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Element 7- Teachers are Actively Engaged Members of Their Profession and the Wider Community

                                     

MILESTONES – ELEMENT #07

ELEMENT 7- TEACHERS ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED MEMBERS OF THEIR PROFESSION AND THE WIDER COMMUNITY

I believe that in order to further my teaching profession, an integral part of this process is to establish healthy relationships with the members of my profession and also the wider community, built on mutual trust and respect. I believe that by engaging students’ parents in the educative process, this will provide opportunities for them to partake in their children’s educative process and make them see the value of education. Teachers who extensively interact with their work colleagues, teachers’ aides and community-based personnel are furthering their own learning process, because pedagogical knowledge are transferred from one teaching professional to another.  

Parents are very important people in their children’s education, as they have the right to know about their children’s progress and learning in school (Ewing et al, 2003, p. 284). The school cannot be perceived as the only system that is responsible for their students’ learning. Parents share this responsibility with schools, because they are essentially the first people to educate their children with their basic life skills such as how to play, eat, talk, etc. It is the school’s responsibility to provide parents with an opportunity to be able to discuss about their children’s progress and voice any concerns (Ewing et al, 2003, p. 285).

I have designed a PDHPE unit of work which engages parents and caregivers in the educative process. Prior to teaching the unit, a letter to the parents inform them of the content which will be taught to their children, and the purpose of the unit of work. During my last practicum, I also had the opportunity to work with a teacher’s aide who worked alongside with a student in my class who was autistic. She usually came in to help the student during Computer time. Prior to these computer lessons we would come together and discuss about the concepts and content which I wanted the student to learn about during the computer session. I have attended staff meetings during my previous prac, which gave me extensive information on the topic of guided reading sessions. I had the opportunity to listen to teachers who had attended Guided Reading Seminars with David Hornsby, and listen to their experiences and what they gained from the seminars.

I will be an active member of the professional and wider community through engaging parents and caregivers in all the process of their children’s education. I will establish a positive communication with external professionals of the school in order to ensure that my students’ learning is enhanced. I will continuously communicate with parents to let them know about the progress of their children’s educative process.

I need to further my experience with communicating with my students’ parents and caregivers and the local community. I need to let the parents of my students know that I am more than welcome to discuss with them about any issues or concerns they have about their children’s education. I need to involve my students’ parents in the decision-making process of their children’s education so that they feel inclusive of the school community. I need to ensure that I show how much I value having my students’ parents’ input.

 24/09/2008

Dear Parents/Caregivers,I am writing this letter to notify you that over the next few weeks, Year 6 students will be learning about the topic of “Bullying”. Bullying is a unit of work which lies within the PDHPE strand of Interpersonal Relationships. Personal Development, Health and Physical Education is an integral part of the school  curriculum as it encourages students to value themselves and others, Furthermore, it underlines the importance of making informed decisions which leads to adopting responsible actions. The sense of self needs to be established and valued in order for the valuing and respecting of others to take place. The subject PDHPE addresses methods to enhance students to have autonomy and control over their actions (BOS, 2006, p. 6-7).

PDHPE does not only exist in the early stages of a person’s life, but it is an ongoing process, because everyone develops mentally and physically as human beings. There is a greater emphasis in our local and global community today on the importance of leading healthier lifestyles (BOS, 2006, p.6). The issue of bullying is definitely a topic that is important to study because it is inevitable that students will be confronted with this issue, whether it may be themselves that are undergoing the process, or they may know someone who is a victim of bullying. The stimulus that I have chosen to centralise my unit of work around is a book called “I Am Jack”, written by Suzanne Gervay. I chose this text because I found it interesting that the book was written by a woman whose own son was being bullied, therefore she wrote the book with the intention of lending a hand to her son, and also to other children who are victims of bullying.

The main character of the book, Jack, is an 11-year old boy who is experiencing bullying by the children in his class. He is afraid of telling his mother because he believes that she is too busy to help him. I believe that the students in Year 6 will be able to relate to the main character of this story because they are close in age to him. Also, Jack’s story will make students realise that they do not need to confront the issue of bullying alone. The story not only tells Jack’s story, but it tells it in an insightful and humorous manner.

The students in Year 6 will be able to engage and empathise with Jack’s experiences as the feelings, attitudes and strategies about bullying can be explored and talked about in a non-threatening way. At Ringwood Rose Public School, we believe that it is crucial for students to learn about the topic of bullying so that they can mentally prepare themselves if they ever are confronted with the issue. There are many support services available for students within the school environment, and all the staff members within our school are more than happy to help students if needed. Another reason why I am writing you this letter is to bring to your attention that students will also need to have a strong family foundation of support when dealing with the issue of bullying. With your support, we will be able to build upon an even safer environment for the students’ to learn in. Your support is very much appreciated by the staff members of our school. Listed below are resources which you may find useful to help you learn more about the issue of bullying:

  1. “Bullying Among Young Children- A Guide For Teachers and Carers” Booklet, written by Ken Rigby, and which can be accessed through http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/rwpattach.nsf/VAP/(1E76C1D5D1A37992F0B0C1C4DB87942E)~Bullying+Teachers.pdf/$file/Bullying+Teachers.pdf
  2. “Sending Cybersbullies Into Space”  Magazine article, written by Julie McGlone, which is in the magazine “Click- A Technology Guide for Parents” 2008 Issue. This magazine is distributed by the Department of Education and Training
  3. “Stop Bullying- Advice for caregivers” is a website which can be accessed through http://www.nobully.org.nz/advicep.htm

If  you have any more enquiries regarding the content of this letter, please feel free to contact me.                                                            Yours Sincerely,                                                                                                 Mrs V. Nguyen                       

PURPLE- 7.1.1 Demonstrate the capacity to communicate effectively with parents and caregivers. By informing parents that their support is needed for their children, this allows parents and caregivers to see the importance of the role they play in their children’s educative process. This allows parents and caregivers to share the responsibility of their children’s educative process with the teacher. This also allows parents to feel appreciated by the staff of the school.

GREEN- 7.1.3 Demonstrate the importance of involving parents and caregivers in the educative process and the use of a limited number of strategies to seek that involvement. By providing parents with websites which they can access themselves, this allows them to be more involved with their children’s educative process.                                                                   

YELLOW- 7.1.3 Demonstrate the importance of involving parents and caregivers in the educative process and the use of a limited number of strategies to seek that involvement. In this opening sentence of this letter to the students’ parents, it outlines the reason why it is important to teach students about bullying. By informing parents of what their children will be studying, this gives them an opportunity to be a part of their children’s educative process.

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