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Session 4 Teaching so that learners learn
Setting the context
Some teachers and trainers see their role as being to onlytransmit knowledge. In Sessions 2 and 3 the activitiesmodelled a different approach. They required inductive‘learning by doing’.
Prepare yourself for Session 4 by reading about activeapproaches to learning in Section 3: Learning by doing(pages 3.1 to 3.13).
ț To analyse beliefs about what makes for effective ț Plan to increase the use of strategies that encourage learners to try things out, think for themselves andsupport each other.
Materials needed
ț Sheet 2.1 The reflective cycle (Section 2: CPD Case ț Sheet 2.2 The GROW model (Section 2: CPD Case ț Sets of cards made from Sheet 2.15 Beliefs about Activities
Teachers and trainers often have very different beliefs about what makes for effective teaching and learning. This activity explores participants’ beliefs, and the effects theseare likely to have on classroom practice and on learners’learning.
To prepare for this activity, reproduce colour copies ofSheet 2.15 Beliefs about teaching and learning and makeup sets of cards. Shuffle the sets to intersperse green andblue cards.
Invite participants to work in pairs. Give each pair aset of cards.
Ask them to consider each card in turn, discuss theirresponses to it and then put it into one of thefollowing three categories.
• We both agree that this statement describes our beliefs and/or what we do in the classroom.
• We both agree with this statement does not describe our beliefs and/or what we do in theclassroom.
• We differ in our responses to this statement.
• how many green cards they disagreed on • how many blue cards they disagreed on.
Then ask them to share their conclusions from theactivity.
A teaching style based on transmitting information is likely ț passiveț dependent on the teacher or trainer for solving their ț concerned that retaining information rather than ț preoccupied with giving the right answer rather than trying to understand the principles.
Continuing professional development: additional sessions The green cards embody the transmission approach toteaching. They reflect the belief that learners learn whenthe teacher or trainer transmits information.
Professional engineers need the ability to work from basicprinciples, to solve problems, to hypothesise and trythings out, and to learn from experience. The style ofteaching that builds this ability is one that: ț involves learners in activities and problem solvingț encourages them to think for themselvesț creates a climate in which making mistakes is a valuable and necessary part of the learning process ț helps them make connections between different facets ț encourages them to collaborate with each otherț invites them to put their thoughts into words so that they help themselves talk through a problem ț supports learners with questions, probes and guidance The blue cards represent the constructivist approach toteaching. They reflect the belief that learners learn whenthe teacher or trainer helps them to construct meaningfrom information, and make connections between differentaspects of their knowledge and experience.
Aspects of this approach are illustrated in the first sectionof the DVD CPD Learning by doing.
Show the part of the DVD CPD Learning by doing thatfeatures the CEME project. Ask participants toconsider these questions as they watch.
• How had the teacher structured the sessions? • To what extent was he in ‘transmission’ mode and to what extent was he encouraging active learning? • Is there anything you would like him to have done • What was the response of the learners? Whilst there will be times when it is appropriate to presentinformation, to guide learners through a particular processand to prevent errors, these occasions are few incomparison with the opportunities for active, learnercentred learning.
The next stage of the activity looks at these possibilities ingreater depth and in the context of participants’ ownlessons.
Continuing professional development: additional sessions Instructions
Working in the same pairs, invite participants to reflecton a session they have run recently by describing toeach other: • the extent to which their approach at each phase of the lesson was to transmit information, sort outmisconceptions and correct errors, or to helplearners learn actively, collaboratively and creatively.
Give participants a copy of Sheet 2.3 Reflecting onexperience, page 2.15, to structure their discussion.
Then ask them each to select instances in which theywere in ‘transmission’ mode, and to discuss how theycould change this to a more learner-centred style ofteaching.
Round off the session by asking for volunteers toshare the outcomes of their discussion in the wholegroup.
Talk through any problems or reluctance to make thechanges.
Reflection, sense
Invite participants to reflect on the activities so far, in terms making and
of how they were structured to support learning, and how planning
similar approaches might be used in their own teaching.
This activity is an example of where the discussion is more important than getting a right answer. Listening to the wayparticipants talk will reveal important aspects of theirthoughts, feelings and beliefs.
At the end of the session, discuss with them where theymight use this approach in their own lessons. Use theGROW model (Sheet 2.2) to do this.
One-to-one coaching
If you are working on a one-to-one basis with acolleague, you may find that this person will want tosort the cards on their own. Your role will be toencourage them to articulate and explore the thinkingthat lies behind each choice. Take care to facilitate thediscussion in a non-judgemental way, looking foroptions and possibilities.
Use Sheet 2.3 Reflecting on experience, page 2.15, tohelp them reflect on a recent session they havedelivered. Use the GROW model (Sheet 2.2) tostructure the discussion about change.
Continuing professional development: additional sessions Sheet 2.15
Beliefs about teaching and learning

Category cards
When I introduce a new topic, it’s really When I introduce a new topic, it’s really explaining it simply and clearly, so that When I introduce a new topic, it’s really that learners know little or nothing about important that I introduce it with a story Knowing that there are different levels of Knowing that there are different levels of Knowing that there are different levels of my class, I pitch things at a level that the When I listen to what learners are saying Continuing professional development: additional sessions I like to build up their skill level step by learners feel free to say whatever they’re graded according to level of difficulty.
thinking, and not just try to give me the theoretical knowledge to solve them.
If I start a new topic by getting learners know, they’ll just confuse one another.
useful way of putting across information,


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