We’ve had a good week. I continued to be involved with a lot of one on one teaching which I find to be the most satisfying teaching format for me. Some of these kids are way ahead of me in terms of content knowledge. Its not that I can really sit down with them and teach them much of what they already know. For these students I find myself useful by just letting them bounce their ideas off of me. Sometimes they can get a bit overly ambitious in planning what they can actually accomplish in the span of one term. I just help them to keep their ideas in bounds.
Also I’m taking one group of kids to practice shooting video in the city. This week a Sea King helicopter flew right by our school and landed in the cathedral square in the middle of the city. Half of the class was glued to the window and were so distracted that I saw little feasibility in trying to hold their attention. Since I was preparing them to interview people for their video I thought that we might as well grab the cameras and head down into the square to see if we could interview the pilots of the helicopter.
To my relief, the helicopter crew was there just for PR purposes and were more than keen for me to allow our band of excited male youths maraud them with questions and video cameras. I just let the kids go for their life with these guys and had them wrap things up just in time to get back to the classroom and preview some of what they shot. During the debrief I would pause the video from time to time and ask them questions that helped them to reflect on how they fielded their questions in the interviews. So in this instance I got to give them the lesson after the exercise which is characteristic of experiential teaching and learning.
We wrapped the week up with a very interesting guest speaker from The Minstry of Education named John Haitey. He was a hard stats man and gave us a lot of useful research findings that I find very relevant to helping my formation of a teaching philosophy. Here’s a sample:
“Porter and Brophy (1988) summarised a large number of correlational research studies on effectiveness factors, and reported 11 characteristics. An effective teacher:
* is thoughtful about practice and reflects upon it,
* develops clear curriculum aims and objectives,
* makes clear expectations of students,
* knows the subject content,
* knows the students’ characteristics and needs,
* uses a variety of sources to enrich learning,
* uses a variety of objectives,
* teaches students how to employ meta-cognitive learning strategies,
* integrates subject matter between subjects,
* provides regular feedback to students about their learning,
* accepts responsibility for student achievement.”
I find this kind of concise and well researched evidence to be very helpful.