Element 4- Teachers communicate effectively with their students
I have used a range of questioning techniques to engage students in classroom discussion and to support student learning in a range of lessons. This includes incorporating verbal and written questions which aim to utilise Blooms’ Taxonomy to scaffold students’ understanding and to elicit higher order thinking. This can be seen in the comprehension questions on a worksheet I have created as a stimulus to set up debates in the classroom. The initial questions assist students in comprehending the newspaper article provided, with the final question aiming to promote student’s reflection on the issues brought up in the newspaper article. I regularly utilise discussions as a means of gauging students’ prior understanding and engaging students before beginning lessons or a unit of work. This is evident in my lesson planning, in particular an English lesson which I devised to explore poetry and visual literacy. This lesson demonstrates my ability to formulate questions sequentially to scaffold students’ learning and elicit responses. This lesson also demonstrates my knowledge of grouping strategies. The grouping strategies in this lesson were used to support the range of learning abilities present in the classroom. This strategy also allowed more content to be covered in the lesson, with each group reporting back in a whole class discussion. In all of my lessons I utilise a range of teaching strategies and resources to engage students and support their learning. This includes the use of ICT, as demonstrated in this music lesson that I implemented in a stage 3 classroom. This lesson utilised grouping strategies where students worked in pairs to explore several websites to gather and synthesise information on various musical instruments.
I will collect evidence of my questioning techniques in the classroom. I will create assessments and units of work which provide students with explicit learning goals. I will also continue to listen to students and provide them with ample opportunities to contribute to discussion and develop their ideas. I will incorporate a wider range of questions to scaffold students’ learning and elicit higher order thinking.
I need to record a session in the classroom and transcribe this session to further demonstrate and develop my skills of using discussion in the classroom. I need to become more comfortable with providing wait time, to allow students to respond within discussion situations. I need to familiarise myself with Bloom’s Taxonomy to provide a greater range of questions to challenge students’ thinking.
I believe that communication is vital within the classroom to ensure that a quality learning environment is created. By providing students with clear directions about learning goals, students are presented with high expectations, an important element within the Quality Teaching Framework (Department of Education and Training, 2003). I also believe that discussions and classroom dialogue is vital for many aspects of education. Conducting discussions provides students with a voice but promotes student learning as well as human growth (Brookfield & Preskill, 1999, cited in O’Dea, 2006). This includes encouraging students to have respect for their peers when listening to each other while exploring a diversity of perspectives and helping students to become connected to a topic. Throughout a discussion, it is vital to ask a range of questions, using Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) as a guide to develop these questions. The use of the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy will also facilitate and promote higher order thinking within the classroom.
Using a variety of grouping strategies will also facilitate the development of communication skills between students. Students are also able to engage more actively in tasks because students are required to engage in discussion and express their ideas, which also benefits students by seeing a variety of thinking about problems and concepts (Barnes & Peck, 1999, cited in Dousek, 2007, p. 15). As well as achieving learning outcomes in an engaging manner, students become more accountable for their work and learning social skills required to work in groups. However, it is important to keep in mind that students need to be taught the necessary skills to participate effectively in group situations (Mitchell, 2006, p. 2).