Element 4 Milestones and Evidence



I HAVE…the ability to communicate effectively in a classroom situation with students, both for management purposes and for learning. I have had regular and ongoing experience in communicating with children ages between 4-12 years on practicums, in Sunday School teaching and Scripture teaching. These have provided me with opportunities to develop clear instructions and encourage discussion with students. As part of effective communication, I employ a number of questioning strategies to engage all students and have demonstrated this by including as evidence a summary of a variety of questioning techniques I have used or have observed. I have encouraged effective communication in classroom situations by designing lessons which involve discussions, student grouping and ICT in order to promote on-task talk, an example of one such lesson has been included as evidence. Further, I have received positive feedback from a cooperating teacher focusing on my ability to clearly communicate with the students.


I WILL… Plan higher order thinking questions to ask within lessons, as well as differentiating or scaffolding questions to allow all students to participate in discussions. I would like to experiment with different student grouping to help students engage in substantive communication. I will continue to use ICT resources to foster interest and support student learning.  

GOAL FOR PRACTICUM: Design a lesson which focuses on some higher-order thinking questions, and uses student grouping to engage in substantive communication.  


  I NEED… to consider the Levels of Questioning (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive processes) and how to incorporate these in relevant and meaningful ways during lessons. I need to consult books such as “Smart Thinking: Developing Reflection and Cognition” (Wilson & Wing Jan, 2008) which provide practical examples of promotion of deep thinking in the classroom in order to inform my teaching practice. I need to discuss with the Cooperating Teacher effective ways of grouping the practicum students, and experiment during practicum with methods such as Cooperative Group Work (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1994).   

With this in mind, I can take the following steps towards my goals for practicum:

1. Gather information (from sources mentioned above) about higher order thinking questioning techniques and substantive communication.

2. Design and implement lessons which promote higher order thinking skills and substantive communication between students.

3. Evaluate my lessons critically and consider improvements to be made for future teaching.  

I BELIEVE…classrooms should be interactive places where learning is a social phenomenon and knowledge is constructed by the class, which reflects the Social Constructivist theory of Vygotsky (1978). Valuing student’s responses and asking for their opinions is an important part of establishing a positive classroom environment where students feel safe to risk full participation, an important aspect of the Quality Teaching Framwork (NSW Department of Education, 2003). Opportunities for talk are important aspects of student learning, and can correlate with a student-directed classroom. My beliefs have been shaped by the work of Paul Dufficy (2005, p. 37), who suggests language is used to mediate thinking, and therefore a shift towards more productive talk will encourage meaningful engagement with content. I believe students should have the opportunity and ability to work within many different grouping situations, including pairs, small groups as well as the whole class, and that these should be used to promote substantive communication in the classroom. 


Element 4 Evidence

Annotations for the evidence 

I have included as evidence of my achievement of Element 4: 

A written summary of types of questioning techniques, which demonstrates my knowledge of a range of strategies used to support student learning and engagement. 4.1.2 

A lesson plan written and implemented in my third year practicum, which included three rotating groups of students, the first using ICT (the Internet) to search for information, the second using talk to complete a crossword in pairs on the topic, and the third group engaged in a discussion with the teacher about the topic. This shows I can use student grouping effectively, can create discussion in the classroom, and can integrate ICT meaningfully. 4.1.1, 4.1.3, 4.1.4, 4.1.5 

Teacher feedback form which highlights particular strengths in communicating effectively, with comments on student grouping, clear instructions, speaking clearly and questioning effectively. 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.4 

As some evidence is scanned, it is located on Wikispaces under "Element 4 Evidence". 

Link to Evidence: http://anne87.wikispaces.com/


Effective Questioning Techniques 

There are two main types of questions:

OPEN- these allow students to formulate an answer which requires more than one word and involves explanation. “What could happen if…”?

CLOSED- these questions are asked to elicit a particular answer, and often only involve one word answers. “What colour is the sky?”

 Levels of Questions: Hierarchy towards Higher-Order thinking skills. 


These include basic recall and descriptive questions. Eg. How many? What is she wearing?


These include observation, classifying and inferring questions. Eg. What is happening? What is the same? Why do you think she is sad?


These include hypothesizing and generalizing questions. Eg. What do you think will happen? What can you say about?

4)      ANALYSIS

This includes hypothesizing questions. Eg. Why do you think that will happen?


This includes projection and planning questions. Eg. How do you think she will feel? What would you do?


These include valuing, arguing and problem solving questions. Eg. Why do you think this is important? What would you do and why? What is the best way to do this math algorithm?

 Domains of Questions 

Cognitive- Thinking, remembering, applying, understanding questions.

What have you learnt in maths today?

Affective- Emotions, attitudes, beliefs, responses, valuing.

How did the movie make you feel, and why?

Creative- Imagination, open-ended, higher-order thinking.

What materials would you use to create a spaceship? Justify your answer.

Reflective- Relevance to life, critical thinking, think outside the square.

What would it feel like to be left out of a sport team?

 Questioning Strategies/ Activities

- Consesogram (Agree, Strongly Disagree continuum of students)

- Snow balling to a question (Individual, pair, four, eight, whole class)

- A-Z answering (What makes a good teacher?)

- Table to organise question and answers

- Quiz format (Are you smarter than a 5th grader?)



Lesson Plan 

Class: Yr 6 Berala P.S  Topic: COGS- Identity Date: 3/11/08  

ANTICIPATED OUTCOME: CUS3.3 Describes different cultural influences and their contributions to Australian identities

Teaching/ Learning Sequence

Introduction: 5 minutes (whole class)On the floor, discuss what slang is. Why do we have it? What are some examples of Aussie slang they can think of? How does it contribute to Australian identity? Explain the way the lesson will work.- students identify cultural factors including use of language, contribute to a national identityWhite board markersWhat do students already know about the topic?
Exploration and developing: 30 minutes (3 groups/ pairs/ whole class)1st group: Use the computers to find the meanings of specific words, using the Internet sites: www.aussieslang.com and www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html. Fill in worksheet as they go.2nd group: Complete the Aussie slang crossword puzzle. Fill in worksheet as they go.3rd group: On the floor with teacher, discuss whether slang is relevant- is this how all Aussie’s speak?, make up a few sentences from Aussie slang using examples from the sheet. Each group gets 10 minutes each at the stations.- examines language as a symbol of cultural identity.- evaluates the Australian values, characteristics, features and symbols that are recognised nationally and internationally.- demonstrates an understanding of different viewpoints about what is an Australian identity and expresses own view.Internet, 4 computers and websites. Crossword Sheets. Worksheets- Aussie slang Worksheets     Small group discussion
Concluding: 10 minutes (whole class/ individual)Students complete their worksheets at their desks. This is marked and glued into HSIE books. Students write one sentence down which uses Aussie slang. -Worksheets- Aussie Slang and HSIE booksWork samples.

Evaluation of lesson:

1. Were students easy to manage in groups all over the classroom?

2. Did students develop an understanding of the importance of Aussie slang as a symbol of national identity?

3. How could I improve upon this lesson in the future?