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Adult Learning Observations: Teachers Role in Learning Report


Introduction

Teaching is a very critical dimension in the process of learning and it can be very challenging and too demanding as well (Wette, 2009, p. 337). Comprehensive teaching may not be attained if at all the students do not fully understand the new knowledge (Wette, 2009, p. 337). Accordingly, the personal characteristics of the teacher are very important, not to mention the efficient managing of the factors that could obstruct the process of learning (Wette, 2009, p. 337). The process of teaching varies from one setting to another (Wette, 2009, p. 337).

Teaching a course like language (for instance, Spanish to non-Spanish speaker) is very different from teaching nursing practice. The paper explores the role of the teachers in different setting, that is, in terms of placement learning and classroom studies. Significant factors that influence teaching process shall also be examined. A meaningful teacher – student connection makes possible to acquire the required knowledge and formation of a worth (Moore, 2004, p. 35). To achieve this, the researcher visited a language school and a medical institution to observe how classroom teaching is done and compared it with the way placement teaching was carried out during placement of nurses.

Classroom teaching for Spanish

In some cases, teachers usually receive referrals from counselors for students who need special attention because they are slow learners or that they require more time so that they can be able to work efficiently (Moore, 2004, p. 35). It is very important to be able to explain teachers go about imparting knowledge to their students (Alexander & Potter 2005, p. 67). The purpose of this study was to assess the way teacher teach especially modification of the teaching techniques to help the students to succeed in learning (Alexander & Potter 2005, p. 67).

Teaching Spanish was the research topic and it was selected because learning a second language among adults has been a very critical issue as far as adult education is concerned. To collect information the researcher used observation techniques. Observing how the teacher conducts his/her teaching to ensure students learn the new language (Martin, 1999, p. 34). This is critical or curriculum designers because, research has shown that recently, there has been an increased enrolment of adult student learning a second language (Wette, 2009, p. 337). There can be some frustration in the classroom if the students are not enjoying or understanding anything they are being taught. Staff development in teaching practice is hence critical (Good & Brophy, 2002, p. 102).

Placement teaching

In the nursing profession, the method of teaching is not the same as classroom setting used for teaching language. If the students have to be competent in the nursing profession, students need practical exposure since the practice is more of practices that theory (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1299). Nurse students are taught to do basic practices like taking blood manually or detecting signs of common diseases from patients (Alexander & Potter 2005, p. 67).

According to the comments made by a nursing student in her first year of study, it is the desire of many nursing students to receive training on the fundamental skills involved in medical practice (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1300). However, with regard to ward placements, often times, the reliance is usually on technical equipment and at times, students do not have time to practice on the use of such equipments in their profession (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1301).

This is a concern that has to be evaluated so that these needs can be managed for the best interests of patient (Alexander & Potter 2005, p. 69). It is also important to realize that lack of practice can make the student lose their practical and theoretical knowledge (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1301). When nurse students are taught the use of medical equipment like sphygmometers in class, the knowledge has to be matched with real use of the equipments in practice after observing the Registered nurses use it (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1303). This is why training in nursing uses the model of placement teaching (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1306).

Methods and Approaches

Introduction

The major technique used for the study was observation. There are two cases analyzed in this study, classroom teaching and placement teaching. In order to understand how adults learn, this research basically used observational techniques to collect information about the way Spanish is taught and the way nurses get to learn and gain experience in their profession (Dare & O’Donovan 1994, p. 45). The information that this research needed was better collected this way as the technique of observation has evolved over time and the qualitative observation was the best method to collect data from the nurses concerning their cognitive intent of their practice (Wragg, 2001, p. 55). For classroom setting, the researcher observed the way the teacher interacted with students. Basically, the teacher used Spanish to communicate to the students. This is because the students are expected to understand basic Spanish as they progress in their classes.

To investigate placement teaching, the researcher visited a medical facility and observed student nurses on placement work alongside the professional nurses, registered nurses.

Study Design

The research used a qualitative study method. This method is basically concerned about finding out why and how the subject under study is the way it is. For this case, why classroom study was basically used for teaching language and why placement was more appropriate for teaching a technical field like nursing practice. In the process, qualitative study attempts to find the meanings and the implications of main elements in research (Wragg, 2001, p. 55).

In this case, the study considered why student nurses were put on placement teaching and why classroom teaching like for the case of Spanish lesson would require a lot of participation. One basic element of qualitative research is surveillance (Wragg, 2001, p. 55). Through observing the way the RN and the trainee nurses work alongside each other, important information for study is collected. Observation included keeping track of the nurses and how they interacted with patients and other nurses (Dare & O’Donovan 1994, p. 49).

The outcomes are seen in the eyes of the researcher as the researcher did not attempt to take part as a subject of the study of a participant in anyway. The observation followed open ended questionnaire structure. The aim of this kind of design was to enable the researcher to melt into background in a manner that will not have an impact on this phenomenon that is being studied (Wragg, 2001, p. 55). The researcher only tried to make observations and comprehend the condition under study directly from the inside.

Qualitative analysis was conducted by observing RN daily routine and they allowed researcher to gain information from change-of-shifts and other processes that nurses performed (Dare & O’Donovan 1994, p. 49). The researcher followed the RN to various treatment rooms, keeping watch of what the RN did and they way they interacted with patients. Of particular importance was the way student nurses on placement acted as they were directed and watched the RN’s. This way the researcher was able to follow the ability of the student nurses to take care of identified priorities of care and other related activities.

On the other side of Spanish teaching Spanish, the researcher watched the way teachers did their job. The researcher watched the way a Spanish teacher used to teach. Marta was very knowledgeable at her job. She appeared very enthusiastic about teaching Spanish. Her classes were orderly and conducted in the logical structure.

Data collection

The background information was basically obtained from reading secondary sources to assist the researcher on how the teaching new knowledge goes. However, this research was a primary one and the information used for analysis was obtained directly from observation of the teaching processes in various settings, i.e. classroom teaching and placement. Observation of the way teaching was conducted formed the basic means of getting data.

Data Analysis

every activity that was conducted by the RN was grouped in various steps or processes, basic aspects like evaluation, diagnosis, intervention and organization (Benor, 1997, p. 210). These steps basically form what is referred to as standardized Approach. This is the widely accepted methodology of carrying out the analyses in nursing. The elements of the approach the ones that nurses use at their practice to carry out the fundamental practices of care: identification, diagnosis and reaction to human reaction to the health (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1307). Analysis of the results is important as it will be used by teachers in nursing profession as well as language teachers to understand the best way to pass knowledge to the next generation (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1302).

Analysis of the ways Spanish is taught took into account the ability of the students to understand the basics they had been taught in introductory classes (Hopkins, 2008, p. 156). The researcher also assessed how the teacher structured the class. This included time to speak Spanish and practice holding up a conversation for oral skills, writing sentences and essays, time for questions and homework.

Analysis was done via recursive abstraction. This is making of a summary of the observation as observed without coding them (Riddall 2008, p. 56). The notes by the researcher are a good example of this method. The qualitative data is hence interpreted without making any codes (Riddall 2008, p. 56). The common method is done by summarizing then further summarized (Riddall 2008, p. 56). The final results of the study are more compact and that it could have been very hard to precisely determine. This method however has a major disadvantage since many people accuse it of being shallow since many parts of the actual information have been removed during the process of summarizing the notes (Riddall 2008, p. 56).

Ethical Issues

In any form of study, the researcher is expected to apply high level of academic rigor and act honestly and with integrity. It is nature such study is immerses in difficult and chaotic reality of actual personal interaction and sensitivity (Ary et al, 2009, p. 444). In this research it was evident that issue of confidentially and informed consent would come up (Hatch, 2002, p. 68). Informed consent- this is the key issue in a study: the participants were given letters explaining the proposed research, its procedures and design of operation which was followed by an invitation to take part in the study if they were comfortable with the whole research design (Ary et al, 2009, p. 444).

They then assented to an informed consent to confirm their acceptance. Confidentiality – to maintain integrity, high levels of confidentially were maintained and no disclosure on the part of the researcher as he/she had agreed to comply with confidentially requirements as set by the ethics committee (Hatch, 2002, p. 68). The research conformed to the university and governmental policies of education. Honesty- all the data was reported as it was without fabrication and misinterpretation (Ary et al, 2009, p. 445). Integrity – the researcher kept the promises and agreements made with participants and acted with sincerity.

Ethical Issues

In any form of study, the researcher is expected to apply high level of academic rigor and act honestly and with integrity. It is nature such study is immerses in difficult and chaotic reality of actual personal interaction and sensitivity (Ary et al, 2009, p. 444). In this research it was evident that issue of confidentially and informed consent would come up (Hatch, 2002, p. 68). Informed consent- this is the key issue in a study: the participants were given letters explaining the proposed research, its procedures and design of operation which was followed by an invitation to take part in the study if they were comfortable with the whole research design (Ary et al, 2009, p. 444).

They then assented to an informed consent to confirm their acceptance. Confidentiality – to maintain integrity, high levels of confidentially were maintained and no disclosure on the part of the researcher as he/she had agreed to comply with confidentially requirements as set by the ethics committee (Hatch, 2002, p. 68). The research conformed to the university and governmental policies of education. Honesty- all the data was reported as it was without fabrication and misinterpretation (Ary et al, 2009, p. 445). Integrity – the researcher kept the promises and agreements made with participants and acted with sincerity.

Presentation and Interpretation of Findings

Placement Teaching

For the cases of placement teaching for student nurses, the researcher observed students nurses doing their attachment or internship programs. However, the study had a little twist because rather than watching these students, the researcher was watching the process of teaching (Dunn & Hansford, 1997, p. 1299). The following is a summary of observation.

Interpretation

There is a very complicated interface between knowledge obtained from lecture and the actual practice learning experience (Moore, 2004, p. 35). In the later case, nurse students take initiative of directing their learning. They interpret concepts, participate in medical practice and they get deep into the practice under the guidance of an RN mentor. This is why a RN was set to be the case study. Registered nurses are mandated to act as mentors, this way they are able to facilitate learning of student nurses (Myrick & Barrett, 1994, p. 196). This will go a long way to help build up their competencies (Myrick & Barrett, 1994, p. 196). This exclusively means that RNs have a responsibility of training nurse students (Myrick & Barrett, 1994, p. 197).

Student nurses can gain knowledge and become better practitioners if they are nurtured by the best mentors (Myrick & Barrett 1994, p. 198). In all manner of work, experiences that workers go through offer the best way of transferring knowledge. Students can recognize this and familiarize themselves with what needs to be done (Myrick & Barrett, 1994, p. 198). The major pressure of mentors will be obligated to direct the appropriate consideration to applicable experiences and kick off the process of reflective thinking (Hopkins, 2008, p. 156). Students then gain the task of fostering improved relations or to be moved to another staff member, to create relationships with patients, fellow workers and from literature (Hopkins, 2008, p. 156).

Classroom teaching

In the case of classroom teaching the researcher also made some notes on what was happening during teaching. And just as the above case, this also focused on the teacher rather than students even though teaching and understanding on the part of students is paramount for learning (Alexander & Potter 2005, p. 69). The following is a summary of results. The study was done for three weeks and the teachers name was Marta. She knew Spanish so well. During class, she looked very enthusiastic while teaching. Most of the activities were visual.

Sometimes she could use compact disc player to help student with Spanish pronunciation difficulties. With these technologies, the students were kept interested. They seemed very attentive and actively participated in the class. This way, the classes were observed to be very interactive and interesting as well. From the start of the class, the teacher used simple Spanish phrases to express herself. However, she interpreted her statement into English when students indicated that they were struggling to understand.

Interpretation

Teaching Spanish can be a very big challenge and it’s been found that only some methods are efficient while other do not produce positive outcomes (Martin, 1999, p. 34). Some people learn Spanish through wrong ways. Since has proven that few teaching methods can actually lead to positive outcomes (Good & Brophy, 2002, p. 103). The brain usually gets wired to begin learning a new language and the process is called immersion (Martin, 1999, p. 37).

This is where a student is bombarded with the new language as much as possible (Clarke, 1999, p, 121). The brain then adopts and begins to learn new patterns of language, but subconsciously (Hopkins, 2008, p. 156). This is the reason why, Marta the teacher used Spanish throughout her classes and occasionally interpreted it on English and translated some difficult words to her students can be able to speak a language conversationally because the brain is forced to adapt and not because he/she completely understand the structure of the language (Bailey, et al, 1994, p. 237).

Critical Evaluation and Conclusion

Factors that affect quality of nursing care in oncology department especially caring for elderly patients have been identified and they including the time the nurse spent in placement, the clinic facilities and how they were mentored. Hence role modeling and place critical variables when implementing nursing practice (Benor, 1997, p. 207). Even though nursing is a very old profession with many practitioners, placement teaching does not usually succeed (Moore, A. 2004, p. 74).

Placement teaching, if done well provides the much needed benefit of connecting theoretical knowledge with practical application (Wette, 2009, p. 337). The use of automated technology is good to use in medical practice as it has high accurate, however it’s not perfect way of practicing nursing as it can fail (Benor, 1997, p. 207). Therefore nurses and students need to be able to understand basic manual ways of doing things like taking blood pressure manually (Benor, 1997, p. 207).

Nursing practice requires that nurses be efficient in their job in their quest to professionalism (Benor, 1997, p. 209). To do this, students are required to work hard in class and then in actual practice in a medical facility to get practical experience. Teaching nursing has developed over time and adopted the use of mentor-protégé working relationship where an experienced nurse (RN) mentors student nurse into the practice (Benor, 1997, p. 210).

Even though wards are usually very busy, when students observe experienced nurses doing the job, they will easily learn and be able to do it too (Benor, 1997, p. 207). Nurse students may not be able to gain the basic skills required in the practice if they are not given the opportunity to do the job under supervision of a qualified practitioner (Benor, 1997, p. 210). Therefore they need mentors who can teach new nurse the basics and they can learn and grow to gain more experience.

This has seen doctors and nurses grow to become proficient medical experts (Bourne 1994, p. 121). At the university, students are only taught the theory and simple medical skills (Benor, 1997, p. 210). When they go on placement, they get a chance to observe what is done and take the advantage and use the chance to get acquitted with practical skills (Bourne 1994, p. 122). They can always get that knowledge from the registered nurses (Benor, 1997, p. 209).

For the case of classroom teaching, the implementation is different from placement. This is because the objective is to adapt the student’s brain to the change of language construction (Riddall 2008, p. 58). Spanish is a language with a lot of expressions (Watkinson, 2002, p. 89). The best way to teach it is to ensure that the students are bombarded with the information materials (Riddall 2008, p. 56). Physical actions like giving instructions and students respond is very important and students need to be given more information and opportunity to practice Spanish (Watkinson, 2002, p. 89).

This is just the way Marta was doing it. Playing CDs of Spanish lesson and using it to teach (Watkinson, 2002, p. 89). Some vocabularies were also explained in Spanish unless students indicated that they could hardly understand anything. Then the teacher would translate to English. Generally adults attend schools for different reasons but many others reasons are focused on personal advancement or a new found inspiration to achieve (Watkinson, 2002, p. 92).

Some of the common reasons include; to take advanced course in building their careers so as to earn promotional and salary increments; become more marketable in certain field, to inspire their children and improve their level of education and quality of life and simply to complete some courses they had interest in the past or have developed an interest in, currently (Watkinson, 2002, p. 95). Adults get the opportunities to advance in their specific careers as they can determine several things about their lives. The best learning setting or environment in this case would be placement learning. This way the adult gets the practical application of the skills they are learning.

Reference List

Alexander, T. & Potter, J. (Eds) 2005. Education For Change: Transforming The Way We Teach Our Children. London: Routledge Falmer.

Ary, D., et al. (2009). Introduction to Research in Education, Boston, Cengage Learning.

Bailey, N., Madden, C., & Krashen, S. 1994. Is There A “Natural Sequence” In Adult Second Language Learning? Language Learning, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 235–243.

Benor, D.E. 1997. The Development of Students’ Perceptions of Effective Teaching: The Ideal, Best and Poorest Clinical Teacher in Nursing, the Journal of Nursing Education, Vol. 36. Issue 5, pp. 206-11.

Bourne, J. 1994. Thinking through Primary Practice. London; Routledge.

Clarke, M. 1999. Reading in Spanish and English: Evidence from Adult ESL Students, Language Learning, Vol. 29, Issue 1, Pp 121–150.

Dare, A & O’Donovan, M. 1994. A Practical Guide to Working with Babies, Cheltenham, Stanley Thornes.

Dunn, S & Hansford, B. 1997. Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Perceptions Of Their Clinical Learning Environment, Journal Of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 25, Issue 6, Pp. 1299–1306.

Good T. & Brophy, J. 2002. Looking At Classrooms, Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Hatch, J.A. (2002). Doing qualitative research in education settings, Albany: State University of New York Press.

Hopkins, D. 2008. A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Martin, E. 1999. Changing Academic Work: Developing the Learning University, Buckingham, Open University Press.

Moore, A. 2004. The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teacher Education, London; Routledge Falmer.

Myrick, F & Barrett, C. 1994. Selecting Clinical Preceptors for Basic Baccalaureate Nursing Students: A Critical Issue in Clinical Teaching, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 19, Issue 1, Pp. 194–198.

Riddall, L.S. 2008. How to Observe Children, Oxford: Heinemann.

Watkinson, A. 2002. Assisting, Learning And Supporting Teaching: A Practical Guide For Teaching Assistants In The Classroom, London: David Fulton.

Wette, R. 2009. Making the Instructional Curriculum as an Interactive, Contextualized Process: Case Studies of Seven Esol Teachers Language Teaching Research 13 (4): 337-365.

Wragg, E.C. 2001. An introduction to classroom observation, London; Routledge.

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