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PGCE - Professional Practice Modules - Contextualising Theory in Practice.

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Atila Mustafa PGCE Professional Practice Modules Contextualising Theory in Practice (CED 305) Monday 5th April 2004 Shirley Hughes My teaching practice is taking place at Exeter College of Further Education and the Mansion House Adult Education Centre in Totnes. The first part of my Exeter College placement has me teaching in a workshop environment troubleshooting student's computers. This is done on an individual basis where I spend anything from a minute to an hour teaching students how to use software. For the second part of this placement I deliver Unit 10 - Understanding Video Technology to the second year BTEC group. These are mainly classroom sessions that consist of individual and group based research projects and presentations. My Adult Education placement is very different in the sense that it requires a lot of preparation and delivery. Here I teach two nights a week: the Wednesday night course is Building Web Sites Using Dreamweaver; the Thursday night course is Digital Video Editing. Because this is the first term I have taught these subjects I allow myself a few days to prepare a lesson plan in advance and double check that I know how to achieve the outcomes that I am about to teach. This is rather different at Exeter College for I am very familiar with the software used and so rely on my existing knowledge base when put on the spot with a question. Within all the courses that I teach I bring a lot of my previous knowledge and experience that I gained working as either a technician or video editor. It feels good being able to support learners with sound knowledge that I feel comfortable providing. Groupwork I tend to encourage group work within my teaching practice whenever I get the chance to do so. This is certainly the case at Exeter College where I advise students to work together in the hope that they will be able to inspire and guide each other through their work. ...read more.


From a professional style and practice perspective I am discovering how to structure my lessons to suit students needs and varied stages of learning. While there exists a didactic style of delivery there are also elements of praxis due to the nature of digital video production. I quote: "Praxis means that curricula are not studied in some kind of isolation, but that ideas, skills, and insights learned in a classroom are tested and experienced in real life." (Brookfield, 1990, p.50) I would like to parallel that statement with: "Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through transformation of experience." (Kolb, 1994, p.38) Personally I prefer Kolb's definition of praxis as opposed to Brookfield's, partly because it re-enforces what I believe as a potential teacher. Looking back I can place my practice style through my past experiences as a technician working within further, higher and industrial education and acknowledge my ongoing experience as a video production teacher now. I became very interested in wanting to develop my skills and translate my experiences into a format that could be moulded into a conventional learning environment. By translate I mean the information I would impart could be related to a recognised curriculum whilst being assured that it also exists within a body of knowledge that I myself have acquired. The feedback I received from Bill Heggs for this lesson was very positive and full of useful suggestions. One particular feedback point was to include more directed questions to check previous and current learning. In response to this point I looked into my questioning techniques in more detail. Using both course handouts and texts such as Teaching Skills in Further and Adult Education (Minton, 1997), I discovered many valid reasons for using verbal questioning in my lessons. Firstly as an assessment device to gain continuous feedback from students relating to their level of understanding of a particular concept or topic and secondly as a way of maintaining a two-way communication flow between the students and myself. ...read more.


Critical Reflection and Evaluation The lesson worked very well as an introduction to troubleshooting and faultfinding theories as well as the practical applications of such theories. Nearly all students seemed to grasp the process of elimination concept and used it accordingly. The group dynamics were refreshingly good allowing them to accomplish their tasks with only a little input and guidance from me as I worked around the groups. The groups did however seem confused about what they were supposed to do once they had isolated a fault. Some attempted repairs whereupon I would step in and suggest that they write down how they would repair the fault as opposed to actually repairing the fault. The students seemed to find this approach difficult, which I established through questioning. Outcomes and Future Action This class responded well to group work and no doubt I will get them to work in groups more often. However, I am in two minds whether to allow them to work in the same groups constantly or to mix them up occasionally. Part of me thinks that allowing them to choose their groups has both positive and negative connotations. For if a group is made up of friends that work well together then will this disadvantage the rest of the class. Or maybe if a group is made up of friends that don't work well together and get no work done whatsoever. I guess I'm going to leave that outcome to time and experience to resolve. Because time was a big factor I think in future it best that I plan the lesson to cover two sessions and maybe even think about expanding the introduction part with detailed handouts that the students can refer to during the practical session. I think it is a good idea to also produce some health and safety handouts with regards to the practical tasks they will be undertaking. I will not attempt to process the groups one at a time as this does take up an awful amount of the lesson and will make the assessment run for weeks. ...read more.

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