Element 2Teachers know their students and how they learn.
I believe that every child in the classroom has the right and ability to learn. I believe that it takes effort and creativity for a teacher to know their students and therefore be able to plan meaningful, engaging and relevant lessons. I believe that students learn in different ways, and that any one-size-fits-all approach to teaching in a diverse classroom will not promote learning and knowledge in all students. Teachers need to build safe and trusting relationships with students that allow them to understand the student, their background and how they learn.
I have worked hard during my time teaching to quickly get to know my students and understand their lives, backgrounds, beliefs, passions and goals. It has always been a priority in my practice to work at letting who my students are shape the way I teach. Knowing that, and having respect for the fact that students are diverse is shown in many of the lesson I have planned and the methods that I have used in carrying out those lessons. This is demonstrated in the careful planning given in my COGS unit carried out in my third year practicum. Given that the lessons were mainly HSIE based, and that many of the experiences drew on the children's own cultural, family, social and religious experiences, it was essential for me to carefully think through how my students would respond and how their diversity could be used to enrich the learning. (See photos***)
I have seen through my experiences on practicum, how clearly a child's skills and prior achievements affect their learning. Because of this I have had to design activities and lessons that catered to the different skills and abilities of the students. One particular example of this was played out with a year 1 boy on my last practicum. He lacked the key skills and the confidence given by previous achievement and prior knowledge to participate fully in the math lessons. As seen in the evidence below (appendix ***) I made specific adjustments to the lesson and designed questions specifically to encourage his participation and build his confidence.
I will to make myself more aware of the different stages of student development. At present I lack concrete understanding of where children at particular stages of physical, social and intellectual development should be. I feel that I need to know these to be able to properly aid my students in their learning, vary my program to suit their needs, and design experiences that aid them in that development.
I need to research some perspectives on child development before the commencement of my next practicum. In particular I will focus on children’s’ physical and social development as I feel these are the areas that I lack specific knowledge in. I need to also connect this research with pedagogical strategies to work with children whose development is at different levels.