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Kris Stutchbury Post 1

4 February 2021, 3:51 PM

Activity 3.2: Observing teaching

Choose as aspect of active teaching which is difficult to define and suggest what you might look out for in the classroom to see if it was happening. 

Rafia Naz Post 2 in reply to 1

15 February 2021, 6:05 AM

Well in any active learning strategy the key challenge is obviously assessing the level of engagement and how well the students overall engage. To measure the actual learning may be via the engagements which is assessed or any deliberations which result thereafter. 

There may be some that are reluctant which may require additional support from the facilitators 

Julia Ruiz Lopez Post 7 in reply to 2

24 February 2021, 11:44 AM Edited by the author on 24 February 2021, 11:45 AM

Thank you for your input. I looked up the word in the Teach Framework document to review how to evidence positive student engagement. I noticed that it is directly related to creating a supportive learning environment. With classroom culture.

This also encompasses the teacher's actions, e.g. treating students with respect, responding to students' needs, using positive language with students and not showing gender or minority bias... This gives me food for thought about how active teaching requires me to be aware of what I struggle to see, hence the importance of another teacher being able to observe my practice or we can teach simultaneously.

Sammy Mutisya Post 42 in reply to 7

11 March 2021, 7:03 PM

This is true Julia. I also think that teaching materials makes a supportive learning environment too.

Jacqueline Rancharan Post 61 in reply to 42

19 May 2021, 10:32 PM

Totally agree it stimulates thinking and the children are engage. 

Mala Maharaj Post 63 in reply to 42

16 June 2021, 2:54 AM

I totally agree because teaching materials support learning 

Kris Stutchbury Post 11 in reply to 2

26 February 2021, 1:39 PM

This is a good point, Rafia. It is often difficult to tell if children are listening in class. Are there any signs you could look for or things that you could do?

Cathrine Anyango Osaso Post 33 in reply to 11

8 March 2021, 3:27 AM

Listening skills

The teacher can ask a question to engage learners listening skills or give them time to say what has been taught in their own understanding.

Patricia Ramnarine Post 57 in reply to 33

27 April 2021, 4:49 PM

I totally agree with this strategy. After asking questions about the lesson, students are sometimes given time to say what they have understood and they seem quite enthusiastic to do so. 

Kavita Gunness-Sugrim Post 58 in reply to 33

29 April 2021, 2:01 AM

I agree with your contribution. 

FLORENCE KISIRKOI Post 38 in reply to 2

11 March 2021, 4:41 AM

Naz, that is right. Assessing level of engagement of students is quite tricky with some students. Some may be very first in completing task and then proceed to engage in their private issues. In a large class it may be challenging to reach all the groups and pairs and see what they are engaged in. You might suggest some ways you have found successful in assessing engagement during your work experience

Jacqueline Rancharan Post 62 in reply to 2

19 May 2021, 10:34 PM

Totally agree cause you will have your shy students fill of ideas but reluctant to share. 

Chinmay Shah Post 3 in reply to 1

16 February 2021, 8:59 PM

Assessment of students during active teaching in large group is difficult to define and perform 

Raliat Azeez Post 19 in reply to 3

1 March 2021, 5:26 PM

I agree with you on this.

PHENNY Oketch Post 21 in reply to 3

3 March 2021, 2:05 PM

I concur with you Shah . Its very difficult to assess the students if they are many as the lesson proceeds.

Ibrahim Sule Post 29 in reply to 3

7 March 2021, 5:27 AM
Absolutely, I agree with this point.

Raliat Azeez Post 4 in reply to 1

22 February 2021, 9:07 PM

Assessing the level of engagement of learners is quite difficult and a way I can see if its happening is through active interactions by the learners.

KATRICIA Moses Post 5 in reply to 1

22 February 2021, 11:55 PM

Assessment the level of engagement can be difficult. I might look out for formal assessment strategies like 3-2-1 or temperature line where students will have to state or explain what they understood or what might be puzzling from the concept.

Raliat Azeez Post 18 in reply to 5

1 March 2021, 5:25 PM

This is the area I find most difficult to access as well. I like this suggestion. 

Ibrahim Sule Post 30 in reply to 5

7 March 2021, 5:29 AM

Yes, this is a good idea.

Julia Ruiz Lopez Post 6 in reply to 1

24 February 2021, 11:23 AM

I find it difficult to define critical thinking, that observable methodology mobilises students' thinking. How good questions are asked to mobilise thinking and observing how students respond would be one way to see if critical thinking is occurring. 

Kéké  Kossi Agbogan

Kossi Agbogan Post 12 in reply to 6

26 February 2021, 10:40 PM

Yeah, I agree, with you but before a student's anwser reflects a critical thinking requirement, the way the teacher frames his questions must prompt student accordingly. 

FLORENCE Kamonjo Post 17 in reply to 12

1 March 2021, 4:29 PM

Kossi so it means that a teacher must have good questioning skills to make learners think critically. Not a yes and no answer question.

FLORENCE Kamonjo Post 16 in reply to 6

1 March 2021, 4:25 PM

I agree with your thoughts that defining critical thinking isn't easy. Like you have suggested it can be reflected in activities and other responses.

Sefinat Omuya Post 8 in reply to 1

24 February 2021, 10:09 PM

In my opinion, I feel providing supportive learning environment can be difficult to define in an active teaching especially in an inclusive class. In an active teaching, i will be looking at 

1. how do the teacher attend to student needs

2. does the teacher encourage student participation

3. how supportive is the teacher to students who may be lagging behind

FLORENCE KISIRKOI Post 45 in reply to 8

12 March 2021, 11:51 AM

Yes Sefinat. I would add:

Is the teacher leaving any child out in engagements?

How does a teacher react to a wrong response?

How is the teacher treating those who get everything wrong?

How is the teacher treating those who get everything right?

How is the teacher treating those shy ones at the back and the jovial ones in front?

Are there talking walls?

Are there teaching learning resources  in use during the lesson?

Has the teacher addressed individual's learning difference?

David Ngatia Post 9 in reply to 1

25 February 2021, 2:19 PM

Critical thinking would be difficult to define, but I might look at the learners' participation in discussions on  matters that require application of  taught content and gauge their ability to link and apply the knowledge bits.

HENDERSON Ngwira Post 10 in reply to 9

25 February 2021, 4:48 PM

Activity 3.2 Observing teaching

I agree with you Ngatia that the way the teacher is interacting with the learners may tell if critical thinking is underway. So, here it means teachers have to make sure the learners are engaged as much as they can. When preparing lesson this is the time to think about how you can make learners enjoy your lesson.

Kéké  Kossi Agbogan

Kossi Agbogan Post 13 in reply to 9

26 February 2021, 10:43 PM

It will be easier when we consider the outcome of the learning and check if students get do not only memorise things but rather are aware of the utilities of what they learn.

David Ngatia Post 14 in reply to 13

1 March 2021, 4:02 PM

Thank you Kossi and Henderson. To define critical thinking, we than have to engage learners in a variety of activities in the higher order levels of Bloom's cognitive domain.

PHENNY Oketch Post 22 in reply to 14

3 March 2021, 2:12 PM

I agree with you Ngatia. Critical thinking involves asking questions at synthesis and application levels to provoke the thoughts of the students on a given concept taught or covered during the lesson.

David Ngatia Post 25 in reply to 22

4 March 2021, 10:31 AM

Quite true Phenny.

Sammy Mutisya Post 43 in reply to 9

11 March 2021, 7:08 PM

A good observation David. In addition one can observe the type of question asked by students as a measure of their metacognition.

David Ngatia Post 47 in reply to 43

15 March 2021, 10:34 AM

Thanks Sammy. Quite true.

Sammy Mutisya Post 44 in reply to 9

11 March 2021, 7:23 PM

I quite agree Marinda. The teacher should know how to frame questions that promote critical thing and have ability to probe learners for clarity of ideas.

FLORENCE Kamonjo Post 15 in reply to 1

1 March 2021, 4:21 PM

Observing teaching

Critical thinking is quite difficult to observe because it is in the mind. However observing how a learner handles an activity or responds to a question will indicated aspect of critical thinking. So the teacher should allow learners to talk by asking open ended questions. The teacher should give learners activities such as role play debates and even peer teaching.

Matthew Nasilele Post 20 in reply to 15

2 March 2021, 11:28 AM
I feel critical thinking is difficult for the teacher to enlist from the learners.  I think here now is where the Blooms Taxonomy higher order of questioning technique can be handy. 

FLORENCE KISIRKOI Post 46 in reply to 15

12 March 2021, 12:02 PM

I think when I ask students a higher order open ended question and perhaps they give a simplistic response and then I probe further for the direction requiring critical thinking, I can measure students level of critical thinking from their responses.

PHENNY Oketch Post 23 in reply to 1

3 March 2021, 2:29 PM

It's  difficult to determine the individual student's level of of understanding during active teaching. The teacher can may be monitor the students during independent or group work especially if the lesson was a practical one to see if they are following the procedures as outlined.

Oluniyi Oyeleke Post 24 in reply to 1

3 March 2021, 2:34 PM

It is subtly difficult to define feasibility or get implemented in classroom because it can be very subjective. The measuring index of effectiveness of flexible is how it assists in achieving learning outcomes. I witnessed classroom where a teacher was engaging in something out rightly unrelated to learning activities in the quise of bein flexible

David Ngatia Post 26 in reply to 24

4 March 2021, 10:42 AM

Thank you all for your great contributions. The teacher needs to be creative and plan varied activities in order to be able to involve all learners and attain the common features of active inclusive teaching.

Maryam Adamu Post 27 in reply to 1

4 March 2021, 11:37 AM
Assessment of learners in a large group can be difficult and consuming. However, the teacher can improvise ways to assess large groups of students but the issue is that will the teacher be able to monitor all the students effectively and point out students who need more assistance? The teacher might try but it can be time consuming. 

Oluwaseyi Agunbiade Post 28 in reply to 27

4 March 2021, 4:45 PM

It has been pointed out that using group work helps. This will build students capacity and the work will be less burdensome on the teacher.

Ibrahim Sule Post 31 in reply to 1

7 March 2021, 5:32 AM

Engaging students as a group is a good way to promote participation. But the issue is how will the teacher be sure that all students are actively involved. One way is to ask each of the group members questions.

Marinda Neethling Post 32 in reply to 31

7 March 2021, 6:52 PM

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a challenge and it does not happen over night. The teacher need to lead the learners to think critically by making use of Bloom's taxonomy when planning the teaching and learning activities. Ask open-ended question, let learners motivate their answers and encourage group discussions.

Encourage using What / When / Why / How /Where  questions 

Mele Aleamotu'a Post 37 in reply to 32

9 March 2021, 8:18 AM

I do agree that critical thinking does not happen over night BUT if you plan your lesson and think about the QUESTIONS you would like to ask during the lessons .When keep asking a variety of questions ,making predictions in your lessons, giving learning experience to the students to share and use their prior knowledge related to what has been taught it will surely develop critical thinking amongst the students whether they are in small groups or peer groups or in pairs.

Children have to experience the different types of questioning ,how? the teacher itself has to use the variety of questions in his/daily teaching.

say I wanted to give a Shared reading on the page of the Cinderella story   - where she is alone in the Kitchen tidying up the kitchen 

1. Who helped her to go to the ball?

2. Whey was she said ?

3. Do you think the fairy god mother did the right thing ? why?

4. What happen if she did not tidy up the Kitchen?

5.Why do you think she wanted to go to the ball too?

6.How do you feel when you are told not go to something you want to go too, like Cinderella?

7. Do you think her stepsisters should have taken Cinderella? Why?

You can ask different types of questions each day instead of repeating the same type like what ? who? everyday if you want to create critical thinking amongst your children depending on your lesson.

The teaching asking different types of questions in each lesson will also help the understanding for meaning  of the child, also allow critical thinking . 

FLORENCE KISIRKOI Post 39 in reply to 32

11 March 2021, 4:46 AM

Yes Malinda questioning strategy ,especially probing. is key in development of learners critical thinking especially the higher order level.

Cathrine Anyango Osaso Post 34 in reply to 1

8 March 2021, 3:43 AM

Activity 3.2 Observing teaching

It is very difficult for a teacher to make judgement on lesson facilitation when  he or she is a lone in the class. In the teachers mind, he or she may think that the content is well presented but the learners may not be getting the concept.

when articulation of the objectives are not clearly defined, then the message will not be home so it is important to have an extra teacher in class to assist in learning especially small children and the need of open ended questions when learning is taking place.

FLORENCE KISIRKOI Post 40 in reply to 34

11 March 2021, 4:55 AM

Yes Catherine, you are right, there is need for teacher peer observation but in most cases it may be difficult with teacher shortage in many countries. Perhaps we may try stating clear instructional objectives and observing students as we teach, use question and answer strategy and sometimes written CAT or with kids some exercises which could tell us whether they have learnt or not. We could take video of us teaching and critique our own performance. Reflection and self assessment could also be used.

We could get as many ideas as possible from others sharing of how they go about it.

Ngozi Nwosu Post 35 in reply to 1

8 March 2021, 8:55 AM

Open-ended questions, brain storming and dialogic approach can be ways of checking learner's understanding.

Benedicta Tabot Post 52 in reply to 35

5 April 2021, 3:32 PM

This is true Ngozi. Re-directing student's questions to the class can also be a check for understanding. 

Mele Aleamotu'a Post 36 in reply to 1

9 March 2021, 8:02 AM

I find Critical thinking is difficult to define .We all know critical thinking should exist in effective teaching. Critical thinking is when the teacher should assist and allow the child to think out of the box or to be able to analyse lesson taught and be able to able to their own understanding or relate to their  own experience.

But the question we should ask ourselves as educators   or when I was still a Primary school teacher how often did we create or develop Critical thinking in our teaching ?

Did we use a variety of questions? or did we just ask Lateral questions over and over again?

Did we all allow predictions? Did we give time to make connections to their environment when we were teaching a lesson?

The children been able to answer the variety of questions provide by the teacher from easy questions ,to inferred questions and applied questions ,and providing thinking tasks in lesson surely support critical thing in classroom .

When children can ask variety of questions in the classroom or make predictions  also develops critical thinking in the classroom. Therefore when learning for meaning exists through the variety of questions provided by teacher or students, predictions made and engagement of teacher and students  in the discussions will help us to observe that critical thinking is existing 

Ngozi Nwosu Post 41 in reply to 1

11 March 2021, 1:39 PM

1. Checks for understanding.

This, which most times come in the form of assessment can be difficult in a large class but the teacher can apply  various methods such as the project method, questioning and answer sessions pair/group work and observation while teaching.

Matelita Taufa Post 48 in reply to 1

17 March 2021, 9:38 AM

Activity 3.2- Observing teaching

I found Autonomy difficult to define as a child maybe quiet in the classroom engage in his/her work but maybe it is not the assigned work. I might look and check that the work the child is busy doing is the expected work. I would encourage children to do extra work if finishing early but I will also ensure that the work is what expected. So I think it is always important to check whatever the children are doing in the classroom.

Benedicta Tabot Post 51 in reply to 48

5 April 2021, 3:25 PM

I agree with you Taufa. The extent to which a child does a task independently varies due to individual differences.

Laurette Osaso Post 49 in reply to 1

17 March 2021, 12:41 PM

I think that the most difficult part to define is actually how to quickly check levels of engagement in a large class. I think having memebers in a group then moving around the class can assist in observing if all learners are actually ' present' , listening and participating actively. Making an effort to have most if not all students speak up if able to or write what they have understood then check can help a teacher to kmow if they actually participated.

Benedicta Tabot Post 50 in reply to 1

5 April 2021, 3:22 PM

Critical thinking is difficult to define. 

I would look out for the use of application questions in which the students can use the knowledge in a different but similar situation or where a student is required to give reasons for their response to a specific question. 

Patricia Ramnarine Post 56 in reply to 50

27 April 2021, 4:39 PM

I agree with you that application questions can bring about the critical thinking skills.


Doris Njoka Post 53 in reply to 1

11 April 2021, 2:16 PM

I think it would be difficult to define autonomy in the inclusive classroom, particularly where the learners are supposed to be given choices (of activities). The range of these choices can be quite overwhelming for teachers handling large classes.

Kimesha Gutierrez Post 54 in reply to 1

15 April 2021, 2:33 AM

working in a classroom that has a group of students with different personalities may be bring a different challenges. What I find hard to assess is students' critical thinking skills.  That is a skill that is not easily brought in students who are a little slower than others. This may take more time and may need a series of questions/activities to assess. In the more advanced students we can easily assess their critical thinking through hands-on challenges.

Patricia Ramnarine Post 55 in reply to 1

27 April 2021, 4:37 PM

It is difficult to define critical thinking especially because I teach a foreign language. Lessons are taught within a context and students are given the necessary vocabulary needed when focusing on a particular topic. Maybe they are using critical thinking skills when they form questions to ask their classmates and respond to these questions during cross-class questioning.

Yesenia Chan Post 59 in reply to 1

30 April 2021, 12:15 AM

Observing teaching

The aspect of active teaching which is difficult to define would be 'critical thinking'. Students at school first language is Spanish and at school, instructions and lessons are prepared and done in English. We do integrate it but when it comes for students to think critically they are not willing to do so. I need to research and find ways on how to motivate them and have them interact, brainstorm and think more than what they are expected but some just don't want to participate. I think that if my students would try to think critical it would be a great help for them and prepare them to be open and ready to participate and share their ideas with others.

Esmirna Romero Post 60 in reply to 59

9 May 2021, 5:17 AM

Observing Teaching

That is true critical thinking also is another one. Totally we need to do some research before  and be prepare to ask questions. We will help them in starting a discussion where everyone will be included. 

Merlin Pierre-Holder Post 65 in reply to 60

13 July 2021, 3:20 AM

Jenna-Louise Barkley Post 64 in reply to 1

5 July 2021, 11:16 PM

Critical thinking may be quite difficult to define as it may be hard to determine if a student is thinking critically. 

It will require a teacher to ask the type of questions that will encourage the student to think deeply and provide an answer that demonstrates an appropriate level of understanding, some analytical thought, make certain inferences and even make predictions or judgements. 

If a student seems unable to engage in critical thinking or responses seem simplistic or one-dimensional, a teacher can make certain suggestions, prompt and even demonstrate for the student. This can assist the student to think further or maybe encourage more investigation which can lead to critical thinking.

Merlin Pierre-Holder Post 66 in reply to 64

13 July 2021, 3:23 AM

well said, Jenna