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EDF4314 Entering the Profession
Transcript of EDF4314 Entering the Profession
Stephanie Ly's Teaching Autobiography
Where do I begin?
The end of a chapter..
EDF4314 Entering the Profession
Semester 2, 2012
What I know now!
what i thought before vs what i know now
how i got here
What my classroom looks like, sounds like and feels like
Students’ work is exhibited in colourful and exciting displays so they can feel proud of what they have achieved,
Lessons and units are integrated to provide well-rounded learning experiences that are more relevant to students’ real lives (Myers, 2007),
ICT is effectively incorporated into teaching and everyday life where possible in order to engage student interest and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st Century (Baguley, Pullen, & Short, 2010),
Furthermore, learning is taken beyond the classroom, where children can engage with their natural surroundings and recognise that learning opportunities are all around us (Gruenewald, 2003).
Students see the classroom as a supportive environment where they can be heard and not judged, as well as express themselves in a multitude of ways (Somerville, 2007),
The learning community is safe and inclusive, where all students feel welcome and that they belong (Cresswell, 2004),
Students feel joy and motivation in learning something new and do not seek rewards and prizes for personal accomplishment (MacCaskill, 2012),
Overall, the environment fosters opportunities for students to grow and develop into mature, responsible citizens in the community who are self-motivated risk-takers.
into the future
Every child has the right to learn in a positive and encouraging environment,
Children must be given a meaningful education that acknowledges their ability to learn and succeed regardless of cultural, socio-economic or familial background,
Education must hold a holistic view of the child that places them in the centre,
Learning experiences must be real and meaningful to the child’s world,
Students must have opportunities to collaborate and share with other children,
Students must be empowered to take ownership of their learning,
Students, with the facilitation of their teachers, must be fostered and scaffolded towards being confident lifelong learners,
I have arrived at this philosophy from an array of influences. My personal values as an independent, responsible citizen; the beliefs of my family, my friends, my religion and the wider global community; as well as the experiences that have made me the teacher I am today have all impacted and shaped my philosophy as it stands today. Shared values with my placement schools, such as the power of collaboration between children as well as enabling students to be responsible for their own learning, has allowed me to see the benefits of fostering these opportunities. On the other hand, instances where children have been spoken negatively to and heavily reprimanded for little things has instilled my desire to provide a learning environment that is safe and supportive for all students. These beliefs and values guide my practice as an educator, and I aim to be the best teacher possible for my future students.
I believe that my role as an educator is to facilitate the development of all students to become responsible, independent citizens. It is essential to remember that we are teaching children, not lessons. As effective educators, it is important to recognise that each student is a unique individual with a lifetime full of knowledge and experience (Snowman et al., 2009). I will maintain an outlook that places children in the centre, providing quality teaching that enables children to strive towards reaching their full potential.
By empowering students to take ownership of their learning, they develop independence, self-motivation and critical thinking skills. I believe that creating this challenging yet encouraging environment fosters their growth towards being mature and independent learners.
In order to achieve this, I believe that the first step is to learn about each student as a person – their interests, their background, and perhaps most importantly, their short-term goals and long-term aspirations. Doing so not only fosters a positive relationship with the student by making them feel heard and cared for, it also builds your respect and knowledge about each child thus modifying the way in which you engage with and teach them . In my experience, children who feel safe and supported by both peers and teachers in their classroom environment are more likely to feel positive about learning.
Looking back on the four years in this course,
I understand just how much my understanding of teaching has changed. What I thought after my very first placement has evolved dramatically, as my pedagogy has been repeatedly challenged and refined. While my beliefs and values will always stay the same, time will only tell how my professional experience may change me.
Though there is one thing that I am certain of.. teaching is my passion and I cannot wait to finally begin this journey!
As I sit here writing my autobiography during the last semester of my degree, I feel a wave of nostalgia washing over me. Where have the past four years gone? In the blink of an eye, I went from a wide-eyed 17 year old, entering university for the first time, to a 21 year old who is excited and ready to enter the wonderful world of teaching.
This course has taught me more than I could ever imagine about life, education, children, and most surprisingly, myself, my beliefs, and the kind of teacher I truly want to become.
I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I had the most wonderful teacher in prep, and even as a 5 year old, her positive influence in my life inspired my own decision to one day be a prep teacher who was just like her. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t remember much about her teaching, but I remember that her enthusiastic attitude and encouraging nature made me want to go to school every day. I aspire to be the kind of teacher who will be a positive impact in students’ lives, just like she was in mine.
Through my final three years of high school, I participated in Kool Skools, a music program that enables students of all ages, across Victoria and New South Wales, to record an album in a professional music studio. During the second and third year I was put in charge of the program at my school, which required me to step up as a leader and mentor. With minimal staff involvement, I successfully worked with two peers to organise excursions, public performances, and the production and sale of 300 CDs that saw us nominated for 14 Kool Skools awards. This experience reinforced my desire to be a teacher, although I briefly contemplated secondary teaching before returning to my original decision to teach primary.
Since I have been a swimmer my entire life, I knew that I wanted to become a part time swimming instructor after finishing year 12. I always had really fun swimming instructors in the past so I now aspire to incorporate their energy into my own lessons. While it may seem like an easy job (who doesn’t love hanging out in the pool?), swimming lessons mirror the lessons we implement at school – with students of diverse cultures, abilities, personalities and learning styles. Some students are able to learn and refine strokes by simply hearing the feedback, while others need repeated modelling and may even need their arms and legs moved physically by the teacher to learn the correct technique. Being a swimming teacher for the duration of this course has allowed me to constantly practice strategies for teaching and behaviour management as we are educated at university as well as placement.
“Looking back on the 2 weeks that I was on professional placement, I understand now just how much my view of teaching has been changed and has especially been challenged. Watching and speaking to all the teachers has taught me that while I really want to find out how I can learn to be a good teacher, it’s the experience that will essentially teach me all I need to know. Working with Mrs W has helped me recognise that my role as a teacher is not to push my students to get high grades, but to aid in their development into becoming confidently skilled learners. It is my responsibility to facilitate and cater to their styles of learning, creating a positive learning environment for them to grow as individuals” (Ly, 2009).
This last year has taught me a lot about the practical life of a teacher. Up until now, we only saw a maximum of 3 out of 40 weeks of teaching, which barely scrapes the surface of the profession. There were many aspects that remained hidden to me, as I was oblivious to the hours of work that went on behind the scenes. This is the reason why our whole-year partnership with schools has been more valuable than any other. I was given the opportunity to experience all the ins and outs of teaching from the very first day of the school year, but more importantly, I was treated like staff and given responsibilities that exceeded school hours. It also demonstrated the reality of teaching we were discussing in EDF4314.
My thoughts in 2009...
The first time I realised how much my understanding of teaching had evolved compared to when I first started the course was in Week 1 of this unit. We were explicitly asked to share how it had changed, and honestly, I had not thought much about it. However upon reflection, I never could have imagined just how difficult teaching would be and the affect that stress could have on my body (Ferguson, 2008). The stresses we encountered this year as well as the articles we sourced in Online Task 2 have given us some insight to what exactly is in store for us as new teachers this high stress occupation (Ferguson, 2008; Zyngier & Graeme, 2012). I have learnt that in order to be the best teacher I can be, it is essential that I prioritise my responsibilities and manage time effectively (Bubb & Earley, 2004; Ferguson, 2008). This will allow me to spend my time and effort where it is required and get some much needed sleep (Robbins, Powers, & Burgess, 2011)!
One pedagogical approach that I will definitely take with me into my own classroom is play-based learning, as guided by Vygotsky’s theory that play significantly enhances psychological development in children (Elkonin, 2005; Fleer, 2009). I believe that by encouraging play in the classroom environment while addressing students’ needs and perspectives, I will foster a learning environment where children are able to connect learning to their own lives in order to create new meanings (Gruenewald, 2003).
Learning is fun, exciting, engaging, but most importantly, an immersive experience that encourages play and laughter,
Students are inquisitive, asking critical questions and exploring their ideas,
Lessons inspire dialogues that encourage imagination, movement and the use of all senses (Somerville, 2007),
But most importantly, activities promote positive relationships and are social, interactive and collaborative (Snowman et al., 2009).
As written in Attard and Armour (2005, p. 197), "Professional experience might help, but I don't have a lot of that yet... 'how can I ensure that my own professional learning is as effective as possible in order to improve my students' learning?'" Particularly during the second placement round, I have discovered that this can be achieved through critical reflective practice. The process of reflective writing is vital to understanding what exactly it is that we are doing and learning (MacLeod & Cowieson, 2001). As a beginning teacher, and a lifelong learner, I endeavour to regularly reflect on my practice to enhance teaching and student learning.
There are more dimensions to my pedagogy and depth to my philosophy now than there was when I began this journey. I am a beginning teacher and a lifelong learner. While my philosophy may not change, I believe and hope that with experience, my pedagogy will continue to evolve and empower me to teach in a way that is most effective for student learning. This means that I must continue to engage with the literature, reflect on my practice and most importantly, recognise the individual needs of all of my students.
Attard, K., & Armour, K. M. (2005). Learning to Become a Learning Professional: Reflections on One Year of Teaching. European journal of teacher education, 28(2), 195-207.
Baguley, M., Pullen, D. L., & Short, M. (2010). Multiliteracies and the new world order. In Pullen & Cole (Eds.), Multiliteracies and technology enhanced education: Social practice and the global classroom. New York: Information Science Reference.
Bubb, S., & Earley, P. (2004). Managing teacher workload : work-life balance and wellbeing.
Cresswell, T. (2004). Defining Place in Place: a short introduction. Maldon, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
Elkonin, D. B. (2005). The Psychology of Play. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 43(1), 11-21.
Ferguson, D. (2008). What teachers need to know about personal wellbeing.
Fleer, M. (2009). Supporting Scientific Conceptual Consciousness or Learning in "A Roundabout Way" in Play-Based Contexts. International Journal of Science Education, 31(8), 1069-1089.
Gruenewald, D. A. (2003). Foundations of place: a multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3), 619-654.
Ly, S. (2009). Assignment 1, EDF1305.
MacCaskill, W. (2012). Play Is The Way. Paper presented at the Wilson MacCaskill Professional Development Session, Southern Golf Club, Keysborough.
MacLeod, D. M., & Cowieson, A. R. (2001). Discovering Credit Where Credit is Due: using autobiographical writing as a tool for voicing growth. Teachers and teaching, 7(3), 239-256.
Myers, T. (2007). Between a rock and a hard place, Indigenous education in a remote community. Professional Educator, 6(1), 15-20.
Robbins, G., Powers, D., & Burgess, S. (2011). A Wellness Way of Life. London: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Snowman, Dobozy, Scevak, Bryer, Bartlett, & Biehler. (2009). Psychology Applied to Teaching. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
Somerville, M. J. (2007). Place literacies. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 30(2), 149-164.
Zyngier, D., & Graeme, V. (2012). EDF4314 Entering the Profession 2. Power Point. Monash University. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.