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Reflection is one of the most valuable processes for educators as it assists in identifying the areas of primary concern, gaps in knowledge and skills, strengths and weaknesses. Teachers need to reflect on their practice and assignments they give to their students to understand whether educational goals and objectives have been or can be achieved. The use of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) can facilitate the process as this paradigm helps to remain focused on such major areas as professional values, core knowledge, and areas of activity (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011). This report includes my reflections on the assignments completed during this course with the use of UKPSF.
When working on task 1, I started with the review of the existing policies in the UK and Saudi Arabia. I paid most attention to educators’ development as I believe the policies aimed at faculty development are central to improving the educational system. Hibbert and Semler (2015) claim that formal development strategies should be employed alongside other methods such as mentoring or participation in the community of learners.
Receiving accreditation is closely linked to the ability of educational facilities to encourage teachers to develop (Bostock & Baume 2016). According to UKPSF, every educator has to engage in a life-long professional development that relates to their disciplines and teaching methods (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011). Teachers can acquire new skills and knowledge in many ways including formal and informal education, and technological advances can be helpful in this process.
The completion of this assignment helped me to address one of the areas mentioned within the UKPSF. I believe that every individual operates in specific settings but has to consider larger contexts. I am committed to following the highest standards in the teaching practice as well as participating in the process of policymaking. I hope I will be able to contribute to the improvement of the educational system by engaging in the development of guidelines and policies in educational establishments.
Designing and Planning Teaching and Learning
Planning is one of the core activities of educators who have to make sure that every lesson or session helps students to achieve specific learning goals. As far as the areas of activity defined in the UKPSF are concerned, designing and planning are seen as the primary activities for the teacher (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011). It is essential for remaining focused and using the most effective tools to address teaching objectives (Merrienboer & Kirschner 2017).
Planning and designing are fundamental stages that help the teacher to ensure the use of the most effective teaching instruments and the provision of the most valuable information. Planning enables the teacher to use the evidence-based approach as it is possible to utilize the most recent research and other educators’ experience that is shared in the professional literature and online platforms.
During the work on the session plan, I had an opportunity to reflect on the way the UKPSF can be applied in practice. I focused on the use of the data consistent with the set teaching goals and learning objectives. I employed multiple sources to make the information diverse and helpful. Although lecturing accounted for a considerable part of the session, I made sure the learners would be able to discuss the newly-acquired information to grasp the material.
Delivering and Teaching and Learning
One of the areas of activity within the scope of the UKPSF is “teach and/or support learning” (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011, p. 3). The delivery of information can affect the way students learn it and even remain motivated to move further. Task 3 was a helpful assignment as I had an opportunity to prepare for a presentation and delivered certain information. The task was an important step for the effective implementation of the plan I had developed earlier. The use of the most effective teaching methods is one of the core knowledge domains described in the UKPSF.
When preparing for the presentation, I reviewed some of the most appropriate techniques suggested by Forsyth, Jolliffe, and Stevens (2013). Expecting the unexpected as mentioned in the book by Forsyth, Jolliffe, and Stevens (2013) was the most intriguing part for me. I thought I was ready for all questions and reactions, but I was still taken aback at times. One of my major beliefs is the teacher’s responsibility is to deliver information to make learners motivated and even eager to learn more on the topic. Lectures or any information presented should be interesting and appropriate for a specific class, as well as consistent with learning objectives.
Assessing Students’ Learning
The assessment of students’ knowledge and skills is one of the dimensions of the UKPSF, but it is sometimes overlooked (Pellegrino & Goldman 2017). Some educators and researchers have a negative attitude towards assessment claiming that it is often confined to checking a limited scope of knowledge or even students’ ability to comply with certain standards. However, I believe the assessment is instrumental in promoting students’ participation in higher education and life-long learning. The assessment helps students to see their progress, identify some gaps, seek the instructor’s guidance, and continue learning.
When working on the assessment task, I had these goals in mind. I tried to make sure that students would be able to incorporate the knowledge they had gained. It has been acknowledged that effective assessment is a well-thought and transparent assessment (Pellegrino & Goldman 2017). Therefore, I took my time to create clear assessment criteria that were consistent with learning objectives and were easily understood. The developed task helped students to train their skills in writing reports, researching, analyzing in addition to revising the material discussed during the session. I have to admit that this task was harder than the development of the session plan.
New teachers often think that assessment is the final stage in the teaching process, but this is far from being true. The provision of feedback is an important part of the process as the teacher guide students and helps them achieve the established goals. Feedback is also described as an essential area of activity of the UKPSF, and it is also associated with the development of the appropriate learning environment and guidance, which is another area of activity (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011). The provision of feedback is linked to such professional values as respecting individual students.
I tried to provide my feedback following the principle of respect. I knew that my words would affect my peers’ learning process. Likewise, every teacher’s feedback shapes the way students learn and behave (Fernández-Toro & Furnborough 2014). According to Fernández-Toro and Furnborough (2014), students tend to follow teachers’ recommendations and appreciate the guidance, but teachers should weigh each word when giving feedback to make it effective. It is necessary to be critical but supportive and informative. It is also essential to choose the most effective channel for the delivery of feedback as it can be provided orally, in the written form, and through online platforms.
Evaluating Educational Strategies
The evaluation of teaching strategies is the final stage of the teaching process. For me, it is as important as planning and presentation, so I always analyze the instruments I use, and I try to utilize the most appropriate criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of my teaching. By the UKPSF, evaluation is closely related to quality and the contribution to the teaching practice development (The UK Professional Standards Framework 2011). Sallis (2014) notes that self-assessment helps teachers to improve their skills and remain connected to a larger community of learners.
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The completion of task 6 was an opportunity to achieve these goals. In my paper, I paid most attention to the formal assessment, which is another type of evaluation of teaching strategies effectiveness. At the same time, this formal or external evaluation is connected with self-assessment since teachers follow certain standards and principles in their practice. These standards are especially valuable for new teachers who may feel unconfident or lacking some experience.
On balance, it is necessary to note that the completed tasks helped me go through a complete teaching process. I was able to check my consistency with the UKPSF and my teaching values and philosophy. I have to admit that I still have certain gaps to address, but I am committed to being a life-long learner and a professional who seeks constant development.
Bostock, S & Baume, D 2016, ‘Professions and professionalism in teaching and development’, in D Baume & C Popovic (eds), Advancing practice in academic development, Routledge, London, pp. 32-51.
Fernández-Toro, M & Furnborough, C 2014, ‘Feedback on feedback: eliciting learners’ responses to written feedback through student-generated screencasts’, Educational Media International, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 35-48.
Forsyth, I, Jolliffe, A & Stevens, D 2013, Delivering a course: practical strategies for teachers, lecturers and trainers, 2nd edn, Routledge, London.
Hibbert, P & Semler, M 2015, ‘Faculty development in teaching and learning: the UK framework and current debates’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, vol. 53, no. 6, pp.581-591.
Merrienboer, J & Kirschner, P 2017, Ten steps to complex learning: a systematic approach to four-component instructional design, 3rd edn, Routledge, Oxon.
Pellegrino, JW & Goldman, SR 2017, ‘Beyond rhetoric: realities and complexities of integrating assessment into classroom teaching and learning’, in CA Dwyer (ed), The future of assessment: shaping teaching and learning, Routledge, Oxon, pp. 7-52.
Sallis, E 2014, Total quality management in education, 3rd edn, Routledge, London.