Teaching Journey As I embarked on my professional teaching Journey some ten months ago, my teaching skills could only be described as basic, perhaps more instinctive or intuitive, rather then Informed; My knowledge of teaching methods, assessment tools, classroom language, learning environment, range of resources and teaching philosophy such as, Mason’s hierarchy of needs, Behaviorism, Neo-evaluators, Cognitive school, Bloom for example, was somewhat Limited, therefore my Journey has en intensive yet enriching and has undoubtedly improved my teaching practice. I continuously throughout the duration of their course. Although I brought a plethora of skills with me from the many roles and responsibilities I have had over my working life, I have learnt many more during my teaching career however, these skills I brought with me have enabled me to meet my learners needs such as my organization skills, communication skills and previous coaching/ training experience.
My roles and responsibilities as a teacher are varied and sometimes complex it is far ore then Just standing at the front of a group of learners and lecturing on my specialist subject area. ” We are charged with ensuring our learners gain their qualifications in a manner which is favorable to their own learning needs and those of the awarding bodies” (Wilson, L, 2008) Within my specialist subject area I have the opportunity to use a variety of teaching delivery methods and I am not confined to the classroom environment, with in Public Services we are given the opportunity to develop our learners skills and experience on trips and expeditions, this not only ivies me the advantage of being more imaginative in my lesson planning, it also expands my roles and responsibilities in someway beyond a normal teaching role.
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Not only am I a coach, encouraging my learners to actively take part in lessons, a manager where I manage the classroom and keep control of the class, tutor, giving 1 to 1 teaching and guidance to enable students to learn more effectively, assessor, assessing work and giving feedback, organizer, organizing my own and students work, facilitator, enabling students to learn using various learning styles and councilor, safeguarding my students and using Measles’ hierarchy of needs to rate a safe and healthy environment for my students to learn and develop their skills but, I am also a an expedition leader, mentor, instructor and welfare officer. These roles are so various and diverse it can sometimes be confusing as to which role I am in at any particular time however, during the course of my studies it has become easier to distinguish between them, although it has also highlighted a need for further development. This development became clear when I examined language used in the classroom as well as by my classroom observation by my Mentor and Tutor, “we all have knowledge and skills and have formed attitudes, and many of us will even admit to some prejudice.
All of these factors may have significant impact on the effectiveness of the message” (Erect & Walker, 2003) I am now very conscious of what I say, how I say it and the language I use both when questioning my learners and when I am communicating with my learners; I tend to break the group up into smaller groups as suggested by the behaviorism, this “creates a more observable behavior and introduces stimuli to develop a response” (Watson, 2002) and enables more effective classroom management, I use “positive rein forces like rewards and successes are preferable to negative events like punishments and failures” (Smith, 1999). Examining Bloom enabled me to develop a more effective means of questioning, using both higher order cognitive questioning (Analysis) to encourage my learners to examine differences and lower order cognitive questions (simple recall), using a range of questions helps to stretch and challenge my learners aiding further development in their learning and encourages learners to be more involved and engaged in the teaching session.
Structured question that define a linking path” (Into, 2005) are important and great care is now taken to effectively guide themselves; “this helps build confidence and encourages further participation” (Curran, 2004) Greater thought and attention with the use of language by me as the tutor has not only improved my learners contribution in the sessions but it has given me more confidence in the delivery of my sessions. When I examined assessment tools in greater detail I realized that an assessment not only allowed me to measure learning taking place but also how effective my teaching style is in aiding he learning process for all my learners regardless of their individual learning needs or styles.
It introduced me too number of types of assessment, observation, simulation, project/ assignment, diagnostic, verbal questions, discussion, initial, selected-response assessment and portfolios, “the important thing is that assessment is an integral part of each lesson, the course and of learning. ” (Erect & Walker ,2007) previously I had only used a couple of assessment types to assess my learners progress either within the teaching session or during the course such as, roof discussions, question and answer sessions or assignment work however, having focused on the importance of assessment tools and their uses in determining if learning is taking place, “where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there” (Assessment Reform Group, 2002) the assessment tool has taken on a new role in my teaching practice, “Careful feedback can motivate, enlighten and provide a vehicle for development. (Wilson L, 2008) but I also bear in mind that a poorly constructed assessment tool can also De-motivate and confuse my earners, hence I take more care in how I design my assessment tools, being very clear about what I want to measure, how it is to be measured what evidence do I want to show, it is also important how the feedback is constructed in order to effectively guide my learners towards the main learning objectives and the overall aim of the learning session. The case study that I completed highlight to me the need to focus on the individual and the needs of the individual, considering the learners background and it’s affects on their learning, taking this into consideration when setting individual learning objectives. This especially aided me in my completion of the learners Individual Learning Plans; it also created a more constructive relationship between me as the tutor and the individual learner which enriched the communication within the teaching sessions.
Although during the first year of my professional teaching Journey I have developed a number of new skills and certainly gained a wider knowledge base, I acknowledge that there is certainly a need for continuous improvement not only within my teaching practice but also in my understanding of working within the PACE sector. Developing an understanding f legislation and policy, both governmental and institutional and how they affect what happens in the classroom, the subjects taught and the emphasis that is put on particular learning needs at any given time and address these through consideration of a range of skills, strategies and theoretical bases which they are derived and how I can adapt and develop my teaching skills to meet these effectively. I need to examine my specialist subject knowledge, identifying any gaps and address these through further training or research.
Focusing on my Continuing Personal and professional Development (COPED) in order to extend my repertoire of approaches to teaching my subject area, I have already started a TOEFL course as I am seeing an increasing second language and would therefore benefit from my obtaining these new skills. I have also Just completed a physical intervention course to meet the new training requirements set by the Security Industry Authority (ASIA) in order to continue delivering the Security course, I am aware of both my learners needs and the affects of new policy set by outside bodies but like my teaching skills these are still basic and require further development in order for me to become