Fundamentals in Bioveterinary Science – Task D
Self-reflection is extremely important to help with skill development, especially as a student. It allows you to refer back to what you once thought may have been a flaw or a weakness, and gives you the ability to see how far you have developed, or to discover what skills may still need improving.
Within this stint of the semester I feel as though I have gained more confidence within our maths and chemistry lectures than I did at the beginning. I now feel a lot more comfortable with participating and raising my hand to speak in class, even if I am wrong. At the start of the year I felt anxious to answer a question as I knew chemistry and maths were my weaker subjects. Murray and Lang (1997) discuss that there is a definite link between student participation and gain in knowledge retainment and problem-solving skills. This is beneficial to me as the gain in knowledge and understanding, through active participation, can be associated with an increase in confidence within that subject.
Referring back to my previous reflective writing that was completed at the beginning of the year I spoke about feeling more comfortable working with students who are of the same academic capability as myself; “I feel as though the lesson would have been more productive if the class was separated into different skill levels”. Although I previously thought that surrounding myself with those who are of the same capability as me would be more productive when it came to understanding lesson content, I have now deemed this to be not entirely true. I have found it easier to turn to a student within my class, who may have come from a chemistry and maths background, as the majority of the time they pass on useful tips or ideas to help make content easier to understand. Linchevski and Kutscher (1998) state that studies show a significant difference in achievement between less able students who were placed in mixed ability teaching groups compared to those within same ability teaching groups. This theory is also backed up by further studies which suggest that students within mixed ability groupings find that they can elaborate on the subject matter on their own, rather than as a collective. (Saleh et al., 2005).
Although I have improved on my chemistry and maths I do still find it a struggle at times. Personally, I find practical lessons quit daunting as I haven’t been exposed to many chemistry practical lessons prior to starting university. In my previous piece of reflective writing I spoke about the use of Self Directed Learning (SDL) being useful for improving classroom flaws. SDL is the act of an individual taking it upon themselves to carry out actions that will be beneficial to improving their learning. (Rothwell and Sensenig, 1999). I feel as though the best way to improve on my practical work is to simply just practice. After a lesson I could ask the lecturer to explain the purpose of any equipment I am unsure of, or go over a portion of the lesson that I didn’t quit understand. (Beasley, 1985). Also, when thinking about the benefits of mixed ability groupings, as mentioned previously, it could also be advantageous for me to ask to work with a student who may be more confident with chemistry practical’s.
During this reflective piece it has been enlightening to see the developments I have made within chemistry and maths, in a relatively short amount of time. It is encouraging to known that I can and have improved within my least favoured subjects. Although there are still flaws and a lot of work will have to be done so as I can continue to see these developments, I am confident that with the help from my lecturers and my peers I can continue to better myself.
Murray, H. G. and Lang, M. (1997) ‘Does classroom participation improve student learning?’ https://www.stlhe.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Does-Classroom-Participation-Improve-Student-Learning.pdf
Beasley, W. (1985) ‘Improving student laboratory performance: How much practice makes perfect?’ Science Education, 69(4) pp. 567–576.
Linchevski, L. and Kutscher, B. (1998) ‘Tell Me with Whom You’re Learning, and I’ll Tell You How Much You’ve Learned: Mixed-Ability versus Same-Ability Grouping in Mathematics.’ Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 29(5) pp. 533–554.
Rothwell, W. J. and Sensenig, K. J. (1999) The Sourcebook for Self-directed Learning. Human Resource Development.
Saleh, M., Lazonder, A. W. and Jong, T. D. (2005) ‘Effects of within-class ability grouping on social interaction, achievement, and motivation.’ Instructional Science, 33(2) pp. 105–119.