So the previous post was about observing, engaging, testing ad repeating until you are comfortable with the general method of engaging with your class on the content. This post will highlight things to consider while walking this journey; Some of these may seem intimidating as it shifts power between you as the educator and the students but we are moving into a space where students are more open to learning when they have a stake in the system. So here we go… The C’s set out by Dr Chris Emdin:
“Whoever you are as a teacher
you are never going to be as good as you could be
if you accepted feedback from your students.”- Dr C. Emdin
This would have already begun with your task team (explained in the previous post) but at this stage you would open up feedback to the whole class. Within the learning space you need to inspire the students to participate and this can be done by making them feel like what they are saying is not only being heard but is taken seriously. Over time you will see that the dialogue begins to define the direction of the pedagogy and how the content is presented.
“You cannot be a good person on your feet if you have not planned”- Dr. C. Emdin
Sometimes students do not realize the work that comes before and after a single lesson. Well here is a way for you to help them understand, give them some of the responsibilities that go with presenting a lesson. Give each student an opportunity to be involved in the pre- and post- production of a lesson; this could be lesson planning or reviewing the success of the message delivery or actually teaching a part of the lesson and getting peer feedback. It will become clearer to the students that your work does not begin when you walk into the classroom and end when you walk out. This also gives you the opportunity to learn from your students.
“The question is how do we get all.”- Dr C. Emdin
This is another one that would have started in the task team development. Point number one was to get a diverse group of students. Similarly when opening up to the class you must be flexible because it is not a one size fits all situation. This open method of teaching is forever changing so tomorrow’s lesson may look completely different to yesterday’s lesson but could have been directed by today’s conversation; Be open to that.
“Kid’s don’t like school because
it doesn’t look like home.”- Dr C. Emdin
This is everything! It is the basis of what has been said in the previous post. It is important that educators are able to communicate a message in a language that the students understand and then show the students how they translate that into a language expected for the subject.
We are often caught out by the amount of content we are expected to deliver. Very often we get so consumed by the stress that we overlook things and get caught out by topics we are not comfortable with. This is alright; it is important to be comfortable with the fact that you do not know everything. Deliver what you know using the method you have developed; Go back and check out what you do not know. This is also an impromptu opportunity for you to co-teach. Work these moments out and make them yours
“If you don’t know, say you don’t know… and celebrate it.”- Dr C. Emdin
This can be used to foster a community. It is important for you, as the educator, to manage competition in the environment and make sure it does not become harmful but this can be a very useful tool to get students to engage. Also competition does not always have to be serious. It can be fun… In fact it should always be fun to reduce the possibility of it becoming harmful.
“You cannot get better at your teaching
unless you see yourself teaching.”- Dr C. Emdin
When you have the opportunity to see a video of yourself teaching or working with people you are often left speechless. What we think we are doing and what is actually happening are two different things. The first time I saw myself teaching I was fascinated by my facial expressions and then I realized how distracting it actually is. I mean I wouldn’t say this is the reason students don’t focus on what I am saying but it does play a role in reducing their focus on the content. Get a student to record you and take the time to watch it afterward, like sport men and women do. Take notes of what you have observed, put it against the feedback given from the class and see what you can improve on or adapt.
“Empower them in their own understanding
then teach them the rules of engagement.”- Dr C. Emdin
Every space we enter has rules and expectations; the spaces we engage with most are the classroom, home and our social environments (friends, events. etc); though the boundaries may be blurred. It is important for us as educators to understand that the differences are the same for our students. As a result of this it is important for us to be able to communicate with them on all those levels and within the rules of engagement. This way we can negotiate bringing them into our space of learning and communicating within our rules of engagement.
Again, a lot of information to take in but these are important stepping stones towards enhancing your teaching environment. This is the last post on Dr Emdin’s presentations. As mentioned in the introductory post of this series the next post will cover Skills Development in the Constraints of Content.
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