On 6 November 2012, corresponding to the last Tuesday, I have been conducting microteaching trials on the topic of learning “Needs and Wants” under chapter one, the Commerce Syllabus Form 4, on 30 prospective teachers who act as students in Form 4. My final microteaching was held on 3rd January 2013 with the same topic and objectives. This microteaching was carried out for 15 minutes under the supervision of my lecturers, Mr. Suthagar a / l Narasuman. Microteaching trial is compulsory for all prospective teachers who took this course.
In determining the rotation and chapter that should be taught in microteaching sessions was determined by voting under the supervision of our chief, Nor Hafriza. We just called her as Fiza. She was the head that is very responsible and dedicated in solving our problems related to this course. After the voting, I found that I’m very fortunate to have had a first turn and first subtopic in syllabus Perdagangan Form 4 for trial and final session. After a few weeks, Fiza has received approval from our lecturer, Mr. Suthagar to choose our own sub-topics that will be taught during microteaching. This is very nice but I decided to keep the title was elected during the voting session.
2.0 Initial Feelings / Reaction
I would be lying if I said that the microteaching was easy. To be honest, I was extremely nervous when it was assigned, not because of the work that would be required to get it done, but because of the actual teaching the class. I was more afraid to teach my own friends than the actual high school class that I have and will be assigned to. The reasoning behind this is that it is always said that standing up in front of one’s peers is quite possibly the hardest thing to do. They are the people that are around you the most and know you I bit more personally than say, a class. Yes, a class does get to know you as well, but it is not on the same level as in this microteaching. There is some sort of connection a class has because we all know exactly what to expect from one another and we judge, we cannot help it, it just happens.
We may not necessarily be trying to judge, but it is in our nature and it should be when it comes to something like microteaching because we are all trying to learn a little something from one another. For trial, I have prepared a lesson plan that teacher-centred, where as I give a clear explanation of human needs and desires as well as the differences between them. After that, the students are asked to answer an exercise provided. After a few minutes, I choose students at random to give the right answer orally. I was the first students to run this trial and after hearing the comments from Mr. Suthagar, it clearly shows that my lack was regarding involvement of students in the process of teaching and learning. When beginning this trial microteaching journey, the first hurdle that I had to jump over was the dreaded lesson plans.
Before this class, I had an experience to write a lesson plan during me as a backup teacher. However, during that time I’m just write the lesson plan based on my understanding and without the trustworthy knowledge. When talking about the lesson, I had practiced it in front of my roommates and some friends and I knew it just was not going to be the same as in the class. One of the biggest things that I had to worry about besides the discipline issue was my time management. I did not want to get into a situation where I would have so much time left over and then have nothing to talk about. So, my lesson did end up going as planned and I actually had more stuff that I could have said if the buzzer had not gone off.
Other friends who are implemented their trial on the first day which is together with me also facing a lack and problem more or less the same. However, there is also a classmate who is able to provide activities that engage students and it is a very good example and can be an example for me in the future. Friends who implement micro teaching trial in the next weeks started to change and show the improvement to teach using students centred approach. However there is still a lack of attentive in a few friends and they are still continuing their micro teaching trial based on teacher-centred approach.
3.0 Process of Designing and Delivering Lesson
Based on my experience, the process in designing to delivering my lesson is not too complicated. For me, the most important things were the lesson plan and activities that I will conduct during the microteaching. I realize that there is a strategy to planning a lesson. There were certain aspects of the lesson plan, such as the goals and objectives that helped me focus on my lesson, as well as making sure that each activity I had planned was relevant and effective. Writing a lesson plan gave me a chance to think through each aspect and make sure that there were no holes. Even though I felt prepared going into the classroom, there is only so much planning and preparation that is possible. There will always be things that will come up, such as random student responses or questions that I will not have prepared for. Learning how to deal with situations such as those will come with time and experience. Generally, there is many benefit of having a lesson plan. It allows you to manage your time, effort and resources efficiently. It also provides the teacher many ways to keep the teaching process not monotonous and redundant.
We need to keep in mind that the attention of our students and pupils is just equivalent to half of their age and a lesson is the best way to keep the interests of students and pupils interests all throughout. Since it is like a script in movies, lesson plans makes teaching mundane and easy and it makes you organized whilst teaching. We can able to determine when to insert icebreakers and interesting facts and lessons to keep our student and pupils glued to their lessons. Other than that, the variations in the activities are easily whipped out which will benefit our students. Bear in mind that we are dealing with a class that has multiple intelligent and different activities will cater to all types of students and pupils. Lesson plans will easily help you to achieve your goals and objectives, and same can be said on the part of your students or pupils. It also gives us a reality check of our everyday performance and we can improve the habit and attitude of our students and our teaching skills.
Lesson plans is vital in teaching, it gives us the guide we need to pull through. Bear in mind that teaching is a difficult since we are dealing with children or teenagers with raw skills, knowledge, and wisdom. It clearly shows that with lesson plans we will be able to impart the things they need to do the best of our abilities. When we are new to teaching, a detailed lesson plan is essential because it gives us confidence. By thinking of all the steps, all the procedures, all the materials needed, all the types of interactions that might take place along with predicting the time each activity will last, we get the feeling of being ready for the lesson. By thoroughly planning a lesson, we reduce the chances of being caught off-guard, something that can be very frustrating to any teacher, but that can be especially difficult to those new to the job. No matter how long we’ve been teaching, it’s always important to ask ourselves questions like these as we plan, reflect and work to plan a lesson.
What will my students have learned after this lesson is over? What will they be able to do by the end of it that they weren’t able to do before? How will this lesson help them progress in their learning? Most important, how will I help them to get there? When planning lessons, besides considering what I will talk about, how I will talk about it and what materials I will use as I talk about it, I try to predict possible difficulties and questions the students might have so I can be ready to address those. This helps me fit the lesson within the bigger picture of the term and the content I am supposed to cover. I reflect on the balance between types of activities and types of learners. That will makes me calmer before teaching. More than planned, I am prepared. In completing the lesson plan, I’m choosing to use a backward mapping design. Backward design is a method of designing educational curriculum by setting goals before choosing instructional methods and forms of assessment.
Backward design of curriculum typically involves three stages which are identify the results desired, determine acceptable levels of evidence that support that the desired results have occurred and design activities that will make desired results happen. Backward design challenges “traditional” methods of curriculum planning. In traditional curriculum planning, a list of content that will be taught is created and/or selected. In backward design, I’m as a future educator starts with goals, creates or plans out assessments and finally makes lesson. My goals subtopic of needs and wants were express meaning of needs and wants, distinguish between needs and wants and sketch the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Supporters of backward design liken the process to using a “road map”. In this case, the destination is chosen first and then the road map is used to plan the trip to the desired destination. In contrast, in traditional curriculum planning there is no formal destination identified before the journey begins. The idea in backward design is to teach toward the “end point” or learning goals, which typically ensures that content taught remains focused and organized. This, in turn, aims at promoting better understanding of the content or processes to be learned for students. I’m able to focus on addressing what the students need to learn, what data can be collected to show that the students have learned the desired outcomes and how to ensure the students will learn.
4.0 Personal Reflection
In my opinion, the skills I used during my session were regarding voice projection, communication and classroom management. I’m asked a few friends about my voice projection and I get a positive answer that my voice is very clear. I know that teacher’s voice needs to be effective in a variety of circumstances. As a teacher, I need to be audible. Students at the back of the class must be able to hear my voice as well as those at the front. I need a voice which projects well and appropriately in all these circumstances and which is also pleasant to listen to. I think that teachers do not have to shout to be heard or to make students understood. Good voice projection is more important than volume. Speaking too softly or unpleasantly loudly is both irritating and unhelpful for students. Expressive voices, used in an imaginative way, draw students in and make them want to pay attention and listen. If such a voice has quality and liveliness, they will be motivated to attend, participate and learn. Regarding communication skills, I’m sure that I’m good in that during my microteaching session because I’m able to explain the content of lesson using methods that my students can understand. Communication can help me better interact with students.
A teacher’s ability to communicate on all levels will help students who progress at different paces. Actually, I think that I’m cannot fully utilize my teaching skills because the time provided only 15 minutes. However, I’m already trying my best to complete my microteaching. As an attention grabber or induction set, I’m using my bridal cloth and a medicine to show interconnection between needs and wants. During the microteaching session, I have seen that i can attract my students’ attention to the lesson. I’m prepared two activities to be completed in 15 minutes includes my intro and summaries. The activities were presentation that I’m already gives a week before and a game that I called as ‘spontan’. During the time provided, I’m able to complete all activities as planned and give a written exercise regarding the topic lesson.
In completing this session, I’m choosing cooperative learning. Cooperative learning, which will be the primary focus of the class, is a specific kind of collaborative learning. In cooperative learning, students work together in small groups on a structured activity. They are individually accountable for their work, and the work of the group as a whole is also assessed. Cooperative groups work face-to-face and learn to work as a team. In small groups, students can share strengths and also develop their weaker skills. They develop their interpersonal skills. They learn to deal with conflict. When cooperative groups are guided by clear objectives, students engage in numerous activities that improve their understanding of subjects explored. In order to create an environment in which cooperative learning can take place, three things are necessary. First, students need to feel safe, but also challenged. Second, groups need to be small enough that everyone can contribute.
Third, the task students’ work together on must be clearly defined. The cooperative and collaborative learning techniques presented here should help make this possible for teachers. The most important things that influence my teaching design and delivery were about instructional strategies and the induction set in order to attract students’ attention. I’m realizing that in this century, I need to focus more on students. So, I must prepare a lesson plan or activities that used students centred instructional strategies. Student-centred teaching methods shift the focus of activity from the teacher to the learners. Student-centred methods have repeatedly been shown to be superior to the traditional teacher-centred approach to instruction, a conclusion that applies whether the assessed outcome is short-term mastery, long-term retention, or depth of understanding of course material, acquisition of critical thinking or creative problem-solving skills, formation of positive attitudes toward the subject being taught or level of confidence in knowledge or skills. Induction set also importance in teaching.
I know that set induction is the important part those teachers always do at the beginning of teaching and learning process. The objective of set induction is to encourage the students to attract and make them concentrate their attention towards teacher’s presentation. The most effective ways to present set induction by using teaching aids, related situation with the lesson, motivation, questioning technique, revision of related topic and much more. Then, we can relate with the topic that we will teach them at that day. In determine good set induction we must know it is suitable with their ability and also experience. Also the activity ought to relate closely to the lesson content that follows.
From this microteaching experience, I have learned more than I could imagine. It gave me the practice I needed in constructing lesson plans and finally getting up in front of the class and teaching not just reading off a project. I am more aware of watching out for discipline issues because they are constantly in the back of my mind and I am constantly looking out for them. I feel that I am much more confident going my practicum now that I have completed the microteaching and it has allowed me to start thinking about what to expect in the class. I have come to find out that when in a classroom, anything is possible, so I have to be ready.
Burden, P. R., & Byrd, D. M. (2013). Methods for Effective Teaching (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice-Hall.
Cruickshank, D.R.; Bainer, D.L. and Metcalf, K.K. (1999). The Act of Teaching, 2nd Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill College