A DOSSIER TEACHING PHP CSS AND HTML
I’m John Anderson, a professional IT teacher for the last ten years. It has been seven years since I wrote my last teaching dossier, and I feel I have learned new teaching ideas and experiences over this period. The purpose of the dossier is to help me reflect on my teaching career path, identify my strengths as a teacher, and to share my vast experience as an educator. Throughout my teaching journey, I realized that teaching is more than making a good presentation or offering the best explanation for a concept, instead, I realized that teaching is about caring. A teacher cares about everything; caring to make a good presentation, caring about the well-being of the students, and also cares about colleagues by helping them to become better educators. This dossier will help reviewers to understand my teaching career path, which can also help me to advance in my career as a teacher.
1. Teaching Philosophy
As a teacher, I believe students are free thinkers who can be guided to develop their own strengths and interests. Therefore, I’m guided by the following four principles as a teacher;
1. Learning is a multi-layered process and each student has different creative abilities. In this principle, individual abilities, class competencies, and emotions are all relevant during the learning process.
I believe engaging each student at all learning levels is vital in the learning process. The class is diverse and each student will have different competency levels, different thoughts, and different levels of class feeling. To make learning effective, it is essential to include these levels during teaching. Consequently, the aim is to bring different student backgrounds and integrate them into the subject matter. They can also learn from peers when the learning process is inclusive.
2. I always strive to make a learning environment that is appreciative, collaborative, and respectful of participants’ interests and strengths.
An open learning atmosphere full of respect and cooperation is essential. Therefore, I always strive to make an open exchange learning environment that offers equal opportunity for peer-to-peer engagement and a collaborative learning environment. For instance, I could give out IT team projects that are self-directive. Such strategies increase collaborative learning and strengthen students’ relations beyond the seminar. For example, students could be seen making exam study groups and group discussion groups revise concepts learned in class.
3. I encourage cultural diversity in the learning process.
As globalization increases, diversity is also increasing and this can be seen will the increasing number of international students in each course. Cultural diversity impacts the learning process by reshaping how people think about others. Cultural factors such as racing negatively impact the learning process, therefore, I always encourage students to embrace cultural diversity and learn from peers’ different cultural practices, which are vital in the modern learning environment.
4. Teaching is not only within the classroom, but I also encourage students to implement the knowledge and skills learned at their community levels.
Students are thinkers and ideas learned accompanied by their creativity are beyond their learning institutions. Learning will be effective if it is connected to personal experiences outside their classrooms. Also, students’ ideas can help to change the world and their communities. This is why I usually include the social relevance of the topics learned in class with factors such as normative identity politics, race and gender issues, and stereotyping impacts on the community to help students on how to implement the concepts learned at the community level.
2. Teaching and Teaching-Related Experience
I have worked as a grade 9 teacher, and I gained a vast of experience within the last two years. I was the course instructor and taught students computer applications for IT classes, cyber safety, office tools, and lab exercise. This course involved both practical and theoretical lessons for proper understanding of basic IT concepts. With the change in the learning environment, which is becoming virtual, I experienced challenges in delivering practical lessons to the class but I was able to form virtual classrooms for practical through videoconferencing. The class was not big hence I could easily focus on individual delivery to ensure everyone understood the teaching. Three international students had enrolled in the same course and I was able to develop a teaching portfolio for both students with the same teaching materials but the schedule slightly differed. The goal of the course was to deliver learning materials to students and equip them with IT knowledge and skills that will help them to perform well in their exams. To help students achieve this goal, my course did not have time limits for consultations and students were free to leave their consultations on my wall, and could reply to them when I got time. Such determination to help students pass helped to win awards for best performing tutor two times I worked as a teacher.
In addition to the grade 9 computer science teaching, I did my teaching skill enhancement apprenticeship for a computer science course (comp 3100- web programming). This is a technical course in IT that is a major in web programming. I decided to take this course to increase my educational skills after experiencing some challenges in delivering programming materials. I also realized students had new ideas in programming hence using my old programming skills was not good enough to deliver creative learning content. The key purpose for taking this course is to improve my teaching skills and knowledge in IT, which has improved ever since. Within the period I have worked as a grade 9 instructor, I feel I have gained enough experience as an IT teacher.
3. Effectiveness in Teaching and Supporting Learning
Visualization is the main strategy I use to deliver learning concepts. Through visualization, I’m able to bring dull concepts to life through practical and help the students to understand how these concepts apply in a real-world setting. Through visualization and practical, students can learn the concepts faster and apply them in their real-life settings or practical tests. Academic tests and assessments for both practical and theoretical concepts is the main strategy I use to test my students’ learning progress. It is through these tests I make improvement comments and encourage them to make corrections as per the comments. This helps students to step up their efforts in learning and improve on their weaknesses as they proceed in their learning process. From my experience, the feedback has helped students to improve significantly in their academics; without feedback, students don’t understand their weaknesses to improve on. My determination to ensure students are performing well earned me two awards during the two years I was teaching grade 9. The secret was that I spent a lot of time on course evaluation before looking for implementation resources. I did consultations to ensure the teaching plan put in place was effective rather than wasting time on an ineffective course design that will also cause poor student performance.
4. Professional Learning and Development in Teaching
Besides teaching, I was involved in the IT committee dealing with effective IT teaching and curricula development. In this committee, I was involved in curricula development, course evaluations, and module evaluations. Involvement in such activities helps me to continue developing professionally as a leader and a teacher. As a committee member, I represented the interests of students and fellow IT teachers. During my time as a committee member, I proposed the idea of module choice so that students can choose modules regarding their interests and help them gain the knowledge we want to provide as a teacher while being open to their interests. Therefore, teaching skill enhancement apprenticeship for a computer science course (comp 3100- web programming) and getting involved in leadership positions as a teacher is key to my professional development as a teacher.
This portfolio contains a teaching dossier that highlights the educational practices and strategies I use in the classroom. This dossier is modeled after the guidelines developed by The University of Toronto Scarborough. Throughout this portfolio, there is evidence of my past successes and reflections on what I have learned as an educator. Not only do I include examples of my work in this portfolio, but I also provide links to sources that elaborate on the work or provide additional context. Finally, it includes a discussion on how I will continue to grow as an educator in the future.
One of the challenges that I face as an educator is assessing students holistically. In my experiences as a student and as a teacher, I have learned that it is challenging to evaluate students based on “soft” skills. Part of this challenge can be attributed to trying to assess every piece of data collected from a student. For example, consider the data from an essay test. Most tests include questions regarding the content of an assignment in addition to questions regarding how the student interacted with their peers in class online or in-person (e.g., time management skills). Furthermore, there is also research on the assessment practices associated with taking attendance and checking homework assignments.
I have found that the traditional methods of assessing students have been quite time-consuming and tedious, in addition to being inaccurate. For this reason, I have developed a method for evaluating students based on multiple indicators of their educational growth as a whole, which I refer to as my holistic evaluation strategy. This strategy is modeled after the assessment strategies and practices associated with educational tracking. I can retrospectively assess my students by looking at their patterns of academic growth over time and how they compare to those of others in our class. This has given me more accurate assessments and allowed me to identify strengths that may not otherwise be apparent at first glance.
One aspect of my teaching is the use of technology in the classroom. I have found that using technology can be a great supplement to the curriculum, but it is important to use it in conjunction with traditional methods of teaching. Teachers can use a variety of technologies in their classrooms, but due to my background, I have found that I am most comfortable using PowerPoint and websites or e-portfolios to present material and assign homework. This is because all my courses involve some type of online component. For example, in my GIS courses, all the students complete their coursework on the Canvas learning platform. To supplement the textbook readings, I assign readings from online journals and other related websites that they must read before class discussion; therefore, students need access to the Internet from their personal computers or mobile devices. In my History courses, our discussion forums and online discussions are a big part of the course. I require students to post comments in response to posted questions or discussions to be prepared for class.
Most of my students also use cell phones as a part of their everyday lives, and I encourage them to view their cell phones as learning tools. In fact, I have incorporated videos into my classroom sessions that require students to watch and respond via cell phones.