Reflections on Block 2 ‘Teaching’ with Data

My data tracking and visualisation over the past three weeks are affected by my primary school teaching and my interests in various pedagogy fields. Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gardners MI’s hierarchical structure (week 6 and 7) offers a framework to analyse lessons and tasks, yet the challenge lies in distinguishing between the levels and MIs within combined activities. 

These visualisations helped me to question my teaching preparations and whether it reflects the heterogeneity of my students. I also noticed the impact of my own interests (week 8) on the selection of content and resources of my lessons. Analysing my lessons with Gardners MI led me to conduct a survey among my Year 6 students, in which field their main interests are and what they genuinely want to tackle in the last term of their primary school time. I became more aware of the targets and learning objectives, how individual students responded, and the connection to the pedagogical model I applied (van Dijck et al., 2018). My approaches lie in our institution’s guidelines, and I am grateful that our headmaster is always open to new ideas. Furthermore, the significance of data on primary school level is (yet) far from the importance of HE’s datafication. 

Raffaghelli and Stewart (2019) assert “that the strong emphasis on how to navigate datafication effectively, without examination of the assumptions and norms that data practices represent and reinforce within the academy, is a problematic default approach for higher education” (p.448). I can imagine how difficult it must be when datafication, especially the underlying pedagogy, becomes more relevant.

Teachers in Switzerland are relatively free in their decision on which methodological approach to choose for their classes. I am more than happy to share data of my lessons with my headteacher, but only because I know her and her attitude towards teacher evaluation and progress. Our school had an SE last month, which is like an Ofsted inspection, and we all experienced the stress and meaningfulness put on the data (self-reported, collected by the institution, interviews), which only represent a snippet of our school. I am highly critical when it comes to the relevance of the final report of such assessments because these ‘experts’ visiting our school often do not have a pedagogical background. I question which norms their data literacy is based on! The teachers of our school did not feel represented in the report and the feedback we received. We will now experience how these “Data-based processes also expand into new tasks, functions and programmes, and intensify their influence” (Williamson et al., 2020, p.353). Since our school management is not as close to our ‘daily business’ as our headteacher, we expect additional tasks for the upcoming school year.  

I feel that teachers’ data literacy skills (Williamson et al., 2020) will be a key skill of the years to come if teachers want to maintain their proficiency and autonomy in the field of education and have a voice in the usage of data. This task will not be easy and highly depend on individual interest and whether teacher training institutions recognise the importance of integrating knowledge in skills within the training. 

References:

Raffaghelli, J.E. & Stewart, B. 2020. Centering complexity in ‘educators’ data literacy’ to support future practices in faculty development: a systematic review of the literature, Teaching in Higher Education, 25:4, 435-455, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1696301

van Dijck, J., Poell, T., & de Waal, M. 2018. Chapter 6: Education, In The Platform Society, Oxford University Press

Williamson, B. Bayne, S. Shay, S. 2020. The datafication of teaching in Higher Education: critical issues and perspectives. Teaching in Higher Education. 25(4), pp. 351-365.

One Reply to “Reflections on Block 2 ‘Teaching’ with Data”

  1. It’s great to see you grappling with the issue of teachers’ ‘data literacies’, and indeed the ‘data literacies’ of other professionals who work in the education sector. Perhaps something to explore further, given your observation here, is the variety of data literacy approaches that are promoted and adopted by different professional groups. While some data literacy approaches are fairly instrumental in terms of focusing on skills of data interpretation and use, other approaches come from a much more critical and political position, grounded in the long history of media studies and the more recent emphasis of critical data studies. I wonder where you position yourself and what this would mean for your own professional practice? If this is a topic you want to read more on, I’d recommend recent research by Luci Pangrazio and Julian Sefton Green, e.g. https://naerjournal.ua.es/article/view/v10n1-1

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