AFHEA AA5: Microteaching

Following on from my FLEX posts here on the blog I will also be using this as a space to work towards and receive feedback on my application for Associate Fellowship of the HEA. Read on for more professional development!

Since beginning my role at MMU I have taken part in a variety of staff development programmes within CELT. After attending Greenhouse sessions lead by CELT team members I took part in the Teaching and Learning Essentials (TALE) course in order to formalise the teaching experience I had from delivering informal arts workshops to young people with the School of Art’s Outreach team. This also lead me to taking part in the FLEX unit, through which I reflected on development opportunities I took part in, and developed action plans to apply to my future practice. (V2, V3)

In particular, I found the TALE sessions focused on microteaching as a tool for developing practice most valuable. Through these sessions I became familiar with updates to Bloom’s ‘Taxonomy of Educational Objectives’ (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001), and the importance of succinct, exact learning objectives. I have since been able to apply this learning to both formal and informal taught sessions, and in more informal sessions where explicit learning objectives were not appropriate have used them as a tool to guide my teaching. (C1)

Through the microteaching sessions I also gained a greater knowledge of reflective practice and its application in learning and teaching. This was especially useful when completing the online reflective diary for the FLEX unit, reflecting on various aspects of my professional development. In each blog post I referred to Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle (1988) in structuring my reflection, which aided me in ordering my thoughts and really analysing my response to professional development. Having this reflection publicly available on an online forum allowed for feedback from MMU peers, and researchers further afield working in the same field. (C4, C5)

front page of flex reflective blog
Front page of FLEX reflective blog

I found the peer assessment aspect of delivering microteaching sessions within TALE very valuable, delivering to peers outside my faculty highlighted examples of best and worst practice I had not been aware of, including the need to pay closer attention to inclusive practice, for example facing students when speaking to aid with lip reading, ensuring visual resources are clear and appropriate for dyslexic learners, which I have applied in subsequent sessions. Below are two examples of peer feedback completed during the session. (V1, C5)

The lesson had a good structure and presented well – both animated and confident. I was a bit worried about remembering the instructions but relieved when realising they were repeated.

Covered learning styles effectively by visual representation, auditory and kinesio (learning by doing).

This opportunity to actively evaluate practice ‘in the moment’ has been extremely valuable, and provides a stepping stone toward peer observation of practice. In my current role I am not involved in formal peer observation, but am developing an informal approach to observation between myself and colleagues in a similar position, to allow for continual evaluation of practice. (C1, C5, V3)

examples of slides from microteaching session
Slides developed for second microteaching session, applying feedback from the first

My experience delivering microteaching through CELT coincided with my support of a microteaching session for level 5 students, during which I observed their teaching and offered feedback. The inclusion of microteaching in a unit focused on arts education gave students an opportunity to test out their delivery in a supportive environment before delivering to a public audience, and also allowed them to reflect on each other’s delivery and resources. Below are two examples of student feedback submitted as part of their reflective blogs. (C2, C3)

During this session I learnt a lot of things about hosting a teaching session. This session didn’t go exactly as I had planned it… I definitely feel as though if I prepared a little more the outcome would have been more better.

I was pleased with my workshop even though we did run out of time… but I did get some good feedback… All these comments will really help me with the planning for the day at DACA and will help influence other people as well.

Engaging in microteaching has had two key impacts on my practice, one a greater appreciation of my own style of delivery and how this matches or differs from colleagues, and a greater understanding of the value of inclusive practice in delivery. Future CPD activities will take this as a broad focus, considering specifically the delivery of inclusive teaching in an art school setting. (C2, V1)

Anderson, L.W. (Ed.), Krathwohl, D.R. (Ed.), Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Complete edition). New York: Longman.Gibbs, G. (1988) Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods, London.