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Transcript of Teaching Portfolio
"Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I'll remember. Involve me, I'll understand"
My personal philosophy
Everyone has the potential to be brilliant, just at different things.
We are all talented, we are all unique, and we are all important.
This is my personal philosophy I place towards everything in life.
I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to explore their inner dreams, without fear of judgment, intimidation or ridicule
- this espcecially stands in my classrooms.
I endeavour to create a learning space that is calm, safe, and inviting. I want it to enhance creativity and exploration, and to cause my students to want to ask 'why?' or 'how come?'
What is teaching?
What can Education do?
Education is the key to unlocking the world; a passport to freedom - Oprah Winfrey
What is my personal teaching pedagogy?
A Construstivist with a hint of mothering
1.1 Physical, Social and Intelectual Delopment and Characteristics of Students - Artifacts
I have included two artifacts in this section, one is a placement report, the other is a personal letter written my a mentor teacher at the end of one of my placements. I have chosen these because they both explicity state my personal teaching behaviours and beliefs. This standard is about ensuring each student gets the best access to education, regardless of background, belief, or learning ability, and as a graduate teacher I am keen to hone my skills in this regard.
1.2 Understand How Students Learn
As teacher who subscribes to the Constructivist view of learning, I believe that students learn in vastly different ways - some are hands on and learn through doing, others prefer to write, or express themselves through art.
Students are individuals, who have their own ideas, skills and intelligences. We, as teachers, need to harness and develop these to not only engage our students in the classroom, but to also help them on their own path to self development and understanding.
1.1 Physical, Social and Intellectual development
and characteristics of students
My Teaching Portfolio
By Victoria Miles
My wish as a teacher is to help harness my students passion for learning and living.
Teaching to me is much more than just knowing content, and standing at the front of a classroom to deliver this to blank minds - it is about connection, participation, exploration, passion, learning, questioning, making mistakes, and continually trying.
Being of the Constructivist theory of education, I believe that students bring with them to class their own ideas, thoughts, knowledge, experiences and skills. I do not presume to know everything, and will gladly allow my students to correct me if I am wrong - to me, this shows that they are engaged, and actively connecting with the lesson.
I am passionate about teaching for that moment when you see the 'light' go on, and you know that you have just witnessed something magical - a student has just made a connection; they have developed meaning and understanding.
That moment is precious, for a young child it may be their 'first', their first maths problem, their first spelling test, or even the first time they tied their shoe laces. All of these are important and must be acknowleged. The same can be said for older students, where inhibitions kick in, and fear of embarrassment has the potential to remove confidence from even the most able student.
As a teacher, I view it as my responsibility to encourage, support, challenge, push and facilitate my students in such a way as to help them build their own resiliance as well as developing their passion for knowing and learning.
Constructivists believe that learning is a lifelong process, one which doesn't stop and start at the classroom door. Students are individuals with lives, and families, expectations and interests. These are all factors that help shape and develop each student to be the individuals they are.
Often people will say that teenagers are difficult to deal with, or are rude or unruly, but as teachers we must look past these stereotypes, and ask ourselves 'why are my students disengaged?', 'what can I do as a teacher to help bring a particular student back into the classroom environment?'. It is our responsibility,as teachers, to accept and acknowledge that students of all ages are going through some form of adjustment, be it socially with their peers, physically through development, or emotionally, both positive and negative.
Therefore, I believe that teachers should not only look at the learning acquired by their students but also the personal development, resilience, and growth of their students as a whole. School is not just around the growth of one's knowledge base, but the development of the person emotionally and socially also.
My placement report states that I am 'empathetic to students - especially at risk students', that I use 'Inclusive questioning techniques', and that I have sound research and planning for each of my classes. It was quite humbling to have someone else notice my passion for inclusion in the classroom, and the ways in which I research they ways I can achieve this in each of my classes.
It is my belief that whilst not every class goes to plan, it is important to plan and be prepared for each class - that way a lesson can be tailored around the individuals in that classroom to help harness their learning and maximise their individual potential.
Vygotsky coined the idea of the Zone of Proximal Development, whereby students are scaffolded and supported in their learning, to take them from what they know now, to what they should/or are capable of knowing. I believe this is key to how I connect with my teaching, because it should be about the achievements of the student as an individual, and I believe it is my responsibility to make positive relationships with my students so I can help facilitate each of their learning, from what they know to what they have the potential to know; using higher order thinking mechanisms.
1.2 Understand How Students Learn - Artifacts
The impacts for teaching in this manner are vast. No longer is the teacher the sole source of knowledge in a classroom, students can learn from each other, and support one anther through peer teaching, and group work, whilst the teacher can help scaffold all the students learning through rich and engaging activities which allow for each student to participate to their highest potential.
In this section, I have included one artifact which I believe show my dedication to enhancing students learning experiences.
It is an Authentic Mathematics task that I have designed for a grade 5 class, which is aimed at encouraging students to look beyond the immidiate answer and use their skills as active learners to answer the question posed. Each student will undoutedly have a different response - this is in fact, encouraged. Students are required to source their own data sets and then draw conclusions of these to support their end idea. There is scaffolding in the lessons around this activity, showing data collection and graphing styles, however students then conduct this task outside of class time.
1.5 Differentiate Teaching to Meet the Specific Learning Needs of Students Across the Full Range of Abilities
Studies have shown that in a standard 30 student classroom, there can be a vast array of learning abilities, that setting one task for all students will unvariably fail. You will gain the attention of the middle students who are on par with the skill set in the particular activity, but you will lose the students who John Monro (ACER, 2012) calls 'exceptional learners'. These exceptional learners are on either end of the scale - those who need further assitance in their learning, and those who are gifted or talented.
I prefer to use this language, as the word 'exceptional' encompasses something special and important - which all students should be made to feel, because they all are. Rather than students being made to feel lesser than their peers, or even more superior to their peers, as a teacher I try to encourage them to focus on their own development and learning - every person has room for growth and development at every stage of their lives, one never stops learning.
As such, differentiated learning has been introduced. Rather than segregating students on the basis of their abilities, students are given the same activity to complete, just with extending prompts or more scaffolded direction for those that require it. This helps to remove sterotyping, negativity towards learning and negative thoughts towards oneself. Each student is capable of performing the activity, some just require a little more assitance than others, and as teachers it is our responsibility to help facilitate the learning experience to encapsulate this for all our students
1.5 Differentiate Teaching to Meet the Specific Learning Needs of Students Across the Full Range of Abilities - Artifacts
For this area, I have chosen to represent my ability to differentiate my classroom through displaying a sequence of lesson plans. These are again targeted towards a grade 5 mathematics class, but clearly show extending and enabling prompts for those exceptional students in my classroom. I believe it is important not to segregate students by giving them seperate learning material based on ability, but for my lessons to be structured to assist all students in the learning - I believe it is my role and responsibility to ensure each student is engaged, actively participating and has the opportunity to expand on their own learning, not just be left behind or left to wait until the others catch up.
1.6 Strategies to Support Full Participation of Students with a Disability
Munro, J. (2012) 'Effective Strategies for Implementing Differentiated Instruction', Australian Council for Educational Research, Australia.
Rock, M., Gregg, M., Ellis, E., & Gable, R. A. (2008). REACH: A framework for differentiating classroom instruction.
Preventing School Failure, 52(2), 31–47.
As an educator, I will undoubtedly be faced with teaching a student who has a learning or physical disability of some kind. This is not a negative statement, just a fact, and as such it is essential that I am able to successful and professionally support these students to develop their own learning to succeed to their personal best.
There are plenty of resources available to teachers who want to learn more or upskill to help support these students, I myself am one of these teachers. I want to be prepared, not just for the student, but also for myself. I want to know that I have given each student 110% of my ability, so they can grow to 110% of their ability.
Kidsmatter.edu.au, an inititive run by the Commonwealth Government (2012) is a fantastic resource for teachers, as well as parents, and they have a pletherer of information and tips relating to developing inclusive classrooms.
One such document lists ways in which teachers can best support their students with various disabilities, these include: being informed, working in conjuction with parents, building upon the students strengths, providing various social and educational learning experiences, and promoting acceptance not just in the classroom, but throughout the whole school community.
At first I was perplexed, these points do not seem that different to the ways in which I would deal with any other student in my classroom, then I realised that there should be very little difference. Each student should be given the same learning opportunities and experiences - the only difference would be in the delivery or execution of these experiences.
Commonwealth of Australia (2012) 'Disability: Suggestions for School Staff', accessed September 2014. https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/about-difference/additional-needs/children-additional-needs-suggestions-teaching-staff
1.6 Strategies to Support Full Participation of Students with a Disability - Artifacts
Students with disabilities are often stereotyped as incapable of full participation, or a potential burden in a classroom setting (ACCESS, 2013). This is a gross generalisation, and has wide ranging negative implications not only for those students with disabilities, but also for the students with whom they interact.
I have chosen to showcase two artifacts of my personal teaching experience which will show inclusion and accpetance as first and formost in my teachings, of both students with and without disabilities.
Firstly, there is a link to a presentation I co-produced with a colleague, that explores Autism and Inclusive Classroom Strategies that can be implemented to support students with Autism as well as others in the same classroom. I believe this presentation shows research, strategies and overall the need for acceptance and removal of stigmas that come from labelling our students as one particular thing. Students are multidimensional with endless things to offer in a classroom, and as a teacher I hope to remember this, and focus on this in my classroom to help develop my students to their own personal best.
Secondly, I have chosen to show how I would present my whiteboard at the start of each lesson.
Whilst on placement I was exposed to many students with various disabilities, and in order to help support the growth and development of these students, my mentor teacher would start each lesson by writing WILT up on the board. This stands for 'What I am Learning Today' and the teacher would write a brief explaination of the lesson on the top corner of the board.
Research shows that students with a learning disability can benefit from having a written reference that they can refer back to throughout the lesson to help enable them to make an understanding as to why they are undertaking certain learning experiences in the classroom.
ACCESS: Disability Advocacy Centre (2013). 'Issues for Students with Disabilities', accessed October 2014, http://www.accessuvic.ca
WILT: How to use
2.2 Content Selction and Organisation
As a budding educator, I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing mentors in some very affluent and challenging schools. Whilst they may both seem vastly different, the planning conducted by teachers prior to the lesson was the same. Each teacher was busily planning, reassessing, evaluating their lessons, and replanning again.
It is a constant cycle that each teacher much undertake in order better themselves as educators, but to also offer the best level of educative experience to their students.
Knowing the content is essential to any lesson, and whilst teachers may have a discipline in which they have studied and are educated, it is inevitable that throughout a teaching career, teachers will be asked to take classes that are outside the rhelm of expertise. Therefore, knowing and learning the content is essential, in order to successfully deliver a meaningful, engaging and valuable lesson.
2.2 Content Selection and Organisation - Artifacts
The two below artifacts are lesson plans that I had created for a year one English class. One is based on guided reading, whilst the other is for a literacy rotation.
While guided reading and literacy rotations may seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of the classroom, however I personally believe that literacy development occurs in the earliest years of school life, and therefore I will plan each of my rotations with links to the Australian Curriculum and draw clear expectations for the learning in these sessions. It will not only clearly define goals for my students, but will also ensure that my teaching remains relevant and goal specific.
2.5 Literacy and Numeracy Strategies
Both Literacy and Numeracy are key learning areas, and even if these are not a teacher's discipline area, it is essential that they have a solid grasp on how to implement these into their classrooms.
Literacy and Numeracy no longer stand alone in the education system, they are firmly imbedded into the greater scheme of learning through all disciplines, from the Arts, to Science and Nursing, therefore each student must be given the best starting blocks from which to build their understanding of these areas.
Using various resources in both mathematics and literacy classes, such as maniulatives, tactile tools, ICT, and another lesser known tool of classical music can help enhance students understandings in these classes and can help students to create deeper, richer explorations of the concepts being taught.
2.5 Literacy and Numeracy Strategies - Artifact
This artifact is a paragraph of a reflection I made after teaching a grade one mathematics class whilst on teacher placement.
It showcases my ability to explore concepts which may help my students learn, and my willingness to be open to other strategies that may not be considered the standard or the norm.
"After last class, I realised that the students needed something to help them remain focussed and calm whilst undertaking these mathematics explorations (fact families). After some research I found an article on the links between mathematical thinking and classical music...
I implemented this into class today, and found some interesting results. Whilst some students did not engage with the music, and made reference to it being 'boring' their levels of excitement were lowered. They focusses more on task, and appeared to have a higher level of engagement. Subsequently, when I turned the music off throughout the lesson, the students volume levels rose along with behaviours which could lead to disruption or disengagement from the set task."
The biggest experience that has shaped my learning, has been my practicums. Being able to emerse myself in the culture, politics, and learning within a school setting has enabled me to gain a deeper grasp on what is expected of a teacher in this day and age.
My personal pedagogy is one where each student is given the opportunity to explore and expand their understanding of the world around them, in a safe, engaging and facilitating classroom. I will endeavour to set an array of learning opportunities which cater to all students, and showcase all of my students personal skills and attributes.
This quote has guided my personal teaching philosophy, because it stands in line with my own personal beliefs. Everyone has the potential to be great, we just need to be given the opportunity to shine. As an educator, I believe it is my role to help facilitate this, to ensure there is opportunities within my classroom to enable my students to shine in their own right.
It was important to me that with this authentic task, the students were given the freedom to choose how they represented their findings, I feel that this allows students to use areas that they are strongest in, which in turn would not only potentially help their grade, but also their sense of self worth and personal achievement.