3. TEACHING BY TASK

The ‘teaching by task’ methodology was developed upon the notions of personal practice, independent learning and individual development. The task style of teaching allows students to develop at their own rate and in their own direction. This particular methodology empowers students to take responsibility for their own learning and therefore fosters the possibility of ‘deeper’ learning across a range of different areas. The nine decisions that are transferred from the teacher to the learner within this style are: “Location, Order of tasks, Starting time per task, Pace and rhythm, stopping time per task, Interval, Initiating questions for clarification, Attire and appearance, and Posture” As a result of such student empowerment a deeper appreciation for education can be fostered, thus making ongoing participation within all subject areas more likely.

Advantages

v  The teacher maintains control over what is being learned and therefore can ensure that the lesson meets the needs and requirements of the curriculum.

v  Within this methodology the teacher is able to move amongst the class and supply individual feedback while providing extension activities as required.

v  This style of teaching increases social interaction between students and therefore increases motivation levels, self-confidence as well as one’s ability to work both independently and as a member of a group.

v  It allows the teacher to provide more individual feedback to members of the class. Such feedback can improve student motivation either through positive reinforcement or through the improvement gained as a result of technique development.

v  This particular methodology allows students to experiment with a variety of skills and techniques while still allowing the teacher to direct student learning.

v  This methodology allows students to develop at their own rate and in their own direction. Individuals need to be provided with opportunities to refine their skills, techniques and knowledge within a safe and non-threatening environment.

Disadvantages

v  Little student input into the lesson, as the teacher essentially remains in control.

v  This style does not allow for a definitive standard to be achieved. The style is therefore not as useful when addressing skills or knowledge areas where specific techniques, movements or products are required.

v  There is a greater possibility that students will be distracted from the task when compared with the command style of teaching.

v  The activities of students are more difficult to supervise and therefore distractions are more likely.

v  While students are able to experiment with the knowledge and skills presented creative thinking is not promoted.

v  This particular style therefore promotes motor development more so than cognitive development.

4. INDIVIDUAL PROGRESSION

The defining characteristic of the ‘individual progression’ methodology is that “learners with varying degrees of knowledge and skill can participate in the same task by selecting a level of difficulty at which they can perform”. This particular methodology is therefore “a design of subject matter manipulated in such a manner as to provide the learner with full opportunity for self motivated learning, self-assessment, and decision making over a relatively prolonged period of time”.

The ‘individual progression’ methodology allows students to participate within activities regardless of their individual skill levels, understanding and levels of motivation. Due to the nature of the methodology students are able to participate within a non-threatening environment, therefore gaining subsequent experiences of success. The structure of activities utilising this methodology incorporate only minimal competition and therefore allow students to remain unthreatened, thus further fostering the development of positive attitudes towards all areas of the curriculum. This particular style of teaching allows students to challenge their own knowledge and skill levels and therefore set their own goals with regard to their future development. Establishing a performance goal for each level reinforces acquisition of the content (skill) and prevents learners from haphazardly ‘doing’ the levels, checking answers, and moving on.

Advantages

v  Students who are experienced in a given area and therefore already competent are not required to complete activities at the same level as beginners. This means that individuals with higher knowledge and skill levels can be extended with advanced activities.

v  Beginner students or individuals with lesser skills are able to develop at their own rate and in their own direction. This allows for a positive and non-threatening environment to be created and therefore fosters ongoing participation within all curriculum areas.

v  This method can be very satisfying for the teacher as individuals are more likely to experience success and the lessons are easy to control.

v  This method has the greatest potential to build self-esteem and therefore increase student enjoyment. This will occur as a result of increases in performance coupled with the ongoing experience of success.

Disadvantages

v  Students may not take the ability grouping seriously or may overestimate their ability in a particular area.

v  There may be feelings of inferiority by students in the lower group, causing concern as ‘students that feel their abilities are inferior to those of their classmates and therefore will not achieve success; nor will they be motivated towards accomplishment’.

v  Teacher contact time may not be divided equally as individuals with poorer skill and knowledge levels often require greater levels of feedback from the teacher whereas individuals of advanced skill and knowledge levels often require more extension activities. This methodology is therefore very labour intensive for the teacher to administer.