The opportunity to get involved with this project was emailed to the whole child nursing course, which I took advantage of. To begin with I did not know exactly what it entailed however after a general meeting with Vanessa, I understood better that it was a project to analyse my own learning through teaching styles. I initially got involved to improve my reflection skills and liked the idea of working alongside lecturers collaboratively rather than a teacher/student relationship.
For the first part of the research project I met with Vanessa and Stacy to discuss what was expected in terms of the observation and how it was going to be planned out and reflected. This meeting gave me an insight in what was expected of me. Stacy and I then met with Ilana and Nathalie to discuss what their sessions are based on and what they wanted us to observe and reflect upon.
For Nathalie’s session she wanted us to focus on observing our learning after a video. She wanted us to identify if we learnt anything new in her session. Similarly, Ilana wanted us to focus on any ‘Light bulb’ moments in her session, and moments where the teaching linked together. Both Ilana and Nathalie wanted me to focus more on my learning and what lecturers have done to aid this.
The first observation was with Nathalie, a lecture on assisted conception. The classroom this lecture was taught in was a rectangular shape with two screens for the PowerPoint. I was positioned in the far-right corner of the classroom. The lecture was a PowerPoint session combined with video’s and regular group discussions in between.
I thoroughly enjoyed the video on assisted conception as it was something I have always heard about but never seen done. I find interactive learning always works best for me as I am more of a practical person and learn best by doing or seeing rather than listening about it. This video helped me remain engaged as it was very informative. Nathalie’s delivery was loud and concise despite me being on a disruptive table. Observing my learning as part of this project and consequently identifying barriers to my learning such as the disruptive table I sat at made me reconsider my position when going into a learning environment. Additionally, Nathalie was moving around, and I find it easier to focus on a moving lecturer as I find following their movement keeps me focussed on them and their teaching.
Furthermore, Nathalie presented definitions and statistics which helped me bring the topic to life as with statistics I feel it becomes more realistic. Similarly, Nathalie was involving the classroom by asking questions, this engaged me as I didn’t know more than one answer and by having a classroom discussion it helped me gain knowledge. This enabled me to realise learning from peers is also effective in my learning process. On the other hand, I do feel at times during this learning process I was becoming disengaged as there was a lot of verbal communication which allowed me to get disrupted over time, however I engaged again when I heard laughter or student – teacher interaction. I feel my position at the far-right side of the classroom was not effective for my learning as I was losing concentration at times and at times lost sight of the lecturer. As I reflect on this process I’ve realised I can quickly lose concentration if I’m not directly involved or challenged however I also understand this can be difficult at times depending on different factors such as the number of students or the learning content. I also realised that I have a responsibility towards my own learning and by identifying barriers to my learning I can now overcome these by making changes such as where I position myself in the classroom and peers I sit with.
The second observation was with Ilana. This observation was around a sepsis game followed by a video and group work to conclude. This learning style is most suited for me as I learn best by interaction, so I was looking forward to this game. Before attending this session, I was a bit scared doubting my knowledge around sepsis. I was trying to remember what I knew and didn’t want to make a fool out of myself by answering a question wrong. As the game progressed I was surprised at how much I remember from previous knowledge, which made me realise that doubt overtook my confidence. This enhanced my learning style as it made me deeply consider how I allow myself to think I don’t know something, when I do know it thereby the need to challenge my own knowledge. Also being able to identify my pre-existing knowledge I can better build on this knowledge and learn more complex matters.
During the game there were many statistics which shocked me, this was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me as I didn’t realise how serious sepsis was and didn’t realise how detrimental it can become. The statistics allowed me to visualise the reality of the issue and relate it to my nursing practice in future, making sure I always think about it. Moreover, I feel the video was brilliant after the game, as it linked most of the questions revised and explained them in depth.The change in activity from the game to the video helped me store the information I received during the game and helped me link everything together. Lastly, we did some groupwork to conclude, this was positive as once again it challenged what I had learnt and helped my confidence through learning. I was unsure of a term which I asked about and this led to a positive impact as Ilana did not realise that some terminology isn’t understood. This also made me realise that no question is a silly question and if I don’t know something, the confidence to approach this may help others learning as well as increase my own learning experience.
I commenced this study with preconceived ideas about how I learn and do not learn. As a result of this process I am now aware that learning occurs because of a multitude of combinations. Overall this learning cycle has taught me a lot, it has shown me that I can achieve what I want by making small changes such as: Considering where is sit in the classroom because this impacts on my concentration; How much I interact in a session because this keeps me engaged; Having more confidence in my own knowledge because then I can build on this knowledge. I have also become more self-aware and realised I learn in many ways such as peer discussions, games, PowerPoint, and verbal communication.
This reflective cycle has enabled me as a student to work in collaboration with Ilana and Nathalie whereby we were all equal participants in research. This relationship has given me an incomparable insight into how much preparation and time goes into teaching and has encouraged me to make the most out of the lectures within my future studies. I now have a better understanding on how I can benefit from different methods of teaching and will continue to enhance my own learning through the techniques picked up throughout this project. I plan to take this experience forward in my future by carefully planning how I learn best and applying this to my learning. I have become more aware of my surroundings and know I can encourage my learning through my own actions.