CPP2: Learning Journey/Portfolio Pt1

Theory

The first workshop completed during CPP2, Semester 1, 2012 had captured me in a unique way. It was the first time I had engaged in concentrated discussion about how to teach my particular subject area within a regular classroom setup. Concepts, ideas and challenges were tossed up by the teacher to stimulate our thinking for our own classroom environment. Bearing this in mind, I eagerly anticipated the second workshop and ensured I arrived early, ready to absorb more of what the teacher had to share.

Well, just a few hours later as I descended the stairs it was also my enthusiasm that had been deflated. Undoubtedly, workshop 2 had contained a wealth of good information (the subject of my following post), yet it had not met my expectations. This was compounded by the fact that the teachers own expectations were never outlined, leaving me in a state of uncertainty about where the lesson was going and whether it would ever reach my perceived ‘heights’ of workshop 1. As I reflected on this experience and how it unfolded, it motivated me to write this post, considering some important classroom strategies.

In particular, the issue this workshop made clear for me was that of managing and communicating classroom expectations. More specific than this even was the idea of providing an outline for students at the start of the lesson with an overview of what was planned, affording that everyone was on the same page. This approach was something I had seen modeled, in both lectures and tutorials, during CPP2. It was also a directive highlighted in a prior professional experience unit for, as Edmonds (2009, p.32) points out, the sake of ESL students or those with learning difficulties that might be exacerbated by lack of clarity in the classroom. This approach is endorsed by Phil’s “Hidden Pedagogy” (2012) and allows for “cultural equality” as Taylor suggests. A limitation may exist for those who become too focused on the plan and do not adjust well to changes that are inevitable at times.

Overall, a valuable lesson was reinforced to me during this workshop, one that can also be applied across a range of disciplines. Though it was something I may have benefited from in the past and perhaps taken for granted, I have now committed to providing an outline in some form to students who participate in future classrooms where I am the teacher.

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