Spreading my tentacles far and wide


June 26, 2011 by jonmillymiles

I love smileys… >:-D

They convey so much more meaning than just normal text. Hence why they are also called “emoticons” an icon conveying an emotion. The one above  is a cheesy grin with horns… so you may gather from my title that I have been a little minxy!! 😀

As well as running with technology, I am providing support for my organizations other “big push”… Evidence Based Teaching. For over ten years we have allowed our teaching methods to stagnate to the point that we now have a generation of students who have known no other form of teaching – slides/powerpoint and a person spouting “stuff” at students who promptly give up the will to live and drift off into the depths of oblivion.

Don’t get me wrong, Powerpoint has it’s place, but it is rarely the best medium for a teacher led lesson. What Evidence Based Teaching does is introduce strategies for students to learn pro-actively. It is based upon the research carried out over hundreds of thousands of lessons across the world and  is “evangelised” by a very well regarded chap called Geoff Petty. You may have heard of him.

We have received some training in EBT from a couple of consultants, Ian and Oliver at Model Learning, and this has been a huge help for the programme. Some of our teachers have adopted the styles and seen fantastic results, others have shied away from the apparent lack of control… I think that I’ve mentioned control before. 😀

So where do I feature in this… well on the fringe really, but also at the centre. Sounds like a dichotomy really… like being both male and right!!! It’ll never happen.

The support that I offer is primarily in recording the experiments that the teachers carry out and publishing the results on our VLE. But I also like to spread the good work that they are doing in order to convert people to the cause. The funny thing is that with a little effort to adapt a lesson we can teach a whole lot more in the same amount of time.

Let me give you an example…

We have a lesson that consists of sitting down and watching about two and a quarter hours of Powerpoint at the end of which our students know how to fill out about seven different types of form. It seems a lot yes, but they do get a lot of time to practice one of those forms in other lessons. They have had complaints that our students cannot remember how to fill out the forms at the end of their year long course… can you think why?

So I got talking to a fine young chap, and he will thank me for calling him young, who said that they were now looking at increasing the amount of time that they gave the students to practice. FANTASTIC!!! 3 more hours of forms!!!!

So I stuck my thinking cap on and had a thought, why not introduce a scenario based around a “control desk” in a workshop.  Hmmm… could be good but how would it work in real life???

  1. Student A fills out paperwork for Student B.
  2. Student B goes away and carries out the task and fills out the relevant form.
  3. Once complete Student B returns to Student A
  4. Student A then compares Student B’s answer against a “model answer” and marks and advises them accordingly
  5. Student B then takes the desk and raises a task for Student A
  6. Throughout this the teacher supervises the marking and raising of tasks.

The teacher should only intervene if there is a point that the student on the desk needs to know. They should really only need to talk to Student A as they should then raise this point with Student B!!! What is more, with three teachers in a lesson we can run 3 pipelines of tasks giving all the students more 1-on-1 time and improving lesson flow. The students learn both by doing and by teaching and they also become familiar with the task control role that they may have when they complete their training.

You could argue that by letting the students see the answers they will know what faults are on the equipment and can cheat. But seriously… how can you cheat by knowing how to fill in a form?? Yes, you might know what the final fault is but you still have to carry out the work correctly and interpret the readings correctly too. Otherwise it is easy to see by the way that the job is written up.

So how is this being devious and cunning…. well the teachers that run this lesson are not part of the EBT programme. But they are keen to move forwards and improve their lessons, but still don’t see the point. What I have done is to take the concept to them and show that they can use it within their lessons. They can do this without increasing time and without requiring additional resources – the two things most precious to our instructors.

Will they take up the mantle?? We’ll have to wait and see, but I think that they will.


One thought on “Spreading my tentacles far and wide

  1. james says:

    EBT!!!!! Team T to D and O

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