Milestone 3: Element 4 & 5

Element 4: Teachers communicate effectively with their students

4.1.1 Communicate clear directions to students about learning goals.

4.1.2 Demonstrate a range of questioning techniques designed to support student learning.

4.1.3 Listen to students and engage them in classroom discussion.

4.1.4 Use student group structures as appropriate to address teaching and learning goals.

4.1.5 Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning. 

I have effectively communicated with my students through the use of a wide range of teaching strategies such as incorporating elements of ICT and Creative Arts in my learning sequences. I conducted and facilitated meaningful and reflective classroom discussions based on my rapport with the students and the knowledge of their potentials. The students engaged in open-ended discussions where no definite answers were demanded and personal opinions were valued and shared with their peers. These discussions strengthened students’ skills in interactive learning where new information is processed at individual and collective levels and knowledge built throughout these social learning opportunities.

During my 3rd practicum, I had fostered constructive and corporative learning with Year 5 students. I had experimented with grouping strategies based on the prior grouping experiences of the students. The students were grouped according to their learning styles and/or with familiar classmates. These group tasks allowed students to work together as a team and respond to each other objectively in terms of learning goals and establishing new understanding. They worked well with their peers and achieved the planned goals for the lesson, appreciating leadership roles and mutual respect.

I will experiment with broader grouping strategies, employing various method to set up systems in which students possess autonomy and are exposed to a structured yet flexible learning environment. This will regulate their communicative skills and develop learning networks in which they respond to different perspectives and critical analysis. I will improve my skills in giving precise instructions both orally and written so students will clearly understand the goals of the set tasks. I will scaffold my lessons incorporating a wider range of strategies, such as multimedia. 

I need to be familiar with my class and different grouping strategies in order to form groups initially. This can be done by observation of students and trial n error of conventional grouping strategies; using these as the basis for advanced grouping strategies. I need to work on my explicit instruction strategies by practicing the delivery of instructions to my peers and experiment with different resources to scaffold concepts and specific learning goals of lessons across all KLAs.  

I believe that teachers need to listen, observe and participate in the learning tasks together with the students and provide opportunities for students to create their own learning environment/atmosphere. Students exhibited insightful thinking and the desires to solve problems by developing their understandings of the challenging situation which suggested that they are intrinsically involved and motivated. This catered 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). 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)

Element 5: Teachers create and maintain safe and challenging learning environments through the use of classroom management skills

5.1.1 Demonstrate a variety of strategies to develop rapport with all students.

5.1.2 Establish supportive learning environments where students feel safe to risk full participation.

5.1.3 Demonstrate strategies to create a positive environment supporting student effort and learning.

5.1.4 Provide clear directions for classroom activities and engage students in purposeful learning activities.

5.1.5 Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to managing student behaviour and their applications in the classroom.

5.1.6 Demonstrate knowledge of principles and practices for managing classroom discipline.

5.1.7 Understand specific requirements for ensuring student safety in schools.

I have successfully developed rapport with all students during my teaching practice. My calm and humorous teaching style allowed me to create and maintain a learning environment where mutual respect is shared between the students and I and also amongst the students themselves. I have established a learning attitude in the beginning of each professional experience by addressing the students as equal individuals and reinforcing my goals and expectations to them clearly and firmly. This in turn builds the classroom atmosphere as one that value students’ learning and their contributions, ideas and problems. Hence, students are promoted to achieve the planned outcomes and their personal goals.

 The ongoing entrusting relationship between the students and I have ensured the efficiency and smooth running of class activities; this was also supported and sustained by creative and relevant learning experiences and tasks that encouraged students to see different perspectives and possibilities.  I have used Roger’s model of leadership discipline and mutual respect to aid student behaviour problems and classroom conflicts. Students were all aware of the consequences of misbehaving and shared responsibility for the safety and welfare of the class as a small community. I have demonstrated my knowledge of principles and practices for managing classroom discipline by adopting the role of the model and leader in the class community, which reinforces the expectations of the students under my care. Thus students remain in a safe and positive learning environment where conflicts can be identified by student themselves and solved together with the teacher as the mediator without further complications.

I need to establish a supportive learning environment to address all students in the class so that they all feel safe to risk full participation. I need to device flexible discipline strategies for the classroom and particular individuals so that when incidents to occur they can be solved without further complications. 

I will engage in behaviour management training sessions that the school offer and communicate with my peers and students on these issues. I will implement different classroom management strategies such as games during lesson transitions and relaxation/drama activities to engage students again after lunch break. I will strengthen my behaviour management skills by initiating professional distance and using “I” sentences to mediate emotion and expectations in order to establish leadership roles. I believe that an explicit repertoire of leadership skills enables teachers to readily facilitate responsibilities and be decisive when situations arise. (Rogers, 1993) Instead of supporting negative behaviours by embarrassing or punishing the students,

I believe that examining the situation according to the particular incident and stopping it by using positive interventions is the key to maintaining smooth learning experiences; by removing the action and my reaction that will support these behaviours by using non-abusive strategies such as visual cues (eye contact etc) and variation of voice tones will allow students to gradually understand my respect, expectations and boundaries for them. (Chandler & Dahlquist, 2002, pp. 28-39)  


J       Practicum Report

J       Year 5 Lesson Plan-HSIE-Identity

J       Lesson Observation Record