Reflecting on our teaching practice to bring about a more student-centred approach to learning and promote “deeper” learning by the students
The current prescribed assessment of learning in the Irish apprenticeship has it roots in ‘traditional’ education. The assessment is a simple structure. It has been tried and tested, and is what the student has become accustomed to in previous learning. Logistics and administration are simple. It is an assessment for selection and certification. The lecturer is the provider of knowledge and the student is the recipient. The learning is teacher centred.
However the employment landscape is moving and changing. Employers are looking for a higher standard of trade worker that is knowledgeable, creative, and inventive, can work in a team and has good communication skills. The current theoretical assessment does not offer development in creativity, inventiveness, teamwork and communication. As such the current pedagogy is not focused in these areas. A change in the nature and type of assessment could open the pedagogy from its current closed state and move the teaching to a student centred approach.
7 Further discussion
There is a strong case, from lecturer reflection and student feedback, for a change in our teaching practice to promote deeper learning and move towards a more student oriented pedagogy. It is an opinion, that within the current curriculum an assessment change could promote these changes in practice, without a major overhaul of the curriculum.
Is the desire for change and the identification of the learning and teaching issues, reason enough to change what has become an established ‘traditional’ assessment or will it be a case that regardless of changes, the pedagogy is still entirely dependent on the individual lecturer in class?
Acknowledgements - We would like to thank students, staff and colleagues in the Timber Trades Section of the school of Construction, as without their assistance this research wouldn’t be possible.
We would also like to acknowledge the Learning, Teaching and Technology Centre, DIT, and management in the School of Construction for their continued support in our research work.