On Monday I delivered a micro-teach session. I was trying to use a group activity based session to develop students thoughts about their learning styles and how (if at all) that might affect their our teaching styles. I did it by wrapping a session inside a session and judging by the feedback sheets that our tutor asked everyone to complete I think I actually succeeded.
When everyone was asked to give me verbal feedback I got a lot of feedback about the group activity which was interesting for me because I thought perhaps they had missed the main point that was learning styles - after all that part of the session was set out deliberately so each person would take on the most comfortable role in the group (which they did). I had created a focus of learning styles for them to consider during the session and it would seem that that did work as I had hoped because of the debate that followed and the comments on my feedback.
One of the points in the feedback was being clear on outcomes and that they wanted to know what the outcomes were. I am intrigued by this - I did tell them to consider learning styles and I pulled that together at the end. You don't tell a student that you are working on their confidence as an outcome, but you may well set achievable tasks so that internally they feel good and so confidence grows. You might at the end of the session praise them that what they have done has shown good confidence. They may still not be aware that one of your outcomes was increasing their confidence! In the Level 3 coach training I received we had a lot of coaching techniques which created intrinsic feedback so the learner can work out whether they have got it or improved. So I suppose with the confidence issue a tutor might ask a question about it, e.g "How confident did you feel when completing those tasks?". Should I have created a longer list of questions to start the debate going regarding learning styles and hoped that they drew out the conclusion that they affect teaching preference? This would have taken much longer than I had ... so I gave them the answer I wanted.
However, I do need to be able to score my students against some thought out level, so that as a teacher I can demonstrate outcomes that have been achieved. When I look at the answers to the questions I set I do have some evidence that they were thinking about learning styles (but were the questions leading?). Whether I have created a longer term thinking process or awareness I cannot know, but if I were to follow up this session we could explore further the theory of learning styles and then get students to device a simple teaching task in using different teaching styles individually and them deliver them. Each student could then consider which they found easy to deliver and which were harder and how the change their own sessions to include the harder learning styles.
So in conclusion I think my micro-teach session worked well and achieved what I wanted, but was just the start. I should work on finding ways to measure outcomes and write that down against student names. I also find it really difficult to create debate or discussion - perhaps I should have gone around the room asking each person for their opinion - I will check out the Active Learning booklet to see if there are some ideas there that can help. I suppose a white board and a bit more time there would have been good.

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