Module 1: Teaching Perspectives and Styles

The first module of EDS:111 focuses on looking into our individual teaching perspectives and styles which helped me realized a great heap about myself as a teacher and a learner.

TPI result 9-13-2015

September 13, 2015 Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) results

Interpretation

After several days of reflecting (after going through the course readings and looking back on my own actions and thinking), I’d have to admit that this TPI survey is spot on.

Transmission (34 – recessive) I do a lot of transmission in my Enrichment classes because I work with young students. As they are young learners, my perspective of them is that they know less than I do or they don’t have the skills and knowledge yet, so I would have to provide for them. Sometimes, I would push the content to be finished even when we’re pressed for time. If I set some goals for the day for a class, I want them achieved.

Apprenticeship (40 – dominant) As I did not have proper training in my field, I rely heavily on my own skills and knowledge to be absorbed or adopted by my students. Whether I am an ESL teacher or a reading/writing teacher, I unconsciously set an expectation that my students would assume the same skills and knowledge that I have. As I polished my English skills and accent from watching a lot of English shows and listening to English audio materials (podcast, radio drama, radio shows, songs), this is what I advise to my ESL students to do. My advantage is that I enjoyed learning English through these hobbies, but I couldn’t say the same with my students. Learning English for them could be a chore and might benefit from other methods. However, as this was what worked for me, I believed that it would be the same for them. Reading story books was never a necessary for me when I was young, but growing up (especially in college), I realized how it would have been so much better to pick up the habit of reading when young, and so I want my students to have the same understanding as me. Writing was a natural interest, so teaching it now remains a challenge as I never tracked how I developed my ideas, sentences, and stories growing up. Despite having been guided with proper methods to develop writing for young learners, I still unconsciously push my students to have the same writing style as I do.

Developmental (32 – recessive) I’ll admit. When I read about this perspective, I wanted it to be my dominant perspective in teaching. Why? Based on its goal to develop the minds of learners into expert by combining old knowledge with the new through constructing new thinking (Pratt & Associates, 1998), is how I want to learn now. On the other hand, having my young learners’ class in mind when I took the survey, I think I still cannot mold a child’s curiosity of the world into the defined, expert thinking I want for myself.  Perhaps I would have adapted this perspective if I was teaching older students with subjects such as sociology, psychology or literature.

Nurturing (40 – dominant) I want my students to enjoy and learn from my class as much as they could as this was the kind of class I preferred as a student. I couldn’t hate strict teachers when they are effective anyway in developing our skills, but I aspire to be the kind of teacher whom students can approach with ease and learn from them at the same time. Moreover, I think as Filipinos, we like to be nurtured. We love being praised for our hard work. Great effort is as good as the result, even if they are not the best. I want my students to try their best, so they would learn. I’m willing to be there every step of the way until they develop and can be independent.

Social Reform (31 – recessive) – I admit to have a lot of opinions when it comes to Philippine society, but I have no intention to have my students absorb my ideals. I believe that the time would come for them to be more socially aware, and would be able to think by and for themselves whether they should change society or not. Nonetheless, as a person and a teacher, I hope I could be of help in developing the future leaders of this country.

Lingering Musings

While going through our readings on David Pratt’s “Good Teaching: One Size Fits All?” (2002), a couple of questions crossed my mind. Fortunately, I was able to find the answers to these questions while writing my answer for our forum discussion, and of course big thanks to my classmates’ thoughts (I really ought to be more extrovert in group discussions).

Using these perspectives, how do I view myself as a learner and as a teacher?

Pratt, D. D. and Associates (1998) wrote: “From watching others teach, we form impressions about what teachers do, what learners do, and how the process of teaching works and doesn’t work.” (p.1)

teacher-student

While going through my readings, I looked back at how I wanted to be perceived as a learner by my teacher. Since I became a more serious student when I entered college, I think this graph reflects my view of that time. Somehow, I have an idea of how my teachers viewed the students of my class. Most of my UST professors probably had a Transmission perspective, especially the more senior ones, since there’s emphasis on content rather than student participation. On the other hand, I enjoyed and learned best from teachers who had a Developmental and Nurturing perspective (Pratt, 2002) who had Personal Model, Facilitator, and Delegator teaching styles (Grasha, 1994). I wanted to be guided closely, but I wanted to think independently eventually using the knowledge they imparted in class. Thus, methods associated with Cluster 3 of Anthony F. Grasha’s (1994) table (p.143) in “A Matter of Style” fits well to my learning.

On the other hand, with the class I am handling now (young learners in mind), I can’t easily use methods of this style towards them. No wonder it’s not working well. As I primarily handle 3-7-year-olds for my reading class, and 7-12-year-olds in my writing class, Cluster 2 (Expert/Personal Model/Formal Authority) methods (Grasha, 1996) would best benefit them since these students are not yet confident to be independent, but already shows the strengths to do so. It’s like teaching a child how to ride a bike by demonstrating and guiding their balance until they can pedal away on their own.

Since perspectives in teaching seem to fit a certain group of learners, should the teacher change the group of learners to fit his/her perspective, or should the perspective of the teacher adapt to the learners?

I’ve answered part of this question in my head, but I have to admit that I’m not fully committed to the one idea yet. I am aware that I have to be a more flexible teacher to my students, but it’s not easily done. Although, it can be. Ever since I became a teacher for kids, that’s when I realized that I am willing to walk this path seriously. However, I wonder if my perspectives in teaching and personality fits the age group I handle now. Some of my co-workers commented that I do not seem fit to be a preschool teacher. I seem to fit older kids instead. I enjoy working with kids very, very much though.

Nonetheless, I’ll face the challenge I have now. Being awakened through this course, I hope to improve the quality of my class and myself as a teacher.


References:

Grasha, A. F. (1994). A matter of style: The teacher as expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator. College Teaching, 42(4), 142-149

Pratt, D. D. (2002) Good teaching: One size fits all?. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 5(93).

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