Posted by: MandyS | May 1, 2013

Reading Richardson (2005) Teachers

Block 2, Week 12, Activity 2:Richardson (2005)

So Richardson continues with an assessment of how teachers approach teaching, starting with the basic proposition that teachers who adopt a student centred approach to teaching will encourage students to adopt a Deep approach to study. I don’t doubt this is true but I would venture to suggest that the student may not have a choice as, in reality, the learning will be determined by what it is they are expected to achieve. If the teacher asks students to memorise a set of a facts so that they, for example, know the timescale of events, then this is what they will do; I doubt a student would make a conscious decision to do anything other than what is required.

Richardson argues that it is the ‘teacher’s perception of the teaching context which determines their approach to teaching’ but accepts that teachers do adopt different approaches even when the context is the same. Of course they do because as Richardson goes on to point out teaching styles and personalties vary. Which brings us onto Kember’s 5 conceptions of teaching:

1. Imparting information

2. Transmitting structured knowledge

3. Interaction between teacher and student

4. Facilitate an understanding on the part of the student

5. Bring about change and development in the student

These conceptions will determine the approach to teaching, so a teacher whose conceptions are 4 & 5 is likely to adopt a student-centred approach. I think one important point Richardson makes is that these ideas about teaching will vary across the disciplines with some subjects requiring much more teacher intervention than others. An example which springs to mind is science and art. The former has to be largely teacher led because of safety in the first instance whereas the latter needs very little teacher intervention because it is by its nature student focused. I also think Richardson is right to point out that ‘contextual factors’ may have an influence e.g. the traditional teacher who is concerned for standards and coverage and the students who induce a didactic approach.

The conclusion: the view of student learning is influenced by the view of teaching. Unfortunately, this assumes that the teacher has any control in how they teach.  In my own context, the teaching is determined by the module team and my tutor role is as much determined by that than any of my own conceptions of teaching.



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