The teaching practice I would like to critically evaluate is a lesson on the function of gears and bearing’s, the group consisted of six students who had all completed a prior introductory course on the same subject. The session took place in the workshop and was the practical side of the theory, which was taught the previous day. This is a commercial course where company’s put employees on as and when required but the course can be run with up to eight students per course. This particular session went very well and although this was only the second day of a three-day course, the student’s were very relaxed. The session started of with me using an andragogical style of teaching which later changed to a more pedagogical style. Reece & Walker (2000) Some of the prior learning was remembered, so the practical progressed well. Questions asked were answered well which indicated the information was being received and understood. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs I tried to set up a good working environment for the students in order to promote better learning.
Reece & Walker (2000) The teaching took place in a large workshop, cool and roomy although the cleanliness of the area was not great, as it’s a workshop environment and not a classroom I did not see this as too much of an issue. The work area was arranged so that the students each had their own clearly defined area to work in. The aim of the teaching was clear along with the objectives, which were mentioned on the first day and on the morning of the practical. The session was initially very much tutor, led in an androgogical style, which I have commented on, although the session did change with the group dynamics, I will try to work on this, I will try to work on this as it happened more by accident than design. I also provided and made use of handouts to assist the learner’s in the practical and it was commented on later by the student’s that it was very handy. The content of the session contained a general overview of the practical and the actual practical exercises. All of which were performed to the required standard and met the set objectives.
I adopted a relaxed and “chatty” style with the student’s as we went through the planned activities. The initial introduction, and the following practical held the student’s interest, and most took notes. The session went well, even with what seemed to me as too much talking on my part. This would on the surface indicate I had used a behaviourist approach to the lesson (teacher centred learning). Reece & Walker (2000) On the other hand there was plenty of individual sharing of experiences from the student’s. This proved useful in relating existing knowledge gained from their place of work, to underpinning the information in the session. Bruner stated that the learning process occurs when we attach meaning to what we learn in relation to what we already know or believe.
Reece & Walker (2000) I suppose the session was quite psychomotor on reflection. This is also helpful in finding the level to which I need to teach, so enriching the learning experience for the student’s and being of real use not only in completing the course but also in the knowledge and experience gained. The practical session was completed without incident. I thought that I showed a good rapport with the student’s and they in turn showed respect for myself, both in the roles of information source and as tutor, fortunately I have a good background in the subject area and showed a clear understanding of the planned activity. I made sure that I used language that the student’s were comfortable with, and used my resources and visual aids appropriately to aid the teaching.
Reflection and learning points
I tried my best to project myself calmly and with an air of competence, I presented myself to the student’s as a capable and experienced teacher, with good subject knowledge, and I interacted with the student’s as an adult and friend as well as learner. I also asked the student’s to perform practical tasks after I had demonstrated what to do, I was trying to make them more responsible for their own learning, more in line with an andragogical approach. I was also willing to adapt the planned session to address genuine student needs and spend time discussing and clarifying topics, which also helped to build a sense of trust and respect. The student’s could see that I was willing to listen to what they had to say, which in turn helped them to be willing to listen to me.
When the lesson was completed I gave the students time in a classroom as a group to put together some questions that they might have that I had not already addressed, and suggestions, which they felt might have made the lesson more interesting or informative. Some of the suggestions were very useful indeed and I will definitely take them on-board for future lessons. I had not tried this more informal method of getting feedback before, normally I would just ask the students to fill out a feedback sheet at the end of the session, but I will certainly use it again due to the quality of the responses. When I look back over the twelve months that I have been in teaching I can see that I have already come a long way in terms of how I plan and deliver my lesson and hopefully with the help of my colleagues and my tutor at college I will continue to improve.
Reece I & Walker S 2000 Teaching, Training & Learning. Edition 4. Business Education Publishers Limited, Tyne & Wear.
Petty G 2004 Teaching Today A Practical Guide. Edition 3.