ETP101 : Developing Teacher / Learner Identity Essay - Assessment Answer

November 26, 2018
Author : Sara Lanning

Solution Code: 1GIE

Question: Developing Teacher / Learner Identity Essay

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Developing Teacher / Learner Identity Essay

Case Scenario/ Task

Developing Teacher / Learner Identity Essay

Individual Written Assessment: Written assignment bringing together individual beliefs about teaching and learning in relation to the purposes of schooling.

In this final written assignment you will use your tutorial notes, readings, field work observations and other references to explore the purposes of education. You will create a written argument, supported by your reading and the work of key educational theorists, in regard to your position on the purposes of education.

In addition you will:

  1. a) consider your position in relation to the purposes of education that are asserted in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.
  2. b) reflect on your field work observations. Use your fieldwork observation template responses to help you make connections with AITSL Graduate Professional Standards. In particular you will explore and discuss using specific examples how your field work observations support / link / challenge with AITSL Graduate Professional Standard 1 Professional Knowledge (1.1-1.6 refer to https://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers/standards/list)
  3. c) consider what you understand about, learning and learners; teaching and the teaching profession, and how these work alongside the purposes of schooling to articulate your understandings developed throughout the trimester.

Drawing on this, we ask you to articulate your understandings developed throughout the trimester and critically reflect on the impact and/or implications for you as you become a teacher.

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Solution: Developing Teacher / Learner Identity Essay

Introduction

The purposes education is really specific to each nation, region or people. They will usually be informed by prevailing socioeconomic factors, developmental challenges, emerging opportunities and similar factors (Krashen 2015). In whatever case, the purposes of education remain the core components in determining the teaching and learning styles, objectives, and outcomes. Every learner and educator, especially educator, must have clear in their mind the beliefs they hold about education and its purpose and impact, if they are to become effective educators. Learners on the other hand need to share the same belief with their educators to ensure efficient learning is achieved. Based on this background, this essay explores my position on the purposes of education, linking them to some key educational theorists and the Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians. The essay will also present reflections on my fieldwork and make connections with AITSL Professional Standards for Teachers. Finally, the essay will present my understanding of learning and learners; and, teaching and the teaching profession.

Purposes of education

Passing on knowledge

First, I believe that the primary purpose of education is to pass life-changing knowledge to students. Knowledge is power; and everybody needs to be knowledgeable on some topic. We may need knowledge to perform work-related tasks, improve our lives, and keep our health in check or even to help us acquire more knowledge. A learning system should determine what problems in the society need to be addressed and develop a syllabus or curriculum containing the relevant content that can be relied upon on solving these challenges. The problems to be solved should typically be the long term issues and not the urgent, pressing matters (Waddock & Lozano 2013).

This purpose links with the goal of developing active and informed Australian citizens of the Melbourne Declaration. The goal seeks to tune education to deliver knowledge to the learners that will leave them informed citizens. As mentioned before, knowledge is power; it is the driving force for actions and decisions. Citizens who are not well informed may not be able to make appropriate decisions, even on matters that may affect their well being (Evans & Campos 2013). Lack of knowledge also makes affected citizens inactive as they lack a suitable basis for engaging themselves in communal activities. The purpose of passing knowledge also links to the AITSL standard for highly accomplished teachers. The standard specifies that the teacher shall select an appropriate teaching strategy that fits the physical, social and intellectual environment and characteristics of the learner. If the teacher adheres to this standard, the learner will likely be equipped with the life-changing knowledge that they require to become active and informed citizens.

Creating independence in future learning

Secondly, I believe that education should enable the learners to become independent knowledge seekers. After going through education, a learner needs to develop the skills that can enable them to continue learning even without the guidance of an educator henceforth. This is to say that education should open a learner's mind to the world of infinite knowledge. In fact, after exposure to education, a learner needs to develop freedom from the educator. This purpose clearly links with one of the goals of the Melbourne Declaration, which is             building creative and confident individuals. Learners need to be creative and independent, not only because they will not spend the rest of their lives with their educators; but equally so because they need to use knowledge gained in solving emerging societal challenges. This belief also links with AITSL standard on the demonstration and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students. The standard requires that teachers facilitate such development among their learners. But so that they can facilitate such development, teachers must first demonstrate their understanding and acknowledgment of these factors.

This belief can be backed by Durkheim's functionalist theory. In this theory, the purpose of education is seen as the societal needs that the education is able to solve (Goldthorpe 2014). As societal problems keep evolving, the learner, upon whom the solution is depended, must be able to keep acquiring knowledge that is current and relevant in solving the present day problems. This continuous process of acquiring new knowledge should be creative and independent. Therefore, my belief that education should build creativity and independence into the learners is commonly shared by some stakeholders and theorists as we have seen above.

Promoting responsibility

I believe that if education is structured properly, it can help in developing a sense of self responsibility among the learners. In fact, education should be properly structured to do so. Members of the society today spend a big fraction of their lives going through education. Therefore, it is only through education that we can hope that learners can learn to become responsible. Education is much more than the transmission of knowledge from the educator to the learner. The educator has many other duties of which inculcating responsibility into the learner is one of them (Mohamed 2015). This belief links with AITSL teacher standard of proficiency. As the standard requires a teacher to improve learning by evaluating the condition of the learners, the teacher is able to demonstrate to the students the element of responsibility in job dispensation. This belief is also represented in the Melbourne Declaration's goal of building active and informed Australian citizens. Active citizens are expected to act reasonably, responsibly in the society they live in. The theory that holds that learning is a social phenomenon supports this argument by defining that the outcomes of learning are felt in the society – well beyond the individual.

Developing a sense of morality

I also believe that education is the best channel through which moral values can be inculcated into society. It is relatively easier to teach morals to young learners in an education system than those who have dispersed into the general society. Building a sense of morality among learners might not be a specific and dedicated task. However, with the proper education structures and teachers who wish to improve societal responsiveness toward moral values; students can learn morals through any other means. This belief can be linked with the Melbourne Declaration goal of developing active and informed citizens. In this context, citizens may become active and responsible if they apply the extra-educational knowledge they acquire in the duration of their education. The belief can also be supported by AITSlL's goal of leading partners in choosing the most appropriate strategies to improve student learning based on the social, physical and intellectual development characteristics of the learners. As the educators work on selecting the ideal strategies to improve student learning, they also take into consideration the moral needs of the learners.

Identification of individual talent and abilities

I believe education has the duty of identifying the talents of learners for the purpose of enhancing them. The individual abilities of learners need to be identified so that the learners can be nurtured specifically (Son & Simon 2012). The theory that purports that learning is context-specific can be linked to this belief for the purpose of education. The theory holds that students find it difficult to use elsewhere what they learn in class (Cte.illinois.edu, 2016). This belief can also be supported by AITSL's teacher standards on leading partners to choose the most appropriate methods that can improve student learning. The belief is also based on Melbourne Declaration's goal of developing successful learners. I believe successful learners have developed when their unique abilities are identified and nurtured.

My understanding of learners and learning

Learning is a very complex process (Smid & Vet 2016); and it is especially important for teachers to understand how learning occurs to facilitate the process among their students. Learning can be facilitated by peers as in the case of discussion groups (Laal & Ghodsi 2012), in individual settings or through the guidance of an educator. The actual process of learning is made up phases which are all necessary and important in ensuring the learner grasps the material. For the learner, as much as part of the process is voluntary, there are other steps that are completely involuntary. For example, the learner can choose not to listen, but they cannot choose not to hear. Well, this may be debatable, but if we think about it critically, we will agree that the process of learning is a mixture of both voluntary and involuntary actions. Learners are also a group of people with very diverse needs, abilities and expectations. It is very challenging to effectively address the educational, psychological and moral needs of a group of learners simultaneously.

Its implications for me as I become a teacher

As an educator, my understanding of learning and learners, as expressed above, will be beneficial in my practice of teaching in several ways. First, as an educator, I can exploit the two main phases of perception and commitment to memory, of the learning process, to enhance their effectiveness. Now that I understand that it is not all upon the will of the learners to “accept” to learn, I can manipulate the process to incorporate my objectives. We have agreed that involuntary actions contribute to the learning process as much as voluntary actions do. With this belief, I will always carry the educational vision of my students and appeal to their unconscious self to “enforce learning”. This can be seen by some as high handedness in teaching; but I believe that as a teacher, I have a greater responsibility than my students in ensuring that they learn.

My understanding of teaching and the teaching profession

Teaching is taking responsibility to ensure learners attain their objectives as well as those placed on them by parents, society, the school and other stakeholders. As such, it is a huge responsibility that requires the teacher to be passionate about the profession and have a vision for their students. The teaching profession demands organisational skills, patience, sensitivity and a genuine love for the profession. A teacher must be dedicated to see that the learners get educated and achieve the purposes of education, even though they do not have a stake in the objectives of the learning. Ultimately, a teacher should learn to appreciate their work as they make great contributions to the society (Roost 2013).

Its implications for me as I become a teacher

How I view teaching and the teaching profession is definitely crucial in my journey to becoming an effective teacher. As I believe that teaching puts a great demand on the teacher to facilitate learning, I will always be conscious of the burden to deliver that awaits me in the execution of my duties. My understanding of the desirable requirements of a teacher will mean that I strive to exhibit those characteristics at all times. I will also keep in mind that, even though will never have vested interests in the teaching outcomes, it will forever remain my duty to put forward my best effort to facilitate learning.

Conclusion

For a teacher, understanding the purpose of education is a requisite in delivering effective teaching. We have noticed that aligning your teaching methods to some educational goals, such as those in the Melbourne Declaration, is an effective way of ensuring that your learners benefit more from your teaching. I have also realised that my understanding of learning and learners as well as teaching and the teaching profession plays a key role in setting my attitude and teaching objectives and hence, the effectiveness of my work as a teacher. Therefore, every teacher needs to identify their beliefs about education and link them to the relevant educational goals and theories to form a basis for their attitude, strategy, methods and teaching objectives.

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