Coming to an end of EDS 111- what a journey it has been !

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3 months flew and now we have come to an end of yet another stressful yet fruitful and meaningful trimester. EDS 111 has taught me a lot and now, I feel more equipped as an educator. For many theories, my view points have grown stronger as I feel, I am on the right track. For others, my views have changed as now, I have theoretical base/reasoning to prove how something can be effective for my students. After these 3 months, I am definitely a more informed and evolved educator.

In the beginning of this course, I had answered these following questions:

  • What denotes effective teaching for you?  Provide justification/s for your answer.
  • What do you think are the characteristics and skills that teachers should possess in order to become effective teachers?  Why?
  • What is the role of teachers for you?

A teacher is effective when he/she is able to impart knowledge and the student is not only able to grasp/ingrain it but is also able to apply it.

Parents are a child’s first teachers. An effective parenting (teaching) is when parents teach good manners to their children and the children display good manners. This shows effective transfer of knowledge/skills.

When a student takes action based on knowledge gained in the classroom, the teaching can be said to be effective. For eg, In the beginning of this academic year (July’14), my Grade 4 students were learning about various body systems and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even though, we have moved on to other topics in the class, my students (at least most of them ) have continued to pay attention to what they eat and constantly remind each other to eat healthy.

An effective teacher, foremost, must have love for teaching and for the students. An enthusiastic teacher will be able to teach effectively as the students will get infected infected with her love for teaching and will be more open for learning. Being patient is another key requirement in this professions. Students come from different walks of life, having different needs and different learning styles. A patient teacher will be able to handle difficult situations (and there are many in a classroom ). An effective teacher is the one who is open-minded, willing to learn and willing to grow. A teacher who teaches with her/his heart, is able to inspire students, keep them engaged is an effective teacher.

Mastery of the subject is important; however, a teacher’s job is not only to teach the subject. This is especially true for elementary school teachers. In the formative years, teachers are like parents for the children and its on their shoulders to teach not only the various subjects, but also survival skills, mannerisms, etc. Teachers must ‘practice what they preach’ as they are models for students.

Finally, an honest and ethical teacher will be an effective teacher.

Role of a teacher- we are all teachers and learners in the different phases of our lives. Role of a teacher changes as per the need/age of the taught. In the formative years, parents are the primary teachers and then come the elementary school teachers. Both should model and explicitly teach their children/wards. At the higher levels, teachers become more like facilitators who guide and monitor the students’ learning.

To sum it, a teacher is one who has the heart and mind to teach you and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that you learn and transfer the learning appropriately.

My current response: I still stand by what I had said 3 months back. But here, I would also like to add that to be an effective teacher, you need all the above mentioned plus ‘self-awareness’ in terms of knowledge about one’s teaching styles, perspectives and skills. As individuals, we have our dominant and regressive traits which need to be balanced for the holistic development of our students.

What do your results on the TPI say about your perspectives on teaching? What are their implications on your beliefs, intentions, and actions on teaching?

 My TPI results in the beginning of the course showed show that Social Reform (36) and Nurturing (35) were my dominant perspectives and Transmission (24) was my recessive perspective. Apprenticeship and Developmental were at par (34).   My Beliefs, Intentions and Actions were not too varied except in the developmental perspective. This was a proof that my my actions followed my beliefs and my intentions. This result was not a surprise for me as I really believe that a teacher not only imparts knowledge but also creates character of the students and has a big social responsibility.

Now, when I took the TPI again, my results are not too different. My dominant perspectives are still the same though more prominent now- Social Reform (42) and Nurturing (40). My recessive perspective remains Transmission but now, the score has gone up to 28 from 24. Under Transmission, there is wide difference between my beliefs, intentions and actions. My actions are more than what my believes or intentions are. So, I am doing more inside the classroom than I think I am doing J. Other than, that, not too much disparity in the results.

 What is the relevance of knowing your perspectives on teaching?  How does impact effective teaching?

My response then: The results of the survey are not very surprising for me as I do agree that my dominant perspectives are social reform and nurturing. Teachers have a moral responsibility towards their learners and I take  this part very seriously. My teaching is greatly affected and molded by my value system.

This survey has not only brought to light my strengths but also areas of improvement. My recessive perspective is Transmission. What I understand from this is that to be a better and more effective teacher, I must focus more on the mastery of my subject.

My response now: It remains same. I am happy to know my dominant perspectives are Social Reform and Nurturing as I feel, as a teacher, this is my primary responsibility, more than teaching content. Yes, I need to focus more on the Transmission part but am glad that the score has improved from the 1st time- proves that I am on the right track.

Why is good teaching not a one-size-fits-all process?

My response then: Effective Teaching cannot be a one-size-fits-all as our students come in all different shapes and sizes. A teacher must accommodate the different learning styles and needs of his/her students while teaching. In my class, I often try to use ‘ Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory’ where in the learning engagements differ in the multiple intelligence use. Not all my students are ‘word smart’; many of them are ‘kinesthetic learners’ or are ‘music smart’. So in order to ensure that my students are really learning, I must modify my content and style to match their learning style.

Teaching style would also depend on the age group of the students and the subject taught.

My response now: yes, good teaching can never be one-size-fits-all as I will not teach students who are carbon copies of each other. If each student is an individual and different from others, teaching also needs to reflect and respect those differences.

 How this course has changed/enhanced/influenced the way you think about the teaching process and the profession of teaching in general; impacted you as a teacher/pre-service teacher?

This course has taught me a lot.  Many of my views have been reinforced.  What I have learned is about my teaching perspectives, styles and skills. Knowledge of these have helped me in my classroom. I now know my strengths and weaknesses. The other important thing that I have learned is the need of having a PLC. I had heard this buzzword in the past but hadn’t realized its importance. Now, I want my school to start PLC so that all teachers can formally collaborate and learn from each other.  The readings of this course plus the discussions/reflections of my peers has reinforced my view that I am into a very important profession and I must do all to ensure that each student whose path I cross must learn in the best possible manner from me and I must make a positive contribution in their lives. For this, I must constantly learn, un-learn (if need be) and then re-learn.


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