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A First-Timer in an Online Group Work

istock_studentscloudxsmallI have been a DE student for more than three trimesters or one year now, but this is the first time that I get to work online with a group. First and foremost, I am a type of student who, most often than not, enjoy working alone or by myself. I think that I am more comfortable working alone because I get to consider only my schedule and my decisions in accomplishing the tasks. Even back when I was a ‘regular’ student, that is in a face-to-face learning environment, I prefer individual activities than groupings. This is perhaps because of my introverted characteristics. It’s not that I am too consumed with my thoughts, but it’s just that I feel being more productive when I am working alone.

However, I never expected that my perspective about group work is bound to change because of our first Assignment in EDS 113. We were tasked to create an Assessment Plan with several sections. It was emphasized that our participation is a must, free rides should be prohibited, and the bulk of our grades will be based on self and peer assessments. At first I thought that it would be easy to collaborate, what with the existence of very useful applications like Google docs and social networking sites with chat features like Facebook, Skype, and Google Hangouts. But when I learned that we have to make our communication visible to the teacher, and that we have to talk in our dedicated work stations, my concept of ease slowly faded away. I mean, the interface of our course site is good and I got used to it already, but I don’t think that chatting will be as easy as that with the aforementioned applications. Nevertheless, I got excited with the tasks.

My groupmates were very active during our discussions. However, our challenge is that we don’t get to be online at the same time. I understand that we have different responsibilities and schedules, so we really have to adjust and ensure active participation to be able to produce an excellent output. Producing drafts, responding to queries and the general brainstorming is really enjoyable. Everyone encouraged each other to contribute to the content and to not be afraid to share their insights. Ideas were polished and improved. If one does not agree with the idea of the other, she expresses it in a polite way. I believe that what transpired was a very productive collaborative activity among us. The task itself and the process may not be that easy, but I can say that I learned so much from the experience.

Looking into the actual task, it was not my first time to craft objectives, as we always do that back in college. The assessment part was the quite challenging one for me. There is multitude of assessment methods that we can actually incorporate and t’s naturally difficult to choose when you have a lot of choices. However, I realized that assessment should be based on the objectives. You cannot have a well-established and well-developed assessment plan if your assessment methods are not aligned with the objectives that you set at the very start of the plan. Misalignment or loopholes in the lesson plan can happen when the teacher does not consider this essential point. I learned in the previous modules that as a result of this, students being assessed might feel underestimated or at some point, the opposite might happen. Thus, it is imperative that the teacher ensures alignment not only between objectives and assessment, but also with the instructional strategies.

As I always say, the teaching profession is indeed a very challenging job. A teacher is not concerned with only one aspect of the process; everything should be considered. This is a tough call. A teacher should be very patient, resourceful, knowledgeable, and most importantly, he/she must be prepared for every demand of the field.

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Module 1: What kind of teacher am I?

I admit, it was hard to keep up with the previous week’s tasks. I mean, there’s a lot of things on my plate hence it was a bit challenging to finish everything with my disposition still intact. Nevertheless, it was rewarding to accomplish Module 1 of EDS 111 for I was able to know myself more in terms of teaching.

TPI Profile

Since I am not yet in a teaching job that I want to have, I just answered the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) based on my experience as an online trainer. After taking the survey, I learned that I am more on the Apprenticeship and Nurturing Perspectives. This means that my beliefs and intentions as to teaching is that students need to be shown how to accomplish things. It is more effective that they get to have an actual feel of how things are done in order to learn. Lessons are taught in a way that students will get to practice it in the real world. I indeed adhere for this perspective because I believe that knowledge is more inculcated when one gets to actually do it. As for the nurturing part, the teacher’s technique is work through the heart of the students. It includes motivating them, encouraging them, and giving worthy advice. I think that these two perspectives work hand in hand because in order for a learner to practice doing a skill, he/she needs to be motivated and inspired to do such.

In my case, it is a challenge to employ apprenticeship because I teach in an online platform. I only get to task my students to draft their own sentences and paragraphs which I check afterwards. I show them how to properly compose a sentence by correcting them politely and making sure that they understand why they should be written this and that way. However, not all students like to be told what to do. Thus, I should teach them according to their learning style. In that sense, I need to adjust my activities to cater each of my students. Teaching is really not a one-size-fits all process.

Similarly, teaching styles, which I believe are dictated by a person’s teaching perspectives, should also be open to changes. In the other survey that we were asked to take, I learned that I have an Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model, and Delegation styles. In a particular educational environment, teachers can employ various styles at one point in time. This is because, just like what I said, styles and strategies must cater all kinds of learners in a group. Teachers need to be adaptable and considerate.

It is important that educators are aware of their styles and perspectives so that they make their strategies more effective. It can also allow them to be have a control of the learning that may take place. And most importantly, knowing these things can help teachers to improve themselves professionally, and to some extent, personally. I appreciate our Module 1 because I become grounded to these concepts and it inspired me to be a better trainer/teacher (in the future!). 🙂

 

References:

Grasha, A. F. (1994). A matter of style: The teacher as expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator. College Teaching, 42(4), 142-149.

Pratt, D., Collins, J.B., & Selinger, S. (2001). Development and use of the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI). Unpublished paper presented at the 2001 AERA annual conference, Seattle, Washington, USA.