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Element 4: Teachers communicate effectively with their students.

I have, over time, developed communication skills which allow me to give clear directions to students which allow for more meaningful and coherent lessons. I have also worked towards being able to explain learning goals and lesson purposes to studentsin line with the Quality teaching Criteria(NSW DET, 2003), including those from non English speaking backgrounds (Appendix 3.1) and ensure that they are exposed to an environment that values learning and discovery (Dufficy, 2006). Throughout my practicum placements I have realised the importance of planned, purposeful question in a learning context and I am continually working to hone my questioning skills (Appendix 4.1). As a teacher, I value class discussion and debate and have employed a range of techniques including drama, visual stimuli and the internet to engage students in focused discussion (Appendix 3.2). A variety of learning experiences developed during my tertiary studies, as well as in practical classroom settings, have incorporated a variety of grouping strategies to maximize the potential for collaborative learning where possible (Appendix  4.2). I have come to appreciate that for truly successful learning to take place students need to feel safe to express themselves within their learning environment. During my teaching experiences I have endeavored to develop a congenial rapport with my students and have worked to create a supportive, safe and engaging learning environment (Appendix 3.1). I have also had the opportunity to begin to develop class management skills that reduces challenging student behaviour and promotes respect and tolerance (Appendix 4.1).

I will work to gain confidence in my own classroom management skills by drawing on collegial resources, and continuing to work on ways to create an engaging and positive environment. I will expose myself to more challenging behaviour displayed by students in order to build on my behaviour management strategies as well as extend communication and rapport between myself and students. I will persist in finding new and exciting ways to facilitate significant discussion between students (McInerny & McInerny, 2006, NSW Institute of Teachers, 2003).  

I need to observe and emulate a variety of classroom management techniques used by other teachers, especially in the area of challenging student behaviour. I need to make more time for students to develop communication skills and provide opportunities for students to help cultivate a supportive and respective class atmosphere. 

I believe that the value of effective communication in the classroom cannot be underestimated. I believe that each student has the right to feel safe enough to express themselves fully (NSW Institute of Teachers, 20030. I believe that the classroom should rarely be silent and that discussion, debate and dialogue allow students to be exposed to other opinions, create critically focused minds and consolidate their own knowledge (McInerny & McInerny, 2006).

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