May 27, 2016, by educationguestblog

Celebrating Teaching – developing ideas about teaching and learning

As part of our secondary ITE routes our beginning teachers have to develop their own personal theories of teaching and learning and, as the courses come to a close, they present their ideas as part of their PGCE assessment.

A teacher training year is an incredibly intensive one and for our beginning teachers to organise themselves in such a way that they can really engage with theory and research is a major feat that should be celebrated. I am always so impressed with how far our students’ thinking develops over the year and how they use their engagement with research and theory to genuinely influence their classroom practice.

Our beginning teachers’ final outcomes on this assignment come in all shapes and sizes and show the genuine personalisation of their understanding and how different theories and ideas have resonated with different people.

Below is a great example of one PGCE student’s thinking where his ideas have been drawn together through the analogy of climbing!

To be honest I am quite a visual thinker, for example when it comes to driving and remembering routes I never remember road names, places, or specific directions. Instead I tend to remember, and think about, the visual cues I get while driving, like a certain shop on the corner or the way a street looks.

So for me an analogy or metaphor that summarises all the different learning theories was quite natural.  And during a University seminar when the ‘Learning Pit’ was mentioned and that learners had to climb a wall, I sort of took the idea and ran with it.

Some of the learning theories naturally fit into the analogy, like the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978), while others I had to really think about to try and fit them into the analogy. Trying to make the theories work within the analogy actually meant that I had to really understand what they were, and so was extremely useful in my own development.

Eventually I had quite an elaborate analogy which touched on many different teaching and learning theories and combined them into a coherent whole that summarised my own thoughts and attitudes towards teaching.  Hopefully aspects of what I have come up with can be shared with my classes in the future so that they know that learning is a climb and can, maybe, appreciate what is going on within the class.’

Richard Keir 
PGCE 2016

View some sample slides from the presentation Richard gave which show his analogy coming to life.

Posted in Celebrating Teaching