Jennifer Warren – Inclusive Unit – Schooling and Culture
-As teachers within Higher Education, do you think it is necessary to think about school and FE? What perspective might we gain by doing this?
– I believe it is important to know your student’s background, their identity and the knowledge they have already gained in their previous education. This will allow us as a teacher to not see them as ‘empty vassals to impart our knowledge on’ but to recognise and build off their current education and skills. This relates to Paulo Friere acknowledgment of the Banking Concept. As stated in the publication ‘It is important to think of students not just as students but as colleagues who hold information that is not accessible to adults or professionals.’ The teachings of Friere’s will help us gain a better understanding of our students and in doing so will enable us to help our students reach their full potential.
Are there elements of ‘Schooling and Culture’s’ model of academic publishing/research/teaching that we could use in HE? If so what? And how might we bring this into our practice?
-The first element I liked about this publication was the message of collaboration between the teachers, the students and the publication. The publication does not want to be seen as a definitive all-knowing book, it is about the suggestion of what people have tried and learned through their own practice, to build a community to share knowledge. I find the aspect of asking ‘us’- both students and teacher to feedback really great as it will allow the publication to build a fair and open discussion about our current education system, that I believe is needed.
– I enjoyed reading the Article called ‘Classroom Do’s and Don’ts for Students and Teachers’. This article is about a workshop run with year 10 students with the aim ‘to collaborate in the making of an artwork’ within a gallery setting. The technique of an ‘unscripted day’ was used to help the students decide on a theme for their collective outcome. I found this technique interesting as it allowed the students to learn about each other in an open and safe environment, and decide on a theme they are interested in without influence from the teachers or creator. This is a technique I have tried to adapt to the students I support. As a practicing artist it is sometimes difficult to not have a creative influence on the students work when helping them to understand their briefs. Using this technique of asking open questions and discussion will help the students discover their own ideas without the influence of others. This workshop is also a great opportunity to give students a chance to develop ‘from critical thinkers to production action.’
– Below is a zine workshop sample which was given to the year 10 students after they had decided on the theme ‘Rules and Laws’. I liked how the publication has given the reader of the publication the material to use in their own practice. The teachers can experience first-hand how a creative workshop could be used to cover subject much as gender, politic, class, race and history. They also give the teacher the opportunity to feedback to the publication, which will build new information on the current education system.
Richard Ward – Curriculum Design
Based in the recommendations of NCTJ – teaching 1 hour without a break, a group of 20 students as a maximum, and a minimum of 120 hours, and yet the University states that you have to teach 50 students in one class at a time, only have 90 hours to teach the course, and 1.5 hours without a break – how would you manage this.
From reading the NCTJ Teaching Shorthand Good Practice Guide it is evident to me that like most practical skills, you can only truly learn this skill through practice. The NCTJ has outlines that 120 hours is the suggested amount of hours to teach shorthand. Richard has asked the question how would I manage to deliver a class to the NCTJ recommendations within the restraints of the university limitations. My answer is, with difficulty… without changing the structure of the course to smaller classes and more contact hours (which Richard mentioned in class that he has proposed within his elected unit) it would be tricky. This being said the outline states ‘shorthand cannot be learnt and developed effectively in the classroom alone. It requires lots of practice outside classroom sessions.’ With this in mind and the information I have gained from this resource, I have highlighted the aspects I would enhance on within the current course structure.
Firstly, and possibly this most significant to me is this practice of shorthand outside the classroom. I would encourage students to use shorthand in lectures and everyday life, without the fear of making mistakes. A friend’s child who is reception class recently informed me that her daughter and fellow students are never corrected on their spelling if it is written telephonically. This method is used so that young 4-5-year-old are not discouraged by being told they are incorrect all the time but are allowed the freedom to explore and learn, to enjoy and connect with learning to write. I thought this was a really great lesson for all teacher to acknowledge. Obviously at some point there has to be an element of correction but perhaps if student learning shorthand where encouraged to explore this freedom with the skill at an early stage without complete accuracy they would gain confidence and a better connection to the skill. As someone with no knowledge of shorthand it feels to me like a completely new language and encouraging the student to use shorthand in everyday life without the worries of getting it wrong they are learning to embrace a new way of thinking and build a connection to the skill instead of seeing it as a barrier and test to overcome within their course.
The second point I took from this NCTJ guild was ‘To help retain [the students] interest, the best courses ensure that dictation material used in relation to the students’ work and interests.’ This is a technique I witnessed Richard Ward use in the observation I attended, he dictated to the fashion journalism students an article about Megan Merkle dress. This is an element I would enhance on further. Perhaps by getting the students to bring in an article they have highlighted of interest from another aspect of their studies they will start to make the link to the relevance of this skill to their future. This type of student-led learning can help students to become independent and responsible learners. Podcasts on fashion designer, art movements and current events that are related to the student’s interest could be an invaluable source of dictation material. (Though I fear they may be spoken too quickly). These are the suggestions I would use to help students in the current course structure to make up for the decreased number of teaching hours suggested to be ‘recommended’.
On the issue of 1.5-hour lessons without a break- I would suggest dividing the lesson into two sections. The first section would focus on a new topic or technique. In the second section of the class my suggestion would be to move the students around the classroom, by moving the students into smaller groups or even just to a new area of the room, can refresh their attention and help retain focus in a long class. Another technique that could be implicated in the second half of the lesson would be to ask the students what areas they would like to focus on, for example aspects they have struggled with in previous lessons. This could encourage them to start recognising their strength, weaknesses and areas to work on independently.
In this session we completed a task which was focused on the opportunities and challenges of different aspects of teaching. In this reflection I have focussed on one-to-one teaching and the critique as these aspects link closely to my current teaching practice.
– The ability to build a relationship with the student on an individual level.
– Prepare and adapt teaching methods in accordance with specific learning needs.
– Provide increased contact time for targeted guidance.
– Highlight and re-direct certain issues towards external support.
There are many opportunities that my one-to-one support role provides to the students. One of the most significant is the chance to build a student’s confidence in their work and social interactions, something that they may otherwise be lacking as a result of their impairment. A student I supported experienced anxiety when speaking to his peers about a personal project depicting his disability. By having a one-to-one tutorial with me he was able to gain the feedback he needed to proceed with the project. More importantly he also developed a technique of talking about the project in the third person, a method which enabled him to discuss the project with his peers without feeling anxious. As a result he gained a huge sense of achievement and a boost in confidence.
– Lack of diversity in the opinions of feedback.
– Limited opportunity for peer collaboration.
– Feedback hindered by opinion or personality clash.
– Lack of counter arguments or feedback from which to develop.
I have sometimes found it difficult to provide practical support to students to help them achieve their goals whilst simultaneously ensuring they do not feel a loss of ownership. Striking this balance is a particular challenge in scenarios when a lot of the physical work is completed by the support worker.
– A wide range of feedback from teacher and peers.
– Students gain an understanding of their work through presentation and peer input.
– Develop valuable presentational skills in a safe environment.
– A range of differing opinions from peers and teachers could be misleading.
– Outspoken individuals may overshadow more introverted students.
– Anxiety and language barriers can hinder a student in a critique environment.
– Students may not all receive equal time to present and receive feedback.
– Energy levels of teachers and students may drop towards the end of the session, speaking first may be advantageous.
I found this task really informative and helpful towards my SiP, within which I intend to take a challenge I encounter within my teaching practice and find present a possible solution. I am particularly interested in investigating the challenges around understanding and providing each individual student with the correct support they need. Key questions such as what if the student doesn’t know what type of support they will need? And How can a teacher find this out? When I have an initial meeting with any new student the challenge is establishing the type of support they will need. In some cases students are forthcoming and have a clear idea of the ‘help’ they require, either because they have had support before or a because the support has been allocated to a specific project. In other scenarios it can take some time to build the relationship and confidence of trust with a student before you can understand how they work and how to support them. In my SiP I hope to find solutions that would be applicable to both situations so I can always quickly and effectively understand my role for each individual student