Element 1-Teachers know their subject content and how to teach that content to their students
Aspect: Knowledge of subject content
1.1.1 Demonstrate relevant knowledge of the central concepts, modes of enquiry and structure of the content/discipline(s).
Aspect: Knowledge of pedagogy
1.1.2 Demonstrate research-based knowledge of the pedagogies of the content/discipline(s) taught.
Aspect: Knowledge of NSW curriculum requirements
1.1.3 Design and implement lesson sequences using knowledge of the NSW syllabus documents or other curriculum requirements of the Education Act.
Aspect: Knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the following areas:
1.1.4 Demonstrate current knowledge and proficiency in the use of the following:
• Basic operational skills
• Information technology skills
• Software evaluation skills
• Effective use of the internet• Pedagogical skills for classroom management.
I have achieved these aspects in my development towards the graduate standards through careful planning and creativity in my teaching practice and flexibility in employing different resources. I have shown my knowledge of subject content and research-based pedagogies (1.1.1 & 1.1.2) by the construction of a logical and relevant HSIE (COGs) unit in which students were participating in open-ended discussions and individually expressing opinions and sharing critical responses to situations and higher-order thinking problems. (incorporating visual, hands-on and interactive activities; see evidence 1 & 2) The lesson sequence and structures of lessons in the unit provided students with meaningful learning experiences and approached the central concepts of the unit (Identity) in a way that engaged the students both cognitively and emotionally. The lessons also developed the students’ prior knowledge (brainstorm activity) and established new understanding (categorising activities and in depth examination) which are linked to the syllabus outcomes as planned in the unit program, showing my knowledge of the NSW curriculum requirements (1.1.3) and my ability to design and implement essential lesson sequences using this knowledge and information gained from students’ progresses. (See evidence 3)
Throughout my practices, I readily employed computer technology as the school provided opportunities for teachers to do so. (i.e. Laptop per teacher, digital projector and smart boards) and incorporated it into interesting resources demonstrating both my knowledge and competence in ICT skills (1.1.4). I had used various computer programs for delivering what can be seen as ‘dull’ lessons for English grammar sessions (see evidence 4). I engaged the students by providing opportunities that involved them in the process of learning, which prevented classroom management dilemmas. (helpers, games on projector etc; see evidence 5).
In my future practice I will develop stronger behaviour management skills according to research-based classroom pedagogies. This will be done by observation of experienced teachers and the on-going process of engagement in professional literature and practical applications in the upcoming practicum. I will also reflect on my theoretical application within particular school settings in which teaching practices and doctrines may be different to my personal understanding. This means I will need to adjust my attitudes in learning and teaching according to the students and the school I work with. I will make an effort to teach hands-on science as I have not yet taught any science lessons due to the conditions at my previous school placements. I need to practice my skills in implementing challenging tasks by giving clear written and oral instructions to students. I also need to develop more relevant and precise lesson activities that achieve the purpose of stimulating, engaging and connecting the students with previous lessons. Hence, time management and transitions between lessons are essential and need to be mastered in my future practices.
I believe that elements 1 and 2 of the teaching standards need to be integrated in the teaching practice in order to really demonstrate a graduate teacher’s competence in his/her pedagogy and expectations as a novice teacher and a learning student. Learning is a social process according to Bruner (1973). Students select information, construct hypotheses, and make judgement and decisions in order to integrate new experiences into their existing mental constructions. I believe that students need to learn the subject content required by the curriculum, but also make connections between their lives through the recognition and use of metalanguage and critical reflection on the knowledge presented to them as knowledge emerges from situations in which the learners draw relevance out of meaningful experiences. (Dewey, 1961, 1938) I believe these situations need to be embedded within the social context of the classroom where the students are taking active parts in manipulating materials, resources and therefore also forming a community of learners who construct their knowledge together.
Element 2-Teachers know their students and how they learn.
Aspect: Knowledge of and respect for the diverse social, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds of students, and the effects of these factors on learning
2.1.1 Demonstrate knowledge, respect and understanding of the social, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds of students and how these factors may affect learning
Aspect: Knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual developmental characteristics of the age group(s) of students
Aspect: Knowledge of students’ varied approaches to learning
2.1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of students’ different approaches to learning.
Aspect: Knowledge of how student’s skills, interests and prior achievement affect learning
2.1.4 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of students’ skills, interests and prior achievements and their impact on learning
Aspect: Knowledge of strategies for addressing student needs
2.1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specific strategies for teaching:
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
• Students with Special Education Needs
• Non-English Speaking Background students
• Students with Challenging Behaviours.
Aspect: Knowledge of strategies for addressing student needs2.1.6 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of literacy strategies to meet the needs of all students
My knowledge of the diverse social and cultural backgrounds of students and the characteristics of particular age groups allowed me to investigate students’ attitudes and beliefs of the central concept being taught. The effects of different aspects of learning students develop are shown during a shared discussion on values and opinions of identity and factors that affect these ideas. Through facilitating a “values continuum” activity students need to make individual decisions (taking position a scale from disagree-agree posted on the wall), justify their choices and reflect on their thoughts. When individuals feel they can make a “choice” and maintain control over what they try to achieve they are more likely to adventure beyond their potentials and gain further intellectual development. (Ryan & Deci 2000; cited in McInerney, 2006). The participation in this task reflected individuals’ interests, values, ability and effort, ethnic backgrounds, sex, social-economic and other variables. (2.1.1 & 2.1.2) My knowledge of the Yr 5 students that responded well to open-ended questioning and opinion oriented discussions and team debates allowed me to address students of all ability levels by encouraging the contribution and construction of knowledge upon the viewpoints shared by their peers. This benefits students as they gain an increased sense of themselves as intellectuals and an understanding of the influences of others on their knowledge (Windschitl, 2002). My lesson activities were designed to create interest and contrast in thinking according to the different learning approaches the students took towards the concept being taught. (2.1.3) (see evidence 1) This was successful as I had gradually developed a genuine learning partnership with the students in which they showed trust and a level of shared responsiveness towards the task. (Fried, 2001)
My knowledge of the visual learners in Yr 2 allowed me to integrate maths tasks with practical learning objects that captured students’ interest and linked the abstract concepts with their prior knowledge and developed their skills in building connections between prior achievements and the new learning experience. (See evidence 2 & 3) The students exercised their understanding Japanese patterns and displayed their competence in completing the challenging tasks (see evidence 4). The understanding of their abilities allowed me to device learning strategies to address both the weaknesses and strengths they had shown in various areas. (E.g. designing new instructions - assisting non-English speaking/reluctant/challenging behaviour students) The activity proved to be of high interest and success to the students in terms of linkage to their personal experiences and intended COGS unit of study. (2.1.4 & 2.1.5 & 2.1.6)
I will adopt greater varieties of literacy strategies to address student’s needs by joining educational associations such as e:lite and engage in current researches and theories in lesson implementation and teaching strategies. I will also demonstrate better understanding of individual learners in the classroom through on-going formal/informal assessments. I will address the needs of Indigenous students and students with special needs across all KLA and learning stages with reference to the syllabus and knowledge of individual students.
I need to develop a set of creative and effective assessments in all KLA areas to support my knowledge of my students and their learning progresses. I need to read a wide range of literature from both professional educators and new teachers in the schooling system. I also need to establish my own collection of resources that assisted me well in the application of lessons in certain units/programs. I need to engage in current pedagogical research and studies in the learning of Indigenous students and students with special needs. I need to be aware of the community protocols when dealing with students from Aborigine backgrounds.I believe that the relationship with students and ones that are shared between the students are essential in developing relevant learning sequences and meaningful group activities that will boost their confidence and initiate positive attitudes towards learning and sharing personal responses to issues etc. I believe that teachers need to break away from the typical culturally constructed role of the all knowing expert; instead they need to encourage and mediate students to describe what they are experiencing without demanding one particular explanation (Windschitl, 1999 & 2002). Students exhibit insightful thinking and the desires to solve problems by developing their understandings of the challenging situation when they are intrinsically involved and motivated. This learning atmosphere will then cater for students of all ability level in the class as it generated valuable discussions rather than set pen to paper questions that lacked autonomy in choices and movement (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing & Le Cornu, 2006, p. 68). As Rogers (1993) suggested, an explicit repertoire of leadership skills enables teachers to readily facilitate responsibilities and be decisive when situations arise. It can only be achieved when a teacher understands the needs and wants of the students in terms of interests and personal opinions.
Bruner, J. (1973). Going Beyond the Information Given. New York: Norton.
Deci, Edward. & Ryan, Richard. M. (Last Updated on February 22, 2007) Self Determination Theory: An Approach to Human Motivation and Personality. Retrieved on April 19, 2007 from: http://www.psych.rochester.edu/SDT/index.html
Dewey, John. (1938). Experience and Education. New York: Macmillan.
Dewey, John. (1966). Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press.
Fried, Robert L. (Oct 2001). "Passionate Learners and The Challenge of Schooling." Phi Delta Kappan 83.(2).
Groundwater-Smith, S. Ewing, R. & Le Cornu, R. (2006). Teaching: Challenges andDilemmas (3rd ed). South Melbourne: Thomson.
Institute of Teachers NSW. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. NSW: Author.
Rogers, W.A. (1993). The language of discipline: A practical approach to effective classroom discipline. Plymouth: Northcoate House
Windschitl, M. (1999). “A vision educators can put in to practice: Portraying the constructivist classroom as a cultural system.” School Science and Mathematics. No. 4. pp. 189-196.
Windschitl, M. (2002). “Framing constructivism in practice as the negotiation of dilemmas: An analysis of the conceptual, pedagogical, cultural, and political challenges facing teachers.” Review of Educational Research. Vol. 72. No. 2. pp. 131-175.