Reflective Learning

free essayContemporary globalised world develops in an unstoppable pace, especially in terms of technologies. As a result, the automotive industry prospers nowadays, because of its modes’ variety, improved safety, as well as following the latest low-emission requirements in order to decrease global warming effects. Even commercial vehicles are currently technically sophisticated.

Therefore, the immense technical evolution has also changed the image of a professional mechanic. Particularly, the trade has been and is transforming since working on problems and repairs decreases. Consequently, mechanics need to be aware of the system more than previously, and the diagnostic skills are to be the qualification for today’s specialists. Besides, the more-advanced diagnostic-repair working process and constant technology development require the modernised approach to learning and teaching this occupation in order to understand sophisticated systems better and be high-qualified and up-to-date professionals in the field.

Time has passed when a highly trained technical specialist, according to the requirements of the curricula of the government, formed a non-funnelled student group as educated individual fighters within the 45-minute period increment the educational content. The teacher of tomorrow is no longer a timpanist, but a moderator. In other words, the modern educator does individual counselling, and conducts projects, encourages discussion and promotes social skills of his/ her students. Contemporary educational facilities require such student-centred approaches as educating via providing an advice. Means of multimedia are able to ease the teacher’s performance and make one to be advanced and up-to-date. These transformations in the educational process and their interpretation by teachers are of great importance.

Therefore, current essay discusses:

i) The impacts of technological advances on my pedagogical approach: a. Both technological advances within the industry as well as those related to teaching and learning will be considered; b. Adjustments that can be applied in order to reflect these changes in my teaching and/or assessment practice will be paid attention to; ii) The paper will cover how the specific occupational and personal needs of my students affect what is learnt and how it is learnt; iii) The reflective approaches used in considering (i) and (ii) points will be detailed.

Technological Advances in My Pedagogical Approach

Without any doubt, the whiteboard, which has come to the institutions, offers many advantages over the old chalk board. It joins technical possibilities of a PC and the Internet together into a multi-functional device. I use it not only for writing and drawing, but also look at the pictures and movies, and search information in the web. My magic pen allows me to use it as a PC, with its different programs and applications, in the classroom. For example, with my pen, I configure learning videos on the screen. In this regard, it executes the same function as a mouse: a pause, cut-outs, enlarges or uses a torch to lighten things too high. Dichanz and Ernst (2001) claimed that when ‘modern learning is easier, more interesting, motivating, entertaining, it will also be more effective’ (p. 5). Also, it is important that, in the automotive area, technologies are complex; for example, the topic of after treatment for exhaust gases. With respect to the issue, emission laws are to be covered, and the injection system reactions on the mixture of the exhaust gases. Such a complex theme is better comprehended with the use of animated pictures, videos, and the whiteboard is of necessary help in this situation.

On the other hand, the great strength of the whiteboard is also its great danger. It, so to speak, seduces to overload students with new impressions and the number of consecutive media in the classroom. To be more precious, the individual learning objects can only be touched and then replaced by a new impression. However, learning is not dependent on access to the world. Nevertheless, much can be understood, reflected and integrated into their world of knowledge and experience by a restriction of access to the individual elements developed.

Thus, the whiteboard is simultaneously a powerful and seductive-directed learning device that, when used consciously, has made my lessons more vivid. It also should be underlined that it was time-consuming for me to deal with this medium and its numerous applications and functions. In this regard, I used the idea of journal writing to make notes to be sure I can use this tool more powerfully. Moreover, I wrote down where was my weakness during the presentation to upgrade my skills.

Rushton and Suter (2012) have stated that it is easy to do reflective writing when it is divided on different aspects and the simple questions are asked; for instance, where the resources or timing right was learning outcome covered, etc. (p. 29). I also rely of my feelings: quite often, I recognise that if I am happy at the end of the day, my students are happy as well.

Another example where I use new technology is an e-learning program about the automotive technology. My classroom is equipped with a sufficient number of computers, with the internet-connection, which can be used by students whenever there is a need. An advantage of the programs is that they adapt to the user’s pace of work individually and constantly, provide feedback about a student’s achievement and knowledge. In an evaluation protocol that I can call any time, I find out about the strengths and weaknesses of the student, which I can address specifically. Regardless nothing unpredictable has occurred since this practice has been implemented, there is always a risk that issues may happen. For example, server can do not work, so I always need a back-up plan. Rushton and Suter (2012) have called this reflection a revised practise (p. 22).

During the e-learning program, students often ask questions, and I, instead of answering, configure my whiteboards using the office of the program where the student is. I give this question to the class, which guarantees that everyone experiences the learning outcome after being challenged. I try to feedback the answers in a positive and objective way. Instead of judging whether the student’s answer is good or bad, I try to express my attitude in an encouraging way. It is needless to say that it is a constant obligation of the every educator to fill up teaching toolbox with different learning strategies (Rushton & Suter, 2012, p. 14). For example, such phrases can be used: ‘How do you know that? I did not know that…’ or ‘What is the reason that your knowledge are on such a high level?’ etc. Further, I try to take the objections positively and to rebut; e.g., ‘That is a good idea, but what happened when…’ This reflects positive to the learning outcome because students are feeling better when they want to ask a question. Tovey and Lawlor (2008) explained that feedback is critical because it is one of the processes while people learn.

Likewise, students can themselves Google when searching for the necessary information. In this way, the teacher gives learners an option and allows them to choose.

Feedback is a critical component of the learning process. Race (2005) claimed that quick feedback is important (p. 26). The trainer is supposed to organise a three-sided feedback: (a) from students themselves; (b) their peers; (c) the tutor. This will increase the outcome for the next lesson. In this regard, students understand what went wrong and how they can improve.

The use of computer opened me additional opportunities. The teacher must have access to the previous qualifications for additional skills and be able to give students new techniques of the learning content. It should sound didactic and methodical. Rushton and Suter (2012) stated the development of teaching and learning is central (p. 13).

Thus, my role as a teacher has changed. Currently, I am not a knowledge broker, as in the traditional system of teaching, but look like an adviser and a mentor who assists students in learning. My task is now enhanced to act alongside and behind the students when they discuss tasks and content in small groups. Furthermore, the mode of working transformed as well. There is a greater direct contact with the teachers of the students since the computer can take over the elements of the traditional knowledge for me. Meanwhile, there is the opportunity to take on a different group of students and respond to their problems and concerns. Communication with students is important because I can gain valuable feedback with questioning or active listening. Additionally, the eye contact and gesture are also crucial (Ruston & Suter, 2012, p. 58).

I will give students suggestions and support on how to learn and solve tasks independently or in a group, with the help of media diversity. The time I usually had to apply for the transfer of knowledge about the frontal teaching I can now focus on demonstration, repetition, and monitoring results of the learning content. The central task of tutors is to ‘communicate or transfer knowledge to learners in the most efficient way possible’ (Edgar, 2012, p. 4). Therefore, I concentrate my practice on making my students active learners. In other words, I assist them in accumulating the new knowledge on the existing one and making it more complex, developing it from simpler to deeper and more thorough notions. What is more, I try to build my teaching in such a way that information gained is meaningful to the students since there are more chances that it can be ‘retained than material that learners evaluate as boring’ (Bowden, 2008, p. 70).

The computer is a useful instrument for negotiation of teaching materials. However, teachers must be given the opportunity to offset existing deficits in the area of media literacy and education through the teacher training; it will help to take away their fears of the device. It is essential for teachers to identify the ways and forms how the computer and other contemporary technologies can be productively and effectively integrated into the classroom. According to Ruete (2008), the teacher has to pay attention to set up the classroom right (p. 4).

If a student has an interest of a particular subject of teaching, then the teacher must support and extend this interest through the appropriate means. Reeve (2006) outlines indications of what teachers can do to promote the motivation of their students for the learning object (p. 253). The scholar asserts that the learning environment should be well-structured and favourable in promoting the autonomy for a student simultaneously (Reeve, 2006, p. 657). Moreover, when working with a computer, students develop thinking in contexts and acquiring knowledge itself. For example, when students are tasked to make a PowerPoint presentation, I prefer that they can work in groups. In this way, they are active learners: each of them shares existing knowledge with others, and they all gain shared additional knowledge or acquire it from books or the web. Besides, they help each other to improve themselves. This technique is expected to make them ‘execute self-regulated learning activities and, as a side effect, enhance their self-regulated learning abilities’ (cited in Gaete, Mangione, Orciuoli, & Salerno, 2011, p. 70). As Race (2005) has succinctly noted, educators are to assist learners ‘to digest each learning experience they go through, and to become better-able to retain what is important and discard what is just passing detail’.

Conclusion

The paper has discussed the specifics of implementation of technological advances within my teaching framework, as well as the ways how those impact the learning process and how I can expand their application. It has been clarified that using informational technologies and other modern devices is a critical component of the current educational system. In other words, since the globalised world experiences the constant progress and contemporary technologies are more sophisticated than ever, the teaching approach is to be updated constantly.

Whereas the automotive industry functions through the most technically advanced vehicles, gaining an appropriate qualification by a mechanic is to be supported with the most up-to-date teaching means as well. Thus, I broadly apply technical devices within my teaching framework. For example, I often use a whiteboard to assist my students in better understanding a wide range of the given material, because this mode can be used as a PC and provides many learning opportunities. E-learning programs are also useful means in the teaching toolkit. However, these technical approaches to teaching have certain disadvantages (e.g. learning may seem too easy for students, etc.). Consequently, all innovations in learning have to be implemented after a thorough studying of them by a teacher. Moreover, a sufficient theoretical background is required in order to use it properly and with the most positive outcomes.

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