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Element 2

Element 2

Teachers know their students and how they learn.

Aspects

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.
2.1.2 Demonstrate knowledge of the typical stages of students' physical, social and intellectual development as well as an awareness of exceptions to general patterns.
2.1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of students' different approaches to learning.
2.1.4 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of students' skills, interests and prior achievements and their impact upon learning.
2.1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specific strategis for teaching:
         - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
         - Students with Special Education Needs
         - Non-English Speaking Background students
         - Students with Challenging Behaviours
2.1.6 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of literacy strategies to meet the needs of all students including:
         - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
         - Students with Special Education Needs
         - Non-English Speaking Background students
         - Students with Challenging Behaviours

I have demonstrated to some extent, student's different approaches to learning. (Aspect 2.1.3) One such lesson highlighting this was one in which mixed ability grouping was used. Each group had four members and was organised with a known strong reader matched with a weaker student, and two others, to assist in the reading stage of the lesson. This was done as less able students were able to have their needs fulfilled, by being able to contribute something to the group and feel a sense of appreciation for their individual efforts (Edward & Watts, 2004, p.143), while the more able students also had their needs met, by assisting others, developing friendships and demonstrating a sense of power (Glasser, 1986, p.143). I also acknowledge the need for scaffolding for some students who require addiotnal support with some tasks. With a 4-week practicum at Canterbury Public School, a school proud of its extremely diverse and multicultural community, I was able to demonstrate knowledge, respect and understanding of the social, ethnic, clutural and religious backgrounds of students and how these factors may affect learning. (Aspect 2.1.1).

I will demonstrate knowledge of a range of literacy strategies to the meet the needs of all students. (Aspect 2.1.6) Whilst it is widely accepted that education is of significant importance in alleviating significant social disadvantage faced by Indigenous communities, (Hunter, 1997), it is also known that although the rate of Indigenous student’s access to, participation in and retention in education has shown improvement in some areas in recent decades, equitable outcomes are not being achieved in comparison with non-Indigenous counterparts (Hunter & Schwab, 2003, p.v). As particular area of interest, as  I complete my final year of tertiary studies and final practicums, I intend to develop an awareness of different literacy strategies that can be used for all students. My Honours research project is based on educational programs targeted towards improving literacy outcomes for Indigenous students. Through this study, I believe I will be able to develop this awareness.

I need to be able to incorporate into my lessons an awareness of students' physical, social and intellectual development, as well as any exceptions to this. (Aspect 2.1.2) I think that through my tertiary studies we have dealt with this aspect very well, and now is the time to implement such theory into the way I operate my classroom and prepare my teaching.

I believe on all my practicum placements to date, I have made a conscious effort to get to know my students and develop an understanding of their skills, interests and prior achievements and how they impact upon their learning. (Aspect 2.1.4). Teachers need to begin by investigating backgrounds of their students in order to develop a sense of their personal identity, things such as their likes and dislikes or their preferred method of learning.  (Groundwater-Smith et al., 2003, p.70)  I feel that this is one the most important components of a good teacher, in that they can build a strong rapport with their students and develop a sense of mutual respect. Each student needs to feel they are an important and valued member of their classroom and school. They need to be comfortable and happy to contribute in their community in whatever area they can. This means the teacher must recognise each students' skills and ensure that they all experience success at something. Considering students' interests in lesson preparation with ensure that the most meaningful and engaging tasks can be created. 

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