Thursday, April 5, 2012

Education 101

Education 101

I have had the pleasure of being able to observe and be a co-facilitator at a couple of educational facilities in the tri-state area. My experience has allowed me to teach sex-ed to a variety of young people from various educational and developmental backgrounds.  The methodology that I used I gained from my experience here at Widener, which has allowed me the opportunity to come in with at least some type of educational strategies from the beginning. One thing that I have noticed is that due to the lack of educational training many educators are not equipped to teach young people any subject let alone sex-ed. 

Due to these deficiencies, the educators are fighting a losing battle.  I have observed some professionals begin a new lesson or topic without even trying to determine the student’s prior knowledge or abilities. Also many teachers ignore the notion of ever trying to make the subject matter interesting or trying to attract the attention of the students.  Even though I know I have a lot more work to do as far as developing my teaching style, one skill I have learned is, preparation. This is a key concept to becoming an effective educator.

When beginning my classes I use discussions as a part of Direct Instruction in the “Warm-Up” or “ausubel” activity as a part of a concrete/shared experience.  This allows students to become engaged in the topic (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). This concrete/shared experience appeals to the student’s affective (emotional) side to engage them and create a comfortable environment. Also, this gives students a chance for reflection and to establish prerequisite knowledge on the topic. Establishing prerequisite knowledge can serve as a “hook” for new learning as students can link prior knowledge to what they will soon learn (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006).

Also by using direct instruction, both concepts and procedural skills are being taught (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). For example, concepts such as HIV and STI’s are being explained, and the procedural skill of putting a condom on effectively is being taught. This model is effective in helping to reach the learning goals and objectives because it helps to present the material in clear and logical steps (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). Additionally, guided practice in the learning activities is useful in attaining the goals and objectives because it allows the students to practice procedural skills such as putting the condom on a woodie with the instructor to learn how to do it properly (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006). Also, modeling as a part of social cognitive theory is used in the condom demonstrations because people have the tendency to mirror behaviors they observe in others (Eggen & Kauchak, 2006).  This facilitates transference of these learned skills in the classroom to their being able to use condoms effectively at home or to teach others how to use one properly (Eggen & Kauchak).

Of course not all of the young people are actively engaged in any educational arena. But at least they were provided with auditory and visual stimuli. So they may have internalized the information in some way and are able to process that information at another time.  I know that I at least attempted to get their attention, listen to what they had to say, give them new information and skills, and allow them to demonstrate their newly learned skills.

REFERENCES: Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2006).  Strategies and Models for Teachers: Teaching Content and Thinking Skills.  Boston, MA:  Pearson Education, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Lynette, I cannot agree with you more that good and thorough preparation is the key to successful teaching. I, too, have gained invaluable skills through the Widener program that have prepped me to be the best educator and the best sexuality educator I can be. I will carry the tools I have been given in this program as I continue to work to advance my teaching skills.

    So many educators find themselves in the role of sexuality educator without any formal training or education. To teach any subject effectively, a good educator has to do a lot of legwork. Effective educators need to assess the developmental level as well as prior knowledge of the participants, their topics of interest, work to understand the learning environment of the participants, research the issues to be discussed and the relationship of those issues to the target audience, etc. All of these steps need to be taken before a curriculum and lesson plans are developed if the goal is effectiveness in educating.

    You noted that many educators are not equipped in this way. Realizing how much work it takes to be a good educator and the awesome demands on teachers in settings where class sizes are very large, academic support is minimal or absent, and participants involved are highly stressed at home and in school, it is easier for me to empathize with colleagues in these settings. While I am not condoning ineffective teaching, I can see why corners are cut and ineffective teaching continues. People get burned out without adequate time and support to do thorough preparation.

    If we can step up and help our fellow educators teach more effective sexuality education by sharing our tools with colleagues or teaching some of their classes, then more students will benefit from the pearls of wisdom we have gained in this program.