On February 3rd I taught a 10 minute lesson on the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants to my classmates. Micro-teaching to my classmates provided me with an excellent opportunity to receive valuable feedback on my teaching practice. I was able to get an outside perspective as well as information on how I made my ‘students’ feel. Having a set model to teach to provided me with a structure to follow and I found that my method (Concept Attainment Method) lent itself very well to the sciences. I found it was useful because it is particularly good at comparing different things which science (especially biology) involves very often. I thought this method provided a good opportunity for students to create meaning in their own words which hopefully helped with understanding.
It was great having a video of my teaching in order to view and reflect on afterwards. Having this to play back has helped me to see some of the things that I didn’t realize I was doing. One thing I found from the video is that I never spent enough time at the beginning of the lesson explaining the process of what we were doing to my students. I think if I was clearer at the beginning students would have been less confused and hesitant once we began the lesson. In response to this confusion I did emphasize halfway through that, “confusion is good right now” which the students and observers recognized as helpful to the class. Another thing that I picked up from the video is that I could have slowed down and took my time more. I remember at the time feeling like I was rushing although upon watching the video I saw I had more than enough time at the end and could have asked a couple more questions to gauge understanding. A third thing I noticed is how small I write in front of the class. This wasn’t so much of an issue in a class of 10 students close to you however in a larger class I definitely need to keep this in mind.
The student and observer feedback that I received was extremely positive. It was said that I had a very good, comfortable presence on a lot of the comments. I found this comforting because sometimes I feel nervous and that I am rushing. Knowing it doesn’t appear this way is nice. Everyone also enjoyed the visuals that I provided and how I incorporated them into the lesson. I could have made my printing neater however some students said that combined with the visuals served to engage them. One thing that really stuck out was how everyone said I did a good job of relating the vascular tissues to something my students were familiar with. I appreciated this comment because in ESCI we are learning that making a connection between what science says and the students know is the most important role of the teacher. When I used Landon’s circulatory system example to extend into what vascular tissue does the class said that it was far easier to make a connection than when they were presented with complex scientific terms. Finally another comment that was repeated often was that I did a good job of emphasizing why we should care at the end of the lesson and providing examples of what the differences may mean in my students lives.
I felt like this process helped me to gain confidence first in myself and second in the practices that I have learned in education so far. I really enjoyed this model because I felt like I was building to a better understanding as I went along. It got me excited to watch my class slowly come to an understanding of the concepts I was presenting them (in their own words). This process has definitely given me a lot of meaningful feedback to consider moving forward. I think that experiences like this help me to become more comfortable with myself in front of the class which in turn allows me to focus more on my students and how they understand. This process has served to affirm that the theory I’m learning is extremely practical and that I am capable of applying it in the way it is meant to be used. I’m excited to have more opportunities to teach and learn more about myself and my teaching practice.
My Student and Observer Feedback: