My results from the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) were not a total surprise, interestingly my results are concurrent with Collins et al (2010) findings of the majority of teachers, it great to be average. My most dominant perspective being nurturing, with apprenticeship, developmental and transmission following with very little difference between the scores. Social reform trailed in last place. When I explore these results in detail my overall scores fall in the mid thirties, with nurturing tipping into the forties, which also recorded the highest internal consistency.
Looking and the sub-scores in the next two perspectives, they reveal discrepancies between my beliefs and actions, which I think are due to a number of factors outside of my control. My belief scores are the lowest in all perspectives, and action scores for the three highest perspectives being the same and quite high at 13. Initially I wasn’t disappointed that social reform score the lowest, I don’t see how I can nurture students and strive for social reform and the same time, or perhaps I’m just not that evolved.
However, when I reread Pratt (1998) statement that:’ Teachers holding a social reform perspective are most interested in creating a better society and view their teaching as contributing to that end. I did feel that perhaps a little aggrieved, after reflection on this off several weeks I am still uncertain fthis is an unwilling to develop this perspectives an educator. Or perhaps the result of constraints of my current teaching role, or even a lack of confidence, after all I now teach my peers, which brings different expectations and new challenges.
I was partly relieved that my transmission score was the second lowest, its the approach that I find the least rewarding. In my experience as a learner it did not engage me or encourage interaction with my peers or cohort or the teacher. Although there is some value to teacher-led education, Pratt & Collins (2000). For example, when a student’s need to memorize a shopping list of facts for a routine list of examinations initially, for me it feels too passive, not student focused. I think it relies too heavily on some assumptions, that the educator has expert knowledge which they can reliably transfer.
In my experience it can and often does neglect the needs of the learners, both individually and as a cohort. As an educator it bores me and that’s not great for my students, it brings up memories of an a old fashioned, outdated, last century approach to teaching which is nether rewarding or enjoyable. More interestingly for me is to explore the potential drawbacks of my current dominate perspectives, if I want to become a more effective educator perhaps its the logical place to look first.
Although I am beginning to appreciate that I may not be very logical in my approach to teaching at all and It is unlikely that my teaching perspectives will change greatly, even with this new awareness. I appreciate the TPI does not indicate this, but for me the results also reflect some of my core beliefs. However, I am open to exploring a deeper understanding how | could meet the learning needs of my students in an more beneficial way. Critically assessing my personal conceptions may help me explore some alternative approaches and offer insights into my colleagues approaches too.
Perhaps just learning more about both the benefits and drawbacks of my own dominate perspectives will reveal other areas that could be explored or changed without undue pain on either side. Leamon et al. (2005) I acknowledge my own resistance, not to adapting or change ,but to getting it wrong and my students being negatively affected, isn’t this one of the reasons why we teacher often just repeat what we did last time. My objective as an educator has always been to be a positive and beneficial catalyst in my student journey of learning.
Despite some awful personal learning experiences, I am eternally curious about learning, as long as it gives me the opportunity to ask questions. So it was somewhat shocking and worrying to read in Collins et al (2010) report that my dominate perspective may actually be restricting rather than enhancing a student progress. This presents some big questions. How do effective educators judge and manage this dilemma. Are we (1) guilty of patronising our students when we do hold back.
Making the assumption that they are not ready or you won’t understand this yet. Although I never actually said those words, I believe | have done this in the past, but I recall early this year discussing this with a teaching colleague without reaching a satisfactory solution. I am mindful that I have also tried exactly the opposite approach with some stating that they did in fact feel overwhelmed, confused? Solam. Early I discussed the inconsistencies in my sub scores, perhaps this explains why.
When I critical assess my perspectives after a longer period of self reflection, it seems to me that in practice l blend two perspectives; nurturing with apprenticeship. Students benefit from my extensive hands on experience. I believe it makes me a more authentic and perhaps more effective teacher. Mckimm et al (2014). It is also an essential requirement of my role, so am just performing as required. There a little need for me formally demonstrate, and aim not to be prescriptive if I do, so | don’t feel I confirm to all aspects of the apprenticeship perspective.
I see little value in students “doing things the way! do” Leamon et al. (2005) I appreciate that there is an instructional process that used across other aspects of their learning, which is useful for most students. it provides a framework for students to gain confidence and explore with their peers. It was how I was taught so once again it feels familiar and comfortable. However, it results in a expectation of consistency across departments, which can make students passive and unimaginative in their learning.
This highlighted another issue that I hear raised often, we discussed it as cohort of educators during our first day together. How do teachers put aside their personal experiences of learning be they positive or negative to become effective educators. As this is often one of their drivers to becoming teacher isn’t it one of our core beliefs. Collins et al (2010) report states that as useful as it may be for educators to clarify their teaching perspective we should be mindful that the findings of the TPI does not imply that one approach is better than another.
Mckimm et al (2014) reminds us that an clinical effective teacher is a facilitator who is skilled at managing a group of learners. They also highlight the importance of understanding group dynamics to help manage the differing needs of each student. As a crucial skill which underpins becoming an effective teacher I’m not sure that I was ever formally trained in this skill. I feel fairly comfortable within my current teaching and managing the groups but mindful that familiarity does not mean my teaching is effective for the students.
Fortunately the majority of my students are very engaged with their own learning and able to support each other, I can create supportive environment for them to become skilled at sharing ideas. To some degree this reflects strongly some of my more positive experiences in my own clinical teaching, or am I just moulding them to my way, too many questions.
I know that my current favored perspectives can be demanding but when Pratt & Collins (2000) suggest that “The teacher in a nurturing approach needs to adopt a highly dedicated and unselfish approach, putting the demands and needs of the learner first. Pratt & Collins (2000) it doesn’t sound like me. Brookfield (1997) argues that a nurturing approach is probably the most labour-intensive of all the teaching models, requiring a deep understanding on the part of the teacher of each learner and that learner’s needs; It the element of teaching I enjoy the most, getting to know students and observing their blossoming and growing skill and confidence. | do spend time considering the students needs when I prepare teaching materials, perhaps too much time.
Each person learning experience and needs is individual Leamon et al. (2000) working with adult learners means that they should be taking more responsibly for their learning and perhaps my approach spoon feeds them too much. With each new intake I take the time to investigate how they like to learn, in groups in their own, by exploration, exhaustive note taking or observation. I reflected on this during the students end of years assessments, was my approach useful or an obstacle.
Over the last year I took some time to observe other people teaching in clinical environments, the result has been me feeling more comfortable standing back more, giving students space to explore and reflect. Previously I would have stepped in too quickly, believing it was helpful. Quite reasonably some saw my intervention as taking over, or worse as undermining, which was not my intention at all. It may have been an appropriate thing for the patient, but my role was and is to facilitate the student progress and build their confidence.
This was a real wake up call. Mckimm et al (2014) study suggest that student gain the most from clinical experience when they feel appreciated and valued, I know I did. In conclusion, I want students to find my teaching sessions informative, rewarding and enjoyable. I believe that the most rewarding learning experiences are ones where students feel valued, able to engage and comfortable to participate at level to suits them. To that aim as educators if we have a better understanding of how we teach the more effective we can become.