Pg Cert Cohort Seminar 2 on Models and theories of learning, and values and knowledge in teaching.

Pre-reading.

Pre reading – Vilhauer Garamers – Ethics of play by Monica Vilhauer

Philosophical hermeneutics – understanding methodology and interpretation of esp. texts, literature and philosophy!

….my initial reaction was “what’s has this got to do with the outline of the session?”. I am still trying to get to grips with some of the basic classroom management stuff; is the philosophy of education and educational studies taking it a step too far for me? Feeling unsure about my interpretations of this reading, I checked with a colleague. Was I getting this right? Yes! Similar thoughts had also occurred during their engagement. I started to feel more confident.

Whilst I found the philosophical style difficult at first, there were areas that I could identify with.  Although not a practical piece of work, I could somehow make connections and visualise in my own ways what the author was discussing.  We have all watched small children play the back and forth, imitation; of course that’s how you learn; however I guess I hadn’t thought about the intangibles that sit alongside this. The emotions, the exchanges, the to and fro, the assimilation that take place between subject and subject matter.

I have struggled to evaluate exactly what I got from the reading, and how to summarise.  Upon reading the text again (several  times over), I made the following connections, which I have broadly listed as bullet points under the heading student, teacher and questions this text left me with.

I am still feeling unsure if my interpretations are valuable. I am guessing that in some way they answer the outline of the session: Models of theories and learning.  Values and knowledge in teaching.

Students

  • In our early education we visualise before we read. Play forms a critical part in completing the process in the early years. Why or should this change as we get older?
  • Objects can be a good way to make connections and bring a picture to life. Knowledge or meaning to individuals have been communicated through the interactions. The act of play or an encounter transcends all sectors, material types and delivery etc.
  • Students’ interpretive actions of what is being presented to them. We cannot control their experience / interaction with the text or subject matter. There will always be variability in the act of engagement depending on the players.  Interpretation is personal to each encounter with it.
  • Any act of interpretation within the experience can change a student’s perception. When students recognise new material and facts they add to their knowledge. Giving it a presence?
  • The new knowledge gained and once assimilated, builds to connect concepts and transforms them into more recognisable forms?

Teaching

  • The act of teaching presents an opportunity for knowledge. As teachers we need to shine a light on new ideas that might be hidden or unknown to our audience.  At the same time we need to be accepting of others’ views towards these – they might be different.
  • Teaching can be seen as a larger act. Something from which all the subjects can gain to a greater or lesser degree. This will depending on how deeply they interact with the event and feel they belong?
  • Teachers need to be responsive. Making adjustments to ensure participants remain engaged with the play. Back and forth presenting and recognising.
  • There are many levels of teaching from interaction; to interpretive processes of working with others. Uncovering knowledge for others, allows a transformation to take place. Bringing something to life allowing others to access it.
  • Teaching requires focus, meaningful articulation and passion to be effective. Material selection needs to be focused and articulated in an engaging way to be effective. A teacher needs to be committed.
  • Students can voluntarily or involuntarily join in playing with the subject. Sometimes joining in is not instinctive. As teaches we need to guide students to make that right choice, in joining us to play.
  • You need to engage with others in the same game. Full engagement is difficult to achieve it requires commitment and achievement in tasks. Respect.
  • Cast a spell drawing in a student, keeping them there, making them become caught up.
  • Classroom should be non-judgemental. Understand why somebody doesn’t want to join in. Create a feeling of community / cohesion in the classroom. Need to be open to interpretations of the text.
  • The participation – student centred learning involves the participant. Can this be more effective then lecture style presentations where a student can look without participation?
  • Getting students to devote attention is the hardest part, activities need to be considered with the act of intended play (LO’s) considered before the material.
  • Teachers need to provoke a response in students, in what we present and in asking questions.
  • Teaching and learning should be an enriching experience allowing us to contrast understanding of the greater world around us.
  • Negative feedback about your interpretations can cause a player to become disengaged, a world not accessible to them. Feedback should be about the progress made and not what hasn’t be done.
  • Recognising can help engagement re-focusing a student’s attention. Praise and interaction.
  • Repetition shows acknowledgement of the objects or facts. (surface learning) Application shows a sharing in knowledge which can be enriching or transformational (deep learning). Encourage individuality, but with connections with the original. To uncover original work rather than copies.  It is originality that pushes the concept forwards.
  • The subject with which we play needs to be part of the wider curriculum. Communication and connection of material to assessment and curriculum.  Connections needs to be made through the material presented (an act of play) and output – scaffolding in the institutional objectives, course, modules, assessment and onwards life progression.

The questions this text left me with:

  • The text implies there is always another involved in the interactions play. Can you not learn on your own or does the ‘other’ become the object? Can genuine new knowledge only be sort with our full involvement? Do all our interactions need to be conscious? I am sure I have learnt many things unconsciously.
  • Through the text the author considers one way communication. What about those factors that provide white noise in today’s society, distrusting the act of play?  Does the subject have any choice over them?
  • The text also considers that all participants come to the event prepared to play. Some students just admit they aren’t that interested. There for other reasons than those intended? What happens when the object with which we play holds no appeal? How do the student’s intentions / attitudes effect the way they interact?
  • What exactly does the word understanding mean? To what depth?
  • The text only considers the transaction to take place with fill participation. Surely participation of some any kind is better than none?
  • Whilst an individual response is heart-warming – we as teachers have to teach within a framework that confines individual response. How can you balance both?
  • What happens when we don’t understand? Not though lack of play, but limitations with our intellect?
  • One point I did note. The bias towards the learner being ‘he’ in the text!

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