Blooms Taxonomy

In this week’s learning we covered Lesson Planning which included Learning Objectives, something that actually came just at the right time as learning objectives were something that I and my observer noticed were lacking in my first solo lesson and something that I need to improve on for this coming Monday.

Blooms Taxonomy is a hierarchy of needs which are designed to help teachers develop tasks for students to achieve the needs identified on the diagram. Looking through it I can see how it can help as to achieve a qualification students need to show these skills and often the higher the skill the higher the grade/level of qualification. We were also given a breakdown of the terms which had useful verbs to help us translate the needs into objectives and using this breakdown has helped me work through the lesson aims and objectives as I realised that these needs are naturally achieved in certain aspects of learning and my struggles came with using the correct terminology or identifying that it all linked together.

Image result for bloom's taxonomy

I still feel I need to work on developing my aims and objectives as I feel I am still too general or expect too much from my learners so thinking about these needs and the breakdowns will help me also break down my objectives.

Thinking about how these needs can be met and how we can assess learning is also something to consider as if I think ‘how do I know that… has been achieved’ then I can plan more practically and be more SMART with my target setting.

 

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First Class Revisited

Today I received the feedback from the teacher who was sat in the room with me during my first lead class.

As I expected the teacher picked up on the lack of learning objectives however we have just had a lesson on ‘Lesson Planning’ which included creating learning objectives (blog post to follow soon) so I feel I can get on top of this and that it was obviously a valid point to bring up.

The feedback also mentioned the issues I had with technology and suggested a backup plan for if I have issues with Power Point again. I should perhaps have the information saved to my drive at the university, email it to myself or have the most important information in a simple word document which should be easier to open via a MAC.

One point that was picked up was about having the students focus on me as they set up their computers. It was not something I was aware of and now that it was mentioned I do feel that I did talk over the students as they logged on and settled, meaning that they were possibly not paying attention to their full amount. For future lessons I will be sure to get the students settled then get them focused on me and the task at hand, introducing the lesson properly.

The teacher who was sat with me however praised my one-to-ones with the students which has reassured me in my approach to my supporting role to the students. I was always unsure how to conduct one-to-ones and almost worked instinctively, remembering from my own studies what I liked from tutors, to know that the way I am currently working is good is encouraging.

Obviously this was just an informal observation but to have a teacher who has been teaching for several years give me a ‘well done’ and praise that this was a big ask (directing a class after two weeks of shadowing and with four days notice) has settled my nerves. I do have a long way to go in my studies, but I now feel a little more sure of myself, that I can do this and that I do have it in me to be teacher.

Planning class training

Today’s learning was very helpful; it was only the day before I was thinking about lesson objectives and how to improve them so having this class was just in time for me to improve on a lesson I had already given.

I found that I now feel prepared for creating a lesson plan and a scheme of work and that although I understand that practice makes better with these things I feel I will not be so daunted when I have to create one now.

I feel that I will still benefit from some further reading and should also look at exampled of lesson plans and schemes of work to further understand them and see how other teachers create them. This also may help me see what I would do differently and things to learn from them.

Reflecting on Reflecting

Part of any studies is reflection as it is key to understanding, for teacher training reflection is especially important as we are constantly learning a practice which is not ‘one method fits all’.

I have been lucky enough to have studied where reflective practice makes up a part of the course but before now I never really researched into reflective practice and just reflected instinctively. I never knew that there were theories behind reflection and that there were many different models of reflection before we covered it in class and it was interesting to see that my ‘natural’ way of reflecting is similar to the ‘Gibbs’ Method, a reflective cycle developed by Graham Gibbs in 1988.

On reading more about reflective cycles and models of reflection I found most modern cycles and models of reflection follow that which was developed by J. Dewey in 1933. The Dewey system covers five steps of reflection:

  1. A Feeling / difficulty
  2. It’s location/ description
  3. Possible solutions
  4. Development
  5. Further experimentation leading to acceptance or rejection

(Rushton & Suter, 2012).

Whereas the Gibbs cycle is a slightly easier to grasp cycle based on:

  • Do
  • Review
  • Learn
  • Apply

(Petty, 2014).

My ‘natural’ way of reflecting has always been about looking back at the event and exploring what happened, what went wrong/ right and what could be done to change that. I have however not needed to practice most of the changes I would implement to tasks I have reflected on before; so actually applying any development will be a new step for me.

In class we were also introduced to the Schön method developed by Donald Schön in 1983/87 in which he reflects ‘In Action’ and then ‘Post Action’. This method seems like it would be slightly harder to use as it could be difficult to find the time to reflect, and document the reflection in a class, however I assume this could be done right after the class and still achieve ‘in action’ reflection. Reflecting ‘post action’, once initial feelings have calmed and perhaps with the feedback off of observers also seems like a positive way of reflecting as your feelings may have changed and you can learn from the perspective a few days can give.

One form of reflection I found while reading was ‘Tripp’s critical incidents theory’ a reflective theory and method developed in 1993 which focused on the ‘professional practice of teaching’ (Rushton & Suter, 2012, page 29).

This method requires the teacher to reflect on one incident and ask:

  • Who was involved, where it happened, what happened and the reaction to it at the time.
  • Why the incident happened, looking at a wider context which could have caused the issues.
  • What can be learned from the incident?
  • What can be done to find a resolution?

I feel that this method may be useful if you have a particular incident in a class, like a particular student that has behaviour issues and you wish to focus an analysis on the issue to understand it further.

 

Over all I feel that I now understand more about reflective practice from the lesson we had and my further research and that I am now aware that there are different methods of reflection which I can use to help me reflect more effectively. I look forward to trying out one of these new, more structured forms of reflection as I continue my studies and though some may be harder to grasp, like with everything I am learning, I understand that practice is the best way to improve.

Resources:

  • Bolton, G (2010) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development. Third Edition. London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Petty, G (2014) Teaching Today: A Practical Guide. Fifth Edition. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  • Rushton, I. and Suter, M (2012) Reflective Practice for Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Berkshire, England: Open University Press.

First Class

Monday was my first class where I was leading and where the other teacher in the room was there for ‘observation’ and just if anything happened. Following a class on Reflective Practice I have decided to reflect on this lesson referring to the Gibbs Reflective Cycle (Do, Review, Learn, Apply).

 

Do

The lesson was an ‘easy’ lesson to take as I did not need to prepare a lesson plan as the students were continuing their work from previous lessons (to research artists). I felt that it was a good way to be introduced to teaching as it felt like a step up from the co-teaching I have been doing so far.

For the lesson however I prepared a simple slideshow just outlining what was expected of the students to help them understand and give me something to structure to the class with.

 

Review and Learn

 

  1. I was nervous to start as it was my first time being with the students without their typical teacher however I have been shadowing their classes for the past couple of weeks so the students know who I am and their reaction to me opening the class door and introducing the class seemed alright. Their acceptance calmed my nerves as I got into the flow of the class and I feel that I will not be as nervous with next weeks’ lesson.

 

  1. One issue that I am aware of is my need to understand Lesson Objectives more, I have added this to my Individual Learning Plan and will research them and ask my tutor about suitable books that may help. I had set out lesson aims but understand objectives need to be more specific, I am just unsure on them.

 

  1. Before the class began I made sure to enter earlier to set up the SMART Board and I am glad that I did as it was not as simple as it should have been. There were a few issues with the power-point and getting the screen set up which could have delayed the class if I had not been early. I feel I was right in going in early to set up because of this but feel that as I take more lessons I will learn more about SMART Boards so should have less issues (or at least learn/know how to deal with these issues) however I feel I should try and work with a MAC more as this is what was connected to the SMART Board and this is where the issues came from.

 

  1. I had set up the power-point with a dark grey background (this helps me so I thought this would be a good start) so not to have black on white to allow for inclusivity however on the projection this dark grey was washed out and did not have the effect I wanted. Having this issue has taught me that the colour of the background on the power-point needs to be darker to allow for the washout that the projector creates. I will however find out which colour is best as I do more power-points and I might even need to use a specific colour once I have class profiles as I might have to cater for a particular students needs.

 

  1. Some students also had issues with their MAC and I was unable to help them with their issues, this made me feel a little useless and I felt like I had failed the students by not knowing how to help with their issues. Again this comes from my own lack of knowledge with using MAC and to remedy this I should strive to do more on them and learn about printing at the college.

 

  1. On the slides I did have what students should cover to help them in their research however I feel that having this on a handout might have also helped the students. I could not have two slides up on the screen at once as I also needed up on the screen a list of artists for them to research so  giving this handout could have solved the issue of the students needing the information. This handout would also be useful for the students in their studies in general so would be a better use of resources than say having the list of artists printed, this handout could also include notes on annotation as I noticed many students struggled with what to write for their annotations.

 

  1. The students did not seem to get a great deal done in the class; I do not know if this was my expectations being too high or the students slacking because it was a new teacher for them? Perhaps I gave them too much choice in terms of their contemporary artists and instead should have selected three or four for them then to choose two from. If I did do this I would then give more details of the artists to the students, so the students could not waste time researching as much of the extra details and instead concentrate on image analysis. This would also give more structure to the lesson as it was a very open lesson but I would have to be wary of the lesson becoming too ‘taught’. I was however glad to see that students were using the examples I suggested and saw a pattern of the type of artist they were attracted to. This will help me when it comes to planning further lessons as it will allow me to do what I previously mentioned without too many of the students disliking the artist and having no interest in them which I feel is an issue with artist research.

 

  1. Questioning students is a big part of lessons and I feel that I missed some opportunities for open questions with this lesson. I could have asked the class about their historical research, asking them, in an open question if they can tell me the four artists they were given to research. This doesn’t seem a lot but it would have also allowed me to understand where the students were at and allow me to compare the student’s progress with their classmates before I conducted one-to-ones.

 

  1. I feel that at the end of the class I should have also gone over the deadline, re-covered what the students need to achieve and mention that they needed to complete as much work as possible for next week. I did mention that students need to start making sure their research is printed and in their books but do not feel I went into enough detail. This point is something to be aware of and I should leave myself a note to remember, perhaps introducing these facts (homework) at the beginning of the class and having a slide at the end of my slides to remember again.

 

  1. One of my worries is that I gave all the students enough attention, making sure that I did not miss out on the able students just because there were students less able. I feel that I did manage this in the class and have come to realise how observations can help as an observer may pick up on how you disperse your time amongst the students. I am (at the time of writing) waiting for feedback from the tutor who sat in the class with me so I will return to my reflections with this feedback.

 

  1. One student was late arriving into class, I made sure not to disrupt my introduction too much for that student, just saying hello and telling them to find a seat and noted down their lateness. I however failed to ask for a reason why the student was late once the class was set to task and realised when I was making my notes on how the session went. This was obviously just a forgetful moment but again I could leave myself a note on my sheet to remind me of this fact if a student is late until it becomes embedded that I need to do this.

 

  1. While conducting one-to-ones I noticed that it would have been useful to give post-it-notes to the students listing what we were covering needed to be done. Giving the students this written confirmation would have ensured they could not ‘forget’ and also would show other tutors what had been covered in the one-to-one and that the students are aware of work that needs to be done, especially if a week later they still have not achieved the work. I did mention to their tutor that many students were unsure on what they needed in their workbooks and would find a list useful which she then made and uploaded to Moodle.

 

  1. Remembering names is an issue I am aware I have, reading out a register is one way to help learn and remember names however the registers for this class are still an issue so I got the students to write their names on a sheet of paper. I then used this sheet throughout the class to put a face to a name. I understand this is not ideal but it was working and I now feel more confident in naming and knowing the student to the name. I feel that if I was newer to the class than an icebreaker would have also helped with learning students names however felt that now I have been with the students two weeks it would have been more disruptive then beneficial to have a icebreaker.

 

  1. Students are allowed their phones in creative lessons and I personally feel that smart phones can help in certain classes, however while in an IT room phones are not needed. I am also not against students listening to music (as long as it is not loud enough for others to hear) so allowed them to have their phones out for this however I did notice students using phones to go on social media sites and message friends. Where I noticed this I did tell the students this was not acceptable and gave them a warning, if they repeated this I warned them that the next time I would remove the phone from them. I have been told that we have every right to request students hand in phones and return them at the end of class, and that students are aware of this policy, so felt I was justified in my ‘three strikes’ system in regards to phone use.

 

  1. One thing I realised I had missed was a way to assess if my slides had been useful for the students from their point of view (other than seeing them use my suggestions for their contemporary research). I am unsure how student feedback can work so need to ask about it as while in the early days of training any feedback is really useful for me.

 

Apply

With all this in mind for next weeks’ lesson (and as further development) I need to:

  • Change the colour on my presentation background
  • Set clear lesson objectives
  • Practice more with using SMART Boards (continuing development)
  • Develop a understanding on MAC and printing at the college (continuing development)
  • Create a handout for the students covering ‘artist research’ and ‘annotating’.
  • Start the lesson with questioning the students
  • Mention deadline/ work requirements at start and end of lesson.
  • Make a note about dealing with late students
  • Take post-it-notes to all lessons (buy larger sized notes)
  • Student Feedback (next week and continuing development)

My First Tasking Students

So today saw my first group of tasking students.

A lively bunch anyway they were due to hand in work which was supposed to be started over the summer as the group are year two students on their level three BTEC however many were behind task yet there was no urgency in many of them to complete the work.

It was difficult to get the students to work and stay on task; they mostly knew what needed to be done as they had had one-to-ones earlier in the day however they were not really working. The students had three hours to complete work to a standard to hand in but most seemed to rely on the fact that despite hand in being today they had until Tuesday morning to add to their work, after marking they also have a grace period of ten days to improve this work.

Many of the students had excuses for why they were behind or missing work, typically that work was on a computer when asked about written work and I noticed that a great deal of the students were insecure about their English and written skills which hindered their work. I found this a little surprising as they are year two students and have already passed year one so should know what is expected of them and have any help in place with their writing by now.

I felt that many of them did not have enough structure to their three hours and that although they were of a higher level too many of the group did not have the maturity to be left in independent study.

I found it was difficult to get much from them and my initial reaction (that of working with younger children) would have been to separate them as many of the students distracted their friends in the group. I feel that this would not have been the right practice with this age group as they would have probably reacted badly to being broken up from their friends and caused even more discord.

Some of the students complained that they did not have enough help from the tutor through the project but since some students seemed to have gotten on with the work very well it was hard to believe it was just down to the tutor having to split their time between two classes.

I do however feel that the larger picture was the amount of work the students had fallen behind with, that they perhaps were not pushed enough or left to their own devices too much in the earlier weeks. I understand that they have only had three weeks back from the summer but the trust was there that they would do some work over the six week holiday period and many obviously did not.

I feel that my biggest issue with dealing with this class was just trying to get them to focus, it was easy to tell them what they were missing, or even get them to tell me what they thought they were missing but I just couldn’t get them to do anything. I found it hard to understand why when they knew they needed to get on; and what they needed to be doing that they simply weren’t doing anything. I feel this lack of working might have something to do with the ten days extra the students get once the work has been marked to improve but I don’t see how this would really help them as by this time they should already be starting on a new project and a new discipline and to rely on this extra timw would be foolish.

In my studies and training to become a teacher I have not yet covered behaviour and classroom management and feel that some of these issues I faced in today’s class could be addressed through researching and through talking to my mentor and other tutors.

I also feel that class motivation was a issue here, I feel that the students in question did not have enough drive, either they did not enjoy the project or had other issues (some mentioned issues with home and work) which kept them from engaging with their work.  I feel that maybe getting to the root of the problem with these students might have helped them feel more motivated but that again it could have been due to poor time management de-motivating them to a point they gave up.

Preferred Learning Styles

Yesterday we covered preferred learning styles (among other topics) to better understand learner needs. These learning styles included the Honey and Mumford style (activist, reflector, theorist, pragmatist) the VAK style (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic) and right/left brain learning.

Through group and class discussion we concluded that people tend not to fall into just one category but that they often have traits from more than one category and that looking at just one mode of learning styles does not give a full picture of the learner.

Personally I have always felt that I fall into the ‘theorist’ and ‘pragmatist’ category more than the others as I like to identify goals, and am reluctant to try new things but am very well organised (which fit into the theorist category) yet I like to get on with tasks, find new and effective ways of working and become impatient if I cannot try out and get on with things (which fit into pragmatist category). I also feel I am a mix between an auditory and visual learner as I prefer listening and reading to a more physical approach.

I feel that it would be useful for students to know their learning styles as it should help them when it comes to self-directed study but feel that some learners could take it the other way and find excuses not to do work if it does not fit their preferred style. This could be a challenge to teaching especially if as a teacher you do not work to that style but I feel it would be about trying to adapt as much as possible to incorporate different learning styles and also encourage the learner to do the same.

During yesterdays learning we also covered inclusive learning which I felt as teachers we should strive to be as inclusive as possible and if we do this we should cover a range of traits from the different learning styles, which helps strengthen my thoughts above. Personally for me this would mean more research into making lessons more diverse as I had a very traditional form of learning (teachers giving lectures, students taking notes, some discussions and seminars) and do not naturally think about adding technology and activities to a lesson. As I shadow and progress however I should develop methods and ideas to combat this.

 

After the class we were asked to complete a short assessment to judge our own learning styles and as I expected it came up with my learning style leaning strongly towards the visual side, what did surprise me however was  that the assessment showed I was more kinaesthetic rather than auditory. I found this as a surprise as I never thought that I was as hands on in my learning and feel that it might make me more aware of how I am learning now that I know I am more kinaesthetic than auditory.

Learning Styles, Reflective Practice & Inclusive Provision class training

Today’s learning covered quite a lot of theory and opened up even more in terms of reading as we only touched on these subjects. [Frank Coffield]

I was interested to learn about different reflective practice and learn that my natural way of reflecting is on the terms of the Gibbs Method and feel that the Schön method would be a good way to reflect on observations as there would be an initial reflection and a secondary reflection a couple of days later. I was also interested to learn about formal reflection, where you bring in theory as I was unaware of this and will try to bring in this formal reflection in more of my reflections as I read up on more theory.

The class was also useful for thinking up methods to be inclusive which all started with understanding the learners needs and adapting to these needs.

This class led a lot to think about and I have to do further reading to develop my understanding and practice.

Reflection on Safeguarding Young People

Safeguarding Young People Level 2, CPD training Via EduCare

 

Completing the EduCare Safeguarding Young People training was more of a formality rather than a necessity. We had been given a safeguarding talk which covered the GIFHE policies and I had already covered neglect, bullying, prevent, child protection etc in EduCare training so this training was everything that had already been covered before. Due to this repetition my notes are not very extensive as I have already taken notes which cover this subject. 

What I did find interesting however is how this training focused on ‘young adults’ where some of the other training did seem to lean towards young children so it was useful to have the added information on risks for young adults and a more detailed walk though on what to do if you have concerns.

Another part of this training was that I noticed there are 15 pieces of legislation and guidance in accordance with safeguarding and although it is not our role to know it all I can see how issues could arise. I was surprised there were so many and I had thought that the government had made it easier to understand, condensing old legislations but obviously not.

Two Weeks Already Passed

A full second week has passed and it passed with so much going on that tired doesn’t cover how I feel. My first day, observing which I have already written about, was followed by a full-on day on PGCE. A day full of overwhelming, information overload. It was the first day where I really thought ‘can I do this?’ I had to give it time however, to sink in and remember that time is short, only 9 months but that is enough to do this or else no one would do it, right?

I understand that my biggest burden to myself would be working weekends so being aware of the workload in advance could be beneficial. So far I feel that I have been able to keep on top of things (even though a part of me feels we haven’t even begun in earnest) and though I feel tired; it is all new and it will take time to get used to a new routine.

With my worries back under control I got on with shadowing.

The BA students were my next class and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, noticing a clear difference between them and the other classes I had shadowed. I did expect this though as there is a large step educationally, between the classes and the maturity that comes with being on a BA differs greatly.

My final shadowing class was perhaps one of the more interesting ones, a mixed group of students only a year or so from going to university (if that is what they choose) and I was yet again surprised at the level of ability, some students were still on about needing to pass Maths and or English and tasks and knowledge I would have expected them to be able to do or know were beyond them. There were some students that did try and you could see that they wanted to try however there were others that were clearly the type that does as little work as possible even though if they tried just a little they could probably achieve quite well. It is these students that I feel shadowing will help me understand as it is often these students which are the most tasking.

This coming week sees more shadowing and then the scary stuff happens, then I have to start teaching. I’ve been assured we start with co-teaching before we take on a class alone so there should be nothing to panic about… apart from the eight assignments, lesson planning, reading, shadowing and learning how to be a teacher stuff… nothing to panic about at all.