Sunday, May 13, 2012

Initial thoughts on #fslt12

The First Steps into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (#fslt12) MOOC asks us participants to reflect on our overall experience to date as a teacher; what kinds of students we have taught, what we have discovered from the experience, and what we have most enjoyed in our teaching? A fairly taunting task.

For me, teaching has been a journey, both physically, socially and intellectually. I have taught in a number of schools in Australia and the UK. The schools I have worked in cover a wide spectrum of socio-economic and cultural settings - Independent, Catholic and Public systems; low socio-economic, urban, regional and rural; high socio-economic, inner-city; remote Indigenous communities. My roles have been classroom teacher, teacher trainer and computer network administrator.

What I've learnt most from the experience is that teaching is a social endeavour and the role is determined by the community the teacher works in. The learning activity is a negotiation between the subject, teacher and student. Relationships are formed, positive and negative, between the three which enhance or inhibit the learning. Getting students to see the intrinsic value of a subject, getting them to learn for learning sake, is half (if not all of) the battle. Getting teachers to see the intrinsic value of IT in the classroom is a different battle.

What I enjoy most about teaching are the thank you at the end of a lesson from students who tell me how much they dislike school when they first meet me. Its that excitement in their eyes when they get that concept that puts everything together in their mind. I also enjoy watching students and teachers working together excitedly as they learn new technology together. When teacher and student connect in a way that rarely happens when a teacher is up the front commanding the learning.


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