Delivering lectures to large numbers was an area of my practice I identified as requiring development at the start of the module; as part of my action plan I felt it was important that I was observed teaching a session of this nature. Fortunately, my mentor was available to observe me teach the LV 6 class ‘Performance Skills’ to 50 learners. Its purpose is to help LV 6 elective performers devise a programme for their recitals that will highlight their strengths and fully address all aspects of the marking criteria. My mentor is Tim France who has prior experience of teaching this module so I was hopeful that he would be able provide an insight into how effective my methods were at dealing with the subject matter.
The majority of the feedback from the session was positive. Tim felt that through my teaching methods and delivery the learning outcomes were achieved, but he did highlight a few issues relating to my use of video in the class. I thought it would be a good idea to see how the assessment criteria had been mapped against past student performances, so I selected a range of video clips that would allow me to make some important points (UKPSF A1, K4). Tim felt that the clips I used were unnecessarily long and in danger of becoming ineffective. Race (2001, p.135) offers some insight as to why, “The act of watching material on a television screen is not one of the most powerful ways through which students actually learn, unless the video extracts are carefully planned into their learning programme.” Considering this point helped me realise that it’s not the video that is facilitating learning but explanations and activities based around it; the length of video clips must not exceed the minimum amount of time required to establish subject matter. Race (2001) also outlines some ideas for maximising the student’s learning from the video such as setting the agenda before each episode, giving the students things to do while they view the video, providing tasks after viewing and using printed support material. I have started to incorporate all these suggestions into my teaching when using video and also audio, as the same considerations will apply (UKPSF A1, K4).
Tim also thought the examples of past work I used focused too much on one style of music and didn’t cater for the diverse stylistical preferences of the learners in the class. This led us onto a wider discussion about teaching with a consideration for diversity within the classroom and the many factors to consider such as level of development/expertise, prior knowledge, age, gender, learning approaches and styles, metacognition, motivation and self-esteem (Susan Hallam 2001). As a result of Tim’s observation I am evaluating all my lesson plans to ensure all delivered content, video/audio examples and tasks consider the diversity within the group (UKPSF A1 & V1). Hallam points out the scope for, and importance of doing this within music teaching:
“Music offers a very wide range of learning opportunities. Tasks can be found that will provide reward and fulfilment for everybody. The diversity of tasks is sufficient to match the diversity of skills which the pupils may have and provide opportunities for their further development. Because of this possible diversity, to ensure a sense of coherence, teachers need to identify their overall aims in teaching music and develop a curriculum which will satisfy these aims .”
My mentor observation turned out to be very good developmental experience, as I have unexpectedly been made aware of two areas that I can develop and have a clear direction in how to go about doing so (UKPSF A5).
Hallam, S. (2001). Learning in music: complexity and diversity. In C. Philpott., & C. Plummeridge (Ed.), Issues in Music Teaching (pp. 61-75). London: Routledge Falmer
Higher Education Academy. (2011). The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supported learning in higher education. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/ukpsf_2011_english.pdf
Race, P. (2001). The Lecturer’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Learning, Teaching & Assessment (2nd ed). London: Cogan Page Limited