September 26, 2010

Initial Assessent

I would say that the vast majority of my teaching skills have been self taught. I have my teaching qualifications but they are generic rather than subject specific. I have a friend who is a maths teacher at a secondary school who has been invaluable in terms of letting me have resources and helpful suggestions. At the WEA we work very independently and rarely meet other tutors let alone numeracy specialists. I work a lot on instinct and trial and error. If a student has difficulty with a subject I work hard to relate it to everyday life and something they would use- I find many students understand how to do something if they know what is being asked of them (eg relating decimals to money always helps).  Most difficulty is in interpreting the question. For those students where this is not the case I would find it really helpful to have some underpinning knowledge and theory of how to unravel the problem.

I feel I do have enough subject knowledge as I have always found maths relatively straightforward at this level (not so much when it came to vectors!).

My barriers to learning which we completed in class all related round time. I have given up being a Chair of Governors at my son's school this year to free up some time but this is a perennial problem of mine. I have such a full calendar now I am really worried how I can do all the work- lots of late nights coming up I think. My personal (therapy) work has become quieter at the moment which is a blessing in a way but rubbish financially. I need it to get busier to pay the bills but then to fit in studying- I will do it but its a worry.

One target I would set myself is to be more organised in my teaching (the irony in this is that I have a reputation amongst my friends of being totally organised in my life). Although I never run out of materials to use I then carry tons of worksheets round with me to cover every eventuality. I work very much on the hoof and tend to follow the students' needs which is fine as it does help them but I can feel underprepared. I am looking forward to observing other tutors as I have never seen anyone else deliver a numeracy lesson. I have a colleague who has a fearsome reputation amongst her students and although I wouldn't want to go that far it will be interesting to see how that works.

Another target could be to use less materials in class. I know literacy tutors seem to manage to work with very little - I would like to develop a similar approach in my teaching.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Steve Pardoe

    Hi Alison (got it right this time!) – thanks for this valuable & honest supplement to your self-assessment. It’s not uncommon for Skills for Life teachers to be ‘self-taught’, & I’m sure you’ve developed some good practice along the way. Hopefully, we can provide you with some more structured ideas – & in particular teaching methods that don’t require lots of worksheets, but based more on collaborative work, discussion & questioning.
    It’s good that you’ve acknowledged time pressures as a potential barrier early on – I’d suggest trying to schedule regular time each week for the on-line tasks & assignments, & try not to fall behind. Also, try to avoid being a perfectionist – focus on what’s ‘good enough’ (everyone ends up with the same certificate at the end!)
    It sound like you’ve got the basis of a couple of relevant ILP targets for yourself. Do you want to try putting these into your ILP, & perhaps make them a little ‘SMART’er? Let me know if you need help with this.

    28 Sep 2010, 11:37


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