My own professional values influence my practice substantially while teaching; I feel this is due to my experience within industry, especially when interviewing candidates. The first element of this is to be professional so that students can learn to act professionally by example. This includes always treating students and staff with respect and ensuring boundaries are in place, for example, I will be friendly but I am not friends with students. The next element is when thinking of student ability, I relate it to terms of employing them, by doing this I am able to always relate everything I teach to industry, this increases the level of student engagement but also begins to get students ready for industry. This relates closely to always following industry standards as well as teaching standards, for example, following British Computing Society standards of programming while promoting best practices, such as PSR-2: Coding Style Guide, which is a guide designed “to reduce cognitive friction when scanning code from different authors. It does so by enumerating a shared set of rules and expectations about how to format” (PHP-FIG, 2019) your code.

An element of how my professional values influence my practice is outside the actual teaching, an essential element is being technically able to teach the units I am assigned and having the integrity to either learn the required material or alternatively make it clear that my experience is not sufficient to teach a particular unit. This relates closely with staying up to date with the latest industry developments, this is particularly challenging as the computing and technology industry move and change at an incredible rate. Another important aspect that occurs outside the class is reflection, while I may not always formally reflect upon a class; I always ensure I consider how the class went and what elements could be improved.

There are also many ethical professional values that influence my practice, for example, being strongly against software piracy and educating students on how it can affect them. Explaining how software piracy has personally affected my income is a very strong and relatable message for students. Following on from this I am able to explain how the pirated version of my software is always larger than the original, which I normally turn into a quick activity where they guess what could be using the extra storage space. Another ethical element that I ensure I educate them on is that the data centre industry creates more pollution than the airline industry and that every Google search uses energy. A very important ethical aspect that I include in my lessons is explaining that when they graduate it is likely they will be in competition or working with programmers that are located in third world countries, some aspects of this can include huge differences in salaries, code quality, standards, English ability, etc., as well as other factors, such as time zones, etc. Another very important aspect is to control the subject matter of student projects, as students frequently have a free reign over the type of projects they work towards, it is still important that the projects are suitable for the teaching establishment, for example, a game was designed in which a model of the campus was used and it was possible to navigate the campus while shooting lecturers, obviously this was totally inappropriate and was not allowed to be created.  Another aspect that, while not as important, it is beneficial that students do not become obsessed with particular products, makes, styles, etc., to the point of participating in ‘flamewars’ and understand that they are all tools and while working in industry they must pick the most suitable for the job at hand, e.g., Windows vs Apple.

Bibliography

PHP-FIG. (2019). PSR-2: Coding Style Guide. Retrieved from PHP-FIG: https://www.php-fig.org/psr/psr-2/