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Teachers of Today – Who They Are and What They Need to Know

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Assignment 2 – Paper – Teachers of Today – who they are and what they need to know Word count (2,382): Final Word count (2,264): INTRODUCTION Exciting, and rewarding are just some characteristics that explain teaching. Overcoming anxiety and nerves in the first year is our greatest challenge. Moving into the classroom for the first time can be a daunting and challenging experience for everyone. You are required to immediately equip four years of knowledge into your teaching and classroom management. While this may seem to be a difficult time, it will only get easier.

There are many rewards with being a teacher, however it is important to note that it is not a role to be taken lightly – it is a difficult role to fill. As teachers, we need to understand that every child will learn differently. No matter their culture, gender or socioeconomic status, so as teachers you have to encourage and have a level field in your classrooms. You have to know how to reach each student. As teachers you need to let the students know that they don’t have to follow the stereotyped roles of society.

The teachers of 2010 and beyond will face many challenges that we are currently unaware of. What we can do to prepare for those challenges is look at where things may be headed in terms of technology and population and cultural diversity. PROFESSIONALISM & TECHNOLOGY “A professional doesn’t view his or her profession as a just a job, but rather sees it as a calling that is all about caring for children” – Kramer, 2003, p. 23 As an independent Australian Comics publisher (and short film producer), professionalism is what helps us stand out from the crowd.

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Look and presentation is vital, we have to stick to various guidelines depending on your audience and where we are showcasing, all this requires some serious decision making and - when dealing with multiple artists – juggling some serious egos! Developing and maintaining relationships with other artists is imperative for us to continue to grow, and is just as important to the relationship of student and teacher. We need to keep up to date with market, media and consumer trends just as both students and teachers must with syllabus and curriculum... nd indeed those same market, media and consumer trends. Change and adaption is incredibly important as well, because without it you can't move forward or stay fresh. To be a professional teacher you can't be a dictator, but more of great artist whose success is drawn from the love of the craft, nurturing the medium and understanding what the final masterpiece is meant to convey. In 2010 and beyond, our classrooms will transform into more of a technological teaching and learning environment. There are many new ways students can research information they need through resources such as the Internet.

Teaching has also been altered, with the use of interactive whiteboards. To fulfil a professional role as a teacher, there are many different aspects to consider and behaviours to demonstrate. As role-models, these will pave the way for the students to become more professional themselves. It is important for a teacher to relate to each student in a professional manner. There are many ways to tutor students through advancements in technology such as the Internet, thus expanding the opportunities to be passed on to a new generation.

Teachers should always teach with passion and a burning desire to touch hearts and change lives. Remember: it’s not just a job - it’s an honour. MOTIVATION and TEACHING STRATEGIES The description of motivation and the descriptions of the many various differing theoretical explanations for them are as follows... The process of motivation itself is – simply put – starting towards a goal and keeping on the path until you achieve the goal. (Eggen and Kauchak 2010). An individual may well have different ideas in mind when achieving heir goals – whether they are moved by an extrinsic motivation (ie: the need to get there simply as a means to an end) or intrinsic motivation (doing it for the love of the subject) – the results are the same and both methods are valid. Admittedly, if you enjoy a subject it will give you more value as it will your teacher/s, but striving for that end result regardless will be an achievement. There are various theories of motivation, which shall be dealt with below. Through various cognitive theories, we know people really need to understand the world and their experiences to make sense of them and their place in that world.

They can be as follows: Need for Self-Determination: this is where an individual feels the need to act on and control their environment to understand it – to have choices and to decide what they want to do. Praise, offers of help and other emotional factors can also be a part of self-determination. Need for Autonomy: here the individual feels the need to not only act on their environment, but to alter it to their way of thinking so that they can relate to it and learn more effectively.

Need for Relatedness: this is where an individual feels the need for social connection and approval to facilitate their learning. Indeed, this factor is quite important as it fulfils the desire for approval and positive judging. Need to Preserve Self-Worth: simply put – this is the need to feel important – whether this is in a family group, friends, employment or any other social aspect – if we feel intelligent and important then our ability to learn likewise grows. Belief about future outcomes: This is a very personal part of learning and unique to each individual.

The ability to guesstimate what the outcome of a project will be based upon your own knowledge of your capabilities will greatly influence your learning skills – the more you think you can, you will (Little Engine That Could – Watty Piper - 1930) Beliefs about Intelligence: the belief that you can or can NOT do a task will have a huge psychological impact upon your learning abilities. This can also be influenced by outside positive and negative feedback from others. Unless you are rock-solid positive you can do something despite negative criticism, that very criticism can undermine your belief in your own intelligence.

The challenge is to find motivators for each and every student and use these to engage them in their education and learning. In terms of teaching and learning, motivation is the engagement that students have in their studies, and the efforts that they make to achieve their goals. Motivation can be split into two types, refer to Table 1. 1. Understanding student motivation is vital to the development of effective teaching strategies and necessary to discover different approaches to motivation and how these impact classroom decisions. pic] (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010) Table 1. 1 – Types of Motivation The behaviourist approach suggests that a student will gain a reward, either extrinsic or intrinsic, then the individual will be motivated to complete the task so as to receive it. From this we can determine that reward systems within the classroom can be used to increase student motivation, however Eggen and Kauchak (2010) stress that extrinsic rewards should be used to increase intrinsic motivation so as to promote learner independence.

As teaching moves forward into 2010 and beyond, behaviourism is amongst the many learning theories in practice that is essential to good teaching. With diverse backgrounds and environmental factors, watching for the appropriate and inappropriate key behaviours in students is a complicated process in assuring desired behaviour is maintained. The cognitive approach suggests teachers should model how to claim responsibility for their success and failures, and should acknowledge that with additional effort past failures can be used as a learning tool.

The Individuals’ Memory Stores play an important role, which contains the sensory memory to capture stimuli, working memory, phonological loop for words and sounds, and our visual-spatial sketch pad for our visual and spatial surroundings. All these various processes are active when we learn, and are fascinating examples of how the human mind operates. The humanist approach to motivation is dominated by the belief that all individuals have a number of needs that must be fulfilled (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010). These needs are categorised in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs outlined in figure 2. . The hierarchy suggests that if any of the lower level needs are not met then it is not possible for higher order ones to be fulfilled. Teachers must understand that these needs will not always be fulfilled within the home environment and various programs can be established to aid students when the home environment fails. [pic] (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010) Figure 2. 2 – Maslows’s Hierarch of Needs We must also remember that an integral aspect of motivation lies in aiming towards a particular achievement, or goal. A goal is an outcome that an individual is striving to achieve.

Goals can be divided into four different types, see table 3. 3. [pic] (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010) Table 3. 3 – Types of Goals Classical conditioning is yet another form of learning that occurs when an individual produces an involuntary emotional or physiological response, similar to instinct or reflex (Pavlov, 1927). Figure 4. 4 (below) outlines the concepts in greater detail. [pic] (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010) Figure 4. 4 - Classical Conditioning Operant conditioning is where a response changes in frequency or duration as a result of a consequence (Skinner, 1953).

This can be presented through either positive or negative reinforcement or through the presentation or removal of a punishment and shaping (Premack, 1965). Operant Conditioning can have a negative impact if used incorrectly, which can result in students not feeling safe, stressed and anxious about their environment. Constructivist Learning Theory is a theory that seems like common sense when you think about it, stating that learners create their own knowledge of topics they study as opposed to simply recording that information. Piaget 1952/ Vygotsky 1978). There are two primary perspectives for Constructivism: Cognitive Constructivism – focuses on internal construction of knowledge. Social Constructivism – focuses on constructing knowledge socially before internalising. Cognitive Apprenticeships is a process designed to places less able learners with more able ones to assist in developing their abilities. Peer-to-peer assistance provides many characteristics that assist learners through a new teaching experience.

Some of these are modelling (watching demonstrations), scaffolding (being asked questions to prompt their learning), verbalisation (expressing their beliefs), increasing complexity (which does what the name implies) and exploration (finding new ways to use knowledge). This tool allows teachers to monitor other less able students, knowing that appropriate peer-to-peer learning is being undertaken with other less able students. The learning process of students will be influenced by many factors as you can see above.

As they do, we need to keep a watchful eye on how they unfold. The challenge of teachers in 2010 and beyond is to find these motivators for each and every student and use them to engage them in education and learning. In the end, when teachers effectively motivate students their interest will increase along with their ability to learn. COMMITMENT and CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT When committing to creating a productive learning environment, the developmental stage of students should be considered.

High-school students have different capabilities of primary-school students, so their classroom activities need to be more challenging (Eggen and Kauchak, 2010). Younger students are more responsive to concrete examples, while older students are capable of understanding theories and complex situations. If computer software is to be used in the classroom, it should be tailored to those stages of development. Younger students would require simple interfaces, less challenging problems, frequent feedback and recognition of achievement.

Classroom management will also determine how effective the teaching is. Part of effective management is setting rules and procedures, and following them throughout the entire study period. The selection of topics attracts several issues. For the most part, teachers will be following a curriculum, but will prefer to place emphasis on particular sections of this framework. Their own personal knowledge and commitment, as well as the information that they deem important and useful, contributes to the various topics. There is also a need to plan how these topics will be delivered.

Traditional instruction using lectures provides little interaction and feedback, so other strategies need to be looked at and implemented. The author Tony Newton intends to try and maintain a level of control using humour in much the same way his own third grade teachers did when he was young. Keeping in mind all the various technologies and ground rules that have to be in place, as well as students’ abilities and social interaction, (Maximizing the Time and Opportunity for Learning – Eggen and Kauchak, 2010 – pg 355) a classroom MUST be organised, arranged appropriately and personal.

For Mr. Newton’s own class, he also firmly believe if kids have fun, they will learn more. Then we have Ability Grouping, being the practice of sorting students into groups of similar intelligence/ learning capabilities. We need to remember that if we begin segregating students early on, then those who are quicker cannot scaffold or mentor the slower ones up to speed. Social ramifications here are also dangerous where those smarter think they may be “better” than their less able peers... and friendships can then also suffer.

Tolerance and assistance must be cultivated to prevent these prejudices from booming out of proportion in later life. CONCLUSION The theories of learning and teaching covered above provide useful background information for new teachers entering the workforce. Situations that we encounter will be unique, though it is always beneficial to be prepared and plan for the journey ahead. Reviewing literature and applying some of these techniques can assist with understanding how people learn, different teaching methods, and the factors to consider when building a classroom.

Moving forward into 2010, teachers are advised to consider these theories and incorporate many different levels of educational tools, through appropriate modes, that assist in developing the students’ learning construction. Although we do not know what classrooms will be like in the future, this is something that we actually determine ourselves. When we are first starting out, we will need to create our own style and approach, making up our own rules. Although teachers are expected to give instruction, it is still a learning experience.

Thankfully there are a lot of resources at our disposal. Remember to keep improving our teaching craft, and we will be able to adapt to the demands of classrooms in 2010 and beyond. Reference List Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations on Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman. Borko, H. , and Putnam R. (1996). Handbook of educational psychology. Macmillan; United States of America. Eggen, P. , and Kauchak, D. (2010).

Educational Psychology: Windows On Classrooms (8th ed. ). In H. Gardner, and S. Moran, The Science of Multiple Intelligences Theory. United States of America: Pearson International. Mayer, R. , (2002). Teaching of subject matter. Annual review of psychology,55, 715-744. Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned Reflexes translated by G V Anrep. Oxford University Press, London, England. Piaget, J. (1977). Problems in quilibration. In M. Appel, and L. Goldberg, Topics in cognitive development: Vol. 1. Equilibration: Theory, research, and application. New York: Plenum Press. Premack, D. 1965). Reinforcement theory. In D. Levine (Ed. ), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (Vol. 13, pp. 3-41). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and Human Behavior. New York. Macmillan. Woolfolk, A. , and Margetts,K. (2007). Educational psychology. Sydney, Australia: Pearson Education Australia. Vinesh Chandra and Darrell L. Fisher (2009). Students' Perceptions of a Blended Web-Based Learning. Environment. Learning Environ Res. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. The Little Engine That Could – Watty Piper - 1930

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