In my years in the field of Learning and Development, I have come to know that teaching is a demanding profession because my day does not stop with just teaching and facilitating a class. I have other roles and responsibilities that has little or nothing to do with instruction. I’m a cheerleader, an ambassador, a shock absorber, a role model, a life coach, an arbitrer, a stand-in mom and a performance manager. At times when my manager requests for the submission or urgent deliverables or when my other duties as Language Assessor, gatekeeper, project manager conflict with my training schedule, I have no choice but to comply and half-heartedly turn to technology to get me out of the bind similar to a mom indomitably turning over babysitting duties to the television. On lazy days, I do see the appeal. But as Smaldino et al pointed out, this only offers one-way communication and carries no immediate response from or interaction with learners. As a result, students are not provided with the chance to make sense of their learning and engage in deeper, more meaningful processing that allow them to apply the concepts they have learned into actual real-life scenarios.
The first step in changing this is to adopt a new philosophy which allows the students to take the helm in their own learning and turn them into active participants instead of raw materials of an end-product. This is when technology becomes even more essential because it increases interaction between the learner and content. Students are able to get instantaneous feedback which is very important in learning.
Teachers must also keep in mind that technology is a tool, but it is not the learning process per se. teaching and learning must not be restricted inside the box. Learning does not stop within the prescribed modules and objectives. Teachers must allow and even encourage the student to be more active participants in the learning process, to be more curious and discover things and concepts on their own. Teachers don’t decide what students should learn; rather students are part of the decision-making process. This allows them to be more independent and makes them want to learn the material not only because they were “forced” to learn the material, and they are given more freedom to learn it at the time that they feel is appropriate for them, so teachers don’t have to shove information down a child’s throat.
Teacher-centred instruction would most often employ technology and media through presentation and via drills, but these methods only allow shallow processing of information. When I was teaching ESL to Koreans, I witnessed a lot of teachers abuse Movie Friday. On Fridays, the school turned into cinema. Teachers would bring copies of their favorite movies, and even before the movie was up, more than half the students had lost interest and would already be roaming the school premises. I was also witnessed to how countless repetitive drills were used to pass the time. This caused the child to lose interest and become even more exhausted and exasperated.
Personally, I have nothing against drills. I believe practice makes permanent. But the teacher should be more judicious in choosing the drills. Not all drills should be the pen-and-paper type. It could be turned into a group activity or a game.
With regard to the movie, there should be a pre-watching activity to introduce the movie to the student. Second, to make sure that students indeed pay attention, teachers could perhaps provide students with guide questions which they must be able to answer after watching the movie. Students can also be asked to turn in a movie review.
Duhaney, D. C. (2000). TECHNOLOGY AND THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS: TRANSFORMING CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES. International Journal of Instructional Media, 27(1), 67-72. Retrieved from http://pedagogy21.pbworks.com/f/Technology+and+the+Educational+Process.pdf
Smaldino, S. E. (2005). Instructional technology and media for learning. Retrieved from https://navelmangelep.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/instructional-technology-and-media-for-learning-8th-ed.pdf
The Cone taught teachers to be more critical of the role and the use of media in instruction. It likewise enlightened teachers on the effective use of media to encourage critical thinking and move from concrete to abstract thought. Dale describes learning as the “fourfold organic process” consisting of the following: needs, experience, incorporation of experiences and the application/use of those experiences. The Cone of Experience supports Bruner’s Theory of Instruction which posits the three levels in the learning process: Enactive, Iconic and Symbolic. Learning starts with classifying concepts. Simply put, the Cone of Experience points out that learning always starts with direct experiences and slowly moves up to abstract concepts and visual symbols. A learner who has not experienced a word or a concept will have a hard time putting meaning to and grasping the concept. But this does not mean that learning is impossible without direct experience. It simple means that all the possible pathways of experience must be utilized. I can relate this to learning a language. As a Language Specialist who has extensively studied linguistics and language learning, I can confidently and boldly say that the best way to learn a language is thru direct exposure – living in a place where the target language is spoken. This is not always possible, however. Yet this does not mean that fluency will be impossible to achieve. There are plenty of ways to substitute direct exposure. One can join groups or find native speakers of the target language to interact with, listen to audio tracks, music, watch videos and movies and imitate the speech. This way, learning become richer and more effective because all the sensory experiences are engaged.
Using different kinds of instructional materials of varying types appeal to and are beneficial to learners with different learning preferences and learning styles. It also increases the chance that every student will have a rich and meaningful experience in learning content or information. Since it caters to a wide variety of learners, this increases the students’ level of engagement. A greater level of engagement and independence would help foster and build critical thinking and higher order skills so learning is not limited to rote memorization and recall.
Dale, E. (1946). The “Cone of experience”. In In Audio-visual methods in teaching (pp. 37-52). New York: Dryden Press. Retrieved fromhttp://ocw.metu.edu.tr/file.php/118/dale_audio-visual_20methods_20in_20teaching_1_.pdf
The use of instructional media/technology in the classroom will call for teachers who are creative and visionary leaders who would be able to adapt and shift from one technology to another with ease. Teachers need to adapt to and embrace the presence of technology in the classroom in order to reap the benefits of the use of instructional media. Teachers must have a profound appreciation of the uses of technology as a medium of teaching-learning. Teachers must now be willing to share the stage with their learners, allow more freedom to their learners and be willing to take the backstage in the classroom and act as a facilitator. This way instruction is no longer teacher-led/teacher-driven. Older teaching philosophies believed that teachers were the source of knowledge and information; but this would no longer work in the modern classroom. Although teachers still ultimately have the final say and make judicious and informed decisions on which instructional media/resource to use in the classroom, students also share the burden of the instructional role with the teachers to the point that teachers and students can both work and learn together.
The use of technology in the classroom does not translate to learner automation or a classroom where the teacher merely presents the media/technology to the students and leave them to their own devices. This would not be sound, and in doing so, the students will not be reaping any of the benefits of using technology in the classroom. The use of technology frees up the hands of the teacher in relaying information to the learners, but it also allows the students more freedom to discover knowledge and to pursue their own interests but within acceptable bounds. It also opens up the door for collaborative learning. Therefore, teachers must be prepare to take on the role of a team leader and cheerleader to engage and motivate the learners, coax them to pursue their own inquisitiveness and interests and encourage them to work together and learn from each other. The teacher must also find ways to structure and design activities to optimize learning and build relevance to the knowledge in order to promote understanding and not merely memory recall.
In the pre-ICT era, teachers utilized the chalk talk method which was heavy on lectures and used the chalkboard, OHP (overhead projector), textbooks, workbooks and other stone-age visual materials such as manila paper and cartolina. The teacher’s main task was to deliver the message, drill the students and promote rote learning, and oftentimes without understanding.
The chalkboard or whiteboard method, which leads to student alienation due to poor/limited interaction with and among students can be improved by ensuring that the chalkboard/whiteboard is not the message, but merely one of the means to illustrate the message. The chalkboard can be used to present only bullet points. The whiteboard should be used only to keep the discussion focused and to keep the class in track. Another thing that I learned in the course of my career is to use different colored markers. This helps in emphasizing sections of the discussion, and is also a great way to aid visual learners. I think 3 different colored markers should suffice: black for headings/subjects, blue or green for content, and red for correction/revision.
A classroom can still be interactive even without the use of expensive technology. Depending on the dynamics of the class, each student/group may be provided with their own set of whiteboard and markers. This allows the teacher to monitor student participation, engagement and interaction. It is a challenge to keep track of the students during discussion, and it’s also harder to monitor student progress during the discussion if students were just writing on their notebooks or their iPads/tablets. It’s also environmentally friendly because it helps save paper. Teachers can use the whiteboards to review concepts when doing spot checks to assess how the class is progressing. This way, teachers would be able to spot students who are still struggling and quickly provide targeted help.
Florida State University Center for Teaching and Learning. (2010). Instructional media: Chalkboards to video. In Instruction at FSU Handbook 2010 (pp. 103-112). Retrieved from https://distance.fsu.edu/docs/instruction_at_fsu/Chptr9.pdf
Naz, A. A., & Akbar, R. A. (2008). Use of Media for Effective Instruction its Importance: Some Consideration. Journal of Elementary Education, 18(1-2), 35-40. Retrieved fromhttp://pu.edu.pk/images/journal/JEE/PDF-Files/JEE-18(1-2)%20No_3.pdf