Element 2

Element 2: Teachers know their students and how they learn.


2.1.1 Knowledge of and respect for the diverse social, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds of students, and the effects of these factors on learning

I have...the ability to get to know my students cultural backgrounds and use their experiences within learning experiences. This is through getting to know my students, talking to them and reading their individual profile information. In terms of learning for instance, in an HSIE lesson I had students explore other countries in the world that I identified as some of students’ family/nationality backgrounds. This allows for quality teaching elements of engagement and cultural knowledge where lessons regularly incorporate the cultural knowledge of diverse social groupings. Might need to use specific resources that reflect student cultures, eg. bilingual books, resources that reflect student cultures, eg. dreamtime stories.

I have...to teach in a culturally sensitive way, with respect for all cultures in the classroom. Promote the quality teaching element of inclusivity where all lessons publicly value the participation of all students.

  • Have to be aware of how students view learning in different cultural, religious and ethnic background.
  • Teachers need to build on the experiences of their students in order to advance their academic and social development. Teachers need to make linkages between student’s home culture and classroom practices.
  • Knowledge of psychology theorising, and PD outcomes (p. 364) on the importance of self-concept, identity formation, learning and cognitive styles and effective teaching can supply valuable insights in our attempt to understand the cultural differences in the classroom. 
  • Elicit different perspectives in lessons.
  • Evidence: HSIE lesson, on looking at different countries.
  • Evidence: PE unit of work, being culturally sensitive?




2.1.2 Knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual developmental characteristics of the age group(s) of students


2.1.3 Knowledge of students’ varied approaches to learning

I have...knowledge of students’ varied approaches to learning. Through the education psychology unit I completed and my practical experiences, I know that students learn in different ways, for instance they may be visual, verbal, and so on. To cater for this important idea, I make sure that in my lessons I use a wide variety of strategies so that for example my lessons are not all verbal that they are backed up with some form of visual representation on the board.

I have…the skill to employ a number of instructional approaches that cater for different students learning styles. For instance, I may teach a lesson as a whole class, in a small group or one-on-one depending on the student and how they learn most effectively. For instance, in an English lesson on expositions I taught the whole class, and then repeated the main points to a smaller group of students who were identified as having special learning needs whilst the rest of the class worked on the task given. This was done as these students learnt more with a smaller teacher to student ratio and were not distracted by the other students in the class.

(Evidence 5): lesson plan


2.1.4 Knowledge of how students’ skills, interests and prior achievements affect learning

I have...knowledge of students’ skills, interests and prior achievements. My lessons, where possible draw on the interests of the students in my class. For instance, knowing that children in Year 4 like McDonalds and other fast food outlets, I incorporated a task in a science and technology lesson that had students deigning their own healthy alternative fast food restaurant.  The students’ interest and prior knowledge of McDonalds allowed for an engaging and motivating lesson.

  • If students have skills in certain areas, as mentioned in the element 1 ICT section I will endeavour to incorporate their skills within lessons. For instance, if a student has a skill in using a computer program I will get the student to demonstrate to the rest of the class, valuing their skill and a sense of value and element of inclusivity in the classroom. (quality teaching)

(Evidence 3)

 2.1.5 Knowledge of strategies for addressing student needs

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Students with special education needs

Non-English speaking background students

Students with challenging behaviours

I have...knowledge of strategies for addressing student needs. I am currently completing a special education elective that is based upon the exploration of effective strategies for teaching students with special needs in an inclusive environment. These include strategies such as feedback, class-wide peer tutoring, grouping strategies, direct intstruction, mnemonics (visual cues etc) and so on. I have the knowledge and experience of strategies for the inclusion of a child with autism in the classroom. This includes methods like, working one-on-one, bringing the child closer to the front of the class, designing appropriate grouping activities for the child and providing activities that the child is interested in.

I have...knowledge of strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and TESOL students as I have completed two units of studies in these areas. For example, in the TESOL unit we had to design literacy worksheets that would most effectively cater for TESOL students in the classroom and these ideas I have introduced on my practical experiences. I have also extensively studied the Aboriginal Education Policy which outlines the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students…. literacy circles cater for all abilities. I have also used small group tasks and how that strategy has affected student learning of all needs (evidence: grouping strategies assignment).

(Evidence 8)

I have...knowledge of strategies that help me to deal with students who have challenging behaviours. This has been on-going and I have gained my knowledge on my practicums, either experiencing them for myself or observing my cooperating teachers’ methods.  I have created an on-going list of strategies I have observed and trialed on practical experiences in which I have evaluated in terms of when it worked best and how to effectively employ the strategy. Also the strategy of gaining student voice, student direction, so they become more engaged in the learning. Literacy strategies that may be affected for students with challenging behaviours may include one-on-one instruction, cooperative tasks, eg. Readers theatre, literacy circles give students roles therefore challenging behavioured students can’t dominate and will feel valued in a group.


-Application of specific and appropriate literacy strategies.

-Differentiated tasks to meet the learning needs of individual students.



I will…further develop possible strategies on my next practical experience to meet the needs of all students in the classroom. In particular students with special education needs and higher achieving students. I will develop more differentiated lessons/activities on my next practicum experiences. I will also conduct more opportunities in my lessons on my next practicum where students can gain a student voice and self-direction over their learning. I also want to further develop strategies for getting to know students’ backgrounds and interests, eg. ice-breaker activities and strategies for identifying students prior achievements/learning.


I need….to get to know my students and evaluate the strategies, mentioned above I employ on my next practical experience.

I believe….that every child and therefore every classroom is diverse not only in ability but in the way students learn and how to cater or be prepared for this idea is something hugely important for teachers. I believe teachers should have a tool kit of strategies that can be trialed and changed to meet the different needs of their students. Without the skill to differentiate instruction, tasks and learning in general, a teacher cannot be successful and reach ALL students in their classroom. One strategy will not work for all students in any given classroom. Teachers need to get to know their students and trial methods to best suite each individual child’s’ learning.