Applying Theories and Principles for Planning and Enabling

 

 

Learning Outcomes 1. Understand the application of theories and principles of learning and communication to inclusive learning and teaching


1.1 Analyse the factors that can affect learning and achievement.
There are numerous factors which influence teacher practice and the environment in which students learn. These ‘factors’ effect the way they learn as well as determining the outcome i.e. grades.
Crucially the way teachers, teach, should differ for each subject and situation. As an example, if a student is being taught French and is in a classroom, were the teacher has everyone reading out of a text book in silence, the outcome from those learners will be very different from the students who are have groups discussion and being taught by a teacher who is more interactive with their learners. Were as the learner, in a math test, there is need for the uniformity and silence. But there is a balance between teaching to a high stand and over controlling what the student is learning, there has to be a level of ‘self’ taught and ‘peer’ taught in the classroom. Vygotsky is an excellent example of how to encourage these important factors. Theories about group work and instilling the belief that students should learn from one another (the strong guiding the weak). Vygotsky also argue the point that educating the so called ‘uneducable’ was possible using his theory, unlike Piaget’s theories which suggest that children/people are born with the ability to learn or not and if not tutored while still young there would be no point in trying. Vygotsky argued, “Learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function, In other words, social learning tends to precede development” (SS). In my own words Vygotsky was saying that education is an individual process and everyone learns at their own rate, when they are ready to learn, regardless of age.
                                                                                            

The zone of proximal development (Vygotsky), the learning environment were students are developing a new skill which is just out of reach of their present ability, is a very strong theory, but does it always apply or even work with all students? There are times in which the weaker student can hold back the stronger student in a classroom environment, an example would be if a down syndrome student is in a main stream classroom, at what pace can the teacher, teach?

 

1.2 Explain how theories and principles of learning and communication can be applied to enable inclusive learning and teaching.

 

Language and its use is what differentiate us as individuals, it maps out our future in employment as well as in our personnel life’s, how it is introduced to us as children at home and as students within school is our starting blocks on which we build and develop. As an adult with a learning difficult “Private speech” has always helped me to focus on the task and enforced my learning.  I encourage and develop Beck’s theories of ‘Private speech voice’ within my lessons by asking the learners questions about what they are working on and why, promoting Socratic questioning. This is also called ‘internal speech’ it refers to “occasions when people talk aloud to themselves, it has purpose and value in terms of cognitive and social development” (HB). As a teacher of adult learning, a larger part of re-enforcing knowledge is to trust in your students and take a step back, letting them listen to their “inner speech”, too much input can take the learning process away from them all together. However encouraging the imagination and enthusiasm is vital, it is not about filling the learners minds with fact alone, it about lighting the “inner fire, arouses moral enthusiasm, inspiring the student with a vision of what they may become, revealing the worth and permanency of moral and spiritual and cultural values” (SS).  As well as “inner speech” another theory which a teacher can use is visual aids. Visual aids include more practical based students, these should include e-learning, Moodle, blogging information, new technology as well as old. I am, as an artisan, a strong advocate for the more traditional arts and crafts. In a now technology based world, traditional art crafts such as print making, papermaking and ceramics can be used to engage with students who do not know how to relate to this ‘new technology world’ or have behavioural issues and other overwhelming problems, these actives have a calming and relaxing effect enabling a teacher to create a link with those students and building foundations on which their learning process and education can grow.

 

But technology also has a large part to play in the development of student learning, through my research I have be following a blog called “Paint or Paint App? Value of Creating Digital vs. Traditional Art”. The majority of educationists who have posted had only positive accounts, about the use of technology within their classroom. A statement from a teacher who worked in a museum is an example and shows most clearly the extended communication she had with her students as a direct result of using such technologies. The museum allows visitors to email their finished iPad artwork to a blog that the teacher has set up on the museum website and discusses the outcomes with the learners as well as receiving feedback as to how the students felt about the experience, “Purely from my own observations, I cannot imagine this space without these components, since they appear to be as popular as the tables including more traditional art mediums” (blog).  Another part of Piget theory, one that I believe and use, was being able to put into words what you have learnt and that it shows understanding. This example shows this theory in use and that it has a profound effect both for the learners as well as the teacher. Technologies within the classroom enable the teacher to reach out to all the students therefore giving them the best opportunity to put in their own words what they have learnt and understood.

 

Learning outcome 2. Be able to apply theories and principles of learning and communication to inclusive learning and teaching

2.1 Apply and use inclusive learning and teaching strategies and resources taking account of theories and principles of learning and communication

“For me, the most exciting thing in learning and teaching [has been]… the growing recognition that academics and students share a collective interest in meeting the challenges of developing our learning environment to be more accessible for all students. The enthusiasm to meet these challenges has been universal and has led to an explosion of exciting projects that are making significant contributions and really make this year stand apart.”

(RK)

Breaking this statement down from the University of Sheffield website, for me is the ultimate understanding and good practice of inclusively of students. It is clear from this statement that students are a part of the learning process and that the teachers manage the communication within the classroom effectively. It also shows that the tutor has a great awareness, through the use of teaching theories and principles, of the students’ needs and reacts appropriately. I believe the tutor of this student used Vygotsky’s method, development of close proximal of a stronger student to weaker one allowing peer assessment and the development of a bond between students to increase communication and enjoyment in the learning process. The fact that a student and not a teacher has written this statement shows the outlines that the strategies used have worked

2.2 Assess the effectiveness of own selection and use of inclusive learning and teaching strategies and resources

 As a teacher of a practical subject I use many resources, I find teaching a practical subject is sometimes easier to promote inclusivity in the classroom because of this (everyone loves their Art teacher no one likes the maths teacher). My teaching style is still developing but I would call it ‘loose’ I have adopted Vygotsky’s theory of the stronger leading the weak and Berk’s teaching theory on informing the students of the task, a task which may just be out of reach, and then giving the student the space to listen to their “private speech”, that inner voice we all have. Hot seating is another theory that I am researching and would like to try it within the next set of courses. I like the idea of bringing more discussion into the classroom and students learning from each other.

Learning outcome 3. Be able to meet the expectations of the minimum core in relation to the application of theories and principles for planning and enabling inclusive learning and teaching

3.1 Analyse ways in which minimum core elements can be demonstrated in applying theories and principles for planning and enabling inclusive learning and teaching

The minimum core elements are the teacher’s basic skills and knowledge and therefore need to be updated on an ongoing format, as well as being address in the teacher rationale. There are many teacher training schemes, I am setting up one at my place of work for the development of GCSE math’s for some of our Ta’s who do not have it at the acquired level i.e. C grade. The personnel development I have gone thought to get to this stage in my teacher career, was to go back to college and re sit my Math’s GCSE, attend many refresher art and ceramic courses, active my PTLLS and CTLLS teacher training courses as well as starting the DTLLS and I am now looking to start two Adobe software courses next year. I see a career in teacher as an ongoing development of my own knowledge as well as being there to support students. Developing and creating an inclusive learning practice and developing one’s own ICT, numeracy and literacy skills is fundamental in that. If you are in education you should have a passion for it, “Improving these skills will enable you to effectively fulfil your role as a professional teacher, it’s about being able to develop these skills in your students” (AG).

3.2 Use elements of minimum core in applying theories and principles for planning and enabling inclusive learning and teaching.

Minimum core is the skills in which the teacher needs to keep at a high level to be able to transfer skills over to the student’s functional skills. It isn’t always possible as I have discovered in one of the ceramic classes last year. On the course was a student from Japan, of whom struggled with speaking and understanding English, which made teaching her very difficult on reflexion as a tutor who has to consider cultural diversity I should look at teaching strategies to overcome and ensure that if/when I am in this situation again I have a plan B, learning the words for hello and goodbye for the most popular languages used in this country would one thing I will do. Berk’s theory of inner speech would be highly used if the tutor is able to get the basic task across through demonstration, which is a great way of transferring knowledge without speech. Lairds theory on ‘sensory stimulation’ could be used to increase the chances of a student with limited understanding of language, “of knowledge held by adults 75% is learned through seeing, hearing is the next most effective about 13% and the other senses – touch, smell and taste account for 12% of what we know. If all of these can be stimulated students will have a greater to learn” (Brookes)

Minimum core of a teacher is continually being up graded by training and the development of new technology encourages this. We, as educationists, should always must be one step ahead of what the student’s level of understanding is. Having a great understanding of the educational theories and new strategies is accessional. At this present time I am researching issues which may come up while teaching on the offenders program I am reading an article based on mental health “The purpose of this article was to draw from both current literature and previous qualitative interview research to understand the aspects of school-based relationships that are beneficial for students who have experienced trauma” and the link between a traumatic education and the path into crime (CJ).

Learning outcome 4.  Be able to evaluate and improve own application of

Theories and principles of learning and communication to inclusive learning and teaching

4.1 Analyse how own application of theories and principles of learning and communication impact on inclusive learning and teaching

Recognising different ways students learn is a vital part of a teacher’s role, one of the best means of that is through assessment and has a check list at the beginning of each lesson to remember to meet all the criteria needed for a session. Maximising communication through new technologies including Forums, were the teachers can re-enforcing the memory process by putting up to date course information with links to research website and eBooks on the subject. This encourages discussion as well as comprehensive information to the students.

Stretching and challenge students through Socratic questioning and hot seating are just two more methods of teaching strategy which effectively encourage students in the learning process. This theory goes back to Socrates, “Leading questions, also known as Socratic dialogue, refer to a method of classical education. In effect, the master Socrates taught pupils a concept by asking instead of telling” (PH). This is an area which as a teacher I wish to develop, as within offender learning I believe it will be a vital teaching tool to draw out and develop student confidence.

 

Having evidence of assessments throughout the course are accessional not only for the students but for the teacher as well. It is a great resource to be used in future courses when building strategies and planning. Visual assessment, photos of the student’s artwork assists in setting student targets are a great resource for the creative Arts subjects and a valuable way of showing evidence in showing student progression.

Holistic teaching has a heavy influence over my teaching style and theory on teaching within my subject area. Laird states that “the ‘individual personality consists of many elements, specifically the intellect, emotions, the body impulse/desire, intuition and imagination” (Laird). An Artist looks to one’s desire, emotion and imagination to create so it makes sense to use these attributes to develop an artistic working environment for the learners. Another great educationist who has influence mw a great deal is  Sir Ken  Robinson, like me he believes that the is a great need for change within education, a more individual learning experience is needed were learners strengths are encourage and developed. It is our culture in education which needs to be reformed Ken’s comment is, “to transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence” (KR).

Time and funds with students who excel in non-academic subjects should be the same as academic learners, which is not the case in education now. Evidence of this is seen throughout school and colleges, in the school I work in the academic subject have greater department with more staff and more time is spent by SMT in ensuring that said department are working constantly in improving and developing, were as non-academic  tend to be almost ignored. 

The offender learning project for Manchester and Liverpool are where I wish to develop further. The research has shown that there are issues with the use of language and how inmates communicate, there seems to be a greater development of body language than actual speech, “Studies of the prison population suggest that the numbers of prisoners with language and communication disorders is higher than that of the overall population” (Informala). Could this be evidence again of how our education system is letting weaker and less affluent students down? Are these more vulnerable learners more likely to become offenders? Is there a pattern between low achieving learners who slip through the net? in my view, it’s clear , our education system is letting these people down, yes there is an element of ‘people must help themselves’ but we should as educationists look more at theories that are known to work and implement them, if it is a cost issue it is extremely short sighted of our government .
There has to be more ‘Teacher intervention’, set tasks and then go round to individually student ensuring that there are achieving their personal targets and complement the learners on their progress using ‘Directed questions the develop the learning process.

4.2 Evaluate strengths and areas for improvement in own application of theories and principles of inclusive learning and teaching

Teacher intervention and target setting, as well as evidence of assessment are my strengths, but I do need to develop a more effective way of keeping my RARPA forms up to date.

Creativity is a strength , but as an artist practitioner I believe in constant development of my skills and attend training courses on new methods and technologies I can use within the classroom, evidence of this is the Adobe In Design software course I am attending in January 2014 , I see a change happening within the creative arts were more Design and computer software will be used within the classroom , I used a lot of digital software for my artwork while attending university studying for a Fine Art degree, at the time was seen as quiet controversial. But times change and I see the development of my minimum core in this area as vital. A good working relationship with the students is vital as well. With the Ceramic course I run it is advertised but a lot is down to word of mouth, if I am unable to create a good creative learning environment it will show in numbers signing up for the course. A large part of developing a good working relationship with the students is having a comprehensive, in depth, understanding of the learners through the baseline knowledge of the students’ abilities and on-going assessments. Surreys and student feedback at the end of a course is accentual to show up what may need to be changed and developed.

4.3 Engage in professional development opportunities to improve own application of theories and principles of learning and communication to inclusive learning and teaching

As a trainee teacher studying andragogy, with the view to work within the offender learning, it is important that I consider and have a full understanding about how I am to communicate with my students and remain open minded to develop my inclusive learning theory of creating a relaxing safe learning environment, were learners have the opportunity to be creative and listen to their “inner speech”, developing their imagination. Developing their use of language and employability is another area in which I had started to develop and research. When I start shadowing tutors who work with offenders, I believe I will have a greater understanding of their needs. This should happen over the next few months and I see it as a way to engage in professional development opportunities and to try out the theories I have been researching for the next two years. Although I have developed these theories and implemented them in the courses I run now, I have no knowledge of how offenders will react to them or me as their teacher. Burns quoted: “By adulthood people are self-directing. Andragogy is therefore student-centered, experience-based, problem-oriented and collaborative very much in the spirit of the humanist approach to learning and education. The whole educational activity turns on the student.” (Burns). This ‘Humanist approach’ theory by Burns I believe will enable me to work effectively and irrespectively of the crime the offender has committed as well as hopeful with a level of compassion.

 

 

Bibliography

 

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