Teaching Practice and Professional Activities

Reflection Reflection on professional activities and their impact on teaching practice

During the lecturers’ meeting, I have discovered particularities about the new University course (BUSS 1000) introduction. Questions about the course implementation and possible improvements were discussed. To introduce a new course, it is important to pay attention to learners’ level, experience, and motivation. Also, the curriculum should reflect up-to-date data and aspects of the course. Therefore, teachers need to perform qualified research (McKernan, 2013, p. 11). During the meeting, the structure of the course was developed and discussed. This structure included theoretical lectures and students’ practical work, according to the theory of experiential learning (Taylor & Hamdy, 2013, p. e1562). During this activity, I have learned how such meetings are organized. In my opinion, too many people were present. Therefore, there was no opportunity for them to express their propositions regarding the possible course improvements. However, lecturers know better their students and could share their practical experience related to teaching similar courses (Ganieva et al. 2015, p. 33).
During the meetings with Sydney University program coordinators, several important questions about the students’ enrolment were discussed. A question about the number of course participants was considered because too many students were enrolled, including International students. It was stated that it might be useful to organize learners in small groups for practical work. It is known that work in small groups enhances the involvement of students in the educational process and improves understanding. It is especially important for International students (Arkoudis, 2006, p. 11). Thus, it was decided that this approach might be helpful in the current situation when a lot of students wanted to attend the course. In my opinion, this decision is better than several participants’ limitations. It could be supposed that for the future, the courses’ coordinators might introduce two similar courses with different schedules to provide an opportunity for all students to attend lectures without affecting the quality of education.

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The University of Sydney regularly provides staff development programs. One of these programs was dedicated to the particularities of teacher’s feedback for written papers. According to Chickering and Gamson (1987, p. 4), appropriate feedback is essential for the students’ learning process. Teacher’s feedback focuses student’s attention on needed improvements as well as underlines strengths of his or her work and, therefore, encourages further achievements. This approach corresponds with reflective models of teaching (Taylor & Hamdy 2013, p e1563). To be useful, any feedback should be specific, timely, and understandable (Fisher & Frey 2013, p. 115). I have discovered several practical approaches that are important for written feedback. As examples, the importance of proportional positive comments and remarks, and personal pronouns use, and problem-solution orientation of feedback could be cited. In general, the purpose of written feedback is to focus on problematic spots of the student’s work and to propose possible solutions.

Finally, I have attended two Turnitin webinars. The first was dedicated to the improvement of the learning process through rubrics use. It is known that structured information is much easier for understanding and learning than non-structured. Rubrics implication might be a useful approach for students’ better understanding of reading materials (Fisher & Frey 2013, p. 63). The second webinar was dedicated to the interpretation of reports. Questions about reports’ significance as a possible source of the information were considered. On webinars, I obtained new knowledge and developed some practical skills connected to the teaching materials structuring and reports reading and writing. In my opinion, webinars are a useful approach to problem discussion, looking for solutions, and experience sharing because not many people attended the webinar. Persons who conducted a webinar introduced the topic and their ideas. After that, all-important issues of the problem were discussed among attendees, and general strategies for problem solving and quality of teaching enhancement were developed.
In conclusion, during these activities, I have learned more about the University education process. I discovered what is expected from University lecturers and how courses are introduced and changed. It is known that adults’ teaching is different from school children’s, teaching because adults have higher motivation and their own experience, which should be considered. For adults, the principle of andragogy is used in contradiction to the principle of pedagogy for children (Abraham & Komattil 2017, p. 295). It was crucial to confirm my theoretical knowledge with the experience. During the attended activities, lecturers introduced teaching and learning theories into the practice.

Reference List

Arkoudis, S 2006, Teaching international students: strategies to enhance learning, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, Melbourne.

Chickering, AW & Gamson, ZF 1987, ‘Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education’, AAHE Bulletin, vol. 3, pp. 3-7.

Fisher, D & Frey, N 2013. Better learning through structured teaching: a framework for the gradual release of responsibility, 2nd edn, ASCD, Alexandria, VA.

Ganieva, YN, Sayfutdinova, GB, Yunusova, AB, Sadovaya, VV, Schepkina, NK, Scheka, NY, Gutman, EV and Salakhova, VB 2015, ‘Structure and content of higher professional school lecturer education competence’, Review of European Studies, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 32-38. Web.

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McKernan, J., 2013. Curriculum action research: a handbook of methods and resources for the reflective practitioner, Routledge, Abingdon-on-Thames.

Taylor, DC & Hamdy, H 2013, ‘Adult learning theories: implications for learning and teaching in medical education: AMEE Guide No. 83’, Medical Teacher, vol. 35, no. 11, pp. e1561-e1572. Web.

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