Teaching Observation Notes

Teaching Practice is one of the key modules on my studies at the School of Vocational Teacher Education studies at HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

The teaching practice contains the following parts: 

  • The planning, implementation and assessment of a guidance and counseling and teaching block (approx. 20 hrs).
  • Observation and assessment of team members’ and other teachers’ guidance and counseling and teaching sessions (approx. 25 hrs).
  • Collaborative workshops in which participants experiment with collaborative guidance and counseling and teaching methods.
  • Comprehensive assessment of the teaching practice that reflects the criteria for guidance and counseling and teaching competence.

As you can see in the second bulletpoint, all of us need to partipate in our teammates’ teaching sessions in order to observe and assess them. I had the pleasure to welcome my colleague Kevin McIntire at my Marketing 1 course at HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences on Porvoo Campus.

Kevin came, observed and assessed! Please read what he thought of one of my Marketing sessions.

Kevin McIntire is a Senior Lecturer at Metropolia Business School, part of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, where he teaches courses in finance, accounting, mathematics, and competitive intelligence.

McIntire Kevin

Kevin’s Teaching Observation Notes

Who: Chryssa Skodra
What: Marketing 1 course
For whom: Second-year students from a number of different degree programs (Cultural Export Management and International Business)

When: Tuesday, April 01, 2014: 8:30 to 10:00

Where: HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences, Porvoo Campus

Gettings started:

Chryssa kindly began by having me introduced myself and then having the students tell me about the projects that they have been working on. She then continued with a review of the previous week, which had been on how to write press releases. She continued by explaining the goals for todays’ session on how to organize press conferences.

Chryssa obviously knows the name of every student in the class and it is clear that the students know that she will call on them to contribute in offering up ideas or reviewing previous topics. Of the, say, 20 times that she called on a student only ONE wasn’t able to provide an answer. I interpret this to mean that, while they are also engaged with their laptops, they are clearly engaged in the class, too. The girl sitting to my left was working on her class summary/learning journal the entire class.

Style and delivery:

Chryssa is very professional in her delivery, which adds a lot of credibility when lecturing on, say, the mannerisms of speakers at press conferences. She is active (but not too active) in covering the space in the room and her speaking style is clear and easy to understand. Her vocabulary is also wider than mine, which is humbling…

I have rarely seen such an aesthetically pleasing Prezi. She didn’t really need to tell the class what would be covered, because it could be seen in the wide-shot of the Prezi. The real examples of videoconferences were very current, with the Malaysia Airlines conference having taken place during the previous week. I’m sure that students acknowledge and appreciate the freshness of her examples. Some slides included lots of text, but the extra discussion with students meant everyone had time to digest them.

Topic and learning outcomes:

From this lecture, I remember that there are two types of press conferences: promotional and emergency. I understood that the speakers should be prepared and that an experienced moderator is imperative. I know that there is a very nicely summarized checklist in her Prezi for a successful press conference that I can easily find, but I only remember a couple points.

What I DON’T remember is how I should decide between a full press conference or settle for just a press release. Of course I missed the previous week’s lecture and I’m not sure if this was an intended learning outcome.

In-class exercise:

The majority of the class was run as an interactive lecture. Chryssa would prod the students’ memories or ask for their observations to reinforce previous ideas or as a lead-in to the next topic. There was one exercise towards the end in which students were to consider the relative advantages and disadvantages of having a press conference. If I remember correctly, they had between 1 and 2 minutes to talk among themselves about this topic and then the discussion was opened to the wider group. I think this was the perfect time to have this sort of reflective exercise and could really serve to crystalize the motivation for taking the time to put together a (very laborious) press conference. I fear that this might not have been enough time for them to come up with points. When the discussion was opened up to the wider group, there were only a few ideas.
One idea, that “all press is good press” was very strongly contested by a student, who threatened to walk out if this was listed as an advantage. I don’t think she was bluffing. Chryssa very skillfully defended the opinion of the other student and challenged the other student to justify her view.

Conclusions:

Chryssa is articulate, clearly has real-world experience in the field, is clearly passionate about the field, and put together a visually appealing, professional lecture. Her students were engaged, active, and interested.

My only idea for how the class could be improved would be to consider how the advantages/disadvantages exercise could be prepared in a way that would encourage students to reflect a bit more deeply.

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