Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flexible Teaching Practice

The students in my class are so varied, in their learning styles, range of knowledge and previous education.
I find it pays for me to have a wide range of resources at hand that can cater to the different learning styles, and also offer illustrations for the different levels of understanding that they have.

One of my goals as a teacher is to facilitate a learning environment in which the students will learn at a deep level. Flexibility in my delivery of information is crucial if I want to 'reach' all my students.
I'm a teacher that likes to sit WITH my students to teach and learn together, with sprinkles of 'stand up at the white board' instruction. The 'sit down together' approach encourages dialogue with lots of questions and discussions.
Some students prefer not to talk. For those students I make sure to have handouts with diagrams, images and other information that they can ponder in their own time.

The majority of my students have limited research skills, and often have difficulty with self directed learning and motivation. These areas could potentially benefit from Flexible teaching and leaning practices.
I will be examining an online tool that may address the issue of lack of motivation for research. So, more on that later...


Anonymous said...
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Bronwyn hegarty said...

Katy I love the way you explain how you are sitting with your students and adding in "sprinkles of ..." from time to time. It conjures up a lovely picture of a delicious icecream cone with chocolate sprinkles or hundreds and thousands on top.

Your goals are evident of a teacher/facilitator who is passionate about her vocation.

Have you considered using concept mapping as a tool in the classroom. It is also a useful tool for students to use as it helps them connect the dots if you like and encourages deeper learning and reflection. I love concept mapping or mindmapping because it is practical and you can get a better sense of where you are going. You can also get really creative with colour and shapes. Am I teaching you to "suck eggs"?

I have used it a lot in my teaching and students loved fact one brought in a book on it to share with the class.

Ifound an excellent article which will hopefully help you integrate the other aspects you mention - helping students research information and get to a deeper level of learning. It has practical examples to explain the process.


If you want to take paper-based concept mapping to a digital level - CMAP is easy to use and a free download:

Anonymous said...

Katy, when reading your post it is immediately apparent to me that you are very in tuned with your students, both in terms of your awareness of their diverse backgrounds and in terms of your accommodation to their varied learning styles. You mention that flexibility in your delivery is "crucial" to reaching your students and you elaborate on this by discussing the various methods you use including demonstrations on the whiteboard, one-on-one tutelage and self directed learning guided by handouts. I wonder how often you have used group study as a means for teaching research skills and fostering motivation? Group study is a great tool for promoting sustainable practice through mentoring and it can also promote improved self directed learning.

Jennifer Hamlin

Katy Molloy said...

Thank you Bronwyn and Jenifer for your comments - I've only just seen them!

Bronwyn- No I don't feel that you are 'teaching me how to suck eggs'. I've never heard the name 'concept map' before, only 'mind map', and yes I've found them very useful in the past and encourage my students to use them too. I'm intrigued to see how the digital version works.

Jenifer- It's funny that you mention group study. I've been in conversation with many colleagues lately about my desire to get the students engaging and working with each-other in groups far more often than they do now. Thank-you.