In his Teaching For Quality Learning at University J. Beggs claims: “Through reflective practice, teachers can create an improved teaching environment suited to their own context.” (Beggs 2) Sharing his position the accuracy of which my practice has shown now I will focus on my teaching activities making a reflection on them.
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The teaching session I have prepared for nursing students was concerned with blood transfusion. Realizing that setting appropriate aims and predicting outcomes is an important factor of the success of any teaching activity, I clearly set the aims and outcomes of the session. Going by J. Biggs’s advice to formulate and clarify the session objectives to the students so that they move from a pre-structural level of understanding to an extended level of understanding (Biggs Chapter III) I did my best to be as specific in setting the aims and predicting the outcomes as possible.
I counted on my students’ age and developed aims and outcomes so that they do not seem boring for students, as in the latter case they would have lost interest in the assignment and it would be more difficult to make them focused on it. Also, I paid special attention to preparing the summary of the session. Actually, I consider making a summary of the session an important step in my becoming a reflective teacher, as reflectivity implies one’s ability to summarize the work done.
Also, one cannot overestimate the importance that summary has for students: if professionally compiled (strong and relevant to the whole contents) the summary provides the students with the tip points of the lecture and stresses their attention on them once more.
The teaching session under consideration made me realize that effective planning enables the teacher to gain control over the teaching process, with every minute of it carefully planned and related to the coming one. The module gave me the chance to understand the value and significance of careful thinking over the aims, outcomes, and summary: my former neglecting it prevented me from getting the results I have received now, not only the level of students knowledge improved, but the feedback I got was more promising.
The group activities that I planned for the session made the students more engaged in the learning process and united the students overachieving one goal – whether solving the quiz or answering the questions (see Group Activities in the Session). Still, I believe that I should have suggested more tasks for the students to cope with for a deeper understanding of the topic studied. In relation to the context discussed play activities could also be beneficial. Therefore, next time I should work out situations related to the topic where the students will act as if really engaged in the subject.
Doing two contributions within a group in another module (titled Curriculum Development) I ensured that design curriculum is equally important for identifying the effectiveness of the course. The module descriptor I have created enhanced evidence-based practice, the requirements for the program I worked out helped to get a clear realization of what it is aimed at. Compiling the module descriptor contributed to my abilities to set aims, to define learning outcomes, to predict the learning experience that students are expected to get, and to work out an assessment pattern without which an effective learning process is not possible. I realized that all models should relate to the aims of the program and should reflect its philosophy. Otherwise, the use of modules is not justified.
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The activities I have described above helped me to realize the importance of effective planning in teaching and its close interconnection with the curriculum. I really appreciate the experience I have got from the practice as my drawbacks as a teacher became evident and I defined certain steps I need to undertake for my further professional development.
Alistar, R. 2008. Curriculum: construction and critique. Falmer Press.
Biggs, J. 2003. Teaching for quality learning at University. Open University Press.
Medland, M. 1990. Self-management strategies: theories, curriculum, and teaching procedures. Praeger Publishers.
Moore, A. 2000. Teaching and learning: pedagogy, curriculum, and culture. Routlage.
Ramsden, P. 1998. Learning to lead in higher education. Routledge.