Learning Activity 1:
There were a few differences between face-to-face teaching and online teaching that were not identified in the videos. First, without students working in a classroom in front of you, a teacher would not know what kind of assistance a student is getting before they hand in an assignment. Over the years as a classroom teacher, I certainly noticed a huge difference in the quality of work of some students whenever I allowed an assignment to be worked on at home. We are all familiar with the stunning Science Fair project that clearly was put together by the parents. The same thing could happen when a student is taking a course online.
Second, particularly with asynchronous teaching, it would be more difficult for an instructor or student to “get into the zone” during a lesson. Similarly, there are fewer opportunities for what I call “tangent lessons”, when a discussion goes a different direction because of questions asked by students. These are moments of true learning as students are focused and highly engaged.
Third, there would be much less distraction from other student misbehaviour. Even during a whole-class Zoom lesson for instance, if a student was being a distraction, the teacher could simply shut off their video and mute their audio.
Last, online teaching affords the opportunity to work with students from diverse cultures who may live in different parts of the world.
Learning Activity 2:
The role of the online instructor will be different from the instructor in a face-to-face environment in a few ways. First, they would need to be quite tech savvy and have the ability to trouble shoot the inevitable problems that will arise. Second, they would need to have great organizational and time management skills to ensure they stayed on top of their students and were always available when they said they were going to be. Last, they would need to design engaging lessons that keep students interested. This is significant because it may be difficult for students to pick up on your passion for teaching and the subject online.
Yes, I definitely believe the pedagogical role should be the highest ranked role in the majority of cases. Bawane and Spector (2009) list several duties within the pedagogical role that I feel are crucial, namely “developing appropriate learning resources, implementing instructional strategies, and sustaining students’ motivation” (Bawane & Spector, 2009). Without appropriate learning resources, some students would be over their head or conversely, not challenged enough. The appropriate instructional strategies are also important to push students and keep them engaged. Although sustaining students’ motivation is meaningful, especially for some students, the reality is that the top students will always have the ability to get through almost anything.
Within my teaching context, I feel that the pedagogical role is the most important as well. There are a couple ways I think the pedagogical role might be different in the online environment. First, the directions for your assignments must be crystal clear because it is not simply a matter of getting the attention of the class and explaining it once, after you receive a question. Second, the instructional strategy you choose needs to be a good fit because you will not be able to switch it up on the fly as you would in a classroom setting should the lesson start tanking. Last, the way an online teacher facilitates participation among students would be different. You can’t simply call on a student more often or go and sit near them to increase their participation level.
Learning Activity 4:
Learning Activity 6:
While teaching at an elementary school years ago, I had read about the metaphor comparing teachers to pearl oysters. This resonated with me as I felt it articulated some of my beliefs about teaching, particularly in an elementary classroom. This is not the original source, however, I think it offers a nice explanation:
To better understand the relationship between the child and education, we need some understanding of the relationship between the pearl and the oyster. The pearl is the result of some irritant, like a grain of sand, getting inside the shell of an oyster. The oyster then secretes calcium to encapsulate the irritant so that it lessens the irritation. The shell protects the meaty part of the oyster and the pearl and allows the transformation process to occur. The process of creating a pearl is very gradual with the oyster covering the object with more substance each day to make it a pearl, thereby transforming little by little the worthless piece of clay or sand into a beautiful and valuable pearl. Education and guidance can also transform a piece of clay, a human being, into a beautiful and wonderful creation. Without the shell of guidance and education, we remain as a worthless piece of clay. As teachers we need to transform the irritants in our shells into beautiful beings by daily bathing them with the education they need. (Clarken, 1997).
I think a more applicable metaphor would compare an air traffic controller with online teaching and learning. The instructors role is to create a safe and nurturing environment where everyone is respected and valued, and to keep their students on track. They also need to be extremely organized and make themselves available when a student needs assistance. One goal is to have all of their students make it from point A to point B, regardless of their differences (an air traffic controller is responsible for every aircraft in the sky, from the Cessna’s to the Boeing 747’s).
The overarching theme of my philosophy of teaching is an ethics of care (Noddings, 2005) in which I strive to establish genuine relationships with students. These trusting connections take time to form, however, they are invaluable as they allow students to be vulnerable and take risks in their learning without fear (Knight, 2020). My online teaching philosophy would not differ much at all. I believe education should not just develop a person intellectually, but morally and spiritually as well. To facilitate this learning, I make fostering the internal motivation of each of my students a priority. To this end, I offer high-interest lessons and activities, which also serve to increase student engagement. The final theme of my philosophy of teaching is student-centred learning. I am drawn to the approach that considers the teacher’s role more facilitative than authoritarian. As well as listening to input from my students with respect to topics to explore, I give the opportunity for them to demonstrate their learning in a method of their choosing (Knight, 2020). As students follow their own interests, they are empowered and encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. When I make the switch to teaching online full-time, one constant that will remain is the passion and commitment to caring for the students under my care.
Bawane, J., & Spector, J. M. (2009). Prioritization of online instructor roles: Implications for competency‐based teacher education programs. Distance Education , 30 (3), 383-397.
Clarken, R. (1997). Five Metaphors for Educators: Speech at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
Knight, A. (2020). Philosophy of Teaching Statement [Unpublished assignment submitted for EDUC 5021]. Thompson Rivers University.
Noddings, N. (2005). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to education. Teachers College Press.