Lesson Plan Justification and Analysis
- Pages: 13
- Word count: 3191
- Category: Learning
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Analysis of the three identified stages stated on the lesson planner shall take place within this assignment. Links will be shown between the teaching methods that were incorporated in this lesson planner which met particular learning characteristics, traits and needs of the group or an individual(s) and relevant educational and theoretical principles. The lesson planner has been placed in the appendices, as a referral resource, for this assignment. An area on the lesson planner labelled, ‘Implementing the Lesson,’ (see Page 5 of Appendices One) illustrates the timings and activities of the session. Out of these the following three timings and activities that the learners completed, have been chosen. Firstly, I will examine the initial five minutes of the start of the session where I listed the aims and objectives on the Smartboard. I will explore secondly, at 1:35pm for twenty-five minutes, whereby I demonstrated how to order decimals, before moving on to adding and subtracting decimals and finally, Activity Two which was set to take place at 2:30pm and lasting for twenty-five minutes on an equivalency dominoes game has also been an area identified for discussion. When people think of teaching and learning they frequently conjure up a picture of students sitting in rows listening to a teacher who stands in front of them (Harmer, 2003: 114)
and, “for many, this is what teaching means,” (ibid). However, through my teachings there is a tendency to adopt differing techniques appropriate to the context of the session being taught. Cohen et al (2008: 184) suggests this when he recommends, “that the student teacher takes the opportunity … to try several different styles,” in order for learners characteristics, traits and needs to be matched with the corresponding teaching style (Cohen et al, 2008). Brookfield (1989) as cited in Herrington and Kendall (2006: 186) states that; What has interested me has been to see the real luminaries in adult education struggling to find the one method for teaching adults … use what seems appropriate at the time.
Harmer (2003) states that there is a crucial aspect to consider when planning a session – the learners – their reasons for attending the session, their backgrounds (if applicable), what country do/did they reside in, their age and culture will also influence the learners levels of motivation to attend. Realistically, this information can only be gained by knowing the learners over the initial weeks rather than an interrogation type session in week one of the programme of study (Herrington and Kendall, 2006). It is my perception that; Equality of opportunity is … a basic principle … upon which good teaching, learning and assessment are based (Fawbert, 2003: 7)
and it was observed that my learners had;
access to appropriate educational opportunities regardless of ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation or degree of learning disability or difficulty (ibid)
as highlighted in Box 3.1 on the session planner (see Appendices One). In addition; a group may contain people who are extremely motivated, as well as those who feel they have to some extent been coerced to attend (Fawbert, 2003: 71).
However, I feel extremely fortunate in the motivation level of my learners, with none experiencing coercion from any party and also their ages because although it has been stated that, “it is possible for a learning group to contain members from the age of 16 to 19,” (ibid) my learners age range is not so vast, being only from 32 to 62. Planning for differentiation (see Box 3.1 in Appendices One), “is crucial if the delivered curriculum is to meet … the needs of the learners,” (ibid). Although, when Thaine (1996a) published an article necessitating the need for trainee teachers to plan sessions to develop their skills in that area this idea was attacked, whereby the belief of session planning attributed this to working without the learners (Rinvolucri, 1996). As Harmer (2003: 311) himself states, “a teacher should be more like a doctor, basing treatment upon accurate diagnosis,”.
However, Thaine (1996b) defended the usefulness of session planning and argued that if the tutor chose to make things up as they went along – having no real indication of the session aims or outcomes, “then nothing useful or meaningful can be achieved,” (Malamah-Thomas, 1987: 3) for either party. It is based upon this principle, therefore that the session aims and outcomes were written on the Smartboard for my learners. Although, I also understand that this process will not appeal to all learners. However, my placement does not categorise learners according to their learning styles considering these questionnaires to have failings and that they, “are not foolproof,” (Mainwaring, 2009: 249) and so I was unable to complete Box 3.1 (see Appendices One). I can understand this process of not categorising your learners as Mainwaring (2009: 249) states, “it is useful to develop your ability to work with other learning styles,” and not to, “refuse to work with ‘listening’ or ‘doing’ materials,” (ibid).
However, since submitting this lesson plan I can determine that three are kinaesthetic learners, whereby they, “think best when moving,” (ibid). The remaining two learners prefer, “rules when learning numeracy techniques,” (ibid). Although, Box 1.3 (see Appendices One) has stated that there were 9 learners on the register, this has since been reduced to 5 learners, JO’C, GP, JG, RS and TT. Therefore, in listing the aims and objectives on the Smartboard (Boxes 4.1 and 4.2 in Appendices One) I was engaging the learners with the auditory learning style but also, informing the other learners of the course that the session would take. In completing this I was not aware that I was subscribing to the behaviourist theory. Behaviorism is described as a developmental theory that measures observable behaviours produced by a learner’s response to stimuli. Responses to stimuli can be reinforced with positive or negative feedback to condition desired behaviours (Cain et al, 2009).
There is much to be said that we teach how we ourselves were taught (Fawbert, 2003). Only in reflecting on this am I able to stipulate that many of my tutors are how one imagines a teacher/learner interaction taking place (Harmer, 2003). The behaviourist learning theory suggests that we learn by receiving a stimulus that provokes a response (Reece and Walker, 2009: 81).
and as a tutor I selected the assessment method of questioning and answering on the session aims and outcomes to illicit responses, reinforced if correct and challenged if incorrect. “Such a theory stresses the active role of the teacher with the student often seen as passive,” (Reece and Walker, 2009: 82). Therefore, “objectives can be made the basis for individual programmes,” (MacDonald-Ross, 1973 as cited in Reece and Walker, 2009: 83). Boxes 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 (see Appendices One) enable the session to be choreographed to the individual learners whose characteristics, traits and needs differ from those around them because as any tutor knows, no two learners are the same (Cohen et al, 2008). However, this method could also be seen as addressing aspects of neo-behaviourism with the learners fitting, “new learning into a pattern, that is ‘what leads to what’,” (Reece and Walker, 2009: 83). I did not fully conclude how the learners engaged with this process in the lesson planner (see Boxes 6.3 and 6.4 in Appendices One) because it was not an issue that I had thought about. It was merely an affective domain teaching method that I had observed taking place and a perfect technique through which to settle learners and for learning to take place, whereby I am informing the student that they are; only required to passively attend to and be aware of the information … listen attentively to them (Reece and Walker, 2009: 55).
However, for the second timing I changed topics for the learners, from the recap to the new topic to be covered within that session and also, to break the session up. A point that I made in Box 3.1: Details of differentiation, (Appendices One) but also, so that the learners did not get ‘bored’ with the topic and they could engage with further aspects of the cognitive domain, knowledge having to be gained at the lowest level before proceeding to comprehension and beyond (Reece and Walker, 2009) as opposed to the affective domain of listening, especially considering the varying age ranges of the learners. Fawbert (2003: 88) states that if; there is a wide age mix, you will need to provide appropriate compensation and stimulation in order to hold the interest of all the learners.
As Brookfield (1989) states, “listen to what they are telling you and organise an educational experience,” that is appealing (cited in Herrington and Kendall, 2006: 186). Fawbert (2003: 88) comments on, “the learners’ disposition,” and asks to consider the, “session immediately after lunch,” (ibid) with great care. Therefore, considering this valuable arguments I used a less taxing method of decimal place value by using the Smartboard for examples but could see the learners struggling and having ‘one of those days’. I arrived at this point in the session and proceeded to go ‘off plan’ to a degree, due to my learners lack of interest in the topic. As Fawbert (2003: 168) states, “If it adds nothing to the session, then it isn’t worth including,”.
Instead, I appealed to the kinaesthetic learners and the second level of the affective domain, “responding … to given expectations by reacting to stimuli,” (Reece and Walker, 2009: 55) by creating visual stimulus (see Appendices Two and Three) which enabled the learners to be more hands on and engaged them with the topic. The resources that I used were the firstly, the decimal sliders and secondly, the place value cards (see Appendices Two and Three). However, it also brought in their prior experience of the subject thus, bringing, “in the student’s own experiences … provides interest and the students would have fun,” (Fawbert, 2003: 26) (see Boxes 2.1 and 2.2 in Appendices One for further information). This aspect of the session brought me into conflict with behaviourism and brought my session more into lines with humanistic principles of learning. Atherton (2009) states that;
The schedule of reinforcement of behaviour is central to the management of effective learning on this basis, and working it out is a very skilled procedure: simply reinforcing every instance of desired behaviour is just bribery, not the promotion of learning.
‘theories’ of learning tend to be highly value-driven and hence more like prescriptions (about what ought to happen) rather than descriptions (of what does happen) (Atherton, 2009).
I knew what I wanted to do and in what order but it all rested upon my learners’ grasp of the topic and whether they were engaging in the subject. Therefore, I pushed aside the worksheets that I had arranged for my learners to complete, instead I provided them with an additional factsheets (see Appendices Four and Five) and proceeded to allow the learners to dictate how the session should run, thereby they had, “control over the learning process,” (Atherton, 2009) occasionally giving the learners pointers or offering them advice but I was actually empowering their learning. Atherton (2009) also states that in such occasions as these, “learners need to be empowered,”. In allowing the learners to learn by them making mistakes and their peers correcting them, I was, “relinquishing a great deal of authority and became a facilitator,” (ibid) thus, allowing the learners to build up their self-esteem and confidence but also to encourage peer learning not only for TT but also, other learners who may have been silently struggling with this topic. Rogers (1983) as cited in Fawbert (2003: 185) states; that some of the goals of being a humanistically orientated teacher are aiming ‘toward a climate of trust in the classroom’ … ‘toward a participatory mode of decision-making in all aspects of learning’.
Towards the end of this activity and in order to draw the learners back to the topic of the session plan I asked the learners to apply what they know whilst using the place value cards (see Appendices Three) and apply it to money, i.e. the use of the leading zero (see About the lesson, Boxes 4.1 and 4.2 on the lesson planner in Appendices One) which brought them neatly into their next activity and finally, to the last timing that I am going to explore. The final activity – the fractions/decimals/percentages equivalency game – was to be used in part as a conclusion to wrap three weeks work up that the learners were working on but also, in part for two of my learners could complete a formative assessment at either Entry Level 3 or Level 1 (see Appendices One Box 2.1. for clarification). Fawbert (2003: 116) states that Bruner (1966); Sees great value in developing students’ problem solving skills through their ability to transform acquired knowledge to new situation … the students become more independent learners and develop … through understanding when they are right and when they are wrong.
However, as Box 6.4 (see Appendices One) illustrates, the learners failed to interact with the activity as I had thought that they would. Perhaps this was more to do with my behaviourist instructions (see Appendices Six) not being as clear as they could have been for this numeracy level. Conceivably, I should have read aloud the instructions to the activity in conjunction with the learners reading the instructions to ensure comprehension of what needed to be completed. Harmer (2003: 207) states that, “sometimes texts … are far too easy or far too difficult,”. However, I could have undertaken this reading as an assessment because, “some tasks seem to fall halfway between testing and teaching,” (ibid) and with the learners approaching their formative assessment at the beginning of February 2010, I should be doing everything within my power to ensure that they are ready, including assessing their literacy competency skills.
Therefore, I have identified, justified and analysed three stages within the lesson planner within Appendices One with clear links being shown between the methods that I incorporated which met particular learning characteristics, traits and needs of my learners and also, the relevant educational and theoretical principles. In conclusion, as a teacher the teaching styles, principles and theories are ultimately my choice to make when determining how the session shall be planned out. However, one cannot forget the arguments that have been made for the process of planning a session in the first place. As the teacher it is necessary to consider the learners and their learning styles, dependant upon whether these learning styles have been determined for the teacher, by the institution or not. Their motivations for attending the session that you are running, such as age, background, ethnicity needs to be considered when planning a session and writing out the specific boxes cannot be ignored either.
Not only what your learners bring to the session but also, considering the differentiation needs of your learners because they are who your session depends upon – without them you do not have a session and learners will ‘abandon a sinking ship’. Therefore, as their teacher it is your responsibility to ensure that at all times the learners are learning through a variety of means and resources at your disposal. The resources that I used have been included in the Appendices but as discussed in the main body of this piece I didn’t incorporate a variety of them, mainly the worksheets (rather behaviourist in theory) in the session due to my learners’ lack of comprehension, probably from my behaviourist teaching styles not appealing to them. Instead, I used other resources which were much more visual for my learners which they can manipulate and therefore, I empowered the learners to take control of their own learning and that of their peers through the humanistic teaching theory. In this way I believe they were able to gain the best from both aspects of the session. However, as a trainee teacher I cannot always do as my learners like, otherwise it will pail off in a number of sessions and become dull and boring. So, teaching styles have to be adjusted because we have opportunities to experience a range of teaching styles which we as teachers are able to reflect on – either in a negative or positive way.
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