In this assignment, I will be undertaking an analysis of how the curriculum, planning and teaching I use on the B-Tec National Diploma affect the progress my learners.
Over the past 6 months, I have been teaching first year B-Tec National Diploma students at Norton College. This is a full time course comprising of 2 years study. The course consists of 18 units in total, each unit aims to develop particular skills and increase knowledge of design in general. Students are expected to use a range of learning methods including practical assignments, discussion, written work, presentations and critiques. My subject specialism is Graphic Design. This has enabled me to join a team of teachers who deliver the B-Tec curriculum. After briefing in a project to the group, I deliver activities aimed at guiding learners through the stages of a project and fulfilling the Learning Outcomes.
The Learners Needs and Characteristics - and Their Implications for Learning
All the students in my class are in their first year of college. Many are still adjusting to the differences between school and college, this can be evident in their lack of initiative and focus at times. This hinders their progress, as they don’t pursue the experimentation and personal journey that the course aims to achieve. They are expecting to receive behaviourist, school type teaching where instructions are dictated to them. For me to take on this role purely because it is what they expect, I feel would be a mistake. “Behaviourism is a theory of learning, focusing on observable behaviours and discounting any mental activity. Learning is defined simply as the acquisition of new behaviour.” (Pritchard 2005 pp7) The nature of any design course is to develop and progress skills which are individual to that person. Taking on a behaviourist role would result in me dictating what should be done and how it should be done, thus, everyone would be designing the way I design and not using their own knowledge and experiences to complete projects. Although I am reluctant to take on a behaviourist role when delivering projects, sometimes I must take on a disciplinary role. Because they are not told to work in silence as they may often have been told at school, they assume it is fine to ignore the work and talk about the latest social aspects of their lives. I understand that at 16 years old, they have busy lives outside college and I expect this to happen. I encourage a friendly, relaxed environment and feel it is a good thing that the group are friends. However, some students take advantage and see the work as being secondary to their conversations. This results in low productivity and a lack of motivation because they are not exploring the possibilities of work given. “Students talking about what they did last night, what they are going to do tonight, the latest gossip, and so on. Sometimes it is even about the topic of the session where multiple conversations develop between small groups of students sitting together. This is one of the perils of grouping them around small tables, and it is the variant I most commonly suffer from. It is a problem because the students are excluding themselves from the main theme of the session, and they may be distracting their colleagues.”
(Atherton 2005 On-line)
The three hour long sessions are a long time for the students. Concentration levels can be irregular. This must be addressed by showing empathy for how they are feeling but most importantly, by integrating diversity and variety into sessions, thus, keeping them interested, challenged and focused.
There is a varied range of learning styles amongst the learners in this group, whilst some learners will really enjoy an activity and execute the task fairy efficiently, others will find it difficult and time consuming. This results in students being at various stages of projects, however, this doesn’t manifest as a