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How to pass your PGCE essay first time
2013, D&T Practice
A critical evaluation of the micro-teach session As part of the Module 1 assignment, I had to give a 15-minute micro-teach at the college on 9 November 2022. My subject specialism is English, and the topic I chose for this session was 'Greetings and Introduction in the Albanian Language'. This assignment includes critically evaluating my micro-teach, focusing on planning, teaching, and assessing strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the review considers feedback from two tutors and two peer observers, as well as references to underlying theories of teaching, learning, and assessment. Teaching entails various duties and responsibilities, including professional ideals, characteristics, abilities, knowledge, and comprehension (Professional standards for Teachers and Trainers). However, as Riddell (2014) underlines, it is not enough for a teacher to go to the
Pam Mort , Rosalie J Goldsmith
This paper examines the use of reflective writing as a learning activity intended to enhance the development of students’ lifelong learning skills and the formation of their identities as professional engineers within a new industry focused capstone mechanical engineering design course. Within the literature, educating engineering students to successfully grapple with the complexity of socio-technical problems as well as problems that do not yet exist is a critical challenge for engineering academics and requires a better understanding of the discipline specific qualities required to engage in lifelong learning. Using a range of linguistic analysis approaches, including thematic analysis, concordance analysis and Systemic Functional Grammar, evaluation of students’ written responses demonstrated the extent to which reflection enhances the depth of the learning process and provides insight into how students move from the role of the learner to that of graduate engineering practitioner. The results suggest a distinct difference between top and bottom performers in the course in the degree of self-efficacy as reflected in their level of agency, degree of comfort with owning their own learning and transitioning from a student to a professional identity. With further development and extended implementation throughout the curriculum, reflective writing has significant implications for the design of curriculum required for the future to develop student habits of lifelong learning.
Higher Education Research and Development
Cecilia Chan , Jiahui (Jess) Luo , Hannah Y. H. Wong
With society increasingly valuing soft skills and competencies, reflective practices are more commonly adopted in higher education, particularly for experiential learning. As reflective writing is becoming a part of official assessments in many courses, an overarching question arises as to how teachers are currently assessing reflections. This study explores teachers’ perspectives on the assessment of written reflections by interviewing six university teachers in Hong Kong, who respectively assessed written reflections by 135 students. Teachers’ understandings of reflective writing, teachers’ understandings of assessing reflections, as well as teacher training are discussed in this exploratory study. The findings provide insight into how reflection is currently understood among teachers, also offering suggestions for reflective practices in higher education.
This paper examines attempts to describe the learning and teaching practice on a postgraduate course in education and problematises why this is difficult and in many ways unsuccessful. It forms part of a larger project to explore the intentions and outcomes of interventions designed to bring about reflection and reflective practice as part of professional development planning (PDP) and the use of e-portfolio. It takes a perspective on this of being ‘a problem of the present’ and considers the potential conflicts and fragmentation that may arise as a result of the divisions in interpretation of the metanarrative of reflection and reflective practice within one course, the institution and the academy. This has impacted on learners’ understanding of the purpose and benefits of reflection and its relation to professional practice, making it difficult for them to build this successfully into their learning. The author questions the practicality of continuing this struggle given the current educational discourse on planning and developing curricula. It is argued that it may be possible for courses to maintain substantial links with the shifts towards an enhancement-led approach in which practice is validated as a dynamic and changing rather than reified in documentation.
International Journal of Arts and Social Science (IJASS)
Kerwin A. Livingstone
Learning and teaching are inextricably intertwined. The principal objective of education is learning, and the means used to fulfil this aim is teaching. Considering that these two phenomena are inseparable, it can therefore be deduced that teaching has to be carried out for learning to take place. In light of the afore-mentioned, this reflective essay deals with some of my personal experiences in learning and teaching from my secondary years to my tertiary years and beyond. It is a reflection about my academic formation and how certain experiences and individuals in my life have shaped the way that I teach and whom I have become as a teacher. More importantly, this reflective essay highlights the transformative reflection that I experienced, during my postgraduate studies, in my attempts to become a better and more effective teacher. It is underscored that teachers have the responsibility to engage in continuous reflective practice as the principal means of improving and sustaining effective didactic practices. Effective teaching results in effective learning. Keywords: higher education, language(s), learning, learning and teaching, teaching.
LSP International Journal
Yee Bee Choo
Reflective practice is essential for teacher education and pre-service teachers (PSTs) often reflect on their learning and teaching experiences to develop themselves into effective teachers in school later. In a case study of a PST in an institute of teacher education in Malaysia, this paper presents the levels of reflection practiced by the PST in his written journals after his digital storytelling presentation in a micro-teaching session. A six-level framework for reflective practice was derived from the written journal. The findings showed that the PST tended to reflect descriptively on the surface level rather than at the deepest level. It is recommended to provide more real teaching contexts for PSTs during teacher education in order to connect theoretical learning to practice.
… and Developments in …
Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan
Luisa Alvares Pereira
L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and …
Porta Linguarum: revista internacional de didáctica …
Supporting Student Writing and Other Modes of Learning and Assessment. A Staff Guide
In M. C. Sarasa, D. B. Solís & L. E. C. Ferreyra (Eds.), I Jornadas Nacionales del Profesorado de Inglés: Actas de congreso
Laura (Violeta) Colombo
TEACHING ACADEMIC WRITING THROUGH THE USE OF REFLECTIONS
Mira M Alameddine
Journal of College Science Teaching
Education. Innovation. Diversity.
Denise N Morgan
Active Learning in Higher Education
Educare - vetenskapliga skrifter
Writing Programs Worldwide: Profiles of Academic Writing in Many Places
Research in Higher Education Journal
Martin Andrew , Zina Romova
Curriculum & Instruction Dept., Faculty of Education, Assiut University
Dr Mahmoud M S Abdallah
David Boud , Rosalie J Goldsmith
Kathryn S Coleman , Arianne Rourke
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Reflective Essay on Different Aspects of Teaching Practice
There are numerous areas of teaching which I need to improve upon, yet I have chosen to focus this essay on some of the fundamental factors to becoming a successful teacher: behaviour management and acting on feedback.
On placement I had to be careful to ensure that I had the correct level of formality in my relationships with pupils. This seems to be particularly apt in Mathematics where a significant amount of concentration and effort are needed. Haggerty (2002) suggests that a mathematics teacher needs to be relatively formal, in part due to the subject’s complex properties.
Being overfamiliar with pupils can diminish a teacher’s authority. Initially, in the first few weeks of the placement I was too informal with pupils and failed to progress from a teaching assistant-pupil to a teacher-pupil relationship adequately which requires a formal rather than informal, consultative register (Joos, 1972). However, my good relationship with pupils allowed me to contribute to their learning informally such as regularly helping pupils with maths homework outside of lessons and doing intervention and group work. Pupils seemed to thrive on the support I gave them. The informal, incidental learning (Marsick and Watkins, 1990) that took place clearly supplemented their formal lessons well.
Pupils gained a relational understanding (Skemp, 1977) of the topics they were learning due to my detailed explanations of how and why the maths worked. A great example of this was a colleague informing me of a Y11 student’s progress I had been working closely with: she was now achieving a C in Maths having only being at a grade D/E before, thus making her a candidate to sit the GCSE Higher Maths paper.
However, the rapport I had with pupils sometimes negatively impacted on my experiences in the classroom: particularly in my Year 9 class, where pupils misbehaved as they saw me as more of a student than a proper teacher. After consulting with the regular class teacher, I tried to remedy this by being stricter and tolerating disruption less. Capel and Gervis (2005) suggest that teachers who have high expectations of behaviour from their class tend to get their students to behave well. I found this to be true.
I tried to model the standard of behaviour I expected from the pupils, always being smart and punctual. I greeted pupils at the door at the beginning of the lesson and treated them fairly in the hope they would see me as a role model and copy my behaviour and thought processes (Bandura, 1977). This technique only partially solved the problem. My Year 7 and 8 classes behaved quite well but my Year 9 class was still disruptive, though they behaved better than at the start of my placement. I was teaching more lessons by my third week on placement and this naturally helped me gain some authority as pupils became more used to me as a teacher.
To try and improve the behaviour of my Year 9 group, I tried an alternative approach with them. I raised the volume of my voice, had zero-tolerance on misbehaviour and enforced heavy sanctions such as after-school detentions towards those who did misbehave. Interestingly, this worked on some students and not on others. This is perhaps explained by a University of New Hampshire report (2012) which stated that although some students who have a dearth of discipline at home will respond to this method, pupils who have controlling parents are less likely to respond to this strategy well. This is validated by my own experiences. I become more authoritarian instead of my intended authoritative manner (Ferlazzo, 2012) and damaged the rapport I had with students, creating conflict. Kearney et al. (1991) explain that students who dislike their teacher do not perform to their full potential in lessons, which was certainly true in my Year 9 class.
One approach that I did observe in an NQT’s lesson was to use formal register at the start of the lesson in teacher exposition before gradually using more informal language to assist students through activities and build a rapport with pupils. I found this to be successful in lessons when I trialled this approach. I also noticed that I was a lot more informal and relaxed when working with smaller groups of students as a teaching assistant. Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) explain that small group sizes are effective when a teacher has a large amount of interaction with students and motivates them which is something I always tried to do in my practice.
Gates (2001) highlights a lack of relevance to real life in Mathematics lessons as being a factor in misbehaviour in students. To try and engage students more, I provided more situations where pupils could see the content in a real-life context. Examples included having interesting facts at the start of the lesson such as why there are 360 degrees in a circle and having worded, practical questions on worksheets. As well as establishing strong cross-curricular links with Literacy, this allowed pupils to see the practical uses of mathematics which could motivate them more (Chambers, 2008) and add authenticity to their learning. Cockcroft (1982) suggests that it is hard to implement situations like this in every maths lesson. This is one of the limitations of this method. For example, algebraic topics are harder to link to real life than richer geometry modules. One target I got from my tutor was to have more purpose and meaning in my lessons, which I tried to achieve by chunking lessons into fast-paced activities with links to the real world. This worked for some pupils, but not all: less confident pupils preferred a slower-paced lesson where they had time to understand concepts.
Overall, I was quite a confident and recognisable figure to pupils, which had advantages and disadvantages. Ollerton (2004) argues that an informal teacher-pupil relationship can stimulate negative and disrespectful behaviour from students. This was partially true, particularly in my Year 9 class. This was because many pupils viewed me as a visitor or substitute, a common problem for student teachers on placement (Pope and Shivlock, 2008). However, after increased interaction with students in and out the classroom, they started to respect me more which is crucial to successful learning (Comer, 1995). It seems that the correct balance of being formal, yet approachable is required to be a successful teacher.
Acting on Feedback
Throughout placement I constantly reflected on my practice. I acted on and listened to feedback from experienced teachers. I did so as then they could give me the benefit of their expertise, thus increasing my Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) by getting closer to their level of teaching capability.
Constant reflection is something that is needed to be an effective teacher. Ofsted (2012) established that the most successful mathematics teachers constantly strived to develop their practice. I kept a daily diary but this was not a sophisticated enough tool to use in my reflections. Schon (1991) states that, in order to become a reflective practitioner, you have to critically analyse your own strengths and weaknesses. My own interpretation of this was to relate theory to practice. From studying feedback given to me, I concluded that my biggest shortfall was in behaviour management. In order to try and overcome this barrier, I applied Honey and Mumford’s (2006) model of learning to a particular scenario involving my Year 9 class who often misbehaved in my lessons:
- Activist- The initial experience/stimuli of misbehaviour that happened in a Year 9 class I was teaching. Although not malicious in any way, students were loud and off task.
- Reflector- This is where I reviewed the experience and sought to understand why they were behaving like that by considering the internal/external conditions which affected their behaviour. I concluded that it was partially because of my teaching style, not having a clear and consistent routine and the school’s weak behaviour policy. It was also due to external factors like it being the last period on a Friday, meaning the students were desperate to get home and not in the mood to listen to me.
- Theorist- When contemplating the situation, I realised that it was not actually all my fault and that there were other factors causing their misbehaviour such as the time of day and the day of the week.
- Pragmatist- When I thought about how I was going to change this, I addressed each set of factors in turn. In terms of the internal factors, I set out clear expectations of behaviour of my class as well as a fixed classroom routine which calmed them down. For the external factors, I made it clear to the class that it was irrelevant that my lesson was last period on a Friday.
Going through this cycle of reflection enabled me to enhance my practice and learn experientially (Kolb, 1976) by reflecting on what I had made mistakes on and how to correct it. In this situation, I did note that the class started to behave better though I need to improve more in this area. However, there are limitations to this style of reflection. Davies (2012) states that it is quite elaborate and may distract from teaching practice. In addition, Price (2004) states that this model of reflection doesn’t really address any major issues. The amount of time spent reflecting on the problem did hinder me in my teaching practice.
To improve further, I needed to look at alternative models of reflection and learning through enactment and getting more voluntary experience in schools. Whilst on placement, I only taught lower school pupils and I need to gain experience teaching KS4 pupils. Observing and assisting experienced teachers will only increase my learning of the teaching profession. I will observe how to manage different classes to improve my performance and consistency in the classroom (Collinson, 1994; Bobek, 2004).
The placement I undertook really developed me as a teacher. I feel a lot more confident leading a class and have more of a teacher presence, particularly when dealing with younger students. I have started to control classes better and feel comfortable dealing with misbehaviour in the lower school. Conversely, I feel I need more practice at handling older students. Future actions I will take to improve my practice is to teach more challenging classes and older year groups in my summer placement to try and become more confident at leading a class.
I feel I have established a solid and reliable model of reflection which allowed me to change my practice and respond well to challenging incidents (see earlier example with my Year 9 class) and establish a plan of action. However, I do need to make sure that I continually reflect and amend my teaching style to suit different types of classes. I have always got on well with pupils and my varied abilities allow me to contribute a lot more to a school than just being a maths teacher.
Ofsted (2008) identify ‘subject expertise’, pedagogical knowledge and strong classroom management as the triumvirate of attributes needed to be a successful mathematics teacher. I feel I can demonstrate these skills well at an individual or group level. If I am comfortable displaying these skills at a whole class level I feel I will become a successful teacher.
Bandura, A. (1977) Social Learning Theory. New York: General Learning Press.
Bobek, B. L. (2002) ‘Teacher Longevity- A key to career longevity’, The Clearing House, 75 (4), pp. 202-205.
Capel, S. and Gervis, M. (2005) ‘Motivating pupils’ in Capel, S., Leask, M. and Turner, T. (eds.) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School: A companion to school experience. 4 th edn.
Carroll, H. (1950) ‘A scale of measuring teacher-pupil attributes and teacher-pupil rapport’, Psychological Monographs- General and Applied, 64 (6), pp. 24-27.
Chambers, P. (2008) Teaching Mathematics: Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher. London: Sage.
Cockcroft, W. (1982) The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Teaching of Mathematics in Schools.
Collinson, V. (1994) Teachers as Learners: Exemplary teachers’ perceptions of personal and professional renewal. Bethesda, MD: Austin and Winfield.
Comer, J. (1995) Lecture given at Education Service Center, Houston.
Davies, S. (2012) ‘Embracing reflective practice’, Education for Primary Care, 23, pp. 9-12.
Ferlazzo, L. (2012) ‘Students who challenge us: Eight things skilled teachers think, say and do.’, Educational Leadership , 70 (2), pp. 100-105.
Gates, P. (2001) Issues in the Teaching of Mathematics. London: Routledge.
Great Britain. Ofsted (2008) Mathematics: Understanding the Score. London: Department for Education.
Great Britain. DfE (2012) Standards for Meeting Qualified Teacher Status. London: Department for Education.
Great Britain. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2009) The White Paper: Learning Revolution. London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (2006) The Learning Styles Questionnaire, 80-item version. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Publications.
Joos, M. (1972) Language and cultural diversity in American Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., Hayes, E. R. and Ivey, M. J. (1991) ‘College teacher misbehaviours: what students don’t like about what teachers say and do.’, Communication Quarterly, 39 (4), pp. 325-340.
Kolb, D. A. (1976) The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston: McBer.
Ollerton, M. (2004) Getting the Buggers to Add Up. London: Continuum.
Pascarella, E. and Terenzini, P. (1991) How College affects students. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Pope, M. and Shivlock, K. (2008) Successful Teaching Placements in Secondary Schools. Learning Matters: Exeter.
Price, A. (2004) ‘Encouraging reflection and critical thinking in practice’, Nursing Standard, 18 (47), pp. 123-129.
Schon, D. A. (1991) The Reflective Turn: Case Studies In and On Educational Practice. New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University.
Skemp, R. (1977), ‘Relational Understanding and Instrumental Understanding’, Mathematics Teaching, 77, pp. 20-26.
University of New Hampshire (2012) Controlling parents more likely to have delinquent children. Massachusetts: Science Daily.
Watkins, K. and Marsick, V. (1990) Informal and Incidental Learning in the Workplace. London.
Vygostky, L. S. (1978) Mind in Society: the development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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PGCE Reflective Practice Essay 65% Pass
Subject: Pedagogy and professional development
Age range: Age not applicable
Resource type: Other
3 March 2023
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This is a PGCE essay on Refelctive Practice. The essay title and questions answered are:
Looking back on your year, what would you argue was more important - to be a good teacher, to be a ‘competent craftsperson’ or a ‘reflective practitioner’ (Moore, 2012). Critically analyse your own practice this year and evaluate which elements of research made the most significant improvements to your lessons
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