Individuality is important especially in the education system due to the U.K having a heavy heterogeneous population. Therefore, it is necessary to adapt our teaching styles to reflect this.
I have come to realise that there is a fine line between your teaching philosophy, which is the approach adopted to teach students, and then behavioural strategies, which is used to manage classroom behaviour. Both these factors will combine to ensure that students are in fact learning.
Harper (2013) suggest that if teacher expect high expectations from students, students are more likely to learn, as they will be highly motivated, not only to please the teacher but also to show the teacher what they can do. Learning does not simply mean engaging in certain activities, or attending, learning is an active process where students show progression. I believe showing progression is the key to acknowledging that learning has taken place and as Fairclough (2008) states, they need a positive atmosphere.
Harper (2013) points out that student need to be motivated and the level of classroom management needs to be high. In order to achieve this he explains it through theories.
The ripple effect is based on the concept of students wanted to learn and needing to learn. It is not simply the case of learning the content because you have to.
The image below show the attendance for each group. The first two images are for my personal group, the last table shows the overall group attendance for A2 Psychology students. You can see the big difference between the two I.T group in comparison to the A2 group.
Therefore, I started to explaining to students the importance of their education and how what we are learning is relevant. My BTEC Level 2 students sometimes complain that they do not like database because they find it hard and it is not something that will use in the future. Therefore, I have found it useful to get students to research the importance of the unit. Why use databases? What are the advantages? This allows students to understand the application of the unit and engagement to class activities increases. Similarly, the A2 students have started to research into the importance of such studies and its application to our understanding of the world today.
Expectancy model is another feature that I have found useful. This is based on what we as teacher expect our students to behave as. Students are more likely to adopt a certain behaviour over others because of the outcome. Therefore, consistency is key. However, it is difficult to establish as each tutor have their own set of expectations.
Theory x and theory y is based on the concept of understanding what motivates students. This is crucial and gives them the sense of responsibility. This year i have found that the A level students (2nd year’s) attitude suddenly changed, which surprised me, especially as their exams are getting close by! I found out however, that students who were attending have gained a conditional offer from their university and those whose attendance had decreased gained unconditional offer. This shows that motivation is a crucial factor in affecting student’s attitudes towards their course. Unfortunately, we cannot control when students receive their offers from university. However, we can try to re-engage students. I think this is a difficult challenge. Disciplinary in colleges, do not have the same effect as they do in secondary schools however, it is a start. Some students, who were not attending, have started to attend because they are now on stage 3.
I think one of the ways that I have motivated A level students to attend is by talking about their reference. Although they have obtained a reference for their universities, employers will still seeks out references from colleges. Their stats will therefore make a difference to their changes of being employed. Another strategy that I have tried out is through establishing a strong teacher-student relationship, where students can tell you why there are not attending. This is essential as if you know the reason why, then you can solve the issue.
I think motivation has a huge effect on a student. There is many different ways to tackle this issue and keep reminding students why education is important. It is easier to motivate Level 1 and Level 2 students simply because they still have that fear factor and they understand that they will not progress through the college if they do not pass. However, I think (if A levels continues) motivation needs to still be addressed but maybe tacked in a different way. This is yet something I need to invest in.
PS 1, PS2
Harper, Harriet. (2013). Outstanding Teaching In Lifelong Learning. Open University Press
Fairclough, M. (2008). Supporting Learners in thelifelong learning sector. Bershire: Open University Press http://lib.mylibrary.com/Browse/open.asp?ID=195294