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Element Two

ELEMENT 2: TEACHERS KNOW THEIR STUDENTS AND HOW THEY LEARN

 

I have…

established strong and meaningful relationships with students during my professional experiences (Appendix A). I believe that I have good rapport with students due to my interest in, and respect for, their diverse cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. I have always made sure that I get to know each student as an individual in order to better understand how they learn, behave and interact with others. This has allowed me to provide students with a safe and supportive learning environment in which to learn in. It has also allowed me to plan lessons that take into account how a student’s background might affect their learning.

During my in-school experience, I have taught students from Non-English speaking backgrounds, students with special education needs and students with challenging behaviours. In my second year placement at Gardener’s Road Public School, the majority of my class spoke a second language at home and all came from a diverse range of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Approximately a quarter of the class had English as a second language and I had experience teaching them as a small group while the rest of the class went to their Modern Greek lesson. Appendix B shows a barrier game I used in a lesson to enhance their communication skills and English vocabulary. In this class I also had a student with challenging behavior who had a behavior specialist from the NSW Department of Education and Training come into the class once a week. During this time I learnt valuable skills in behavior management and strategies to engage him in the class (see Appendix C). I have also had experience teaching students with special needs, both on field placement at Gardener’s Road Public School as part of a unit of study on Special Education in third year and on my third year professional experience at Woollahra Public School.

 

I will…

gain more experience in, and research effective strategies for, teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. I will become more familiar with policies and documents relating to the teaching of students with various needs. I would also like to become more effective in planning for the varied approaches to learning that students will bring to my classroom.

 

I need…

to immerse myself in more literature in regards to developing lessons for the varied approaches to learning that my students will have. I need to continue to participate in professional development in order to learn more about differentiation in the classroom. I also need to gain more experience teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, which I envisage achieving on my next practicum at a school with high Indigenous enrolment. Finally, I need to continue making an effort to know every child in my class on an individual level and understanding their backgrounds, development and approaches to learning.

 

I believe…

It is important to acknowledge the diverse range of students in a classroom and to not have any pre-conceived ideas about any particular social, ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds. In saying this, it is also important for teachers to understand the multiplicity of knowledge and skills that accompany students’ backgrounds. I believe that it is imperative that teachers reward the different strengths, intelligences, learning styles and approaches to learning that their students may have.

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