Element 1: Teachers know their subject content and how to teach that content to their students
Knowledge of subject content –
1.1.1 Demonstrate relevant knowledge of the central concepts, modes of enquiry and structure of the content/discipline(s).
Knowledge of pedagogy –
1.1.2 Demonstrate research-based knowledge of the pedagogies of the content/discipline(s) taught
Knowledge of NSW Curriculum requirements –
1.1.3 Design and implement lesson sequences using knowledge of the NSW syllabus documents or other curriculum requirements of the Education Act
Knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the following areas –
1.1.4 Demonstrate current knowledge and proficiency in the use of the following:
• Basic operational skills
• Information technology skills
• Software evaluation skills
• Effective use of the internet
• Pedagogical skills for classroom management
I believe in order for teachers to practise quality teaching, they most definitely need to know their subject content and how to teach that content to their students. These are the foundations that assist teachers to provide meaningful and beneficial learning experiences to students. It is their responsibility to have a solid knowledge of the content and pedagogy which will enable them to educate and communicate confidently and appropriately.
Thus, it is imperative that teachers know what they want their students to learn, why the content matters, what the students will produce to demonstrate their understanding, and what their expectations are of the students. This allows students to gain deep knowledge and deep understanding of content which in turn has high levels of significance to students’ lives (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003). It is also imperative that teachers continuously reflect upon their pedagogy and develop it to meet the demands of the ever-changing curriculum and technologies.
I have established a solid understanding and knowledge of the subject content that is to be taught in NSW primary schools. During the past 3 professional experiences, I have planned my lessons with relevance to syllabus outcomes and appropriate learning outcomes and also sequenced lessons to scaffold students’ learning (Appendix 1). If I felt the class or certain students had not properly grasped the intended concept being taught, I would offer additional assistance or plan another subsequent follow up lesson. An example of this would be in a ‘Mini-beast’ unit of work which I designed for a Year 3 class.
I believe students are most motivated to learn when their curiosity or interest is sparked. Therefore during my lessons, I like to throw in a lot of “Did you know” facts. This was excessively exercised during the ‘Mini-beast’ unit, where I read widely so as to gather a pool of knowledge, which I shared with the class (Appendix 5). This was my strategy to keep the class on task and interested in the content. I also provided a lot of hands-on activities to encourage concrete learning and increased involvement during class discussions (Appendix 1).
Through reflection and self-evaluation, I have constantly adapted my pedagogy to suit the needs of each unique class i.e. behaviour management, teacher instructions, questioning, grouping. I have also taken into account the feedback which my cooperating teachers offered to improve my teaching approach. As Groundwater-smith, Ewing and Le Cornu believe, possessing deep knowledge of different pedagogies enables teachers to meet the diverse needs of students (2003, pp.67).
I will endeavour to deepen my knowledge of all KLAs, particularly PDHPE and Creative Arts. This means I will need to be proactive in exploring and teaching content which I may not be as experienced with during my future professional experiences.
I am currently undertaking an ICT unit of study that will allow me to develop and explore current practices of information and communication technologies in primary schools. I have previously integrated ICT tools such as the internet, Word Processor, and various electronic learning objects into the classroom but am still yet to use an Interactive Whiteboard. Therefore, I will venture into planning and managing more meaningful learning experiences through the integration of ICT into KLAs. As Groundwater-smith et al believe, it is important to integrate ICT tools in ways that will enhance teaching and facilitate students learning (2003, pp.145).
Groundwater-smith, S., Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2003) Teaching Challenges and Dilemmas. Victoria: Thompson Learning AustraliaNSW Department of Education and Training (2003). Quality teaching in New South Wales public schools: A classroom practical guide. Sydney: Author.