Questions

Reflective KASA in Learning Objectives

A while ago we wrote a post about KASA on this blog. As most of you know, KASA is a model used in teaching to define these areas as decision-making processes based on the four categories: Knowledge, Awareness, Skills, and Attitude.

A couple of notes as a preview to the actual post:

  1. The model was initially created to describe the teaching process but is also widely used in training, and other professional fields (i.e. there are certain skills, knowledge, attitudes and awareness that a trainer, a mentor, a coach, etc. need to have or develop to be efficient/helpful for the role they are working for)

  2. the four constituents are put in this order to make sure it is easy to pronounce the term, but the order does not reflect their ‘weight’ or importance. [Note to myself: it could be a good topic for another blog post!]

  3. the title of this post prompts that the focus below will be on the reflective aspect of trainer/mentor KASA; it will also connect the understanding of KASA with its application by outlining the learning objectives for a training course

  4. the post below is mostly based on the questions asked and (attempted) answers found in a discussion with my friend, colleague and ptec member Josette 

  5. if there are questions you have about any aspect of this post, please don’t hesitate to add them into the comment section below, so that we could continue this conversation (as a form of professional development in itself!)

 

LightReflections

 

How can we determine the difference between Awareness and Knowledge, especially in defining the learning objectives/course goals for a new teacher training course?

In a course for teachers your sessions might focus on what the Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) is (and is not) and each of its stages, their order, etc. (the Knowledge), you will help teachers reflect on the specific lessons applying the cycle (the Skill) and you will hope that the process will help them appreciate, or at least respect, the systematic/structured approach (the Attitude). Now, Awareness will be raised through all these steps/activities/tasks – because the teachers will be more and more attentive to those important factors that make reflection successful. [Note to myself: it could be another good topic for a blog post!]

Is this an example of an ‘Awareness goal’ or a ‘Knowledge goal’: Teachers will understand how the ELC relates to their ability to reflect on an experience?

It seems to be a Knowledge goal (because teachers will learn what the cycle is and how it can help them with their everyday reflection)

 

Is there an example of ‘purely’ Awareness-raising goal then? An example can say something like this: Teachers will raise awareness about the importance of the reflective practices for their professional development.

I personally don’t believe in goals like that, because even if I set one for my learners I will ask myself ‘how do I know that the goal is achieved?’ and will need some evidence, which will result in either K, S or A specified into a ‘learning outcome’. A couple of examples related to the goal from the question:

Teachers will describe how each stage of the cycle is different from the other one (Knowledge goal)

Teachers will ask each other 3 guiding questions in order to help their peers move from one stage of the cycle to the other (Skill goal)

If we take Donald Freeman’s definition of Awareness as the capacity to recognize and monitor attention one is paying or has paid to something (knowledge, skill or attitude) we will see its role as ‘unifying superordinate’ rather than just one of the four elements of the KASA model.

Does using the KASA division helps or hinders the clarity of the learning objectives (for a trainer/mentor) and therefore its achieving (for learners)? Does the wording become more complicated?

Examples

Main goal: (Skills) Teachers will know how to use the ELC to reflect on their lessons.

Supporting objectives:
1. Ts will read about the ELC, and discuss the various stages of the ELC with their peers and the trainer.
2. Ts will reflect (in their journals) on their lesson using the stages of the ELC.

I think a lot will depend on how detailed you want the objectives to be (I mean, whether they are a formality, or a learning tool in itself) and on how explicit you would like to be about the ‘Why?’ behind those objectives in the training course. If you see that the teachers will have some kind of a ‘loop input’ by reading the objectives and seeing the KASA behind them, it should definitely help their learning — and growing awareness? If there is not so much time and space in the course for that, then you can either make them more concise (in this case the supporting objectives might become stage aims and/or the session objectives, for example)

 

Thank you for reading!

 

References:

Freeman, D. (1989). Teacher Training, Development, Decision Making: A Model for Teaching and Related Strategies for Language Teacher Education. TESOL Quarterly, 23(1), 27-45

Graves, K. Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers

 

This post was written by Zhenya

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