In life we go through different developmental stages that lead us to certain situations. This has an effect on our future direction and which path we choose to take; Whether it be through Education, Career or jobs, family or just shear circumstances, these all contribute and lead us to certain points in our lives and future endeavors.
In this essay I have chosen to write about the major influences that have led me to undertake studying at a tertiary level in the course of my professional background, experiences as an adult learner, the nature of the training and vocational education setting, which I work, and how my previous learning experiences have developed my capabilities as a potential teacher.
Throughout this essay I talk about how teachers with Pedagogical Content Knowledge influenced my adult learning experiences and being the Coordinator at my current job in Out of School Hours Care created the educational setting in which led me to want to teach.
I would like to start by going into depth following a chronological order, to explain the major influences.
Trade and professional background
On completion of high school I enrolled and completed a Diploma in Hospitality and Business Management as I wanted to gain knowledge in business and develop the skills to be able to manage a team and gain confidence in the workforce. My qualification allowed me to work at the Sheraton on the Park. I gained an enormous amount of knowledge and skills in dealing with staff and different types of personalities. The rotation of shifts and high demand of the role encouraged me to look deeper into myself and ask questions such as “what is it hat I really want to do with my life” after a year of hard work I decided I needed and new path.
I took a year off and travelled overseas through Europe, Asia and Canada, while overseas I became obsessed with fashion and design through architecture and clothing and this ignited a love for fashion. I bought hundreds of magazines and visited many site upon my journeys. When I returned home I self-taught myself to draw and sew and I enrolled into the Certificate 3 in Fashion and Industry Practices to follow on to an Advanced Diploma in Fashion.
All the while through all of my studying I worked with children, as a nanny and a child care worker in Long Day Care and Out of School Hours Care (OSCHC). I have always been plagued with the expression “He who can, does. He who cannot teaches.” I kept ignoring some clear signs of wanting to be a teacher. Lee. S. Shulman Knowledge and teaching: foundations of the new reform (Harvard Education Review, 57 (1) (1987) ipp 1-22.
Finally after my second trip around the world, I came back to realize, I wanted to make a difference, encourage the youth of tomorrow to keep learning and educating oneself is the key. With all of my experience in childcare and a want to continuously challenge my self, and help others to learn I enrolled in to A Bachelor in Secondary Education and Applied Technology.
Experiences as an adult learner
Learning has always been intriguing to me but I have always found it to be so difficult. I always wondered if it was my brain that was slow? Perhaps it was the teachers that weren’t clear on what they were teaching? Iv realized that the wisdom and knowledge gained over time created a greater sense of self-esteem and identity. I believe the best experiences as an adult learner came from teachers with Pedagogical Content Knowledge: “Research has shown that one of the factors that enable effective teachers is their rich Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) (Loughran, Berry, & Mulhall, 2006), a special blend of content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge that is built up over time and experience. This form of professional knowledge, first theorized by Shulman (1987), is topic-specific, unique to each teacher, and can only be gained through teaching practice. The academic construct of PCK is recognition that teaching is not simply the transmission of concepts and skills from teacher to students but rather a complex and problematic activity that requires many and varied on the spot decisions and responses to students’ ongoing learning needs. While much has been written about the nature of PCK since Shulman first introduced the concept in 1987 and its elusive characteristics have led to much debate, there are still gaps in our knowledge about teacher development of PCK. However, the work of Magnusson, Krajcik, and Borko (1999) is helpful in clarifying this special form of a teacher’s professional knowledge by proposing that PCK is made up of five components. In their view, an experienced teacher’s PCK encompasses his/her:” * Orientations towards teaching (knowledge of and about their subject, beliefs about it, and how to teach it), * Knowledge of curriculum (what and when to teach),
* Knowledge of assessment (why, what, and how to assess), * Knowledge of students’ understanding of the subject, and * Knowledge of instructional strategies.
Journal of Technology Education Vol. 24 No. 1, Fall 2012
Using CoRes to Develop the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) of Early Career Science and Technology Teachers
The teachers that influenced my adult learning experiences have used the above components. It was then I had those “light bulb moments” so to speak that hit home for me. Because I am a visual person my teachers really needed to take the time to get to know me and understand my learning techniques. It was then, that I took a great grasp to understanding and creating a steady workload. I could keep up and excel in life.
Nature of the training or vocational education setting, which I work When I decided to further my education 10 years ago, I didn’t think how the continuous training that education would bring me so much joy. Initially, I only cared about completing my Diploma and despised the continuous assignments. But looking back now, that’s where the nature of my training took place. Generating a path to study at a tertiary level and enhancing my career in becoming a teacher.
The skills, knowledge and capabilities gained through studying a Diploma of Hospitality Management and Business Practices was the beginning of my realization, I really enjoyed what education could bring; I had no intention of continuously studying, but as time passed, I found myself wanting more.
Furthermore, I am a creative person. I found the need to refresh and enhance my knowledge and learn new skills in fashion. I found it more and more stimulating with the teachers using a pedagogical approach. I found myself absorbing and having a greater understanding to the concepts of learning. And when I graduated, I was a completely different person, compared to the time I had started.
All the while I had jobs in hospitality and then jobs in fashion I was working casually at a Before and After school Care centre a couple afternoons a week, where I really enjoyed my time with the children. I started out by planning craft activities, as I was the craft coordinator. I never looked at it as a ‘real’ job because I was having way too much fun. Being there was a joy. Not realising I was in training to becoming a teacher. The training process is continuous and sometimes never ending, as I gained new skills and techniques in one field another field invites itself as I am lead to further my training at a tertiary level I discover I have a hunger to gain knowledge of new techniques.
Nine years later, now the Coordinator, this is the educational setting in which led me to want to teach. I have gained the most insight into children’s needs and wants and I have continuously been training myself, through structured professional learning and on-the-job training. Learning about behavioral differences in different children is something, which takes a lot of time and effort and with this great understanding; Program Planning becomes a whole lot easier when I know what children’s wants and challenges were.
Child Protection was a training course I successfully completed to be able to identify clear signs and risk factors of children being abused. This helped me understand body language and be able to read children and adults accordingly.
Experiences that have developed my capabilities as a potential teacher The National Quality Improvement Plan is a guide to ensure children’s best interests are paramount and that children are flourishing, knowledgeable and skillful learners. The National Quality Standard brings together seven quality areas; these areas include “educational concept and practice, structural quality, interactions between educators and children and targeting services to meet the needs of families and local communities”. (www.acecaqa.gov.au Guide to the National Quality Standard Australian Children’s Education & care Quality Authority)
Whilst learning these quality areas through work it has overlapped with my tertiary education and I am finding similar teachings in secondary education. The National Quality Improvement Plan is a guide I will continue practicing in my future with secondary education.
Now that I have successfully become the Coordinator it urges me to continue striving, and was this environment that made me understand that “Proper training improves the employee's morale and helps the employee get both job satisfaction for Positive Behavior and being highly trained in the National Quality Framework just to name security and satisfaction. A satisfied employee will contribute more to the overall success of the organization and will minimize turnover. Well-trained employees also require less supervision, giving coordinators more time for other tasks. Proper training also minimizes accidents and improves the chances of promotion for employees. Training also improves employee productivity and efficiency.” Why Is the Nature of Training Delivery Important to the Overall Success of Employees? by Chris Newton, Demand Media 2013.
With continuous training I have learnt I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and furthermore, encourages me to achieve greater heights such as a Bachelor in Secondary Education and Applied Technology is my next challenge in life.
As stated above the teachers with Pedagogical Content Knowledge had a great effect on my development and I will take those experiences and enhance them into my own capabilities working on subject knowledge, what and when to teach, why, what and how to assess, understanding of the subject and knowledge of instructional strategies. With these capabilities I feel a great sense of satisfaction in becoming a teacher and feel “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) American writer and management consultant.
All of my previous learning experiences with adults, children and peers and my continued passion in self-development. Through planning and implementing play experiences based on empathy and the understanding of different personalities and recognising needs and wants of individuals will contribute to my capabilities in becoming a teacher, furthering my knowledge and forever challenging my learning capabilities will ensure I become a great Teacher.
This brings me to the present and at the end or is it just the beginning of this path so to speak. I believe I have clearly outlined the major influences that have led me to undertake studying at a tertiary level, from my professional background to the experiences that I have developed through my capabilities as a potential teacher.
Life has strange paths that lead you in directions but I think, as you will agree I may have gone in different directions at times but the key track was leading to where I am right now.