Expanding the Knowledge Needed for Teaching

Module 3: Knowledge Base of Teaching

I remember when I was in elementary, I looked up to my teachers especially those who were able to answer all the questions given to them.  It’s like they know even the tiniest bit of detail of the topic at hand.  From this, I can say that my idea of a good teacher then is someone who knows everything about the subject matter.  When I reached high school, I observed that students are more varied in terms of their attitudes and behaviors.  The students have a bigger voice and are more active in making known their viewpoints.  Because of this, teachers should be able to handle them in such a way that they can be heard but at the same time maintain their respect to the teachers.  As a teacher, one has to have good classroom management skills and teaching strategies that can adapt and fit the learners that they have.  My definition of effective teaching has expanded.  When I reached college, I can say that I was more conscious then of my studies compared to previous years.  I knew that it was time to be serious about my studies as my future will depend on it.  I became aware of the curriculum of my school, the goals of my course and how my teachers taught me.  I became critical in observing who among my teachers were using effective styles, who among them teach in accordance with the curriculum and the course objectives, etc.  Now, after reading this module, it dawned on me that my realizations before regarding what an effective teacher is have basis.  Allow me to discuss it below.

This module made me aware that there are what are called knowledge bases.  It was wrong for me to define an effective teacher as only having expertise in the subject matter or content knowledge.  There are knowledge bases that a teacher should have.  My observation in high school regarding a teacher being able to use different styles in teaching because of the different characteristics or kinds of students is referring to the general pedagogical knowledge and knowledge of learners respectively.  In high school also, though it was more obvious for me in college, my teachers taught me according to the set syllabus or course guide for my course and in accordance to the requirements of my course of Bachelor of Science Major in Biology.  These are in accordance to other categories of knowledge base that a teacher should have namely curriculum knowledge and knowledge of educational ends, purposes and values.  I also commend some of my teachers before who value the cultural diversity of the students or the fact that students come from different communities.  Amidst the trend of going with the flow of being westernized, these teachers made use of what they know about these cultural differences and social groupings to design instructions to help us in our learning (knowledge of educational contexts).  This also entailed their use of different techniques like reporting, group discussion, field trips to impart the subject matter (pedagogical content knowledge).

Moving forward, as a future educator, I should make sure that I will be able to have these knowledge bases.  The common knowledge that a teacher should only have content knowledge, effective classroom management skills and good teaching styles should be modified and include the other knowledge bases discussed above.  Then, having these knowledge bases, I should learn how to make use of these to reason out and decide what I am supposed to do to effect optimum learning.  Having a lot of knowledge is not enough.  The challenge will then be how to use this knowledge for effective teaching.  As a future teacher then, I should understand the concept of pedagogical reasoning and action.  This is a cycle that should be followed by a teacher to achieve the educational goals.  The cycle includes comprehension, transformation, instruction, evaluation, reflection and which then leads to new comprehension.

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I have heard a lot of times that being a teacher is not that easy yet the fulfillment a teacher receives when seeing that his students learned from him is incomparable.  A teacher continuously learns so that optimum learning of students can be attained.  The concepts given above are very helpful to be an effective teacher and alongside that is the attitude of being open to learning and to change.  Take for example the use of technology nowadays to aid in teaching.  No matter how traditional a teacher wants to be, I believe that one trait that a teacher should have now is flexibility.  Besides, teachers are given the right to reason out and be able to select what he thinks will be most suited in his line of teaching.  Nowadays, it has been shown that the use of the TPACK framework (technology, pedagogy and content knowledge) has been very positive.  There is no doubt that there will be other frameworks or strategies that will discovered in the future.  As a future teacher then, I am claiming now that I will practice open-mindedness, critical thinking, reflection and dedication among others.  There are a lot of things that I am learning now that I believe can help me be an effective teacher in the future and hopefully I can be one someday.

References:

Mkoehler.  (2012, September 24).  TPACK Explained.  Retrieved from http://matt-koehler.com/tpack2/tpack-explained/

Strom, Sharon.  (1991).  The Knowledge Base for Teaching. ERIC Digest.  Retrieved from https://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9219/base.htm

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