Sunday, 17 June 2012

Activity 11 – Cultural sensitivity & indigenous learners

I am passionate about learning how to effectively and more efficiently support students from diverse cultural backgrounds.

As part of the course we not only teach Tikaka and Te Reo Maori but we also embed Tikaka practice throughout the whole year, to create a sense of it becoming ingrained i.e. no eating at work spaces, this needs to happen at the back of the room – break times, lunch, we sing waiata to celebrate student successes, no sitting on desks and general respect for one another. 

A large aspect of this is in our planning for course, each step from application to graduation stages we create a deliberate whanau approach.

Our theories and models course not only includes the specifics for each specialty, but also Maori, Pacific and Asian models of practice.  These are taught so they can be integrated with other theory bases so students learn to practice with a wider theoretical base.

Student placement process (that I researched, developed and set up) is integral to meet the cultural needs of each student, being able to provide Maori or Pacific placements for our students who identify with this cultural group is respectful.

Addressing emails, posts on discussion forums with Maori greetings is part of the role modelling of delivering a Treaty focus, to enhance working in partnership.

For me personally it is about achieving further study in working bi-culturally and multi-culturally, a way that I am accomplishing this is by studying towards my certificate in te mata a ao Maori (which I intend to graduate with at the end of this year).  Understanding the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to my professional practice and as an educator is essential for my continued growth in this important area.

Activity 10 – Sustainable Learning

I love the concept of sustainability and we teach it in the Certificate in Human Services and have it embedded within each course.

Specifically we have a Reflective Journal piece where students reflect upon what economic, social, environmental sustainability is – then they are asked to define how they would work sustainably with clients.

The one key aspect I like to strongly emphasize is - how will they take care of themselves while they are studying, working etc. 

The following are some of the key themes I discuss throughout the course in relation to sustainability & strategies that are used to keep the course sustainable.
      Self-care – how will you prioritise this while studying (if you are unwell in any sense how will you be able to support others). What will you do to around self-care so you are energised and keep your stress levels lowered.  This one in particular links into our Health and Safety course.
      Time management – have you set up a study plan, set personal goals so that family/whanau and or work do not suffer.  Setting up strategies to handle placement.
       Encourage peer support in and outside of class.
       Provide 1-1 support with our teaching assistant for those students that are struggling
       Group work in class and some assessments completed in class time.
       Diverse use of activities.

Activity 8 – Adult learning theory

The learning theories that I have become attached to since I studied the Gaining Foundation Skills in teaching and learning back in 2010, is Deep Learning theory (Biggs, 2003).

Key points of this theory are:

Understanding via learning the key concepts.

How to connect them in a wider sense.

Utilizing prior knowledge and experience alongside teaching.

Importance of critique and logic.

As I come from a professional background of Social Service work, this theory appeals to me as it encourages reflection, shared experiences and how this can be related to teaching content.  

My specialist area in education has a strong focus on teaching students the skills to think deeper, to be analytical and to reflect upon ways to improve practice – to create best practice.

Activity 7 – OER

The term Open Education had been a bit vague for me in the past, but with further reading into this I discovered that I have been working with this concept.

How OER is being used in the Certificate in Human Services:

·    As we are now in our second year of integrating the Certificate in Human Services with the Mental Health Certificate, our focus this year was to ensure that all of our teaching modules were transferred over to Moodle Books.The aim of this was that we were considering taking on distance students to help us expand our programme. 
·         Coincidentally we ended up having 4 distance students who moved away due to personal circumstances and we have found this challenging.
·         We needed to come up with strategies fast to ensure they received support (pastoral and educational) to achieve with course.
·         Our plan involved weekly phone calls to answer questions around course material/assessments, this is also done by having the student logged into Moodle at the same time (and the Lecturer or Teaching Assistant) so that we can direct students to specific areas.
·         As we now have distance students we will be including Adobe Connect as a resource so we can communicate/support/teach these students more effectively as well as more efficiently.
·         OER is still in its infancy on the Certificate programme, but it is a concept that we welcome.
·         I am keen to learn further about OER and especially with technological advances and I will book in for training with EDC around anything that will enhance my skills and capabilities in this area.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I am currently working on my plan for flexible learning and will post it up when it up in the next few days.

ACTIVITY 5:  Designing Strategies for Flexible Learning.

  • This should be kept updated to reflect what is happening in society at a local, national and international level.
  • It should be written in plain English so that it is easy to understand as we have vastly differing abilities in our student groups.
  • Reviewing content, prior planning with team members, if the course is unit standard based ensuring that the content meets the standards set.
  • Assessment pre and post moderation is important.
  • Lesson plan is structured to break up information/theory with practical activities.
  • Utilizing student course feedback to evaluate changes to course assessments and material where possible.

  • Keep it focused on the material for each session.
  • Activities should be used as tools, I use them in a way that students can use them in professional practice, I explain how they can use them in different contexts and that everything we teach on course is a tool that they can take away.
  • They should be inclusive of different learning styles, be reflective, have students respond to how the activity was and how it relates to working with client groups.
  • increase independent thought, class discussion.
  • They should be well set out and material should be prepared ahead of time.
  • Clear explanation of the activity.

  • Encourage class discussion and the sharing of thoughts and ideas.
  • Lecturer needs to be clear about process, I use an online agenda so students are aware of what is going to happen for the session, this is time bound as well.
  • Unlocking course material at the start of each week so students can access it before class.
  • Having set office hours to meet with students, keep them informed of any changes occurring, answer/reply to emails, calls or online forums.  
  • Keep students regularly informed of their progress.
  • Open and transparent - including with team members when we have our fortnightly meeting to discuss students and course concerns - informing students openly about our policies, procedures and processes.

  • Planning days with certificate staff team are vital, it allows us to look at each course and the assessments attached in more detail.
  • The connections between each course, where will essays go, workbook tasks, in class assessments, individual assessments, group assessments, fieldwork portfolios, presentations.
  • Checking the criteria on marking schedules that it meets the learning outcomes, aims and course content.
  • Pre and post moderation of course books internally and also attending external moderation meetings with the aim of ensuring our assessments meet unit standard criteria and that they are fair.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ACTIVITY 4:  Define and describe this week’s concepts in your professional context.

Considerations for ensuring access to all learners.

  • Knowing the extent of ability within my student group, their learning styles, building a strong rapport with them, working alongside.
  • Encouraging peer to peer support.
  • I also encourage and advocate strongly that my students form study groups, where they can support each other - it is much easier to work in a group than working in isolation.
  • Tailor lessons to include activities that are practical and that students can take away and use as tools i.e. group work, self care plans (i.e. WRAP)
  • Reading through their student applications thoroughly at the beginning of course so that I know who might have learning difficulties, a disability which could impact upon their studies, language barriers, distance students - this way I can set up the most respectful and appropriate way of supporting them to achieve their studies whilst on course.
  • Empower students to know and understand their learning preferences abilities and also to be aware of where they might struggle.
  • Repetition - talking about OP student services, IT, help within the school, no question is a silly question no matter how many times it is asked.

Factors of diversity will be examined. 

The big one here for me as an educator is that everyone learns and comprehends at a different pace. No 2 students are the same.

Being aware of where each individual is at is vital, in my case we are fortunate to have a Teaching Assistant present in all of our certificate classes, this role is to provide tutorial and class support and she is able to keep us up to date with those who are struggling.  She provides tutorial support and we work together to get on top of student learning difficulties.

For example our class this year in Cert in Human Services is extremely diverse, we have a strong cohort of reader/writers, students who have English as their second language, a student who can lapse into absent seizures, our youngest is 16 and our oldest is 50+, a student with deafness in one ear.

These all provide a wide scope to ensure that they have their needs met, it could be writing out what is expected study-wise outside of class, directing face-to-face teaching to the student who only has hearing in one ear, checking in with students who have language barriers and speaking clearly so they can understand.  Setting up tutorial support for students who are not confident about what they are doing assessment wise.

Encouraging students to use the moodle forums to ask questions (or answer them!).  My set office hours are also a way to meet with students to ensure they are on track.

If students are struggling referring them to student services or the learning centre.

Your learners’ preferences and abilities will be discussed.

  • Course Feedback from surveys
  • Listening and jotting down students thoughts when they arise during class/tutorial sessions.
  • Feeding back to students about what will be changed, this way they no we haven't just given them lip service.
  • Using Bloom's Taxonomy when marking, giving clear concise feedback to ensure the student is aware of where they need to improve/receive help or where they are excelling.