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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Critical review of teaching practice

The Context;

The teaching session that I planned my learner centred learning around was a three hour block focusing on an introduction to the Human Rights Act.  This was a class-room based session requiring the students to re-search the Human Rights (HR) website for information. The group are level three Travel and Tourism certificate students, the mix consists of 18 females and two males, age range 17-30 years old.

Facilitation approach and style;

I have taught this session only once in the past, so knew that there was alot of important information to get across to the students.  I did not want this to be a pour and store or passive session for the students so set about designing a session plan that focused on them exploring the topic. The session plan is attached, click on the link below;

I considered the learning sequence (Link to learning sequences ) of the session and thought about how I wanted to build on each of the informational sections so that by the end of the class they had an idea of the bigger picture.  I had considered what the learning outcomes of this session would be and worked backwards with my session plan creating a mind map quiz with all the areas that I wanted to be covered in the lesson. (Human Rights mindmap activity)  They were given this near the end of the class to fill out so that it could assist them in answering their assessment questions.
The session began by being facilitator driven, I posed a series of questions and directed them to the HRA website.  The power point outlined the main provisions of the Act to save time and help them focus on the main points.
The series of activities that were given to the students were designed to promote discussion, help familiarise them around the website and help grow their confidence in speaking to the whole class.

Activity one; In pairs review two examples of Human Rights complaints and discuss your common sense answers, present these to the class.
This was designed to promote discussion and expose the students to the type of human rights issues that have arisen in employment and pre-employment environments in New Zealand.

Activity two; After reviewing examples of student handbooks and paragraphs on harassment in your groups, construct a paragraph that highlights employees expected code of conduct.
This was designed to promote research into the definition of different types of harassment, discussion on how to construct an informative paragraph, using the examples as a guide.

Activity three; In groups read through the Human Rights case studies, using the website list the procedure for making a complaint and give a possible solution.  Present your findings to the class.
The intention was twofold here, to look at Human Rights cases that made a difference and to explore how to make a complaint finding out what possible solutions there were.

Rationale for using LCL approach;
I have learnt the importance of getting to know the learner and their learning style through adult learning theories in earlier posts, see link,
Link to Adult Learning theory in flexible learning
I value and understand the importance of variety in preparing for a teaching session as Robert Gagne (1985) states;

  • Different instruction is required for different learning outcomes (e.g. Facilitator instruction, questioning, directing, visual powerpoint, research, activities in pairs, groups, individuals)
  • Events of learning operate on the learner in ways that constitute the conditions of learning(class environment, structure of content, exploring small pieces then fitting it all together) )
  • The specific operations that constitute instructional events are different for each different type of learning outcome (variety of content, activities e.g. mind maps, written instruction and research) 
  • Learning hierarchies define what intellectual skills are to be learned and a sequence of instruction. (See an earlier post linking the formulating of ideas or facts - making connections - and applying it (I.C.E.).  This follows the learning patterns and behaviours of adults which, in theory should have a process of growth and deeper learning. I.C.E. model)
The type and delivery of instruction would have an effect on whether the learning was deep or surface. Ramsden (1988) sees deep learning as one that 'relates theoretical ideas to everyday experience' and surface learning as 'facts and concepts (that) are associated unreflectively'.  Based on these theories I structured my class accordingly see above (in bold).

Changes to my approach;
The main change I would make for next time would be the in the seating position of the students.  The room layout is very challenging with round tables and fixed computers and a long narrow structure.  Less students than usual were at this session and spread themselves through the whole room.  This made the activities challenging when the student was required to speak.  There is opportunity to close off one half of the room, but these decisions are based on hindsight and how many students are there for the class.
The group activity did not engage all the students and the obstruction of the computers created barriers which limited their interaction with each other.  In future I may plan the activity so that they move their chairs in a circle and give them cut up sentences of code of conduct's and encourage them to produce a paragraph.  This way there are no barriers and they each contribute a card to the activity.

Observers feedback;
Link to Observation feedback.  I found the experience of having my teaching observed a very positive process, not only in terms of having constructive feedback given but also in the level of forward planning involved, thinking more deeply about all aspects of the classroom experience.
The feedback given was very detailed and gave me opportunity to reflect on the areas where the student engagement did wonder.  During the session I did find myself 'reflecting in action' e.g. How can I ensure that all these students are engaged in this activity?
Also 'on action' e.g. How can I look at ways to change the student group dynamic to help all of them engage?
These are the main points I have taken from the feedback;

  • Break up the activities giving less scenarios
  • Build on the key points by giving each group a key question and feeding onto the WB to build up the complete picture
  • Give a brief summary before the break
This process has helped me to focus on some of the straight forward areas that get forgotten in the drive to get the information across, e.g. room set up, outline and summary.  Most importantly how to create meaningful ways to engage the learner so that they can formulate the facts, make connections and apply them.


Retrieved May 16 2013 from;

 Gagne, R. (1985). The Conditions of Learning (4th.). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Retrieved May 16 2013 from


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Whoops typos in my comment last time round!

    A great reflection on your teaching session Helen. I'll email your feedback to you. :-)