The module for this week discussed about the knowledge base of teachers as well as the concept of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. Before studying the modules, my mind is closed to thinking that the most important thing educators must focus on is their expertise or the content of their lessons. While this may be true, knowledge should not be limited to content alone, as there are also other categories of knowledge that a teacher must learn.
As an online trainer to Japanese students, I get to experience using various technologies to effectively teach English lessons to them. First off, I familiarized myself with the features of the video conferencing software, Skype. It was not difficult since I already had an experience using this application. However, using it for the actual class is a bit challenging especially when students want to share their outputs with me through the share screen feature. Also, some students are not familiar with the usage of Skype, thus I also need to give them instructions so that we can proceed with our lesson.
This experience that I shared to you implies that a teacher’s knowledge must encompass, aside from content, principle and strategies in managing the [virtual] classroom, the characteristics of the learners, as well as the management of the whole educational system, among others. This will allow him/her to harmonize everything and deliver quality education to students. In the example, it is pertinent that I know how to use the technology/online platform to ensure that our class can maximize academic instruction. It is also of equal importance that I know the ability and level of understanding of my students, as well as their attitudes towards the class, so that I can adjust to them.
I believe that there are various sources of knowledge for teachers, be it references, colleagues, research findings, media, and even their own observation. Therefore, the ways on how to improve and expand their knowledge base is also numerous. For one, teachers can attend conferences and seminars, conduct research studies, and collaborate with their colleagues in order to continually progress in their field.
As with the issue of technological knowledge to be used in coherence with pedagogical and content knowledge, not all teachers are receptive with the new educational technologies introduced to them. Some are even afraid to use them because they might end up unsuccessful in the pursuit of their teaching goals. Thus, the educational institution, together with the government, must exert efforts to encourage educators in utilizing various technologies for teaching. They must extend adequate financial and moral support to inspire teachers to be better in their profession.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi: 10.1111/j.1467- 9620.2006.00684.x.
Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57, 1-21