This reflective essay is in accordance with the requirements of the PGCE course module one section A of the micro teach conducted.
The use of Kolb’s learning cycle will be used as a model to critically reflect the micro teach. Figure 1 below identifies Kolb’s learning cycle.
Additional learning cycles include, as stated by Tummons (2010) Dewey’s concept of reflective thinking, David Schön; the reflective practitioner and Stephen Brookfield: critical lenses for reflection. The personal assessment of these various models led to the conclusion that Kolb’s learning cycle is a clear and simple model to assess and apply to the micro teach.
Figure 1: Kolb’s learning cycle (McLeod, 2010)
The critical reflection of the micro teach will be conducted within this next section of the essay.
The experience was conducted with six peers and two members of the University staff. The subject to teach was the marketing mix, specifically the four P’s (price, product, place, promotion). This was chosen as I deemed it possible to teach the basics of the subject within the thirty minutes allocated.
The aims and objectives were clear and specified to learners within the presentation (appendix 1) to learners within the room. The presentation clearly identified these at the beginning, and as stated by Gravells & Simpson (2008) these are needed to provide teacher focused (aims) and student focused (objectives). Although this was undertaken, these were not formally written on the white board and clearly visible for all participants during the micro-teach, as outlined within the lesson plan (appendix 2). This will be implemented into future sessions to provide clarity to learners and to enable them to view progress and development through the session. This is important to allow them to stay focused and engaged with the session being conducted – and to check learning has taken place. It will also be used to reward learners for their achievements during the session as a form of positive discipline.
Communication during the micro teach was effective and clear (appendix 1), the importance of speaking with clarity and is by Gravells & Simpson (2008). This will be implemented in future sessions to ensure that the content of the lesson is delivered to learners to provide clarity and accuracy. This will ensure learners are able to engage and focus on the task provided and gain the information required.
As stated within the feedback received (appendix 1) during the micro-teach there was good use of body language, the use of which was to communicate clearly and effectively to students to aid development. This will be continued in sessions I teach to improve communication to learners, as stated by Vizzard (2007). The importance of nonverbal communication such as body language is that it can signal to learners that I am open, caring, being truthful and that I am also listening to what they have to say (Segal Ph.D., et al., 2014). This will be important for future sessions to allow learners to feel safe and secure and be motivated to learn. This relates to the physiological aspect of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
The use of differentiation for learners was also noted (appendix 1) as being implemented. I will continue to develop and use different levels of tasks for different learners based upon the group profile and diagnostics results held for each learner, to deliver to each learner’s level.
The micro-teach was also recorded. The importance of this process is identified by Brookfield (1995) who discusses how seeing the teaching process through the eyes of the students for teachers is important as every time it is conducted the teacher learns something new, to enable personal development. This process enabled me to view how I conducted the micro teach again and assess how I conducted myself. It will also allow me to develop and promote abilities in future sessions in order to improve the teaching to learners. This process ultimately led to the completion of this reflection.
I have learnt that the need for conducting a critical reflection of the micro teach is to improve and develop for future teaching. In his writing, Tripp (1993) outlines how teachers are required to diagnose and understand what has occurred within the learning environment and why, with the purpose to analyse what has occurred. The process has allowed for me to reflect on how I conduct myself within the classroom.
I have also learnt that critical reflection is not only important for personal development but to improve the abilities and experience of learners, and should be conducted on a regular basis, as stated by Edwards et al. (1996).
The writing of Furedi (2009) states how reflective learning and other aspects of teaching such as experimental learning indicates a shift in authority from the teacher to the learner and how such processes of teaching has developed a classroom environment that does not depend on the authoritative leadership of a teacher. This method of reflection enables me to be able to see what the requirements are for the learner and to focus on teaching on a non chalk and talk basis.
The plan to implement the changes may not actually occur in the way envisaged or be implemented as quickly or effectively as first imagined as stated by Morrison (1998). In order to implement the findings of the micro-teach and avoid required changes from not being implemented, the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) (appendix 3) I have created will be updated with new targets and requirements in order to develop and progress as a professional. I will use this to track my progress and to ensure I have applied the changes required to improve my teaching style and the learning received by the students. Additional SMART targets will be added into my ILP (appendix 3)
- Speak more clearly and effectively when talking in lessons;
- Follow content of lesson plans created; and
- Ensure that the objectives for the session are outlined on whiteboards within the room.
In conclusion following the micro-teach and critical reflection process using Kolb’s model, aspects which were positive were identified, as well as several aspects for development which can be implemented into future delivery. These factors will be implemented into my ILP.
The need for this micro-teach to be conducted and reflected upon, for the needs of my own professional development and for the benefit of creating enhanced learning for learners has allowed me to reflect changes required – and a process which can be implemented for future critical analysis.