Element 4: Teachers communicate effectively with their students
· Communication is a central element to the teaching and learning process. Teachers must have an ability to communicate and direct learning through a communicative medium that best connect to their students. Whether this may be verbal, written or through body language, communication between teacher and students must be open and comfortable.
· Teachers also need to provide students with opportunities and means of communicating their opinion and concerns. This can sometimes simply be a method of leaving messages for teachers to read and respond to in a written or illustrative manner, to seem less confronting and more comfortable for some students. At the end of the day, I feel that these communication networks and mediums need to be established early in the school year and can be fostered when teachers provide and help build a safe environment for students to express themselves.
1. Communicated clear and concise instructions to my students about their learning goals and provided a purpose/objective to the learning goal. This allows students to see how what they learn have a purpose in their everyday lives (position). In the lesson Chess Champions, I have made the purpose of the lesson explicit and linked the learning experience to their everyday lives. As the school runs a chess club to which many students from my class were participants, I have used this opportunity to have students who were confident in playing chess and know their co-ordinates to assist other students in the class. This proved highly successful with a few students later joining the chess club (maths lesson on chess).
2. Used a range of teaching strategies and resources to foster interest and support learning. Every lesson I have deliberately used a particular type of grouping that best suits the learning experience and the practically of the grouping. Having already built rapport and understanding of my students through observations and their personal profiles, I am able to effectively group students according ability, interest and personalities. This is clearly seen in how I have chosen to allocate seating arrangements for the class. I have also developed simple and engaging learning objects for use on the interactive whiteboard and have used it as a tool to engage students in a lesson on equivalent fractions (FRACTION GAME) as mention in element 1.
3. Reflected upon the group structures that were used in lesson to ensure that future use of groupings were appropriate to address teaching and learning goals. In the BTN lesson I acknowledge that the clash of some personalities in the class may hinder the overall learning experience, and thus arranged groups where NESB students were supported by more capable students and ensure that conflict in personalities did not occur by placing them in different groups.
- Utilised a combination of questioning techniques to scaffold and support students in their learning. Such questions are carefully considered to not simply prompt students towards the answer but to build students’ conceptual understanding of the topic. The questions in used in the lesson on capacity indicate the strategic planning I had put into devising the questions and the support mechanisms available to help prompt students express their answers.
- Better engage students in class discussion and class activities to encourage quieter students to express their opinions and/or make comments and to get more confident students to allow other members of the class to speak and respond as well.
- Provide students with opportunities to explore and use a wider range of technological recourses to better prepare students for the technological society that we are in. I see this as an important part of learning because teaching students academics is only one aspect of the schooling. It is also helping them prepare for the world outside.
- Look at employing strategies that the co-operating teacher is using in the classroom already and possible modifying them to suit my teaching style. I will firstly need to observe my co-operating teacher and also discuss with her/him what strategies they favour and which they have found to work in the classroom, or for particular students.
- Find out the available resources in the school and discuss with co-operating teacher the possibility of using those resources in the classroom or in lesson activities. If some resources are not available at the school, I can look into means of borrowing some resources from organizations such as the teacher’s federation library or our own Sydney University Curriculum library. If this is not possible, I can search for appropriate learning objects available online and book the computer labs on a more frequent basis, which will also give me more exposure to developing my classroom management skills in ICT.