Reflective Evaluation on ‘Preparing to Teach’

“When teachers possess the wisdom and resilience to adopt a reflective and objective view of their own practice, they also have the vital ingredients for enhancing their classroom practice. ’’ (Jones et al. 2006: 45). The learning gained over the module has been invaluable to my teaching practice, making me more effective, improving and developing my performance aiding CPD and PDP, recognising weakness and strengths, and assisting me in learning through self reflection and action. (Jones et al. 2006: i). The first phase of the module was a purposeful introduction to the context of the teacher in the teaching environment.

Through learning about the role and responsibilities of the teacher, knowing your learner, and diagnostic assessment. The mini teaches were useful for sharing best practice and the educational theory was invaluable for acting as the bridge between practice and academic learning. (Kaufman, 2003). It also acted as a performance review to develop our performance as teachers. (Jones et al. 2006: 75). It has been useful to formalise ideas on the environment of teaching, with learning about the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and knowing my learner in the first part of the module.

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It was important to make me focus on the legal aspects and obligations of teaching setting the backdrop of the framework under which I would be working. The second part of the module dealt with practice, theory and technique. In the practice element in the mini teaches and observations I learnt much about sharing good practice, with my colleagues teaching techniques good and bad, and their teaching styles that I have been able to adopt within my teaching. I realised many weaknesses and some strengths that I needed to build on and develop.

It really helped me to video myself as how we present ourselves is very important in all types of work and when undertaking the role of a teacher it requires a particular type of role play. To fine tune this using video is very valuable in reflecting upon my teaching. It is of equal weight to reflect on both good and bad aspects of my own and others teaching, much can be learned from this because learning is a dynamic, continuous and on-going process. Where reviewing reflecting yourself and thers can only build and develop you as a professional. The theory element was very enlightening since educational theory is not a subject I have touched upon before. Having studied it now I have noticed that the theories are applicable to many sectors. Maslow is particularly used in marketing but is very much a benchmark of the human condition. Humanism was derived from a psychological theory but has a definite place when applied to educational theory. Educational theory is said to be the bridge between practice and academia, (Kaufman, 2003).

It has provided a solid basis on which to build my learning upon, and has revealed an understanding of my past, present and future educational experience. We have discussed teacher led pedagogy throughout the modules but andragogy based on humanism (Knowles, 1970). (Pew, 2013), which promotes critical thinking and a mature learner approach, is more applicable to further and higher education providing a means of differentiating teaching practice from childhood to adult learning.

It supports the theories of Maslow’s top tier of self-actualisation on the pyramid of hierarchy and also Bloom’s principle of mastery. Its key ideas are that adult learners are self directed, problem centered as opposed to person centred and more motivated. (Knowles, 1980). (Keesee, 2011). I aim to learn more about andragogy and apply it to my practice. Initial and diagnostic assessment is something that I did informally and verbally, but I learned how to perform this task in a comprehensive formal and professional manner.

The learning gained over the various subjects contained within the modules has all been of equal value to me. The module has been presented as a series of building blocks that have increased my knowledge, I have been able to formalise ideas that I already knew about and build upon them with new concepts theories and ideas. The educational theory was the most interesting part of the learning since it explained a lot about my previous experience in education and how it will inform my teaching. Practice as a result of undertaking the module. I aim to develop the theory in these three ways.

Firstly I have been diagnostically assessing my students in a more formal way using questionnaires at different stages in the semester, this is to get to know the learners, to improve my role as a teacher, to enable me to write session plans based on them and to write differentiation into the sessions. Secondly I have been closely observing other teachers, this is invaluable to see how much I have to learn, I have been adding their techniques to my session plans as best practice examples . Thirdly the educational teaching theory has been in valuable, this has allowed me to use differentiation for the first time within session plans.

I am having a little difficulty with this technique but I am aware of this and am working at strengthening this area of technique. Blooms taxonomy is excellent for writing session plans and for assessment to which can be used to support the further development of learners. It is cohesive when used together with Kolb’s learner types and styles for differentiation and for resources. In conclusion, overriding is that during my teaching prior to this course, I realise that I have not in effect been teaching, but merely instructing.

I realise this is because I have been replicating the way I have been taught, by teachers predominantly using the learning style of reflective observation for the assimilator learner type. Throughout my entire education I was taught by listening and then having a written test or exam. I have ‘never’ been taught by teachers using the other three learning styles or types until this course where I have been given an exemplar instruction on how to teach. I am now making the challenging journey to unlearn the way I was taught and relearn the correct and more egalitarian way to apply the learning from the module to my teaching practice.

I have been teaching for three years and it is interesting to see what techniques I use inherently and those that I do not use. I have realised how little I knew about teaching and how much of a challenge it would be to learn how to teach. I am looking forward to finishing the course so that I can start to synergise putting into practice my years of working as a teacher with the learning gained over the modules. Knowing how to teach is not the same as being able to teach and I realise this may be on going long after I qualify.

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