Stage 3. Implementation: teaching, learning and facilitation methods

This covers the actual delivery of learning and represents the interface between planning and evaluation. Teaching and learning are dynamic processes and take place in a number of instances over a period of time (e.g. in a learning activity (lesson), a module or in a whole course). The process of reflection, which underpins all stages in the learning process, continues as the teaching/development process is initiated.

Thus prior consideration of the purpose and outcomes for a learning activity will inform a number of practical issues relating to teaching and learning methods, teacher/learner roles and learning resources while the act of teaching and learning will be informed by factors such as learner pace, progress, motivation, feedback, which may lead to adaptation in practice (reflection‐in‐action).

QA questions: How are you going to do it? Why is that the best way to do it?

Areas to consider

Quality questions

Approaches and methods

How is the teaching to be arranged. e.g. seminar, lecture, distance learning, fieldwork, etc.?
What pedagogical approaches serve the intended learning outcomes e.g. how can the proposed assessment targets be met (note this is not the same as teaching to an assessment)?
What new forms of teacher/student collaboration(e.g. group work, team teaching) are needed and are there any prerequisites, e.g. learner training, staff development?

Roles of teachers and learners

What is the role and responsibility of the learner, e.g. degree of independence, collaboration with others, etc.?
What is the role of the teacher, e.g. transmitting knowledge, co-construction of knowledge, facilitating discussion, advising, checking, motivating etc.?

Support and resources

What support and resources might teachers need and how will these be sourced?
How are student needs evaluated and considered (background, previous experiences, etc.)?
What extra support might students need (academic study skills, academic practices, language support, content support)?
How will available mechanisms for support be used, e.g. library resources, virtual learning environments, tutorials, peer mentors etc.?

Assessment and feedback

Will the assessment be formative as well as summative, e.g. be assessment for learning as well as assessment of learning?
When will assessment be carried out and what value will it have (e.g. count towards a final grade)?
Who is doing the assessment – teachers/peers/external examiners?
Have the assessment criteria been formalised and how will this be made clear to students e.g. are there clear descriptors for each of the grades/range of marks used in the subject/department/institution etc.?
Is there any mechanism for checking consistency of assessments, e.g. through moderation of marks, external examining?
How will feedback be given to learners/participants, e.g. in writing, orally, electronically?
What are students expected to do with this feedback, e.g. discuss it with their teachers/peers, revise their work, attend a tutorial?

Evaluation

How will the effectiveness of the teaching be evaluated, e.g. achievement of target grades, learner feedback questionnaires, informal feedback, peer observation of teaching?
When will feedback (from learners/participants) be collected and what will be done with it, e.g. at the end of a learning activity to inform future activities with the same students, at the end of a module/course to inform future activities with new students?

Advice

  • Differences in learning styles, level and in some cases (multicultural classrooms) culture will have an impact on learner attitudes and experiences and may explain differences in progress, attitudes and participation.
  • There are a variety of ways in which you can make explicit the teaching and learning methods the learner can expect from a particular programme/module/lesson/activity, e.g. face‐to‐face teaching, use of technology, independent learning, individual/group work. This will help to manage expectations and explain why certain methods and approaches have been selected (particularly in the case of unfamiliar or innovative tools and methods).
  • Equally in terms of assessment criteria and methods will need to be made explicit
  • Although learner independence is a key element of learning at this (higher education) level but learners will need to be supported in taking greater responsibility/control of their learning. This also poses a challenge for teachers who need equally relinquish some control of the learning process.
  • In the case of CLIL it is important to establish clear learning outcomes that are mutually accepted by content and language specialists and which follow institutional policies.

Additional Note: New developments in the subject or in pedagogy e.g. a learning outcomes approach may require a re‐evaluation of ‘traditional’ teaching methods…however innovation may meet with resistance from learners who can be quite ‘traditional’ in their view and expectations of teaching at HE level. However some extra support or explanation of why you are doing it this way may help to overcome any initial negative responses.

Case studies

International students’ research conference as a tool for the development of the professional action researcher. University of Latvia, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Teacher Education Department.

This case study extract illustrates how innovative, learner-centred teaching methods can be used to support the development of students’ research skills.
An annual conference is organised by the Teacher Education Department in which third year students from Latvia and other countries in Europe meet to present their research. The conference, which is in its seventh year, is aimed at offering a platform for student teachers to present their research at conferences while they are still in training with a view to giving them the confidence and skills to use and apply research when they become qualified and practising teachers. In addition not only does the conference contribute to their personal development as professional researchers, but it also strengthens the collaboration between educational institutions in Latvia and other European countries.
Information about the conference: www.ppf.lu.lv

Read the full case study: Download (pdf)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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