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Teaching strategies used by informal teachers : exploration of use and development of an explanatory model

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Harrison, Lesley Bronwyn (2003) Teaching strategies used by informal teachers : exploration of use and development of an explanatory model. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

National and international reports and inquiries record the need to improve
opportunities for people to engage in ongoing learning throughout their
lifetime which has resulted in unprecedented interest in community learning
and lifelong learning.
Formal, non-formal and informal learning within community, organisational or
workplace environments are fundamental opportunities for lifelong learning.
The processes of informal teaching and learning could be valuable resources
for a community, and their presence may explain why some communities can
be vibrant, resilient, and maintain a quality of life for their members, while
others lack stability.
The significance of this study to the field of adult education is in identification
and analysis of the perceptions and actions of informal teachers. Knowing who
the informal teachers in a community are and how they perceive themselves
and document their actions as informal teachers will contribute to our
understanding of the informal teaching and learning process from a teaching
perspective.
The purpose of this study was to locate people deemed to be informal teachers
in a community and to examine their role, characteristics, and teaching
strategies and actions in informal learning interactions.
Using a detailed sampling technique (Community Election Survey) and a
verification survey, the community identified thirty informal teachers in
Rivertown, a rural community in Tasmania, Australia. The identified informal
teachers were not kin, work colleagues, nor necessarily friends of the informal
learners.
Naturalistic in design, this study used a qualitative case-study method in which
the informal teachers were interviewed using a semi-structured schedule, they
kept diaries of social interaction for one week, and audio-tape recorded social
interactions, and the researcher observed the informal teacher in action. The
data from the interview were analysed for categories of meaning and the
diaries and audio-tape recorded interactions were content analysed.
The categories which emerged from the interview data revealed that the
informal teachers confidently perceive themselves to have credibility,
interpersonality, and dynamism. They are approached by informal learners
because of their credibility, experience and expertise and their involvement in
community group membership ahead of their qualifications, employment or hobbies. Their interpersonal characteristics, sense of belonging, social network,
and availability contribute to community cohesion and wellbeing. They were
depicted as animated and able to accept challenges because of their dynamic
characteristics and involvement in community activities. An optimum
environment of heterophilous contact (not necessarily those with an affinity)
and the exchange of new information, knowledge, and skills, and a
homophilous relationship (considered an affinity) for social support and
wellbeing was evident.
Data from the diaries revealed informal teachers operate in everyday activities
through face-to-face interaction. Unhindered by industry requirements,
professional bodies, or policy directions, informal teachers are not constrained
in teaching and learning design. There is equal status between informal learner
and teacher, informal teaching methods used are "discuss", "bounce ideas",
"advise", and "show", and these are embedded in and supported by social talk.
The informal teaching processes promote a high volume of interaction,
discussion, brainstorming, and reflection and are used to plan, inquire, solve
problems, and share ideas applicable to real life tasks and current situations.
Through their characteristics, attributes and 'social teaching methods',
informal teachers are in a good position to act as agents in social action. The
use of informal teachers as agents, however, is reliant on a community that has
a clear self-image as a collective identity and geared up to fight a common goal
and vision.
The conclusions from the study have implications for adult educators who
design learning opportunities, and community developers who are in the
business of fostering wellbeing, sustainability and activity. In communities
experiencing renewal and change, the informal teacher is an invaluable
resource to enhance vibrant, resilient, learning communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Keywords: Non-formal education
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis ( M.Ed. )--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:08
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 06:50
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