Planning and Teaching for Effective Learning
I have always wondered why teaching is associated with art! Now I know that to teach is to learn twice over (Joubert). Teaching is about the lighting of a fire to open up students` hearts and minds. The spark for that fire begins with planning and teaching for effective learning. During the second school experience placement (SEP2), I have bumped into many incidents. For me, the most significant incident was the traditional approach of teaching English, as I first stepped in the fifth-grade class.
Later on, I tried to change that traditional way of teaching.
So, I planned for a non-traditional reading lesson; however, most of students failed to comprehend the lesson, I was upset though I planned well for that reading lesson regarding the outcomes, procedures, and the closing. After reflecting on that given lesson, I found out the planning alone is not enough. I believe that the cause of that was the school mentor`s (SM) way of teaching. Liu and Longs state that “traditional college English teaching puts teachers at the center all the time, mainly relying on class knowledge, which emphasizes the role of teachers too much (32). Students have no choice rather than putting their teacher as the core of the class because she is the only one who knows the language. The SM uses Arabic all the time with a higher percentage, more than English (TL). They are accustomed to the use of Arabic always instead of trying to activate their minds to understand lessons in other means rather than staring at their teacher to translate directly. In my opinion, that provides limited opportunities for students to communicate using the TL. As an observant for the whole scene, I remembered the traditional way I was taught in as well in schools and university. Learning English was a bad experience for me, my voice was not heard, because the English teacher knows everything better than me, so my opinion was not needed. Subsequently, being here observing the same situation made me feel disappointed and annoyed.
All of that made me think about what do I need to do to construct and promote an effective learning environment that focuses on the learner themselves? Do I really understand the qualities of effective learning? What aspects of my planning did not go well? To answer all of this, I have to know first what is an effective learning? According to Watkins, Carnell, and Lodge effective learning is meant to promote learners through activity, collaboration, responsibility, and meta-learning (22).
Effective learning is not just a matter of instructing, on the contrary, it is more than instructing. It is about applying effective strategies that engage the learners in learning, motivate them, back up their knowledge, and make them responsible for their own learning through urging them to think of everything that tackles them.
As a matter of fact, I realized that my planning must be modified to embrace their needs to deliver the idea that they are the essence of the classroom, and that they are active and effective in their learning. Hewitt states that effective learning involves the ability to function well in the network of interdependencies associated with the learner, these interdependencies including self-dependence, physical, social and cognitive support are all implemented under the umbrella of effective learning (73). While planning, learners must be given the priority to act as the main key to function their instruction effectively by taking responsibility for their own learning.
After building an effective repertoire through motivating students, encouraging them not to be afraid of English, and facilitating the subject presented. I explained the lesson again with various activities, where students are counted as effective learners with an identity to prove their existence and responsibility for their own learning. The lesson succeeded eventually, due to the modified procedures that caused the lesson`s failure in the first time, the assessment strategies, the different resources, and the activities that were built interestingly to fulfill the outcomes of that given lesson. When students understood that they must by their own, explain the lesson, elicit new words, discuss in pairs and exchange ideas in groups, they felt much confident and they had much fun.
There are certain factors that must be carried out in planning. It is crucial to consider also your students, the physical environment such as the room and the equipment available, and the emotional climate (Petty 139). I believe that, since we are dealing with human beings, students cannot be neglected. The classroom`s environment, students` emotions, and the teacher`s attitude while dealing with students are all crucial factors must be considered while planning and teaching.
Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines (H. Schuller). The problems I encounter in the classroom and in planning have strengthened my character and widened my vision towards planning and teaching. These problems and challenges prove that the teacher is a learner when facing problems related to planning or teaching in general. In my case, when I encounter a challenge, I strive for a solution to determine and test what is right and suitable for students. Like the case when I taught that reading lesson, I failed at the first time, but I searched to see how to teach reading to EFL students, I have read a lot about this, asked other experienced teachers, asked students how would they like to learn reading, would groups or peers, or individuals teach you reading better? I also asked my peers to find the best answer. It is my role to apply while planning and teaching strategies into effective learning practice. That was what I did in the second reading lesson, and it was a better success.
I believe that traditional teaching does not lead to effective learning and that the goal of teaching is to create and effectively manage the learning environment to enable learners to reflect on and engage them in the evaluation of their learning and use self-regulation standard 2.3.2 (QRTA). Before coming to Queen Rania Teacher Academy, I had no clue of what it means to teach. Now I know that to teach is to shine bright like a diamond and to never give up on students. Learning is a continuous process throughout your whole lifetime. Therefore, committing mistakes is a natural process of teaching, however, mending those mistakes demand a persistent teacher to exalt teaching value.
Liu, Chunyang, and Fei Long. “The discussion of traditional teaching and multimedia teaching approach in college English teaching.” 2014 International Conference on Management, Education and Social Science (ICMESS 2014). Atlantis Press, 2014.
Watkins, Chris, Eileen Carnell, and Caroline Lodge. Effective learning in classrooms. Paul Chapman Educational Publishing, 2007.
Hewitt, Des. Understanding effective learning: strategies for the classroom. McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2008.
Petty, Geoffrey. Teaching today: A practical guide. Nelson Thornes, 2004.
Teachers` Standards. Amman, Jordan; Queen Rania Teacher Academy,2018, Print.