Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Reflecting on your teaching practice

What is the process a teacher goes through when incorporating learning technologies into their teaching? An important stage is reflecting on your teaching practice. You need to understand why you are teaching in the way you do. Only then can you understand where the learning technologies on offer can enhance the learning of your teaching.

For the context I inhabit, the focus is on where the learning technologies can enhance the learning of a particular course or module. The challenge is to try and get the lecturer to go through this process. Unfortunately, most do not or will not with the common outcome of tagging on a VLE presence to their existing course delivery. This means an online resource depository. The situation I’m describing uses the VLE to support the transmissive mode of delivery and my position is that we can do things differently. You could say it is a pro-constructivist stance (if I thought that didactic teaching was the only way I’d be in the wrong job).

So the process I ask lecturers to go through will often involve them questioning the way they teach. This is understandable not a comfortable process and, in my judgement, the main reason there is limited success.

One way I use to tackle this issue is to use a document produced by the Work Based Learning centre within the Institute of Education. It is called Pedagogical templates for e-learning. Basically, it’s an aid for a lecturer to help with analysing how they are delivering their teaching at the moment and what online tools could be used to deliver the different components of the course. Within the context of the Institute of Education, where many of the lecturers are also active in the research field, this kind of academic papers is quite useful. It may be less so in your context. However, it is worth a look for those interested in e-learning.

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