I teach predominantly on the Certificate in Human Services and we do not have exams or tests. Our course is set up to provide a model of practice, tools for working with others and practical experience.
We institute a lot of group work into our course and our assessments are always reviewed to see if any changes need to be made.
We update our teaching material all the time to ensure it is current. For example I was teaching a session on Culture, Values and Beliefs last Thursday and I discussed the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes on the culture of the people of Canterbury (this was a point in my Moodle Book), one of my students was very happy to see that I had incorporated current events (which we always do anyway), but it shows the students that we are not just re-hashing the same material year after year!
What does the term Flexible Learning mean to me?
- Being creative in the way we teach, knowing the learning styles of our students (i.e. VARK).
- Reviewing our assessments before, during and after each course/module, what worked well, what didn't.
- Understanding the abilities and strengths of your teaching staff and ensuring that they teach to their strengths and that they are also supported with weaker areas, so there is room to improve.
- Being culturally aware, knowing and respecting the way different students work and meeting there needs.
- Always utilize feedback from courses, staff meetings, team meetings and from managers as this will help with further development of teaching.
- Knowing when a teaching session isn't working well and adding in extra activities that will be applicable to the module.
Why is it necessary to use a more flexible approach in your work?
- To meet the different needs of students in the class (as well as those undertaking the course from a distance).
- To keep students interest levels up.
- Model practical activities, professional boundaries.
- To keep up with new technology, material, research that will keep the course/modules current and retain student interest.
- Setting self care strategies.
- Set task/work goals and maintain a balance of work life and personal life.
What do you need to explore to help this happen?
- Be a part of ongoing conversations within staff team, school to ensure that I am meeting targets, and that my teaching is of a high standard.
- Ongoing professional development, become involved in research, networking with industry (I currently do in my other role as Placement Coordinator), but this needs to be at a higher level.
- Set goals that apply directly to me teaching role in my IDP.
What goals do I have for using Flexible Learning in my work?
- Sitting in on other lecturers and taking note of different teaching styles.
- Thinking more creatively about each module I teach and adding in more challenging activities.
Collis, B. & Moonev, J. (2001). Flexible Learning in a Digital World. Open and Distance Learning Series. London: Kogan Page Ltd.