Peer Observation – with Rebecca Jackson from The School of Languages.
The multitude of enhancing experiences on the PGCAP is enabling me to reflect on my teaching practice with more depth than ever and it appears that the capture of reflection through writing seems to be getting easier. I find myself with an increasing hunger to capture and record so much of what is going on , the only limiting factor is that I need to get quicker at writing and maybe have a little more time. One of the most powerful things about the PGCAP is the reminder of what it is like to be a student, the confusion at the beginning, the nerves of presenting in front of new people, the task of essay’s and also wider context issues of finance, family, friends or in my case children. This issue was discussed in my post-peer observation meeting with Rebecca Jackson from the School of Languages. We discussed how we and other educator’s can be responsible for only thinking about the session when we are delivering it, and don’t think of the wider context in which the students are learning. Do we care about how we are moulding the student’s learning behaviour outside of the class? Can this be influenced by the style of learning that we deliver? Should every educator do a PGCAP? I do think there needs to be an extension of the classroom outside of the classroom by means of digital media, (Twitter, Facebook, Blackboard, online videos and more) to extend the classroom, providing the opportunity for learners to give depth to their studies. This though cannot be done by a single tutor on a single module but should be done as a staff collective learning strategy for the whole of the course. Digital literacy of staff will continue to increase and it is my opinion that this has begun to accelerate over the last year or so and this is vital as we move forward. I have seen a large number of digital technologies being experimented with on the PGCAP some that I don’t think would enhance my practice and some that I do feel will enhance what I do. I have took my previous digital practices added some from the PGCAP and have began to develop a really confident digital strategy. Students are the same and I think it is good to present them with a multitude of technologies then let them see which ones work for them, ‘different strokes for different folks’ (Peters 2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAPwudgXUMs). I now have a collection of videos of me delivering sessions (http://vimeo.com/despard/videos) most about one hour long, I produced these videos for a number of reasons,
1. a way to capture good practice from the previous year then remind myself about it the year after.
2. a confidence building tool to help me analyse my performance and improve.
3. an extra learning resource for students who have not attended the session or those wishing to recap on the session.
4. a way to open up my classroom to collegues, and externally interested people.
After one year of using the videos I have now begun to reflect on their effectiveness. Not many students review the videos for learning purposes, the videos were of little use to myself for helping me plan the following years sessions, though they did help to analyse my delivery and increase my confidence. I feel shorter, snappier, re-caps of the sessions would make them more useful to myself and students. The videos could hold me talking to the camera introducing and framing the sessions then I could change to instructional snaps using captivate. An example of one of my captivate movies can be found below, these are short and too the point and feel that they would be more palletable to students.
Introduce Learning objectives at start of class or not?
Rebecca commented that she liked how I introduced my session verbally by talking about what the students will get out of the day’s session, I do this as a reaction against the prescribed method in which some teachers list the learning objectives for the session on the whiteboard then pay little attention to them, sometimes just simply reading them off the board. I feel this prescribed text has little emotion and this should be communicated verbally. I do also like to recap several times throughout the session reminding the learners as we accomplish the sessions objectives.
Peters, L. Short, B. (online) PGCAP Presentation, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAPwudgXUMs [accessed 19 May 12]