Thursday, June 13, 2013

Will Graham as a Lecturer

Is Will a good lecturer? I would say definitely that he is, he has many characteristics of an excellent teacher, let’s look at all of the episodes so far (up to “Entree” on Sky Living) and see what he does right.

Episode 1: Apéritif

The episode opens with Will lecturing, but that isn’t obvious straight-away that he is lecturing since he is painting such as vivid picture of how a profiler does their job we are seeing how he explores a crime scene. This is a strength of Will’s teaching; he is a good story teller. Also because he is a practitioner of what he is teaching, he is able to engage in Authentic Instruction,  which means that there is a clear connection between the real world and the material being taught in Will’s classroom, and that he requires his students engage in Higher-Order Thinking,  so he gets them to solve problems or discover new meanings.

Will also uses visual materials to augment his lesson, and in this case these images are often very shocking and graphic. This makes them highly memorable, and helps create anchors around which the students can remember and reflect on the lesson. It also exposes the students to the reality of the profession that they will be undertaking.

Will finishes his lesson by saying “Tell me your design. Tell me who you are.”, this helps personalise the lesson for the students, Will is saying “I do this thing, you can do it too, your ideas and opinions are as valuable as mine and your insights will make a difference in the world”.

Episode 2: Amuse-Bouche

This class starts with the students applauding Will for locating and stopping the “Minnesota Shrike”, Will instructs them to stop clapping, this is very good, he is saying several different things: “We are getting on with the class, business as usual”, “I had to kill someone and that doesn’t deserve applause, because all life is valuable, and we don’t demonise these killers”, and “This is the job, don’t do it for praise, do it because you want to help”. 

As all teachers do, Will is acting as a role-model for his students, the students look at him and get their impression of what a person in their job should act like and how they should react to certain situations, he is a good role model.

Will discusses an ongoing case with the students, another excellent example of Authentic Instruction; the students get to “see under the hood” of how such an investigation works, with all the confusion and uncertainty. This would be in direct contrast to a case study where the answers are already worked out and the students just have to figure out how the result was achieved.

Episode 3: Potage

Will discusses an investigation that he has talked about in class previously again, but expands on certain elements of the case, and highlights different issues, and asks different questions, to show the multiple perspectives that you can come at a case from.

Will also explains his approach to profiling by example again this week, and is free and open enough to ask questions he doesn’t know the answers to, in that way he is asking the students to construct their own understanding (Constructivism) and to engage in a real-world task to help make the world a better place (Service Learning).

Episodes 4 and 6: Ceuf and Entrée

Will isn’t teaching but is using his classroom to do some profiling; this is excellent, the boundaries between the real-world and the teaching dissolve when the teacher practices their profession in the same space that they use to teach, and it makes it easier for the teacher to recall details and examples for particular topics if they have been reviewing those materials in the same space that they are teaching the same ideas.

Bottom line, Will is a very good teacher, in the words of Aristotle "Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach."

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