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ABSTRACT

In this paper I will attempt to analyze the application of pedagogical principlesas


well as evaluate the effectiveness of use of creative and innovative approaches in
my teaching. I will also attempt to communicate with learners and other learning
professionals to meet individual learning needs and encourage progression. Finally I
will discuss how my own practice in planning inclusive teaching and learning has
taken account of theories, principles, and models of learning, communication and
assessment.
INTRODUCTION
Pedagogy according to Dictionary.com is defined as " 1.
the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
2. the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods." In simpler
language pedagogy is defined as" many different types and variations in teaching."
(What is Pedagogy?, 2015) That said there are a variety of ways that a teacher can
teach her students and many ways in which a learner can learn.
"Learning is more effective when learners are actively engaged in the process of
learning." (K.P.Mohanan)
Part 1
During the course of my teaching planning and implementing my lessons using
Gardner's MI theory has helped me greatly in keeping my students engaged and
through the use of various creative activities.
The learning of my students is made more effective by keeping them motivated
through creative and innovative approaches. In order to evaluate the effectiveness
of use of creative and innovative approaches I must first specify my learners. My
students belong to two different age groups one group which is my ESL group
ranges from the age of 18-24. These are a group of young Saudi girls all taught in
Saudi schools with Arabic as their medium of instruction and memorization and drill
as their most often method of teaching. The second group is aged 9-10, whose
mode of instruction has been completely in English.
In both groups the need to keep the learners interested, motivated and focused on
task is great as in the first group the lack of understanding English proves to be an
obstacle while in the second the age group itself does not allow for a didactic
approach of long, winding, explanations on any subject.
Bearing in mind the importance of autonomous learning, a lot of my teaching is
project based. For this, the students are either allowed to work individually, in pairs,
or as groups. This allows for both interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences to
foster as well as reducing the monotony of listening to a lecture. Through research

work, my learners are able to learn not only the content needed to be researched
but they gain additional knowledge while conducting their research.
At the very beginning of the term these students first need tobe told of importance
of group work and why it is an integral part of their learning experience. Since
these students are used to rote learning and memorization any new approach or in
this case working collaboratively is not considered 'educational' and students use
the time allotted to work in groups in the classroom as time to socialize with their
friends and speak in Arabic.So, first and foremost they need to understand
relevance of any activity be it working in collaboration with a partner or with a
group and how it relates to their learning.
In terms of personal development I observed my students to be lacking in direction
and purpose in life so to introduce them to the existential questions such as 'Who
am I?' and 'What is my purpose in life?' I prepared a short lesson plan. Rather than
just discuss or give a lecture on improving sense of self, I decided to utilize a lesson
plan created by another instructor, which consisted of playing a video of a song by a
famous singer ZainBikha"This is Me" and using it to open first a discussion in groups
then as a class on what they believe is special about themselves and others and
consider answers to the question of what they could do to make a difference in their
world. After the discussion the students were asked to write a statement about
themselves on a post-it and take it and post on a wall outside of class. They were
also encouraged to read the other students' responses and reflect upon them. This
activated their interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, musical, existential and
bodily kinesthetic intelligences.
Students tend to enjoy hands-on activities particularly those which do not appear to
be from their books. So instead of asking students to complete matching exercises
in the book I photocopied the exercises, cut up the parts to be matched. I then
asked students either in pairs or in groups to physically match the exercises. These
ranged from vocabulary, word-meaning, to completing sentences. Although it was
the same information as in students' books presenting it in a different manner
helped to maintain learner interest and progression and were appealing to the
kinesthetic learners.
An activity for improving spelling which was greatly enjoyed by kinesthetic learners
was posting sentences outside the classroom and then working in pairs. One
student was to go outside read and come back to say the same sentence to her
partner. First pair that completed the sentences correctly won the competition.
To involve students more in their learning experience and scaffold their learning
another technique used was after explaining the grammar or vocabulary of a certain
unit the students were asked in groups to brainstorm
definitions/descriptions/sentences of given words or grammar. They were then
asked to create their own 'worksheet' and exchange their 'worksheets' with

another group to complete. This promoted their critical thinking skills, encouraged
autonomous learning and working collaboratively allowed for new information to be
built and prior information to be revised.
Realia helps greatly in enabling students to remember vocabulary, however, to
explain certain vocabulary on countryside, rather than use realia or pictures I took
my students for a garden walk. Their assessment was made in the form of
informing their classmates on all objects seen and sequence of events while walking
in the garden as well as a shortquiz in which they were asked to write words for
each picture shown.
Students are generally weak and demotivatedin writingparagraphs for any given
topic. To overcome this obstacle the students brainstormed a given topic as aclass
and wrote one example together on the board. They were then given a handout of
similar writing exercise with word bank and pictures to complete individually.
Another variation used for writing was doing the writing activity on colored paper on
walls in groups. For example, students first wrote three points of pros and cons of
travelling by a specific form of transportation(car, bus, airplane). Then using those
points they were asked to construct sentences to write a paragraph. As a form of
assessment students were asked to correct another group's work. Simply use of
different materials, moving around in the classroom was effective in breaking an
otherwise monotonous lesson.
Another example for improving personal development as well as developing their
critical thinking and organizational skills was trying to work together as a class and
as a team since most students preferred to stay within the safe circle of a few
friends and not work together as a class. To promote teamwork and cooperation
amongst my students they planned, practiced and organized for Sports Day event.
They practiced the different races and a class cheer together as a team. Since
physical education is not a part of their school curriculum students were extremely
excited in participating in this event.
Videos from the internet help to motivate learners in a variety of ways. For
example, to reinforce vocabulary learnt on a unit for advertisement, learners were
shown a video of nike shoes advertisement. They were then shown the video again
and asked to use their vocabulary words to describe the advertisement. Another
example of using videos is while explaining genres and using adjectives to describe
different movies learners were shown video clips of different movies (eg. IRobot for
science fiction, Ta ash ba Ta ash , a local program for comedy)and later asked to
retell and explain the events seen using relevant vocabulary. To reinforce a
grammar lesson, learners asked to search for a video on youtube and play and
explain to class about the grammar.
For an activity for adjectives students were given a scenario of a hit and run driver.
(Road accidents being quite common in Saudi Arabia) Students were asked to draw

and describe the perpetrator (some decided to draw the cars as well) using
vocabulary learnt on adjectives. This also enabled new learning as certain
adjectives were added to their present list(eg. Long, curly, hair).
For a unit on food, students were asked to prepare a menu card for their own
restaurant, quoting their food served with the prices. They were also asked to do
presentations on presenting a cooked meal from home informing the class about
both the method(using ordinal numbers and transitional language) and the
ingredients.
Students are generally not very keen on participating in role plays. For future use, I
plan to have one lesson on constructing puppets and having students utilizing them
occasionally to bring a variation to role-plays done from their text books.
Part 2)
Teaching and learning is promoted not only by creative and innovative approaches
but also by effective communication.
One important aspect I learned to encourage progression is to make sure Learning
outcomes are very clear. For example, in one specific term, when students first
started the term they were expected to study from Total English Book and learning
and progression was assessed by its unit and progress tests. They were able to do
reasonably well in their unit tests as most of it was written test, their speaking was
not assessed in the test and it was a form of testing that the students were used to
doing. Teachers were instructed to teach grammar inductively through activities
rather than making grammar an exact focus of teaching. However, the students
were later informed they would be tested withina two month time period on KET
exam a British Exam of which they had no previous knowledge or preparation and
which consisted of Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking Parts. This test was
extremely difficult as all the nine parts included in the exam were very difficult for
their level of understanding. Its primary focus was on grammar whereas previously
the students had been focusing on basic conversation skills and functional language
required for vocational students.
Practicing each part of the test separately helped some students however the
majority of the class thought it too challenging. Some of them realized they could
not pass the test, were demotivated and absences in class became frequent. Those
that did come to class were less confident and less interested in the lessons than
before. In order to improve this situation teachers were later informed by the
college that students that are not able to pass the KET exam will be given another
chance to provided they observe punctuality and regular attendance. This brought
up the attendance percentage as well as helped to build up more interest in class.
Learning outcomes need to be clear from the outset. For example, in writing if they
are expected towrite a paragraph these learners need to have specific information

of what is expected from them in their paragraph, what the criteria for assessment
will be.Generally in preparatory year programs the learners are required to write a
paragraph on a given topic from the book. For their KET exam they are required to
write either an email, a short note or notices. There are three specific questions that
they are required to answer. As long as the learner answers the three questions
correctly in terms of context they will be awarded their marks and any small
grammatical errors will not lead to marks deduction. Rather than trying to write
paragraphs on topics of "My Best Friend" or "My House," as they had been used to
previously and trying to formulate answers with perfect grammatical structures the
learners were able to focus on the requirements for the KET Exam and the context
of their writing.
Nearly all learners in my class did not have email addresses, rather they all used
the WatsApp application on their phones. So another method of improving
communication with students was usingwatsapp for feedback from students about
any part of lesson that they needed more understanding in or reminding them
about due date for presentations.
Also, usage of watsap promotes openness in communication with students. For
example, if a particular student felt uncomfortable when I asked her in front of other
students to focus on her work rather than talking in her group, she later sent me a
message that she did not like to be admonished in front of other students and I kept
a mental note of that. I was only keeping note of absenteeism and punctuality in
written form, in the future I will keep a written note of such student behavior and
add it to my personal reflections for lessons.
Upon communication with other professionals I learned that most behavior issues
occur due to lack of discipline and educational focus. To overcome this factor the
teacher needs to make the class more enjoyable.
According to another educator one of her students had a tendency for tardiness and
verbal warning were proving ineffective. Besides the college policy of considering
the student absent after a certain number of tardy, the instructor allowed the
student to make up the missed time by having her write as an assignment the
reasons for being late as well as what could be done to resolve those issues.
Eventually, this helped in promoting punctuality as that student enjoy any kind of
writing assignments.
A factor which I have overlooked and intend to rectify in future lessons is
communicating more with parents. Various researches have provided evidence for
the effects of parent involvement on learners when parents support and encourage
the development and learning of children. (Eccles& Harold, 1993; Illinois State
Board of Education, 1993 cited in (G. Olsen, 2010)). "the most accurate predictor
of a student's achievement in school is not income or social status but the extent to
which that student's family is able to become involved in their children's education

at school and in the community (Henderson and Berla,p.160,cited in (G. Olsen,


2010)
Part 3
Self-reflection is necessary for improvement, not just for educators but also for
students. I didnt make a fixed plan for self-reflection of students which is
important for their progression. I now plan on including a certain amount of time
either during the day or the week in which the students are required to write the
answer to the following questions: two things I learned today, two things I liked
today and two things I didnt like. The learning is usually related to their lesson and
the like dislike can be anything from friends and food(anything in their social life as
well as including the lesson.) Variations to this would be writing in complete
sentences or just phrases plus writing less than or more than two sentences or
phrases.
Before the next reflection time I have to make sure their reflection is given a
constructive feedback by me. This not only assists in students recalling and
summarizing their learningbut also helps me in gaining insight into my students'
interests and learning needs and preparing assessments that will promote their
learning.
Besides the KET and PET exams which are the summative assessments the
formative assessment is in the form of oral feedback from students during class,
handouts, quizzes, spelling dictations, projects, presentations and art work. With
reference to their ILP's since a lot of students do not enjoy presenting to the whole
class at the beginning of the term they are allowed to give their presentations to
their teacher alone. However, with the progression of the term and with help of
activities such as "morning meetings" and growth in language abilities the shy
students are able to overcome their shyness and most are able to give their
presentations to the class.
One practice I intend to follow in future to keep my students more involved in their
learning and assessments is instead of merely giving students the criteria in
assessing them for speaking presentations and any projects that they are assigned
to involve them more and allow student to brainstorm and choose the criteria for
judging their work.
When assessing students through questions and answers I tried to ask a lot of
questions, however, many times my students were not able to answer them
regardless of the fact that we had discussed it in class in a previous lesson or just a
little time prior to the present class. Upon reflection I learned that their
understanding of English was limited and for them to provide me with an answer
they usually thought of it in L1, translated it, then formulated the response. I tried
to limit my questions first and then either let them discuss the answer in pairs or at

least provide them with a minute to formulate their answer and then allow them to
answer. This technique helped in assessing my students more accurately.
What is Pedagogy? (2015, jun 16). Retrieved jun 16, 2015, from Boundless.com:
ttps://www.boundless.com/education/textbooks/boundless-educationtextbook/curriculum-and-instructional-design-3/instructional-design-14/whatis-pedagogy-48-12978/
G. Olsen, M. F. (2010, July 20). The Benefits of Parent Involvement: What Research
Has to Say. Retrieved Jun 18, 2015, from Education.com:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/benefits-parent-involvementresearch/
K.P.Mohanan. (n.d.). Learning Outcomes, Pedagogical. Retrieved jun 15, 2015, from
PBL in Perspective: http://www.cdtl.nus.edu.sg/publications/pbl/outcomes.htm