Element 3- Teachers plan, assess and report for effective learning
I have created and implemented many lessons and lesson sequences designed to address desired learning outcomes. These lesson sequences have been designed to be taught in a logical and sequential way so as to best facilitate students’ learning and to develop their understanding of key concepts in learning content. My ability to sequence lessons appropriately can be seen in a Personal Development, Health and Physical Education unit of work that I have created. The unit overview demonstrates my ability to recognise the significance of each lesson in a wider context and provide links to relevant syllabus outcomes and other Key Learning Areas. The lesson overview then provides a description of the planned lessons and demonstrates my ability to sequence lessons to scaffold students' learning in this unit of work.
In developing learning programs and units of work, I also carefully select appropriate and engaging resources that will appeal to students that may have extremely varied learning styles and different personal interests. The lessons and units of work that I have developed also use a range of strategies to assess student achievement of learning outcomes. These strategies include the use of summative and formative assessment, collecting work samples and student observations. The assessment strategies that I have utilized aim to provide all students with equal opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the knowledge. Throughout lessons, I also endeavour to provide oral feedback to students and encouragement to create a ‘safe’ learning environment where students are willing to take risks in learning. I have also created assessments which follow the marking criteria of the A-E grading scale. I have also carried out assessments and analysed results, such as the SENA interveiw, to determine a students' learning needs, as well as developing my own mathematics interview to assess a students' conceptual understanding of fractions.
I need to develop an effective method of keeping accurate and reliable records of students’ progress. I would particularly like to use portfolios as a method of keeping records as it allows students to have the opportunity to take ownership of their work. I also need to have more practice and gain a greater understanding of reporting principles and practices so that I can better prepare myself to meet the expectations associated with being a teacher. I also need to have more opportunities to provide written feedback to students.
I will find more opportunities to utilise summative and formative assessments on my next practicum. I will also trial various methods of keeping records to help monitor students’ progress. I will also collect student workbooks to provide them with written feedback as opposed to relying on oral feedback. I will also continue to critically reflect on lesson sequences to adjust future teaching and learning experiences appropriately.
I believe that planning is a key aspect of becoming a teacher that will be able to cater more effectively to all the different learning styles and needs of the various students in the classroom. Effective planning also requires the teacher to critically reflect on previous lessons to best cater to students’ needs and scaffold their learning appropriately. The correct sequencing of lesson content will assist students to shift their understanding of ideas from more simple to complex (McBurney-Fry, 2002, p. 64). This will therefore facilitate a deep understanding and knowledge of the key concepts explored in lessons (DET, 2003).
Assessment also plays an important role in the planning process and informs the way in which lessons and learning activities are sequenced. Pre-testing, which can take place informally, is one key assessment strategy which should be carried out prior to developing units of work or lessons. This allows the teacher to gain an understanding of students’ prior knowledge and appropriately cater and scaffold their future learning. Pre-testing also facilitates differentiation of the curriculum, by providing the teacher with an understanding of the various abilities in the classroom. This allows the teacher to provide various entry points to the lesson content for students.
I believe that a range of assessment strategies should be utilised in the classroom and is appropriate to the concepts which are being assessed. Formative assessment should be utilised throughout units of work to allow students to show their understanding of what has been achieved and assists the teacher in knowing what must be done to support and enhance further learning (Ewing et al., 2003, pp. 269). Summative assessment should similarly be carried out, to assess students’ overall achievement of particular learning outcomes. However these assessments should consist of open-ended tasks and activities to provide students with choice, as well as the opportunity to fully demonstrate their understanding and achievement of outcomes. I believe that assessments should also allow for self evaluation or peer assessment, as it will encourage students to become more active and engaged members of the learning community as well as developing their reflective and metacognitive thinking skills.