In the following posts on this blog I put forth some ideas and concepts that I hope to adopt in my future teaching. The ideas and concepts have arisen from class discussions, readings and stories shared by teachers. When thinking back to my experience of being a student, many of the following concepts led to my educational experience being a fairly positive and enjoyable one. By implementing these concepts into my teaching I hope to help shape a positive educational experience for my students.
The most effective teachers I have been taught by designed lessons and activities so that we as students would be engaged in the learning process. As Paulo Freire (1993) and Cambourne (1995) suggested, students need to be given an active role in their learning, they can not simply be fed information, they need a chance to figure things out for themselves. Students can be better engaged in learning activities that are centred around topics relevant to them. In this image, the students are exploring oysters, how relevant would it be to teach students about oysters in Alberta vs. the coast of British Columbia where they would likely encounter them more often? As a teacher it will be important to consider how topics can be made relevant to the particular students of a class.
As Van Manen (1991) addressed, it is important to consider who each child is in your classroom and “always be attentive to the uniqueness of the child” (p.40). In order to make lessons relevant and of interest to every student in the class it will be important to make an attempt to get to know a little bit about their backgrounds, interests, etc. Maxine Greene’s (1993) ideas that differences in the classroom should be embraced and not ignored is something that I hope to be able to do as a teacher, but I know it will not be easy. When I was in elementary school I can remember having class multi cultural days where we would each bring a food of some kind that was traditional to each of our heritages. At this point though, I am not really familiar with too many other ways in which uniqueness and diversity can be embraced in a classroom so I am looking forward to gaining some more ideas as to how it can be done. My field experience will likely provide me with some more exposure to how diversity and uniqueness can be handled in classrooms.
I really like this point that Van Manen (1991) made, because as a learner the lessons are much more enjoyable if they relate to you and are relevant. From the side of the teacher, you must consider your students and their backgrounds so that you can create a lesson that will be interesting and relevant to them. Keeping students engaged in their work is a common theme that has arisen often in my education courses and it is well known that students will be more engaged in topics they can relate to and are interested in.
The words I used to create this word cloud are some of the core traits I want to have as future teacher. Readings I have done of Max Van Manen’s (1991), William Ayers’ (2001) and Maxine Greene’s (1993) work have all expressed the importance of these traits in a good, effective teacher. While I do not have all of these features yet, as I gain more experience in teaching roles I believe they will develop. From class discussions, teacher’s stories and readings I have done, I have realized the need for a teacher to be an improviser is huge. That is one trait I will definitely need to work on developing further as I am someone who pre-plans everything, but when teaching you cannot prepare for every possible circumstance so you must be ready to adapt on the fly.
From my experience as a learner, it has been most effective when a teacher has taught basic skills first and gradually increased the complexity, or scaffolded my knowledge and skills. In a physical education setting these basic skills can be taught to students in a more engaging way if they are in the form of a game. The game can begin with very few rules and only minimal objectives, then it can be modified increasingly as the students master each new stage. In order for a teacher to properly incorporate this concept into a class, he or she must know the students well enough to know what skills they already possess and what skills are not too complex for them to attain at that particular time.
While I hope to be able to include all of the above mentioned concepts in my teaching, I know that they will not all come automatically. Through my teaching experiences I will be able to see what works, what does not and then alter my teaching style and philosophy accordingly.