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Element 2: Teachers know their students and how they learn.

I have had the fortune to experience teaching students from a diverse range of cultural, socio- economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds and with a range of learning styles (Appendix 2.1) in line with current DET policy (NSW DET, 2003). During my practerium experiences I have made a concerted effort to explore and understand the individual learning needs of students (Appendix 2.2) and modify lessons to ensure successful learning takes place for all students (Appendix 2.2). I have endeavored to construct learning experiences that are sensitive to students of any background. Throughout my practerium placement I have discovered that by acknowledging the prior knowledge or current interests of a student and developing skills that they already possess I am more able to facilitate an engaging and meaningful educational encounter that also assists in managing challenging student behaviour (Appendix 2.3).  I have gained both practical and theoretical experience in employing a range of strategies to teach literacy to students from an Indigenous background (Appendix 2.4) (Dufficy, 2006) as well as exercising a range of tactics to engage students with special needs, including students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a student with Asperger’s Syndrome in meaningful learning experiences (Appendix 2.5). 

 

I will continue to relate to students as individuals and strive to cater their curriculum experiences with each students’ individual learning style and background in mind as directed by the NSW Institue of Teachers Standards (NSW Institute of teachers, 2003). I will ensure that as a teacher I communicate with colleagues and the community on current pedagogical approaches for students with special learning needs and ensure that I am in constant communication with parents for insight into their child’s needs and circumstances. I will also participate in professional development with the objective of extending my knowledge of teaching Indigenous students, as this is an area of teaching that particularly interests me.

 

I need to take the time to establish strong relationships with students and their parents in order to get a well rounded perspective on an individual’s learning needs. I also need to create a network of colleagues and community contacts I can draw upon to help equip me with the knowledge and strategies to teach students with particular learning requirements.  I need to continue to develop a flexible teaching style in order to adjust lessons as required as well as continuing to develop my own knowledge of teaching Indigenous students including a range of literacy strategies as addressed by Dufficy (2006).

 

I believe educational efficacy for individual students requires a teacher to understand the learner and their learning needs, including their background, learning styles, prior knowledge and interests (NSW DET, 2003, NSW Institute of Teachers, 2003). I believe that to be a successful educator the process of gaining understanding of the learner will be an ongoing process that will require dedication, flexibility and initiative, which I will strive to possess as a teacher. I believe in educational equity for all students and that there is an educational strategy to meet the needs of all students.

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