approach offers an alternative to rote learning which simply uses a drill method to present new material. This method of rote learning, in conjunction with other methods, is still used in second language learning. The effectiveness of this method of rote learning is still heavily contested within he ESL field and not considered in the cognitive approach. The use of flashcards is a departure from what the learners are accustomed to. The kinaesthetic use of these flashcards to help with sentence structure was effective.
Equality and diversity issues were addressed in terms of group work as the learners work collaboratively. Inclusive practice was promoted by the nature of the activity in so much as any student who may struggle with reading as in dyslexia or sight problems could complete this activity easier. Differentiation is implemented by staging the activity into levels ranging from asy to intermediate. Indefinite pronouns (everyone, some etc. ) were also introduced to accommodate the stronger, level 2 learners and stretch the weaker ones.
With this collaborative approach using mixed groups this was achieved well. On reflection of teaching It has becoming apparent that planning and preparation are vital to ensure the smooth running of a lesson or COLJrse Of lessons. The course in question is the Drug Awareness level one course which runs for five weeks. The first time this course was taught the tutor was using a scheme that was handed down with no lesson plans. Lesson plans were drawn up to fit the scheme but the scheme was disjointed slighted and jumped around a bit.
Elements of the course became tricky and on self reflection the lesson plans and activities were altered with new ones added. The motivation for this was assessment criteria from the curriculum and how learning or comprehension could be improved. On reflection of the previous course it became apparent that certain aspects of the course needed to be explained in more detail with thought and planning given to these aspects to improve comprehension and a smooth transition through the teaching and learning process.
When reflecting on feedback from the first mentor observation it was observed that the recap was perhaps too long and also that learning objectives were not highlighted in enough detail. This prompted a radical rethink on the whole planning and preparation of the teaching and learning process of this course. It is apparent that when planning and preparing a ta ught course the elements of diversity and inclusion are paramount and this is highlighted by Tomlinson when giving a definition of inclusion, ‘the greatest degree of match or fit between individual learning requirements and provision. Tomlinson, 1996 in Francis and Gould, 2009. p. 73). Francis and Gould go on to state that ‘inclusion is both about planning so that learners are included and also about learners feeling included’ (Francis and Gould 2009 p. 73). This is further confirmed when reading Kyriacou (1998) when quoting Ofsted (1 995a) who ask ‘is the purpose Of the lesson clear and has enough account been given to learners needs’ (Kyriacou 1998, p. 16). Resources and activities have a large role to play in the teaching and learning process and careful thought should be given to the planning and inclusion of resources and activities.
When evaluating the previous taught course it was clear that changes needed to be made but not so drastic that it would have a negative knock on effect through the whole scheme and this is corroborated by Brown and Smith who state ‘good guidance for individual lecturers is to avoid making too many changes too quickly’ (Brown and Smith, 1996. p. 40). ii. Method of Evaluation – Kirkpatrick (1994) Evaluation was gained using Kirkpatrick’s (1994) model of evaluation. This model has four stages: Stage One: Reactions: This stage examines the teacher and student reactions to a lesson or activity.
Stage Two: Learning: The second stage evaluates the amount and quality of learning that has taken place. Stage Three: Transfer: This stage will assess if the skills learned can be transferred into everyday usage. Stage Four: Results: The final stage of this method will evaluate the effectiveness of what is being measured through results. iii. Model of Reflection – Gibbs Reflective Cycle (1988) The model of reflection used is that of Gibbs which uses six stages: Description: Describe what happened in the lesson. Feelings: What the teacher’s feelings were towards the lesson?
Evaluation: The good and bad points or any issues. Analysis: Make sense of the situation. How different were learners’ experiences? Conclusions: Both general and specific conclusions are drawn. Action plan: What steps can be taken to address problems and make improvements? The work of John Dewey (1933) was also used when thinking of reflection in practice as a way of evaluating the effectiveness of the lesson and activity. The results from the Likert Scale questionnaire can be seen in fig. 1 and show that overall the student reactions from the activity and from the lesson as a whole were positive.
The table (see appendices, fig. 1) shows that all students felt that the lesson was successful. One student stated that they did not work well in groups. Question 4 was the most pertinent to the evaluation of the activity and the results are expressed in the pie chart (see appendices, fig. 2). The lesson was well differentiated and staged in order to include all the learners and keep the activity relevant and interesting. The learners enjoyed the lesson and thought it was fun. i. Links to Theory The need to be a critically, reflective teacher is described by Brookfield (1 995 p. 8) as a process of learning and change. A process of ‘standing outside ourselves’, in an attempt to be as objective as possible towards our teaching s outlined. Duckworth, Tummons (2010, p. 21) speak of learners in the lifelong learning sector being at risk of social exclusion and less likely to engage in the learning process. This has been apparent when planning and delivering lessons in the ’employability sector. Duckworth, Tummons (2010, p/21) go on to highlight the need to engage these learners through wider participation, inclusive practice and differentiation.
Firstly, wider participation strives to engage the learners in the lesson. Secondly, inclusive practice highlights the need to plan and deliver lessons that include and engage earners who may have seen or unseen disabilities or learning difficulties. Finally, differentiation views the individuality of learners and how they learn in different Ways. The creative activity within this lesson attempts to address these issues. The work of John Dewey (1933) in regard to reflection in practice can be linked to the methods used in this activity.
This can be seen when using Gibbs’s reflective cycle in regard to observations from the tutor and feedback from learners in a previous lesson formed the basis of the activity used in this report. Formative assessment and reflection in action as effectively implemented with positive results. The work of Jerome Bruner on cognitive learning theory describes how this theory looks beyond behaviour to explain brain-based learning and emphasises the role of mental processes. This enables students to process new information in a way that is meaningful to them.
Students must relate what they are learning to a wider context. This theory goes beyond simple recall of information for an exam or test but rather to enable students to make links and consider concepts in order to use the skills outside the classroom. The findings of this report will show that these goals have been achieved. i. Evaluation – Kirkpatrick (1994) Stage One: Reactions: The students reacted to the activity within the lesson positively. The learners engaged fully in the activity and openly enjoyed this part of the lesson.
Stage Two: Learning: For the most part the learners completed the task well and were able to form the basic sentences as a collaborative exercise with an element of competition.. Stage Three: Transfer: Learners were able to complete the worksheet at the end Of the lesson which enabled them to transfer the skills into everyday English. This formed the summative assessment stage. Stage Four: Results: The results of the activity in terms of engagement, participation and enjoyment of the activity were positive and the lesson and activity were effective in ensuring knowledge retention and the implementation of new skills.
The full results are expressed in the results section of this report. Examining how and why we assess is crucial in the planning of a scheme of work and the design of lesson plans. A mix of formative and summative assessment is used within this course. The use of assertive questioning and peer assessment became the overriding and most successful way of engaging students and checking the learning process. Individuals within the small groups would be asked to give an answer and then the whole class would be asked to confirm this, if the answer was disputed then a brief discussion or debate would ensue and a final answer arrived at.
This formative way of assessing is summed up thus, ‘the formative evaluator has the less official responsibility of making progress checks to make sure learners are learning what is expected at the correct pace’. (Lyons-Morris and Taylor- Fitzgibbon. 1983). In week three of the drug course a summative assessment Of the first two elements is carried out to confirm correct learning and to give feedback. The last week of the course is dedicated to a full summative assessment and to examine media attitudes.
It became clear that some learnt at a faster pace than others so an element of differentiation was evident so in the second course an element of ICT independent learning was introduced and proved popular as it engaged and promoted autonomy of learning. An argument against this could be described by Forsyth when asking ‘could we alienate some learners’? (Forsyth, l. 2001. P. 1 1 this although seen to be true can be counteracted by pairing up those competent with ICT with those not. iii. Reflections – Gibbs Reflective cycle (1988)
Learners were fully engaged and worked collaboratively throughout the activity Feelings: What the teacher’s feelings were towards the lesson? The learners enjoyed this lesson and in particular the creative activity stage of the lesson. Evaluation: The good and bad points or any issues. The activity could have been introduced and modelled more concisely with participation from the learners in order to ensure a smoother transition between the stages. The learners enjoyed the activity and had fun. All students were accommodated in terms of differentiation. Analysis: Make sense Of the situation. How different were learners’ experiences?
The earners’ experiences were more positive than in the presentation of new material and it was a departure from prior learning experiences. Conclusions: Both general and specific conclusions are drawn. The conclusions drawn from this include: Participation and engagement were increased. The activity was fun and effective. The activity helped to confirm learning. improvements? Present and model the activity to aid comprehension of what is expected from the learners. LJse ICT methods to improve skills in this area. Use of laminated flashcards to make it easier for students to work with. Manage the set up and facilitation of the activity.
The conclusions drawn from this lesson and in particular the creative activity are that if this activity is presented and modelled well by the tutor then it is an effective way to enable the learners to practice new knowledge in a fun way. The activity helped to engage learners in a competitive and collaborative way. This inclusive and innovative approach improved participation and improved comprehension and understanding of new material and structures. What we all strive for as practitioners of learning is for effective teaching that in turn will ensure that deeper learning and retention of information are achieved.
It is the conclusion of this report that, with some improvements, this activity and those similar to it will achieve these goals. When reflecting on and self evaluating teaching it soon becomes clear that self confidence and confidence in the curriculum has a large part to play in effective teaching and in turn that confidence from the teaching is felt by the learners, providing a positive learning environment where effective learning takes place. Good planning and preparation Of activities and resources and a diverse and inclusive way Of teaching brings this confidence and ensures effective teaching and learning.