Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pre-Micro Teaching

The topic that I will attempt to micro-teach is the topic on Population. It is in the Sec 1 syllabus but it is no longer in the ‘O’ Level syllabus. How sad. I used to enjoy this topic when I was in secondary school. It just makes me wonder why this topic is taken out of the ‘O’ kevel syllabus. How can Geography be complete without the topic on Population? Anyway, I should be contented that it is still in the Sec 1 syllabus. Ok so my target group will be a Sec 1 Express class.

Saw a few classmates’ micro teaching already and am kind of excited about my own. Spent the past few weeks trying to think of which sun-topic to cover as well as the accompanying activities that I’m going to attempt to carry out in class. I finally decided on the sub-topic on population density and distribution. My initial idea was to weave in the concept of population pyramids (which students are introduced to before the concepts of population density and distribution) with what I plan to do. I wanted to discuss how population density and distribution are not even and that they change over time. For example, in times of a war, population density may go down because people die or they flee from the country. Then I wanted to link it up to the population pyramid whereby as men go out to war and only the females and the old and young are left behind, the population pyramid is skewed. This was an attempt to link previous knowledge with new ones. But horrors of horrors, population pyramid is out of the syllabus. What to do? Ok think of an alternative plan. Teachers are supposed to be very flexible people yah?

Hmm… . how about a hands-on activity that illustrates the concept of population distribution and density. Sounds good. So what I did was to make use of red and green beans as well as Petri dishes. I wanted to show students two empty Petri dishes and tell them that each represents a country with a land area of about 500 km2. Then ask them to imagine that each bean represents 1000 people and green beans represent males and red beans represent females. I will then put less beans in Country A (about 10) and more beans in Country B (about 30). Get them to describe the population density. Then I will change the land area of Country B, saying that the land area has increased to 5000 km2 as a result of land reclamation.
Ask them what they can say about the population density now. The whole demo will be shown on the visualizer.

After the demo, I will give the class a chance to have a hands-on experience by breaking them into groups where they will also have a chance to play around with the beans and the Petri dishes. A list of scenarios will be given to them and they are supposed to represent the scenarios using the beans. Think this allows the students to explore on their own and see for themselves that population density is not constant and changes over time and place. This is the highlight of my lesson and I hope all goes well during the micro-teaching.

Aside from how I plan to execute my micro-teaching, I feel that the preparations prior to micro-teaching was a very important and worthwhile thought process that I went through. Planning is a thought process that reflects the teacher’s comprehension of the whole curriculum as well as the teacher’s action at any particular moment in the classroom. . Joyce and Showers (1988) coined the process of planning as the ‘invisible skills of teaching’. I feel that successful lesson planning will help me establish clear, directed objectives that are suitable for my students’ needs, interests, and abilities. I play the role of both the planner as well as the mediator of learning. Wow, it sure isn’t easy being a teacher.

Actually, my real concern with regards to micro-teaching is that its my peers whom I will be teaching. I’ve always had problems with doing presentations in front of my peers. It somehow feels intimidating. However, I had no problem teaching in front of a class of 40 students. In fact, I had a great 5 months when I was doing relief teaching at Yusof Ishak Sec Sch. I guess it’s the target audience. Well, I think I’ll just have to pretend that my peers are my students. Hope that will work =)


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