Short Case Study about FIRST application
I am Sadiki Moshi. I teach at Muslim University of Morogoro as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Interpretation. My main responsibilities are teaching, handling seminars, planning, holding academic events and conducting outreach activities and consultancy.
My session was for 14 undergraduate students from Morogoro University. The lesson of my session was on conflict resolution. It was titled Implementation of ROOTS soft skills. ROOTS is a program intended to promote teachers professional skills simultaneously with teaching methodologies merged with FIRST Framework. Being acquainted with Active Deep Learner eXperience, teachers would most likely be able to apply the framework and its principles in the classroom sessions. In this case, students are exposed to a new learner eXperience flavor driving them from being mere participants to active learners.
I almost applied all FIRST Framework domains equally and appropriately throughout the lesson. However, with respect to subject matter, social interaction was mostly stressed to maintain learners maximum engagement.
Considering the nature of the lesson, the Social event and Activity facilitation principles were very important to be applied but without ignoring other principles as they are all integrated. To reach a solution of a given conflict one must build trust within the social group. The social event shelters a very good platform to build trust within the group or intergroup.
Frankly speaking, social event was a very useful principle in promoting a good relationship among the learners within the group and intergroup as well. Through social event, it was easy for me to identify individuals with unique potentials related to the subject matter. For example, assuming leadership in a group of 4-5 students implies that such students have the ability to resolve a conflict.
It should be put into account that conflicts among students particularly in primary and secondary schools are common, and therefore, training teachers on conflict resolution is of paramount importance. In this regard, I used short videos showing different contexts of conflict and asked them to get into groups for discussions. I was impressed by the presentations made by the teachers as they looked like they were solving a real conflict. Similarly, since activities are the central part in experiential learning and active deep learning, the lesson was designed to ensure that every activity in the classroom concurs with the lesson objectives. Therefore, the lesson was inclusive and active deep as well.
In my opinion, there are many differences between *FIRSTedu and any other practices that I used before, but briefly, in previous practices, I used to focus more on the subject content while in *FIRSTedu I realized that the balance between content and methodology is very important. Most of the times in the previous practices I used the PUSHING method throughout the lecture but in *FIRSTedu, the PULLING method is crucial and is used equally or more frequently. I admit that the *FIRSTedu practice is more significant than the previous practices because it has a set of follow up strategies to track students engagement in the learning process. It also gives an opportunity for students to practice the learned knowledge in the classroom and after the classroom as well.
I realized that students, especially at the university level, are enthusiastic to learn things that will distinguish them from students in other universities. Setting the model of how teaching in practice should be, all students in the classroom were very keen to follow me in every activity from the beginning of the lesson until the end. When I asked some of their teachers if they are such cool students in the classroom they said they are not. Because all of them were fully engaged in the learning journey no one asked for PPT as they usually do. This implied that the style of facilitation impressed them and thus derived their eager to know.
If I will repeat this facilitation again, I will probably put much emphasis on creating a balance between learning activities and time, and on the classroom setting to ensure maximum socialization among learners.
Students were very excited about seeing the way they were involved in the lesson. Integration of games and energizers added more flavor to the learning journey. In fact, our WhatsApp group chat was supposed to be closed after the training but it was not easy because students continued to share ideas derived from the training. I personally received several messages of appreciation.
FIRSTedu *FIRST Framework version for teaching in schools.