Using the Alexander Framework to reflect on approaches to teaching

Abstract

The Alexander Framework invites us to reflect on our underlying beliefs and assumptions about teaching and learning. In this article, Rebecca Fairley, Programme Leader for Textiles at the Open College of the Arts, provides an example of how the Alexander Framework can help educators achieve new perspectives on how they approach their teaching.


Published on 12th March 2020 | Written by Rebecca Fairley |

 

In week 13 of the PGcert in Creative Education we were asked to use the Alexander Framework to reflect on how our views on teaching and learning changed over the preceding weeks. This educational framework was developed by Professor Robin Alexander (1992: 84) as a tool to identify what we find to be important in our teaching practice.

In carrying out this task I used Rolfe et al.’s (2016) reflective model of What? So What? and Now What? to examine my recent learning. In Rolfe et al.’s model So what? askes “why does it matter?” and “What does the literature say?” in relation to what happened or what was noted. This use of relevant literature led to the Now what? of Rolfe et al.’s model, where change in behavior or thinking occurred in my teaching practice. Working through the four questions posed: What should learners learn? How should it be learned, taught and assessed? Why should learners learn this way? and What is an educated person?

I considered each in relation to the reading I had done, therefore mapping my thinking and developing knowledge. I found that the four main learning theories of behaviourism, cognitivism, social constructivism and experiential learning (Aubrey & Riley, 2019) became the baseline for the later development in my knowledge. The examination of the literature through the filter of my teaching experience and through discussion with my PGcert peers, I came to some conclusions on ways to improve the quality of my teaching practice and the learning materials I provide.

Rebecca Fairley – Reflecting using the Alexander Framework.

reflecting using the Alexander Framework


becka-fairley

Rebecca Fairley is the Programme Leader for the Textiles pathway at the Open College of the Arts. With a special interest in Distance Learning that is both open access and flexible. She is also a textiles practitioner who’s strands of creative practice investigate the body’s relationship to making, materials and movement.

 


References

AdvanceHE (2012) The Equality Act 2010: implications for colleges and HEIs revised. (Accessed 10th January 2020)

Alexander, R. (1992) Policy and Practice in Primary Education. London and New York: Routledge

Aubrey, K. and Riley, A. (2019) 2nd Ed. Understanding & Using Educational Theories London: Sage

Future Learn (2018) Course design: constructive alignment [Online Video] 22 August 2018 At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5hpRX5ZeIc (Accessed 10th January 2020)

Hindley, D. and Clughen, L. (2018) ‘Yay! Not another academic essay’ Blogging as an alternative academic genre. Journal of Writing Practice. 11(1), 83-97 http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33855/ (Accessed 20th October 2019)

Land, R. (2015). Toil and Trouble. [Online Video]. 5 November 2015 At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqyV6D43hpw. (Accessed 10th January 2020)

Newby, T.J and Ertmer, P.A. (1993) Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly. 6(4). (Accessed 10th January 2020)

Meyer, J.H.F. (2005) Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49(3), 373-388. Available at: (Accessed 1st December 2019)

Shulman (2005) Signature pedagogies in the professionsDaedalus, Summer 2005. 134(3), 52-59. (Accessed 10th January 2020)

University of Cumbria (2016) Rolfe et al.’s (2001) reflective model. (Accessed 10th January 2020)

Wlodkowski, R.J. (2003) Fostering Motivation in Professional Development Programs. In: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2003(98), 39-48. (Accessed 27th November /2019)

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