3/6 Peer Observation

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.

captivate movie

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.

UK PSF: A1, A2, A4, V1, V2, V4, K1, K2, K3, K4

References

Peters, L. Short, B. (online) PGCAP Presentation, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAPwudgXUMs [accessed 19 May 12]

5 Responses to 3/6 Peer Observation

  1. pgcapsalford says:

    Hi Craig,

    This is an interesting insight into your situation and how you feel at the moment. Thoughts that have started to take shape and shared with one of your peers and now with all of us. It is good to read that the PGCAP is making a difference already and that you wish you had more time. We all wish for that but many times this is not possible. What I would say is, try and use the time you have wisely, and I am sure you are doing this already, and create space for more focused reflection. While I understand you might want to write it all down, this does, as you say, take a lot of time and I am actually not sure if you would capture everything and if you could digest what you capture all at ones? Think about the extensive video clips you create and how you have used them so far. Does this make sense?

    Regarding the peer observation: You mention something your peer did at the end of the session. It would be very useful to find out why you think it was such a good idea. What are the real benefits and what are the challenges? Who will really engage and why? What about all the others? How would you do it and why? The why is very important and should be added. Avoid making generalisations. Be specific by adding examples from your own practice and strengthen your viewpoints through mentioning specific literature as well. Perhaps you could investigate motivation in this context?

    Also further up, you mention a ‘collective staff learning strategy’ at programme level perhaps and I am wondering if you could share with us a specific application of this. I think you mentioned the use of eportfolios elsewhere and I think this might be a good example to bring. You might want to check out Helen Barrett’s work on eportfolios http://electronicportfolios.com/ who has done extensive research in this area. Why do we use eportfolios? What can we achieve? What can our learners achieve? Why do you feel that eportfolios should be used at programme level? What does the research show about continuous learning, grow, personal and collaborative learning spaces. Portfolios are, widely used in your discipline. How are they used? What are the benefits of ePortfolios? Some things to think about. I hope some of these comments are useful.

    Let me know if you would like to discuss any of the above with me. Thanks.

    Chrissi

  2. pgcapsalford says:

    “Good thinkers…

    tend to see the problem from many perspectives before choosing any one, to consider many different investigative approached, and to produce many ideas before turning to judgement. In addition, good thinkers are more willing to take intellectual risks, to be adventurous consider outrageous or zany ideas, and to use their imagination and aim for originality.”

    (Ruggiero 1988, p. 4)

  3. pgcapsalford says:

    Hi Craig,

    Have you seen this? RSA clip ‘what motivates us?’ Also relevant for learning and teaching.

    Chrissi

  4. pgcapsalford says:

    Craig, you say

    “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.”

    Remember the origami task we did a few weeks ago? I gave you only verbal instructions… how many did manage to follow? It might be useful to look into combined methods and while I understand what you say not wanting to do what the textbook says (nothing wrong with this!) could you explore more creative approaches to introduce, discuss and remind students of learning outcomes? What could you try? Looking forward to your ideas linked to this.

    Chrissi

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