Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Accelerating Learning and Developing Research Methods.

As a reflection from my learning today at the MDTA first lecture on research and practice today I have composed my thoughts and my many questions, which I intend to answer as the year progresses.

Accelerating Learning
Thinking about transforming how we teach not just substitute or augment existing practices. Adapting teaching practices to actually enhance learning rather than just replacing historic methods (pen and paper), with modern methods (digital), is what I want to achieve.   
This makes me consider the PPDAC Data Detective cycle that I have been using with my class.  
What is the problem? Where is the lag, and what are the needs of my tamariki?
Plan - How will I go about this, what are the steps I must take before implementing interventions.  
Data - what is the best way measure student achievement? asttle, Gloss, probe, PM, Peter’s Spelling, OTJ, etc. My reflection on research methods below questions the authenticity of test results as evidence of ability. What other ways can I gather data?  
Analyse it, and how can I know gains in achievement are results of my teaching?
Conclusion, was this successful?  Did my teaching practice directly enhance student achievement, have I solved/answered my problem from the beginning?
So then, what exactly is my problem? How do I accelerate the learning and development of my students, all students, not just my just belows. This is something that I need to consider this year. What exactly and how exactly do I focus my professional learning and refine my following teaching practice.  

Why consider ‘Research Methods’?
Results from laboratory testing versus real experiences. Context matters. People behave differently in artificial situations, therefore without authentic context findings cannot be generalised to anything but that artificial scenario. Therefore to make real conclusions about how we can accelerate our students learning we must analyse their work and learning in authentic classroom and learning environments.
This too raises the question I have over testing. How authentic is a ‘test’ as an indicator of a students ability? To me, a ‘test’ environment is a contrived environment and not natural to the usual learning experiences or their future work environments. Under real productive circumstances collaboration, discussion, feedback and feedforward are abundant, dynamic and  necessary elements. This is something that I need to take into consideration when planning my research.

As a beginning teacher I am somewhat of a blank slate in terms of current teaching practice, apart from those that I have modelled from over my practicum and observation experiences. I welcome your feedback should you have insight or answers to guide my questions.

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