You have made a good point.
I think that the idea of Scaffolding is a good one but only if applied after a certain stage of development has been reached.
I am drawing in my own experience here of hands on vocational training, and your subject may allow for a different approach to this. I remember once a suggestion from a director of learning at a college I was working at to the effect of Why dont you get the students to create their own individual scheme of work.....well thats all well and good once they have reached a point where there is understanding of the subject to the degree where this might be possible but certainly not to fresh faced students who have never picked up a file or hacksaw. I think the saying that would apply if Scaffolding were to be applied too early in the learning process would be "The Blind leading The Blind" I resume that your comments lead in this direction.
To return to Blooms Psychomotive domain that I love I would say that the developmental stage that scaffolding would be started at would be the Precision/Articulation stage.
Stuart, you said:
"I've experimented a little with this recently and the weaker students concluded that too much freedom was not conducive to them being productive. They need to be given more specific guidelines."
- Absolutely agree on this. As I mentioned in a post earlier in this discussion, by numbering students and getting a structured rotation going, it gave them a mental framework of what was going on in the room - scaffolding (cognitive theory!). I feel I have been to open with learners in the past - and I'm not specifically thinking of the young adult learners either. Lasy year during staff development week, my team and I ran a session where staff had an experience of filming something from start to finish, so they got a taste of pre-production, production and post-production, and we wanted the staff to do 'anything they wanted' - but after a few minutes of 'um-ing' and 'ah-ing' and repeated questions from them, we went back to our backup. Looking back at it now, I realise that our backup was actually scaffolding, although we didn't recognise it as that. Our backup was a shortlist of ideas or genres for things that they could film, some which included a list of ideas for different sections within that genre (ie, film a news reporter in the tv studio, cut to a reporter in the field, cut back to the studio). By giving them this structure, the staff suddenly came out with lots of really fun ideas about what they would do. It seems a bit paradoxical that by providing framework you can actually get more variety out of learners, but it works!
I have just replied to Simon's thoughts on this and part of that reply dealt with Blooms taxonomy and the Psychomotive domain. I Think that a good grasp of the hierarchy or developmental levels in this domain go ever such a long way to help people who are involved in teaching a skill subject. It is my bible and not failed me yet. I lays out very clearly what is going on within the learning curve. It also integrates very nicely into all the other learning theories that you are likely to come across as the basic steps are pretty much the same. It also address things like VAK. A good description of the levels in this domain can be found by following this link http://www.businessballs.com/bloomstaxonomyoflearningdomains.htm#bl...
Used in conjunction with the learning curve diagram you have an extremely powerful tool that will help you a lot.
This link may help but its not ideal. the the 5 levels of the P/M domain can be mapped across onto this with Naturalisation at the plateau phase.
Could the more confident students' abilities and energies be put to good use? I can see how it would be feasible for a teacher to give a student control of a whiteboard pen for a class discussion - which doesn't have to be limited to just the higher-ability students - give the board pen to a learner who isn't confident with the material being taught in a session and you're encouraging them to listen to their peers' ideas and contributions and then interperet them (possibly with encouragement) into a bullet point to write on the board. You're also then getting them to write down the subject-specific words being used in the session, so by the time they've sat down again, they've heard it, seen it, written and done it themselves with a hint of minimum core language and literacy.
Like Rebecca - I would try some peer support/learning - but also have a one to one with the learner first to see if she/he has any input that might help or any ways in which they have been supported in the past. Sometimes they are just so lacking in confidence they don't want to give anything away in class, in front of others. Other times, there couldb e a barrier to their learning - such as a learning difficulty or even a physical one [e.g. not hearing you properly]. There might even be apersonal or social problem outside of the course that maybe they need to discuss with somneone else - but until it's resolved it could have an affecton their progression.
I have a student who is actually very, very bright and her work leads me to beleive she is the most able one in the calss. However, one of the reasons she is coming along is that she cannot bring herself to speak aloud publicly. I'm working really hard with her to oversome this. It's taking an age but she does appear more confident now with speaking to other class members - so hopefully now I will be able to draw her out a bit more as an individual speaker.
As the group often needs a little 'lift' here and there throughout the sessions [each session is 3 hours long - with just a short break in the middle of each - so a long time for the youngsters to concentrate] - I have lots of short group activities, and some longer ones. This is how I have gradually encouraged this learner to join in . To start with it was totally out of her comfort zone but the other learners encouraged her. Now she works better in a group, and is doing very well with her speaking and interacting within paired work.
She is also beginning to give just a little input into group brainstorms on the whiteboard but this has also needed some very carefully directed questions - so that I did not single her out with a question she couldn't possibly answer - nor one that was so easy - it obvious what I was trying to do.
Although speaking out is not the difficulty you have - in terms of your learner - maybe some similar tactics could be used/adapted??
Just a thought - not sure if it helps?
P.S. Having written this - I've now seen all the other replies and yor responses so it duplicates a lot of what has already been said :)
Thanks for that Chris.
I've been reading up a bit on Dix's work and he seems to have some really good ideas. I especially like the simplicity of His Tombola Theory trouble makers to guide their own learning.
I use materials and teaching techniques that promote equality and diversity. Before I use materials, I assess them in terms of equality and diversity. I ensure that images and texts are not stereotypical and to embed equality and diversity into my sessions, I try to hand out “diversity aware” materials and use these positively to challenge stereotypes.
I set ground rules about appropriate language through whole class discussion. I also use interactive and participatory approaches to learning. For instance, in my lessons, I provide my students with a range of learning opportunities and use different forms of assessments to address the different needs and interests of students. I also ensure that people from different backgrounds are able to work together.
In short, I try to use equality and diversity as an educational resource.
The comment about stereotypical images/texts resonated with me. It's relevant to all subjects, not just relevant to teaching English as a second language, which is my area. I did a topic on "Inventions" which challenged gender stereotyping - not many learners guessed that windscreen wipers and the bullet proof vest were invented by women! I also try to build a feeling of togetherness in the class - I used an ice breaker (optical illusions) which illustrated how different people see the same thing differently, and used it to show that different view points were equally valid. (Thanks Tina for the materials!!) I've enjoyed seeing how a disparate group of individuals (different ages, nationalities, faiths, genders, reasons for learning) have formed a happy band of supportive peers! I haven't ever formally set ground rules about appropriate language, just sort of encouraged positive, discouraged negative, and led by example, but your comment has got me thinking - it's a good idea.
"not many learners guessed that windscreen wipers and the bullet proof vest were invented by women!"
- On this subject, I don't know if any of you are aware of a Facebook page called "I F***ing Love Science", which is a great source of daily posts about various scientific things that also gives a weekly round-up of what's been happening in the world of science, but it was recently deemed 'news' that the author behind these posts was a woman. Now, I can appreciate the point of view that many would be "surprised she was a woman based on stereotypes about language use and gender norms" (from the Wikipedia page about the author of the Facebook page), but is it wrong that when it emerged that she was a woman that I didn't give a hoot? It must be a compliment to my upbringing that it matter neither way whether the person who wrote the article was male or female, black or white, gay or straight etc.
My mum was a TA in a primary school for a few years, and she tells a story about how a child saw another child drawing a self-portrait, and the observing child said "why have you drawn yourself black?" to which the other child responded "because I AM black" - it was such a NON-issue that the observing child had never 'catagorised' the other as colour. If only the whole world could have such innocent eyes.
I've just been reading a bit about diversity in 'Inclusion and Diversity' by Sue Grace and Phil Gravestock (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inclusion-Diversity-Students-Effective-Educ...) which says (near enough) that if you draw attention to something, like for example a short piece about "women in chemistry", then you're actually putting it out there as being 'not normal', whereas if you're doing a piece about chemisty and happen to reference the work of a woman in the industry then you are appropriately being diverse. It seems that to celebrate diversity, you have to ignore it to a degree!
I'm certainly no expert on this, but I would imagine that whoever is checking up on you to ensure quality would appreciate that the methods we're all using to promote inclusion and diversity are variations of the same material - essentially the content of all of the different handouts and the different techniques we're is the same, just the method of delivery is different.
I didn't read all the answers, so maybe I am being repetitive here, but I ll give my thoughts anyway. I had to embed E&D in my teaching, in a more structured way this year than I did previous years, as I am teaching a group of students with really varied initial knowledge base and skills. So the challenge was not to exclude anyone (neither students that were just starting in photography, nor the ones that had experience of three or four years already!). I altered my teaching materials and although I started by teaching the basics to all students in order to build the same knowledge base (which meant that some students were getting some information they knew already) I did add more challenging tasks for them, in order to keep them interested and motivated. For example: in a studio workshop, I would give the same exercise to all students, divided in groups, knowing that some of them would finish earlier. The ones that would finish before the rest of the group and if they got the exercise right, would get a photo by a contemporary photographer (usually a portrait of a young singer/actor) and would be asked to recreate the lighting style, while I was helping the rest of students to catch up.
This worked well for the beginning of the course.
Does this example help? Can it be transferrable to other subjects?