Upon starting this project, I could immediately sense the immense organisation of the process to ensure each stage ran as effectively and efficiently as possible. As a result, I did not feel at any point that I was unsure of the focus of the research and consequently, had greater understanding of my observation duties. This enabled my observations to encourage reflection without posing a judgement, a key skill that I was not confident with prior to this project.
This skill was developed during training sessions and regular meetings with the project team, thus showing the support offered to all members of the project team to aid them at each stage. The large amount of support involved in this project is, in my opinion, the biggest strength of the process. I believe this support derives from the overwhelmingly sense of collaboration that is constantly encouraged throughout the process. For example, as myself a student researcher as opposed to a staff researcher, I felt it extremely reassuring that there was another student researcher to share and discuss ideas with in Stage 4 of the observation cycle prior to meeting as a larger project group in Stage 5.
In the future, I will strive to regularly meet colleagues of the same job title in order to promote a collaborative discussion in which thoughts, ideas, problems and worries can be discussed and resolved. Therefore, an individual’s stress will be reduced, colleague relationships will be enhanced and a better output of work will be reduced.
Whilst myself training within the education sector, I had not fully appreciated the wider considerations that need to be taken into account when delivering a lesson/lecture. However, this observation encouraged me to reflect on these considerations.
For instance, I observed the struggle for my lecturer to adapt different roles depending on the situation. Often my lecturers do not wish to adopt an authoritative teacher role due to the age of the students they are teaching and instead encourage positive relationships with students to restrict potential barriers to learning. However, after reflection on my observations it has come to my attention that it is not always a role that can be taken by lecturers as the role they take is greatly affected by the role the students are adopting. It is sometimes apparent that a teacher role must be used to tackle potentially challenging student roles. Therefore, I have learnt that whilst a positive and free learning environment is encouraged, certain situations force the lecturers to adopt a less favourable, authoritative approach. As a result, I am conscious to maintain a role as a student that does not alter a lecturer’s preferred role.
During the observation, I noticed how different situations caused different peers to respond in different ways. For example, whilst certain students favoured particular teaching techniques, others did not seem to welcome them as much. Following reflection, I believe that this is most likely a result of the understanding between staff and students. This is because I feel that a student who understands the actions of staff and likewise staff who understand the actions of a student helps to combat the staff student divide that can be present in a learning environment. This is particularly important due to the nature of my course as often clarity is required as to whether a teaching technique is a natural style for the lecturer or is an example of a style we could use ourselves.
This reflection has further proved my belief that every action will be perceived differently depending on the relationship you hold with that person and the personality of the person.
The observation process as a whole has taught me that I am capable of reflecting deeply on a situation in which I can ask meaningful and thought-provoking questions in order to encourage myself and others to reflect on situations.
Furthermore, whilst I was aware of my ability to work independently and collaboratively, as result of this cycle I have concluded that the feeling of belonging within a wider team is a personal motivator as the pride and support that is involved with being part of a team helps maintain my enthusiasm even when a problem occurs.
My Emerging Teacher Identity
Finally, and potentially the most prominent lessons I have learnt as a result of this process revolves around my emerging teacher identity. I have concluded that my teaching style will accommodate for different pupil’s personalities and needs whilst maintaining a balance between teacher authority and approachability. This is because I feel it is vital that my students feel they can approach me with a problem yet also see me as an authoritative figure.
Moreover, I will ensure communication is to a high standard between myself and my teaching assistant(s) in order to promote a happy working environment in which teaching and learning is a priority. I also wish to involve parents as much as possible in order to create a collaborative effort to support a child’s learning and development.
Most importantly, after observing the benefits my lecturer gained from reflecting on their own teaching, I will reflect on my own teaching as a way of identifying strengths and weaknesses in my teaching style and continuously improve in order to be the best teacher possible.