Learning Perception

Mon, Jun 1, 2009 4-minute read

In the first weeks of my Dip-Ed I reflected on the type of teacher I will be: 3 months down the road on my journey much of what I expressed remains the same, however my understanding of the type of science teacher has become clearer now having completed the General science education unit. There have been a number of varying opportunities during this unit which have helped and hindered my learning. Having the opportunity to discuss and workshop some ideas for the camp in the first week was not as productive to my learning as ultimately being thrown in the deep end and teaching at Somers science camp ..

In the two weeks prior to placement the lectures and tutorials touched on the VELS and VCE. At the time I felt frustrated and a little confused as to how this was going to help me in a school setting. But in retrospect having some background in the curriculum was of huge benefit to my placement teaching outcomes. In a scientific perspective I felt that VELS was so loose- what equation, what concept do you exactly want to know in year 9 science- it just wasn'’t there, my initial perspective was of dread and confusion. But when I stepped back as a scientist and started to analyse VELS as a science teacher it became more valuable to me as a teacher. It provided some framework but also the flexibility to develop science education specifically for the learning needs of my students. In one of the first lectures it was suggested that we need to teach students the way in which experts think and undertake science. I believe that being able to interchange my thinking betweenscientist& and science teacher will assist with achieving this in my classroom.

I particularly found a session for the VCE Biology , run by Mandy Berry, gave me a license to think outside the textbook. A particular example of a cell communication song written and performed by VCE Unit 3 students resonated with me, I saw a real application of Blooms taxonomy and the science curriculum. I was able to see the real learning not just content but an understanding of the biological system demonstrated by the students.

From this point in the semester I started to dissect and evaluate my own learning style. I started to realise that I have a whole picture style of learning where I need to understand most of the components of a topic ie science teaching to effectively learn and understand. It was during the chocolate cake lecture that I realise that while I have a chemistry masters, I do not have a high level of confidence to rely the nitty gritty chemical process for making a cake. I have a very broad brush view of science. I understand lots of principals and processes and their linkages, but my accuracy of definitions and specific components within these are not polished. As a science teacher understanding this limitation I will need to pay more attention to details when the learning style of my students is based on precise definitions and the unpacked components of science.

Perhaps it was my tummy taking over my mind, but the chocolate cake demonstration infiltrated my thoughts when planning my science lessons during placement. In particular the idea of relevance stuck with me. Everyone has experienced chocolate cake. At this point I put together a lecture for my year 10 about how bushfires can effect the water quality of streams particularly pH. This was my masters topic and I thought it relevant to the lives of my students. My powerpoint presentation went for 20 minutes and I asked students to reflect on what they learnt about pH. It was amazing, the learning was easy as was the teaching! I was becoming aware that I had a preference to verbal and visual learning and teaching opportunities. I was grateful that the unit provided a number opportunities for me to verbalise my thoughts and understanding via group discussion and asking questions in both tutorial and lecture situations. Having these learning preferences and starting to see them in my teaching style is beneficial to verbal and visual learner however it is important that I understand the other learning styles incorporate activities and teaching that are based on these styles.

In the coming period I expect that I will continue to refine my understanding of science pedagogy and its application in the classroom. In the remained of the course I want to develop a better understanding of how students with unusual learning abilities, either advanced or delayed, can be supported