Monday morning and there was a shortage of teachers due to sickness and I was informed that I would be taking the theory side of the Cert III class. Again this is not what I had planned, but was happy to take the class. Over the last couple of weeks being involved with the Cert I students I had noticed how much younger they were compared with the apprentices that I usually teach. There is quite a difference between the maturity levels of fifteen and seventeen year old boys. I was having to change my whole strategy and approach it in a different way. It also made me realise why the teacher who usually took the Cert I class followed such a traditional role, it replicated the way the students were taught at school and caused less disruption. These younger students were not ready to be taught in the same way that we teach apprentices. I still thought that there would be some merit in trying to do some of the lesson with some use of the IWB and get the students involved with the lesson.
This was not to be until Friday, as I had to teach the apprentice class for the rest of the week. Another teacher offered up his Cert I class on Friday, if I wanted to take it and I could do what I liked. How much damage could I do in one day ! I got the IWB powered up and allowed the students to use it to do some research. This caused quite a bit of excitement and a good amount of discussion and opinions. Sometimes there would be more than one student at the IWB expressing idea’s and showing their peers what they knew about the subject. This all helped to give them a broader picture than what could be extracted from a single textbook. It would take a lot of work to fill a whole years worth of classes like that, but it certainly showed me that we have to change to meet the demands of the next generation.
It was also a buzz to be asked if I would be back next week.
After a weekend of some hard thinking, I decided to have a chat with my Mentor on Monday morning. We discussed what had happened the previous week and I tried to outline to him what it was that I would like to do with the students. I had changed my ideas about getting the students involved with computers and would use the IWB in the classroom to demonstrate some of the programs that I had planned to use. This idea appeared to get a reasonable response, which was encouraging, but I was also reminded that we would be busy getting things ready for the open day on Wednesday.
My involvement in the classroom was kept under close scrutiny and I was not allowed to stray from the given lesson plan. Come Wednesday I was told that I would be involved in the proceedings for the open day and would not be required in the classroom. The open day seemed to go well with a good amount of prospective students coming through the doors to see what courses they could sign up for next year.
The rest of the week followed a similar pattern in the classroom, with my mentor correcting me when he felt the need. This experience has highlighted to me that one of the biggest barriers to the introduction of ICT’s into the vocational training arena is the possible fear of the teachers. There is an IWB in the classroom that these lessons are taught that is never used by my mentor. He even went to the extent of putting a traditional whiteboard back on the wall beside the IWB, rather than be trained in the new technology.
So I have another weekend of scratching my head and trying to workout how to approach next week.
I am well behind in keeping this blog up to date and will try to catch up over the next few days. My Professional experience was to be carried out with groups of Year 10 students who come to TAFE one day a week to participate in a Cert 1 course in Carpentry. I was to share the classes with my Mentor, with me taking the lessons completely on the third week. With this in mind I set about looking for software programs that I could introduce to some of the subjects that I would be involved with. The subjects were “Carry out Communication”, Plan and Organise Work Processes” and “Work Effectively and Sustainably”, all from the Cert 1 training package. The subjects were delivered in a traditional classroom setting with the teacher controlling the pace of the lesson. I have done this in the past, but in my current role of training apprentices in the Cert III qualification, the delivery is completely flexible and student paced.
I did manage to find some computer based programs that would help assist with some of the content and showed them to my mentor. His response was a bit of a shock for me as he completely dismissed the idea of any computer use by the students. In previous discussions he had led me to believe that this would be quite beneficial and be a new experience for the students. I was given the existing lesson plans and told that this would be what we would be using as all the work had been done and there was no need to change things.
The institute was having an open day in my second week and preparations were being carried out for this event. By the middle of my first week my services had been offered up to assist with these preparations and that is where I spent the rest of my time.
So, far from an ideal start to my Professional Experience and I was really not impressed. I thought my issues would be with the students not the teachers and this changed the whole way I had to approach the next couple of weeks.
With the introduction of flexible delivery into our classrooms has come the issue of whether the choice of delivery is the right one for everyone. In group classes the students were spoon fed by the teacher and if that was not working then sitting in the back row with your mates usually did. As an RTO we were encouraged to pickup the trend towards self-paced learning and let the students take control of their own learning experience. While this sounds great, I’m not sure that some of the students were ready for it. Those that sat at the back of the class are now left high and dry by their mates, who have caught on that they can really make some progress. This then leaves a disruptive element in the classroom unless the teacher is able to take control of it. Just putting resources onto a computer does not make smart learners out of everyone who steps into that room. Therefore alot more work needs to be done towards what is on the computers to ensure that the resources are able to assist all students.
I also feel that we need to look at the way in which the teaching is happening. Basically the same old format was loaded onto the computers ie: do this, draw that and we will do a little test at the end. The learning has to be more ineractive and more of a summative experience through pathway of learning experiences. My computer and teaching skills are not in a postion to create a solution for this problem, participating in this course (EDC3100) has definitely opened my eyes to some of the stuff that is now available to a 21st century teacher.
I have decided to try and find a software program or an app that can be integrated into each of the thirty subjects that I teach through the course of a Certificate III, to improve the learning experience. This is a big ask I know, but I feel as though it is a step towards the futurrather than re-hashing the same old thing.
We have recently changed our delivery of Cert III in Carpentry from a traditional chalk n’ talk process to a self paced computer aided process. So the whole thing of ICT use was quite relevant for me. It has been interesting watching the change in the approach of students when they realise that there is nothing holding them back and they can move through the workload at their own pace. It has worked in both directions, with some of them seeing it as a time where they can kick-back and not do very much at all. This is where it comes down to the teacher in the room at the time and this also can have varying results.
With the introduction of the computers the students have access to apps and software that is industry related. In some cases this has been a huge help with things like roofing calculations, where in the past trigonometry and geometry were used to make the calculations. The usual student reaction to the sort of thing was shear terror for most. Now they only need to punch in some basic information and the calculations they need appear before them. With the these apps and software available to the students on their smartphones, it makes them tools that they can use in their working environment also. So this all goes to show how ICT’s are even creeping into usage in a traditional trade like Carpentry.
OK its been a while since I have had time to spend on my blog. Two full weeks of teaching through the holidays and a death in the family have kept me busy. Assignment 1 gave me a fair bit of drama, more through my lack of technological skill than anything else and took me an incredible amount of time. Two weeks down the track and somebody asked me how I went with my assignment and I had to tell them that I had not even looked. It was a good pass, so I am happy with that. I hope my fellow Voc/ed students Brad and Christina also did well, their stuff was so much better than mine.
Teaching for a full week instead of the usual twenty one hours of contact time takes you into another dimension with yourself and your students. I found that the students were well passed their best by Friday lunchtime after spending the whole week or two at TAFE. Being teenage boys their minds were on the weekend, so the concentration levels were very low. This suited me also, but I had to change the approach to keeping them on some sort of productive outcome. With some of the students approaching the end of their apprenticeship, their was quite a bit of uncertainty as to what life had in store for them next. Through this I was able to conduct conversations and internet researches about job prospects and trade licensing pathways. I found it interesting that none of this had been part of their training at school or during their apprenticeship. What I consider as basic life skills, some of these guy’s have no idea about. The feedback from the students the following Monday was whether we could do the same thing at the end of the week, as they had got so much out of the session we had on that previous Friday afternoon.
I am now in the process of trying to develop a draft of prompts that could be used by other teachers who find themselves in the same situation. These guy’s need all the help that they can get to step out into the world after their apprenticeship and this would seem to be a good way to help them.
Chosen Curriculum for Assignment 2
CPCCCA3007A Construct Pitched Roofs comes from the training package CPC30211, which is the Certificate III qualification for apprentice Carpenters.
The learning objectives for this module include the achievement of skills to construct a scotch valley, broken hip and valley, gable, hip and valley,hip and flat roofs. Including working as part of a team.
Assessment criteria will require the student to demonstrate an ability to :-
- locate, interpret and apply relevant information, standards and specifications
- comply with site safety plan, OHS regulations and state and territory legislation applicable to workplace operations
- comply with organisational policies and procedures, including quality requirements
- safely and effectively use tools, plant and equipment
- communicate and work effectively and safely with others
- set out, construct and erect a flat roof under 10( for a full sized one bedroom home or equivalent (including a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom not less than 30 square metres)
- set out, construct and erect a scotch valley, broken hip and valley, hip and valley roof incorporating a gable end for a full sized one bedroom home or equivalent (including a bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom not less than 30 square metres), including set out of a pattern rafter with creeper reductions and methods of roof bevels and roof member lengths.