EDS 111 – Principles of Teaching

There’s More In Teaching Than Meets The Eye

I was a critical student, whoever was in front of the class facilitating the discussion will be scrutinized by my eyes. Every teacher that I had met for the first week of each school year was sized up by how she/he spoke, how she/he made eye contact with us and how she/he conducted herself/himself when in the classroom. Funny though, because I didn’t know much about the subject yet and definitely I knew nothing about checking a teacher’s mastery of the subject. Nevertheless I did this my whole college life.

I equated my teacher’s mastery of the topic with how he taught us in the class, for me if the teacher has mastery of the subject/discipline then he should be able to teach us what he knows well, I should be able to understand the subject clearly and deeply.

You can’t teach what you don’t know. That was the notion I stood on before this module. It was very rigid, inconsiderate and unfair. Not to mention, it sounded very ignorant. Ignorant of the truth and reality that yes a person can be so knowledgeable about a discipline but is not skilled to impart that knowledge especially to a group of people with different learning abilities. I remember one professor in one of my law subjects, she would discuss a couple of articles in our class per session, and she would cite other articles that may sound almost the same but once studied thoroughly one would know that the articles are not the same. Every question we had thrown at her was answered completely but, what we were looking for was a practical application for better understanding.  We were told that she has not lost any case from the time she started her law practiced however, imparting that knowledge to us was a different story.

Well at some point we could also say that it’s true, a teacher could not teach what she does not know. For example, one of my professors in college had an emergency at home and she had to go home to attend to it, she asked a good friend of hers to man our class because we can’t be loitering around in the university. Since this other teacher was teaching a different subject she was not able to continue the discussion from where we left off the last time.

Knowing how to teach ones mastery of knowledge is not enough, integration of technology is a necessity. The benefits of including technology in education stretch from teachers’ convenience in simplifying a complex study, real time monitor of students understanding, to students’ freedom and creativity in conveying their understanding of what was studied and their access to different information available from all over the world to substantiate their understanding. But including technology in the picture of teaching could also be another concern that teachers have to deal with. As we all know technology cannot be boxed or contained, so a non-techie person like me will not just learn the appropriate tools (e.g. specific apps or software) that I should use but, to also be confident in navigating the tools with all it’ complexities to feel comfortable using them to help my students reach their full potential.

I have very little interaction with technology compared to those people around me, I only use a laptop for my work and maintained needed apps in my mobile and laptop, those are only related to my work and this study which are very few compared to the numbers of apps commonly used now. I just have a couple of maintained social media as well and seldom open and checks posts of other people. As a soon to be full pledge teacher, this attitude has to be changed, I have to embrace the need to use technology not just for teaching purposes but to also use it to get the attention of the students or else it’ll be so hard for me to reach out to them and have a good vibrant engagement. This is one of those few things in this module that sticks to me so much. I have to let go of my thinking that technology is just an add-on, a class can live without it. Now I know that it’s a misguided notion, with technology come various activities for teaching, real time feedback, quicker access to information, collaboration of ideas with fellow classmates is unlimited, the list could just go on and on. So for me who stayed away from technology will have to embrace the joys it brings to learning.

Having technology alone is not enough to impart knowledge without a teacher with good content knowledge. A teacher with a good teaching skill would know what technology to use for a specific study/discipline.  We cannot over emphasize the importance of the 3 knowledge and how strongly they are interconnected in providing education to a diverse group of learners.

Reference:
1. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Arizona State University. (2017). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) [Video file]
2. : What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? (Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2006). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.)
3. Singapore’s 21st-Century Teaching Strategies (Education Everywhere Series) [Youtube]