So, today marked the first official "teaching" day of my Masters of Teaching (Secondary) online course. I'm planning to have the topics Physics and Mathematics, and perhaps I can add in the Music a little later as electives. However, I'm in no doubt that there is just more demand for STEM teachers rather than music ones... Plus, I do find teaching Music to be more than a little bit frustrating at times, and so I would rather keep that subject to be my own little personal happy space!
Learning online is pretty damn bewildering... learning how to use an online education platform (Moodle) as well as the various little bits and piece that go around digitally delivered content. For instance, I've NEVER had to ever use PowerPoint in my life! How the #%@[email protected]#%$#@% do you play audio? Also, why is the content not always linked through? Grrrrr....
That said, little personal cranking out aside... I'm starting to enjoy the concept of learning online in my own time. I've started out as a full time student seeing as the pandemic has given musicians a bit of extra free time... but I'll have to see if that manages to fit with the regular father life (and the blogging!).
I've decided to write this little brain dump now and then to try and clear my mind of all the new ideas that it is being bombarded with. Teaching and Education Psychology are definitely in the realm of subjects that I've had pretty zero experience in... so there is an amazing array of jargon and concepts that I need to start to be familiar with. Like most things, these are often fancy and eloquent ways of describing relatively simple concepts... so, apart from the problem of attaching the label to the concept, it should be okay. I'm good with concepts.. labels, not quite so much!
It's weird, in my science degree and my teaching/music career... I've never had to write about doing stuff. We just did it and made it work.... it's a weird feeling to be talking and writing about doing things rather than just doing it!
I do have to say that I spent a sleepless night last night worrying about the course and my ability to complete it. My wife tells me that I've learnt and managed many more difficult things than this before... but at the moment, I just feel at sea. Everything is new... although, after listening to a lecture and reading some texts, the ideas and concepts are familiar from my own personal teaching experience... just never formulated in words, they were just intuitive ways for me to teach. A sort of trial and error, finding the most effective way to teach (or convince teams...).
Today, I had to write a little bit about what constituted "good teachers" as well as variety of other more abstract questions like what is intelligence. This was designed as a sort of personal snapshot of what I know at the start of the course.... and will be used later in the final assessment to see how my understanding of these concepts has progressed (or not!).
I listened to an interesting lecture about Behavioural and Constructivist philosophies of learning. It was much less about the Behavioural and with more of a focus on the Constructivist (Piag.... and Vyor.... told you, my memory for names/labels is terrible!). The focus is more to do with the applications to Education... Behavioural is much less relevant here. The reward/punishment model is quite outdated!
The two modes of Constructivist thoughts on how learning happens or how knowledge is attained is really quite interesting. I would say that they both have a different emphasis, and I wouldn't totally agree with one or the other... more that they are complimentary. I hadn't realised it, but the base principles are similar to what I understand to be useful in my own teaching... happy for that... but I had never really thought about it in an abstract way, always just as an application of how to help guide students.
I am looking forward to the rest of the week. We can progress at our own pace, but we have guides on where we should be if we want to keep up with the assignments and expected pace. It is really interesting the varied group of students that we are in this cohort as well... quite a few career changers and mature age students! It really also shows in the way that we write in the forum discussions as well! Some are a conversational style, others are formal but easy to read... and then there are the incomprehensible difficult to decipher ones that make simple ideas seem very complicated... or end up saying very little under a covering fire of catch-phrases and incredibly long words!
Anyway, I am finding that having a little bit of a brain dump here is quite calming! It's weird, my wife is right... I've done things that most other people would find terrifying or difficult... but for some reason, this is currently pushing my zone of comfort! However, after submitting my first assessment... I'm feeling happier! I will sleep well tonight...
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