Critically Evaluate the Pedagogical Approaches Evidenced in the Light of Your Understanding of Theories of Learning and the Requirements of the National Curriculum

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Selecting a scheme of work (SOW) and lesson plans consisting of at least three lessons in your specialist subject critically evaluate the pedagogical approaches evidenced in the light of your understanding of theories of learning and the requirements of the National Curriculum and/or National Strategies and/or 14-19 curriculum for your subject.

“A scheme of work is a plan that defines work to be done in the classroom” (British Council, 2011). It is a “working document” (Atherton, 2011) mapping out the structure and content of a course or short project. It clearly identifies how resources such as books, time and equipment, class activities and assessment strategies will be used to ensure the learning aims and objectives of the course are met successfully. A SOW should also include times and dates. “The SOW is an interpretation of a specification or syllabus and can be used as a guide throughout the course to monitor progress against the original plan” (Wikipedia, 2010). The SOW to be evaluated reflects learning from the Edexcel GCSE in Health and Social Care (HSC) and three lesson plans have been selected which relate to weeks 9, 10 and 11 of the SOW. This SOW is being used for Year 9 students who have begun studies towards GCSE HSC one year early to help give them extra time to focus on the course and prepare them fully for the GCSE course. In this respect students have three years to complete a (normally) two year course however the units of the course are still followed per se but there is considerable room for repeating topics at a later date and practice exam questions with the notion by school that this will give students the best opportunity to be successful in this subject. This is the first year this approach has been used and it is felt that this extra time may increase student’s ability within the subject and therefore increase their motivation to achieving their full potential. Maslow (1943) in his theory of motivation or “hierarchy of needs” refers to this process of developing to achieve individual potential and this highlights this strategy as a humanistic approach.

The core principle of vocational courses is learning both the factual content but also specifically about working in HSC environments. With this in mind it is important that students are able see how their learning may be applied in employment but also to develop their own ideas about how they might use their knowledge to progress into further education or employment. This is highlighted by Bloom (1956) who believed that education should focus on mastering subjects and promoting higher cognition, rather than a utilitarian approach to simply transferring facts. The SOW states that the lesson (week 9) should “relate factors to examples in students’ own life and surrounding family” and this helps support the idea that what the student does is more important than what the teacher does and that to develop effective pedagogy teachers need to establish what children have in common, and determine what modifications are necessary to meet individual needs (Moon & Mayes, 1996). Moon & Mayes (1996) also state that “what children learn in the classroom will depend to a large extent on what they already know”.

The SOW includes general advice on the subjects to be taught within Unit 1. For week 9 the lesson content is described as relating religion, culture and ethnicity to the physical, intellectual, emotional and social contexts used plentifully when teaching HSC and it recommends a specific task for homework of researching one religion, culture or ethnicity. However this task was commenced within the lesson time to ensure students could be given guidance on producing either flyers or power point presentation electronically. Adapting the details of the SOW in this way shows how a plan can be deviated from in response to the learners’ needs or when a learning need becomes apparent as good teaching should be flexible and responsive...
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