Taking Contexts into Account
Ashwood High School is a public educational institution in Ashwood, Victoria, Australia. It suggests a variety of educational opportunities for more than four hundred students. Since 2016, Ashwood High School has been participating in an Accelerated Curriculum and Enrichment Program (ACE). The school is a modern complex located in an area of 16 hectares (About us n.d.). Its state-of-the-art facilities include playing fields, an outdoor amphitheater, and landscaped gardens. It pays equal attention to sciences and arts having both a contemporary Science Centre and a new Music, Multimedia and Performing Centre (About us n.d.).
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School facilities empower the school’s model of collaborative learning and interdisciplinary education (Environment and facility n.d.). The school community is committed to the students. It is also important because the schools where “students and staff feel they belong, where there’s respect, where they support each other’s successes, and where their talents are harnessed and celebrations are enjoyed”, become the places where both students and teachers long to study and teach (Walk your school’s hallways n.d.). These schools are places with high moral principles and low staff or student turnover.
The school is vital for the area because other schools in the neighborhood suburb have exceeded the limit for the number of students they could have. Since Ashwood high school has additional funding from the government, it provides more area for learning and teaching. After a re-build, it got a new principal and new name, which contributed to the school’s “fresh academic look” (About us n.d.). Ashwood is a school with an environment that stimulates learning.
The school follows a set of values. It includes the following: a community of learning and trust; high expectations; optimism, reflection, and resilience; innovation, creativity, sustainability, and respect (Values n.d.). Ashwood High School values all the people involved in the educational process, including students, teachers, and parents. It promotes a cooperative approach to learning and problem-solving.
School activity is governed by a School Council. It develops general policy directions (School Council n.d.). The Ashwood High School Council includes the Principal, six parents who are elected at the beginning of every school year, five staff members, and four community members two of whom are students. Any member of the school community can visit the meetings of the Council. The connection with the local community makes both staff and students involved in community activities. A local community theatre company Hartwell Players is performing at Ashwood High School. Moreover, the school takes care of a community Permaculture Food Garden which is located in its state territory.
The Curriculum at Ashwood High School suggests students an opportunity to choose a course of study. At the same time, it is a challenge because a student has to select among a variety of suggestions according to his or her aspirations. This fact should be considered in planning. Since students select a course, it means that they are interested in the subject and, thus, it is appropriate to introduce material above-average level.
School keeps in touch with the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. to meet the needs of aboriginal and Torres Strait populations. The school policies consider and welcome the diversity of students, both aboriginal and from abroad.
Planning and Structuring Learning
Table 2: School Context – My Class Demographics.
|Grade/ Year level||Year 7 ACE Program Student|
|Learning Area/ Subject/ Topic||Science (Physics) – Forces and Simple machines|
|Number of students||19 students|
|The ratio of boys/ girls||13 boys: 6 girls|
|Diversity (cultural, religious, ability, socioeconomic, geographical, educational)||Cultural: Chinese, Iranian, Indian |
Religious: Muslim, Hindu, Christianity
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people||NO|
|% Languages other than English||Chinese, Hindi, Persian|
|Other||Special need students: 2 EAL students|
2.1 Table 3: Students as learners: My Class.
|Students as Learners|
|Social development, relationships, and their peers|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #1: Year 7 students. Disciplined students are aware of the rules of behavior in the classroom. Quiet during individual work, cooperative, and fast-reacting in group activities. Supportive for classmates. Most of them are fast learners but treat equally those who are not so fast.|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #2: Year 10 students. In a class with normal behavior, one student is continuously talking and making noise. He does not follow the lesson instructions or the teacher’s demand to move sears. Students report it is his usual behavior although, he is a class captain. The boy already has two detentions this week but still does not behave appropriately. He does not only demonstrates neglect of school rules but interferes with the right of other students to learn.|
|Implications for planning: The social development of students in the class and their relations should be considered during the planning because these factors influence the lessons. Churchill et al. (2016, p. 90) present triadic reciprocity of factors that influence learning. These factors are behavior, environment, and personal characteristics. Thus, if students in the class are quick learners with good behavior, all kinds of tasks will work with them depending on personal interests. Moreover, such students can be interested in additional material. In the case of badly behaving students, the activities should be planned so that make them interested. Sometimes an appointment of such students as teacher’s assistants can improve their behavior.|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #3: The intellectual development of year 7 ACE program students is high. They are good at comprehending new material. General knowledge and intellect allow them participating in the discussion of the new material through prediction.|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #4: Students of year ten do not look intelligent. They are behaving badly and are not involved in classroom discussions. When asked questions, they are not able to answer.|
|Implications for planning: The consideration of students’ intellectual development is crucial for lesson planning. The choice of activities and engagement strategies depends on it. Thus, it should be regarded to provide a successful learning process.|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #5:|
|Illustrative Journal Entry #6|
|Implications for planning: Draw inferences from Journal Entries #5 & #6 and use literature to help you to consider how these inferences should inform your planning|
Planning aims, rationale, and process
Planning is an integral component of teaching. A properly planned class that considers the curriculum, students’ interests, and peculiarities are going to be more fruitful than a class without a plan. Planning can be time-consuming but it makes grounds for an interesting and dynamic lesson (Butt 2008, p. 4).
Every lesson sequence has a definite aim. The major components of a lesson plan are objectives for student learning, teaching and learning activities, and strategies to check student understanding of the material (Milkova n.d.). A plan comprises lesson objectives, what students are going to learn, and how they can apply this knowledge (New teacher survival guide: planning n.d). The major learning aims include subject knowledge and skills, cross-curricula capabilities, application of knowledge in real life, etc. In the context of my training as a teacher of biology and science, these aims can be transformed to disclose the possibilities of the subjects. Thus, the general aims for science lessons can be: to explain the notion of power (friction, simple machine, etc.) depending on the topic of each lesson; to learn the practical implementation of this knowledge, etc. When it comes to practice in sciences, laboratory work is helpful. The experiments give a better picture of how different things work than theoretical explanations and keep most students interested and engaged.
A sequence of related lessons is usually more efficient than single classes once a week. Lessons in a sequence have similar plans and follow the same objectives. Moreover, the transition between the lessons is not so harsh it is easier for students to trace the connection between the topics of the unit. It is particularly suitable in the context of the ACE Program. The topic of the unit was Forces and Simple Machines. The topic is big and cannot be taught within a single lesson. It is important to learn since it gives information on the main forces and explains the functioning of simple machines. On the one hand, it contributes to the students’ general development and knowledge are applicable in life. on the other hand, it can define the perspective of students’ learning or influence their career choice in the case they are interested in the material. According to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, the Australian curriculum includes sciences with Physics among them (Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority n.d.). It states that “Science provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important science concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of science’s contribution to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives” (ACARA n.d.).
The planning process included several stages. First of all, I have revised the material. As a teacher, I have to know every part of the unit. After that, I have studied the curriculum information on Physics. Secondly, I have made a list of the expected outcomes of this lesson sequence according to the principles of Outcomes-based Education (John 2006, p. 484). Thus, I have formulated what knowledge I expect from students afterward. Based on these expectations, I have selected teaching and learning activities, considering the peculiarities of the subject. Finally, I have thought about the possibilities to check students’ understanding (Milkova n.d.). I planned the sequence and its activities. The content was taken from the textbook. I have used some articles on lesson planning and additional literature on the topic.
The curriculum has to be determined during lesson planning. It is necessary to consider local, national, and age-specific curricula. Thus, the Victorian curriculum on Science provided me with a local interpretation of the rationale and aims of teaching Science (Victorian Curriculum: Science n.d.). It describes Science as a “dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavor arising from our desire to make sense of our world by exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems” (Victorian Curriculum: Science n.d., par.1). Its structure includes physical sciences which focus on ” understanding the nature of forces and motion, and matter and energy. Students gain an understanding of how an object’s motion (direction, speed, and acceleration) is influenced by a range of contact and non-contact forces such as friction, magnetism, gravity, and electrostatic forces” (Victorian Curriculum: Science n.d., par.14). It is essential to preserve the integrity of the curriculum focusing on each of its areas (Enacting Australian Curriculum: Making connections for quality learning 2014).
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The curriculum identifies the component skills which are to be taught in the unit. These skills will make the students meet the curriculum standards and outcomes. Victorian Curriculum on Science includes science inquiry skills (Victorian Curriculum: Science n.d., par.17). Science inquiry means identifying questions, planning, managing researches, and reflecting on them, studying the evidence, and discussing the results of the experiments. It is also connected with problem-solving activities, evaluating the findings, researching the ideas, making conclusions, and learning to provide confirmed arguments. The Science Inquiry Skills consist of five minor strands: questioning and predicting; planning and conducting; recording and processing; analyzing and evaluating; and communicating (Victorian Curriculum: Science n.d., par.17).
Planning the Lesson Sequence: Pedagogy, Content, Strategies, Activities, and Resources
The lesson sequence contributes to the development of students’ skills. The formation of those skills means approaching learning aims. The major activity for this sequence was whole-class teaching (Sherrington 2013, par. 3). It allowed presenting the information from the unit to all students at once. It is also useful for developing the ability to question and predicting skills. Students could ask questions in case they did not understand the material and could predict the topics of the following lessons. The sequence of lessons allowed to repeat the same learning aims from lesson to lesson changing the activities. Thus, students had an opportunity to study the topic from various aspects and form their opinions. For example, the learning aims such as “to be able to understand what are simple machines and the different types of simple machines; to be able to understand how simple machines decrease the amount of effort to do the work; to be able to understand how a lever works to reduce the effort to the work; to be able to classify different types of the lever” (Lesson plans, Appendix 1) were repeated throughout the sequence. In one of the lessons, they were supported with the PowerPoint presentation followed by questions, another included designing students’ presentations (as a poster of PowerPoint). Other lessons included questionnaires and experiment.
One of the activities that are productive in any subject or topic is presented. It can be individual or created by a group of students. Besides, it can be spontaneous, prepared instantly in the class, or home-prepared. One of the presentations included in the lesson sequence was that in the types of simple machines. A group of students selected a machine and presented in brief its principles of work and possible application in our everyday lives. After short presentations, students could question each other. Another activity which is popular with students was a quiz on simple machines. The class was divided into two groups. Each group was supposed to prepare ten10 questions on the topic. After that, they were asking and answering the questions in turns to find the winner. This activity is efficient due to the competitive component. It makes students go further than the textbook and search for more information. The students were engaged with the activity. Besides, multiple repetitions of the material (while preparing questions, asking, and answering them) favors a better understanding of the topic. The lesson is in Appendix 1, and the description of students’ reactions can be found in detail in the journal.
Teaching and Supporting Student Learning
Link to Teaching Video
The video of one of the placement lessons can be found on the link
Strategies to Support Students’ Learning
Teaching Science is often complicated because it does not allow the application of many creative strategies similar to Humanities. Science has many facts and concepts which have to be carefully learned and remembered. Thus, particular strategies are necessary to present the material and make it understandable for middle learners. One of the strategies of material presentation is presented ways of introducing the information, I have used the presentation on the board and oral explanation. It allows stimulating both stimulating audial perception, which improves the understanding. Moreover, a lecture-type presentation is not efficient with middle students. It may be used with seniors or at university, but middle learners will get bored.
Thus, a presentation on the board (video) combined with the teacher’s commentary is a proper choice. Speaking should not be monotonous. The use of body language (gestures) to demonstrate the material can be helpful (video 2:30). It can be efficient to involve students’ predictions, encouraging their guesses (2:46). In such a way, students are not just listeners but participants of the learning process. Answering students’ questions throughout the presentation can be also helpful because it helps to clarify some unclear issues immediately. In the case of Science lessons, it is useful to provide simple examples that can be tested immediately in the class. For example, while presenting the topic of electrostatic forces the experiment of rubbing a pen on the jumper and then touching a sheet of paper gives a picture of these forces’ actions (video 6:05).
Students’ prior learning experience is also helpful. Thus, middle students are expected to know how to work with the textbook. Thus, a task, which needs it does not demand additional explanations. The prior skill in making presentations will be also useful. Some skills of public speaking can be needed while defending the presentations. The skills of individual and group work are applied throughout the learning process.
To support this class as a group and as individuals, I have used various approaches. Thus, I have applied methods of individual work, work in groups of two or three students, and whole-class activities. Such distribution allows students to feel personal importance and demonstrate knowledge and research activity in one task and act as a significant member of the group in another.
I suppose that my organization of classroom activities was not effective. Maybe I had to choose some other activities to provide a better comprehension of the material because the results of the test on the topic were not excellent. Nevertheless, I think that I did well with the classroom environment. In corresponded the purpose of each lesson and had all the necessary materials. Besides, my directions were usually clear, and students had no problem following them.
I consider classroom management strategies a necessary component of teaching. Before the placement, I have revised a book by Bianco (2014) and found some of the suggested strategies suitable for my class. One of them is visual clues (Bianco 2014, p. 112). It focuses on the importance of eye contact since it proves that students are listening to the teacher. Another strategy that I consider useful is a private or direct appeal (Bianco 2014, p. 115). It is used to underline the importance of an individual and switch attention. Finally, the strategy of seating arrangement looks interesting (Bianco 2014, p. 119). Usually, when students have classes in the same facility, they take the same places and tend to sit near their friends. I have practiced the change of seats during some classes, thus making students move and work in other groups. The students did not eagerly accept this idea but gradually found it interesting.
Evaluation of Learning and the Aims of the Lesson
During the lesson, the students were supposed to understand the concepts of electrostatic forces, static electricity, and different daily occurring examples of electrostatic forces. The first two aims were approached in the theoretical part, which included a presentation and oral explanation. I allowed students to make guesses on the topic from their experience, which made the issues more understandable and contributed to achieving the lesson aims. In the video fragment, it can be seen that students eagerly participate in the discussion. I consider their work during the lesson can be evaluated as good. They were making sound suggestions and guesses.
I suppose the lesson was successful. It combined theoretical and practical (experimental) parts, which are important for lessons in Science. I consider the strategy of involving students in the topic presentation is a working one and I am going to apply it in the future. Besides, real-life examples are suitable when it comes to the explanation of some physical issues and thus should be also applied during the topic introduction.
Table 4: Journal Entry from the lesson.
|16/05/2017||The lesson is dedicated to the issue of electrostatic forces. |
Classwork includes completing Experiment 7.5: What if a balloon were electrostatically charged?
Assessing Student Learning 1250-1500
Assessing Student Learning
I have used a combined assessment of students during the lesson sequence. Thus, during the classes, it was an informal assessment. It was used to evaluate students’ presentations, both home-prepared and made in class. The tasks connected with answering the questions were self-assessed by the students. They answered the questions on the topic and then could use the textbook to check the answers. The final assessment included a test that covered all issues studied during the lesson sequence. Thus, both formative and summative types of assessment were used (Types of classroom assessment n.d.). For example, formative (or assessment for learning) was used throughout the classes to figure out the next steps in the learning process and define the areas that had to be cleared up additionally. It was the analysis of student’s feedback. Its objective is to improve the learning outcomes, and it is not included as a grade component. In its turn, summative assessment (or assessment of learning) helps measure the students’ knowledge at a certain moment, usually after a topic is finished Ebert et al. 2011, par. 5). It gives a quantitative evaluation since it is graded. It is often organized in a form of a test.
Table 5: Assessment Task and Criteria.
The table below presents the types of assessment used during the lesson sequence.
|Assessment Task||Type of Assessment||Curriculum learning outcomes/strands/ or content descriptions||Assessment Criteria (Description of what students will demonstrate in this task to show they have met the Los)|
|Presentation||Informal||Students understand the topic and can share it||The student demonstrates the knowledge of the topic and the ability to explain this material to others|
|Answering the questions||Self-assessment||Students can answer the question on the topic||Students answer the questions on the topic correctly without using a textbook|
|Test||Whole-class assessment||Students demonstrate their knowledge on the topic by completing a test||Students answer the test questions on the level above average|
Whole class Assessment
One of the assessment types that allows evaluating the knowledge of students on the topic is a test. Usually, it is a whole-class assessment since the class completes it simultaneously. It allows us to assess the comprehension of the topic and provide quantitative results because every part of such a test is graded. The assessment task for my class was dedicated to forces in balance. It included three sections: multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and extended response questions. The grading was designed in a way that even answering only multiple-choice or short answer questions will provide a satisfactory or even good result. This approach considers the peculiarities of all students. Some find it easier to give short answers, and some can give extended ones. On the whole, there were twenty-seven questions in the test. Some examples of the student works are included in the appendices.
Table 6: Whole Class Assessment Results.
In Table 6 there are the results of students’ tests. Every column corresponds to the type of test assignment and includes the obtained points. A final column presents a total grade. The analysis of the results allows analyzing the success of the class in the test and assessing their knowledge on the topic.
|Student pseudonym||Points for the multiple-choice section||Points for short answers section||Points for extended answers section||Total|
|Analysis||In this section, students demonstrated the best results||This section appeared to the most problematic||Most of the students showed good results in this section||On average students demonstrated a satisfactory and good level of comprehension on the topic.|
The table gives a picture of the class test results. The distribution of mistakes among the sections is almost equal throughout the class. Thus, most of the students coped well with the multiple-choice questions. It means that they have basic knowledge of the subject. Surprisingly, but many students did badly in the section of short answers. Probably they considered the task an easy one and did not do it carefully enough to get better results. The answers to the third section, which comprises an extended answer were the most diverse in students’ interpretations and points obtained (Appendix 4).
The whole-class assessment revealed the achievement between good and satisfactory levels. Probably, it was caused by the improper choice of learning activities during the lesson sequence. I suppose I should have used more practical tasks to provide deeper penetration into the topic. However, practical activities are usually more time-consuming. Thus, I could plan them only during doubled classes, which happened once a week. Moreover, I think I should pay more attention to formative assessment. It will help discover the problems in material comprehension and allow the correction of the drawbacks in the choice of activities.
The assessment task itself suited its purpose. It was constructed to check the knowledge on the topic, both practical and theoretical. I suppose that the task can be changed. Thus, the extended response section can be larger to allow students to demonstrate their ideas. In further tests, more careful consideration of the response format is needed (Edith Cowan University n.d.). A proper choice of test format influences the students’ performance. A test should not consist only of multiple-choice questions since there is a chance to guess the answer. Consequently, there should be some open-ended questions that will demonstrate the real knowledge on the subject and the ability to analyze and summarize the information.
Gibbs and Simpson (2004) speak of the effectiveness of feedback. The researchers agree that it has a strong influence and is decisive for students’ achievement. Students need “a meaningful and constructive written assessment feedback” (Rae & Cochrane 2008 p. 2017). This type of feedback can be a guide for further learning. Meaningful and constructive feedback should not be only positive. It should focus on both strong and weak points in the student’s work. The positive feedback encourages students and adds to their confidence. At the same time, pointing out negative moments is expected to stimulate their further learning and progress. It is important not only to detect mistakes but suggest ways to reduce them and come up with a better result next time. On the whole, properly constructed feedback should be both evaluating and stimulating.
Appendix 4 includes three student work samples. These are examples of the students’ final test on the topic. They were checked and commented on by the teacher. The results were analyzed. All three sample tests have different results. Their prior learning need was to check the students’ comprehension of the topic. Its progress need is aimed at reflecting students’ advancement on the topic. Its structure allows evaluating students’ competence, starting from multiple-choice questions to the task demanding an extended creative answer. Its future need is in the possibilities that will be provided by the feedback for students’ further learning.
The following is a transcript of one of the feedback I gave students after the test.
Feedback: Student 1.
Dear Student, you did well during your test. The multiple-choice section is flawless. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about your short answers. I suppose you were in a hurry and did not work properly on this section. I am sure you could do better. As for your extended answer, it is almost perfect except for some little aspects in the method part. I see you are a hardworking student, but sometimes you may need some assistance. You did a great job, and it is one of the best works in the class. Keep going this way but be more attentive to details sometimes they matter!
I suppose my feedback suits the situation. It gives a generally positive evaluation of the student’s work. The feedback provides the assessment of every part of the test with little analysis of strong and weak points. It begins with the praise of work and finishes positively to provide a generally positive impression. The negative part is in the middle. It focuses on the student’s mistakes and suggests the way-out for better results in the future. Thus, the feedback advises the student to be more attentive with the tasks that seem easy but can be challenging. Further learning goals can include the development of attention to detail and self-assessment, which are necessary for the improvement of results.
However, my feedback strategies improved. I lack the experience to indicate students’ problems and suggest ways to solve them. The feedback does not only include praising. It is of course important, but the feedback will be useless without pointing out the mistakes and developing strategies for the improvement of the results. The feedback is useful not only for learners but for teachers as well. It provides a picture of their learning peculiarities, thus giving information for the selection of teaching strategies for future learning. For example, this class’s test works showed that the learners are more efficient with simple (such as multiple-choice questions) tasks or tasks including some creativity (such as the task with the extended answer). The conclusion is that more attention should be paid to the intermediate tasks, which will teach students to give short answers, thus summarizing the knowledge and not just reproducing the material from the textbook.
Reflecting on Teaching & Learning 1250-1500
Table 7: Journal Extracts: Reflecting on Teaching & Learning.
The journal appeared to be useful for reflecting on teaching and learning. It helps to look back and analyze the activities and the behavior, both of a teacher and students.
|Teaching and learning relationships:||Date|
|Year 7 ACE Program student Elsa while performing an experiment on the open day about making slime, at the end of the experiment took the remaining ingredients and made slime for herself to take home. Such behavior is unacceptable. As a part of the ACE program, she should be setting an example for the rest of the students. Moreover, the school’s extra materials/ingredients are not supposed to be wasted but used for educational purposes. So was taken to the side and realized her mistake.||Week 3 |
|A good example of a learning relationship is team teaching. After the lesson content is delivered and classwork is assigned, students are asked if they understood the material or had any problems with comprehension. Thus, those students were gathered together in the corner, and the teacher explained the material again in brief. The other part of the class was managed by the other teacher, who kept them occupied.||Week 2 |
|Developing my contribution as a teacher:||Date|
|It was my first teaching experience. I felt I had planned well and planned even the minor details of instruction. However, while doing the teacher act, I realized I have forgotten to mention a few of the things depicted on my slide verbally. Also reflecting, I realized towards the end that I should have made them take note of the homework in a diary and also explain everything and summarize the content of the lesson. However, get ready for the unexpected, battling those stuff, and reflecting again reminded me of the importance of proper set instructions, considering this was my two classes of year 8 joined together and these students are fairly below average as it does not include ACE Program students. So reflecting makes you realize what is necessary and essential for the next lessons.||Week 2 |
|So I had to teach using my PowerPoint presentation, and my laptop display was not working. It reminded me that I have to be ready for the unexpected! However, I started working on my feet, made them open the textbook, and deliver the content differently. Since this was my year 7 ACE students and smaller class, it seemed easier, as much as I was proud of myself I still wondered could it be my luck since it was a morning lesson and students were more alerts. This technology issue was good for me as it made me experience once again that there is no single plan for a lesson but it changes. For me, it is a challenge because I enter the classroom of students with different moods and attention levels. Even the time of the day changes my lesson accordingly at this instance it was changed due to technical issues. Such situations also teach us that you can’t trust technology, should always have a backup just like a backup lesson when one lesson plan is not working!||Week 3 |
|Since it was the last period of Friday, the work was done in full, however, the noise level was a little loud. Reflecting on the seating plan, it worked for previous lessons, however, since it was the end of the week and last class students seemed to be impatient. So something that works at one lesson might not necessarily work at another one.||Week 3 |
Developing my contribution as a teacher
The contemporary Australian school education faces some challenges. It has been in the continuous process of reformation. Nevertheless, despite the attempts of change, there are still problems without solutions (Masters 2015). The issue is that the problems are not new. However, they cannot be solved from the school level and have deeper roots.
One of the challenges faced by Australian educators is raising the professional status of teaching (Masters 2015, par. 5). Teaching is not a popular career among young people. Thus, the image of this profession needs improvement to involve more talented people in teaching. I suppose I can contribute to this challenge by becoming a real professional and thus providing a live example to young learners. An image of a successful and active young teacher can stimulate their choice of teaching as a career. The second challenge includes the reduction of disparities between Australian schools (Masters 2015, par. 11). It happens so that the advantages that a school has depends on its location and the community. However, I think I cannot contribute to reducing the discrepancies in the economic background. The third challenge is the development of a contemporary curriculum (Masters 2015, par. 17). Australian curriculum has been revised not once. Nevertheless, it still does not meet the demands of life and work in the 21st century. As a young teacher, I can join the initiative group working on the curriculum and provide some suggestions on its changes regarding the part of Sciences.
The Master of Teaching program emphasizes some points. I consider education in remote contexts and differentiation for diverse needs as the most important components. Remote education is among the typical phenomena of the Australian educational space. The problem is caused by the big territory of the country and the unequal distribution of the population. Thus, educational facilities are concentrated in big communities. As a result, detached rural areas lack access to qualitative education (Education and communities 2013, p. 4). Consequently, there is a need for equal education opportunities for all Australian children. They should have qualified teachers able to follow the curriculum. The second issue is differentiation for diverse needs. One of its aspects is inclusive education. It means equal access to education opportunities for people with special needs (Karten 2010). The barriers such as the common belief that “including” students with learning disabilities is fundamentally a matter of ensuring that the student “fits in” does not let the broad spread of inclusive strategies (Garnet 2010, par. 12). The primary aim of a teacher in an inclusive classroom is to make sure that students with some learning disabilities are well accepted and feel comfortable. One more thing that should be considered in a differentiated classroom is the peculiarity of the assessment process (Thomlinson et al. 2015).
I suppose that the major strength I can bring to my students is my experience and knowledge. Moreover, I consider my young age to be a privilege, as well. As a young teacher, I can understand the need for young learners better and thus provide them with suitable teaching.
I suppose I am ready to move forward in teaching. During the next units, I am going to consider the mistakes of my teaching experience and demonstrate more professional approaches to teaching. After revising Australian professional standards for teachers (2011), I can conclude that different domains of teaching should be equally represented. Thus, professional knowledge presupposes the knowledge of students and peculiarities of their learning together with the awareness of the content and how to teach it. Professional practice includes planning for teaching and learning, the creation of supportive and safe learning environments, and feedback to students’ learning (Australian professional standards for teachers 2011, p. 3). Professional engagement means the involvement in professional learning and professional engagement with colleagues, parents, and the community (Australian professional standards for teachers n.d., par. 18). All the mentioned aspects contribute to the development of a professional teacher able to follow a curriculum and make students interested in learning.
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