Developing Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Education and Training
1.1 Analyse the application of pedagogical principles in own area of specialism.
Understanding by Design (UbD) is an academic framework for designing curriculum units, performance assessments and instruction that evolve a deeper and better understanding amongst the learners. It facilitates the process of learning by setting achievable goals and objectives. Designed by Grant Wiggins and Jay Mc Tighe, the model scrutinises the traditional methods and suggests more coherent, versatile and conductive ways related to planning, teaching and assessing. The essence of the model lies in ‘to begin with the end in mind.
It simply implies to keep the destination in mind before taking the first leap thereby taking steps in the right direction.
The process of learning in human beings is constantly under research and tight scrutiny. Over a period of time, many researchers of this field have concluded that human ability to learn is greatly affected by the interaction of ideas. The exchange of meaningful learning experiences in progressive and conducive environments assists in discovering and exploiting our potentials to their optimum levels. The learning experiences are very often used by the teachers to motivate the quest of learning amongst the students.
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The sharing of poor ideas helps us to interact and foment a climate of understanding thereby developing new learning scenarios. This meaningful interaction puts great influence on the process of learning as a whole. We also learn to interpret new experiences and modify our own conceptions through the dialogue. In order to make best utilization of this concept, we need to create meaningful activity and relate it to our perceptions of life. In light of this research, new processes and learning methodologies are being evolved to help learners and teachers in making its best utilization.
Grant Wiggins and Jay Mc Tighe are the pioneers in implementing the concept on ground by designing a new methodology of learning called the ‘Backward Design.’ The use of ‘Backward Design’ model as part of the concept of ‘Understanding by Design’ has proved to be an extremely effective tool in addressing the learning needs of human beings (Hammond, 2005). The ‘Backward Design’ model provides a new approach to teachers and learners by focusing on keeping the goals and objectives in mind.
This design puts less emphasis on the specific activities of and rather involves paying attention to the strategic intents and outcomes of their curriculum. The model starts with defining what students want to achieve or know and then framing curriculum which guides to the desired objective. Although the Backward Design does not totally oppose the traditional methods, however it objects to the routine collection of facts that one often tends to forget after the test (Pankratz &Petrosko, 2000).
Unless it has been decided as what the students should understand (objectives), plans cannot be made to substantiate the effort required to be put in to achieve those goals. Once the curriculum designer knows what students should understand, consideration moves to how to capture and document this understanding. The enduring understanding is the hallmark of the Backward Design. All the planning perimeters and curriculum designing are of little use until the principles of backward design are kept in mind.
The sole purpose is to progressively achieve those levels of understanding which human mind has never experienced before. The efficacy of this model can be best visualised from the fact that at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the most efficient model of learning being prescribed and pursued is the Teaching for Understanding which in many ways goes in line with the concept of Understanding by Design (Wiske, 2005).
1.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of use of creative and innovative approaches in own area of specialism.
Principles of Teaching and Learning in Teaching Maths:
Students learn maths through the experiences that teachers provide. Teachers must know and understand deeply the maths they are teaching and understand and be committed to their students as learners of maths and as human beings. There is no one ‘right way’ to teach. Nevertheless, much is known about effective maths teaching. Selecting and using suitable curricula materials, using appropriate instructional tools and techniques to support learning and pursuing a continuous self-improvement are actions good teachers take every day. The teacher is responsible for creating an intellectual environment in the classroom where serious engagement in mathematical thinking is the norm.
Effective teaching requires deciding what aspects of a task to highlight, how to organise and orchestrate the work of students, what questions to ask the students having varied level of expertise and how to support students without taking over the process of thinking for them. Effective thinking requires continuing effort to learn and improve.
Teachers need to increase their knowledge about maths and pedagogy, learn from their students and colleagues, and engage in professional development and self-reflection. Collaborating with others – paring an experienced teacher with a new teacher or forming a community of teachers – to observe, analyse and discuss teaching and students’ thinking is a powerful, yet neglected form of professional development. Teachers need ample opportunities to engage in this kind of continual learning. The working lives of teachers must be structured to allow and support different models of professional development that benefit them and their students.
Features of effective learning and teaching in maths:
From the early stages onwards, children and young people should experience success in maths and develop the confidence to take risks, asks questions and explore alternative solutions without fear of being wrong. They will enjoy exploring and applying mathematical concepts to understand and solve problems, explaining their thinking and presenting their solutions to others in a variety of ways. At all stages, an emphasis on collaborative learning will encourage children to reason logically and creatively through discussion of mathematical ideas and concepts.
The experiences and outcomes encourage learning and teaching approaches that challenge and stimulate children and young people and promote their enjoyment of maths. To achieve this, teachers will use a skilful mix of approaches, including: planned active learning which provides opportunities to observe, explore, investigate, experiment, play, discuss and reflect modelling and scaffolding the development of mathematical thinking skills; learning collaboratively and independently; opportunities for discussion; communication and explanation of thinking; developing mental agility; using relevant contexts and experiences familiar to young people; making links across the curriculum to show how mathematical concepts are applied in a wide range of contexts, such as those provided by sciences and social sciences using technology in appropriate and effective ways; building on the principles of assessment for learning; ensuring that young people understand young people understand the purpose and relevance of what they are learning; developing problem-solving capabilities and critical thinking skills.
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Teachers need to understand and be committed to their students as learners of maths and as human beings and be skilful in choosing from and using a variety of pedagogical and assessment strategies (National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future1996). In addition, effective teaching requires reflection and continual efforts to seek improvement. Teachers need to understand the big ideas of maths and be able to represent maths as a coherent and connected enterprise (Schifter 1999; Ma 1999).
Teachers also need to understand different representations of an idea, the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and how they are related to one another (Wilson, Shulman and Richert 1987)
As a maths teacher, I apply the following teaching approaches:
Individual Work: I still believe that individual work has the most significant and effective influence on students. Individual work facilitates one on one interaction among students and teachers. I still believe that individual work has the most significant and effective influence on students. Individual work facilitates one on one interaction among students and teachers. Some limitations include: While individual work will enable the students to improve their performance level, and teachers to individually assess the students. However it does not facilitate any team work or collaboration between the students, and the students would feel isolated. It would also restrict the students from learning and obtaining effective experiences and knowledge from other students.
Group Work: I believe that group work is essential to develop team work and facilitate collaboration between students. As a religious studies teacher I believe that it is essential to promote social harmony and facilitate collaborative work between culturally diverse individuals and groups of individuals. Group work facilitates effective participation and communication, and also builds up leadership skills among students. It is perceived by many experts that group work provides a basis for effective team work, leadership, communication and collaboration (Wurdinger & Carlson, 2009). Limitations include: Even though group work is an effective learning tool, the resources required for group work is high. Group work requires a significant amount of time, materials and space. If the teacher is not able to provide these resources to students, the group work will not be effective. Furthermore group work can also have many disputes which would hinder the main objective of undertaking group work. Also there is the limitation of all students not participating equally for group work.
Presentations: Presentations are considered to be the most effective tool of visual learning. Presentations are utilized by teachers to increase the interest and concentration level of students. Earlier students were provided with study notes and the teacher followed the provided material. There was a clear limitation in this method, as the students lost concentration and interest in this method. Especially I have experienced that utilizing presentations for a subject such as religious studies, helps to attract the students and maintain their interest. Experts believe that presentations are more effective and accurate than utilizing printed material. I agree with this statement and believe in utilizing effective presentation during my teaching sessions (Wilson, 2009). Limitations include: Presentation require a high level of software and hardware equipment. Personally I have experienced difficulties due to the limitations of resources, and I have been unable to effectively present the study material effectively. Both teachers and students have faced hardships due to these limitations and few study sessions have been wasted due to these restrictions.
Online Learning and Group Discussions: I promote online learning among my students as I believe that online learning provides a great way for the students to obtain timely and relevant information related to the subject matter. It would also enable the students to obtain information regarding the most recent developments. Online discussion also helps students to interact and share their knowledge with others and also obtain support from the teacher outside classroom hours. I agree with the experts that online learning has a plethora of advantages, which facilitate a more effective knowledge sharing and learning culture among the students (Bender, 2003). Limitations include: the lack of resources. There are many students who do not have access to web sources and have no proper ICT knowledge. Also depending too much on online resources would sometimes be inaccurate and also deviate students from their primary objective.
Tutorials: In addition to my lessons, I always ensure to hold a considerable number of tutorial sessions for my students. With experience I have realized that tutorials help the students to obtain a better understanding about the subject matter and apply the theoretical knowledge obtained during the study sessions. Limitation include: I have observed that at times tutorials tend to make students follow the lesson mechanically, instead of obtaining an in-depth understanding about the subject matter.
Bender, T. (2003), Discussion-based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning, Stylus Publishing, United States.
Wilson, L. (2009) Practical Teaching: A guide to PTLLS & DTLLS, London: Cengage Learning EMEA
Wilson, S. M., Shulman, L. S. & Richert, A. E. (1987). 150 Different Ways of Knowing: Representations of Knowledge in Teaching. In J. Calderhead (Ed.), Exploring Teachers’ Thinking (pp.104-124). London: Cassell.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2011). The Understanding by Design guide to creating high-quality units. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Wurdinger, S. D. and Carlson, J. A. (2009), Teaching for Experimental Learning, Rowman and Littlefield Education, United State.
Schifter, D. (1999). Reasoning about operations: Early algebraic thinking, grades K through 6. (pp 62-81). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: Teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
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