Jesse Wright has been teaching at Oakwood School in Tasmania for two years and is one of the main proponents of VC teaching. Jesse says it is important to develop positive and professional relationships with students because he believes it is important to the learning environment. While VC doesn’t offer the face-to-face aspect of a traditional classroom, it does expand the horizons of everyone, including teachers.
“A huge reward to the VC environment is the collaborative learning and thinking between students and teachers across the state,” he says, “which has helped contribute to the development of the whole Oakwood School culture. The VC environment gives a new degree of flexibility to teachers and students, as a lesson can be delivered from any campus with suitable technology around the world, as we have seen this potential become a realisation with some special guest lessons delivered from interstate campuses.”
As with any learning program, the key beneficiaries are the students. However that doesn’t mean that the teacher doesn’t get a lot out of the experience – both from a professional and personal point of view.
“As a teacher new to the VC teaching environment this year, it has been a great opportunity to grow professionally and develop new teaching strategies,” says Jesse. “This is important in the 21st century teaching world as there is an abundance of excellent technical teaching and learning tools available to schools, and probably the most effective way to develop in this area as a teacher is to get into the classroom and try some things out.”
A common theme amongst teachers is that technology is both a boon and blessing – VC is no exception.
“At times some students will also push boundaries and find ways to avoid work, and this can be particularly challenging with junior secondary students where the management of the classroom over a VC monitor has its inherent difficulties,” he says. “But instead of looking at this in a negative light, I think teachers must look at this as an opportunity to try new innovative ways to engage the class and help to creative a thinking culture. Students are self-motivated if they find the information and classroom interesting and stimulating, and it is the professional responsibility of any teacher in any environment to find out these student interested and make the teaching and learning environment stimulating and meaningful the students.”