Ben R. Atkinson

EDU710 Week 5 – Reflective Teaching Practice & Learning Conversations I

EDU710 Week 5 – Reflective Teaching Practice & Learning Conversations I

This week, the feedback from my peers on the PGCHE course has been particularly useful when it came to revising and improving my own work on the session planning form. As I have made clear in previous weeks, my peers on this course have much more experience in delivering face to face teaching sessions than I do. As such their reflections on their own session planning forms and how they might improve them was something I focused on before revising my own approach.

I started by responding to Imogen’s work and in particular her point about being ‘more specific’ about certain elements of the plan. Imogen talked in her post about writing “ask more questions” in her plan, without considering the specific purpose served by such questions. I feel I am guilty of a similar approach and noted several points in my own plan where I could be more specific about my approach and the tasks being asked of my students. For example, I expanded further on what I wanted my students to do as part of the ‘discussion’ element of my session. Imogen’s reflection also helped me to realise that such general comments will not be of use when it comes to delivering the actual micro-teach session. The more detailed the plan the better, the more student-focused the outcomes and objectives the stronger the overall session will be impactful for the students. In this way, I hope I can encourage a deeper approach to learning in my students.

My second response was to Kyla’s reflection. In this, I realised for the first time the importance of considering the audience who might read your session plan. Kyla talked about not expanding enough on what her students might be doing in the session. Kyla, of course, knew what her students were going to do, but that wouldn’t necessarily be clear to an outsider reading her plan for the first time. The key takeaway from this for me was ensuring that my session plan was crafted in such a way that should a colleague need to drop in and deliver my session at the last moment, they would have no problem doing so based on the detailed approach in my session plan.

Having responded to two of my peers’ personal reflections, I set about deciding what I would change about my own session plan. As I detailed in my previous blog post for week 4, I decided to simplify my learning outcomes slightly while still keeping them aligned with Bloom’s taxonomy. I also tried to ensure that all the elements of my session plan were detailed enough that when I got into the room to deliver the micro-teach session with my students I would have a clear understanding of the direction I needed to take. The other area of revision I plan to make is within the discussion section of my session. It is clear from the peer feedback, that this session did not set out clearly enough the idea that students will have the chance to challenge the learning content and come up with their own theories.

It so happened that I had a week of leave booked around the time of week 5/6 of this module. This gave me some much needed time to reflect on my session plan before revising it. I plan to take another break from it while I write some of the learning content I will deliver in the session. Finally, I will review my session plan again to ensure that I have included as many scholarly references to set texts and my own research as is appropriate.

Revising and improving my session plan has been a challenging experience. As I have mentioned many times, I have never written a plan of this kind or delivered a teaching session in the true fashion. Several years ago I taught a module of workshops on an undergraduate programme but this did not require me to plan or develop any particular learning outcomes as the content was written for me and I just had to deliver it. While it has been challenging to write a session plan like this, I have also been surprised by my resilience and the way in which I have approached the task. I think my experience as a learning technologist over the last few years has helped in this regard and it has certainly afforded me lots of opportunities to use the learning technologies that I support on a daily basis, within my own teaching session.

About The Author

Ben R. Atkinson is a writer, musician, and presenter who can be heard broadcasting on radio stations around the world, is known for his novels, radio dramas, and who writes and performs his own music in the country/folk genre. Ben is currently studying for his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Lincoln in the UK.