ENGAGE IN PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
6.1: Identify and plan professional learning needs
6.4: Apply professional learning and improve student learning
“Explanations clearly provide evidence of your competence as an outstanding beginning teacher and are linked to strong critical analysis and self-reflection, with clear links made to highly relevant literature.”
Narelle Wilson Steele
13 October 2014
In relation to standard 6 I believe that:
Professional learning is an essential component of becoming an effective teacher and can be be achieved through dedicated reflective practice (Dempsey & Arthur-Kelly, 2007). To achieve my own professional growth goals, I will look for professional development opportunities in the form of courses, workshops and school activities. However, I am also aware that the most important professional development occurs talking and sharing with experienced colleagues (White, 2005). Acknowledging the benefits of collaboration, I have begun building a professional network of like-minded (but diverse) individuals with my USQ career mentor, previous practical experience mentors and fellow students. I agree with Musanti & Pency (2010), that professional development needs to be conceived as a collaborative enterprise, where a space for learning through mutual exchange, dialogue, and constant challenge is created. By modelling life long learning to students and keeping a focus on improving student learning outcomes, teachers stay relevant and flexible to handle the ever changing social landscape and classroom environment (Walkington, 2005).
In early practicums, situated in a large primary school, in a semi urban location to the South of Brisbane, I taught two year 3 classes at a time, presenting lessons to 52 students. I lacked confidence in front of a large group of students, so I needed to work on the strength, tone, volume and speed of my speech (6.1). As seen in lesson feedback (6A p.3), I worked to improve my presentation skills. I often wrote scripted lesson plans to help me concentrate on how I was delivering instructions or information rather than what to say (6B). In later practicums, this was no longer necessary and the focus was far more on learning objectives and learning activities (6C).
Throughout my practicums I have dedicated myself to critical reflective practice.
In Standard 5. I provided an example of learning from experience in relation to assessments. I planned, taught and assessed two Science units with the same Year 6/7 class of 24 studentsLocated in a small urban school south of Brisbane, significant cultural diversity existed in the class, with 58% of students speaking languages other than English. Academically, apart from a few high achievers, most students were historically low to medium level achievers with a lack of engagement and behavioural challenges. The first unit test I based largely on a C2C unit test (6D). There were student questions regarding the meaning of questions. In the second unit test (6E), the question I wrote were tailored to the class needs. I gave examples and defined terminology such as “advantages” to help ESL students understand the questions (6.2, 6.3). The result was far less questions during the second unit exam and an improved standard of answer.
To continue my own professional education I read and collate articles weekly and use a combination of my learning blog (www.primaryninja.com.au) and social media: twitter (@TeachMrJohnson, Google+) to categorise and track useful information. This process also helps me keep up to date with ICT issues. I have collated an extensive list of blogs of noted teachers and education professionals (6F) that I follow, as well as education sites such as Edutopia. In this way I interact with a wide range of colleagues with many different experiences and ideas. It is from these interactions that I discovered the benefits of educational blogging and the idea of student blogging with a sister class in another country and even running interactive lessons between the classes, ideas I hope to transfer to my own classroom.
I have found many online resources for training (6.4) such as the Brokers of Expertise (State of California Department of Education) TLN courses (Teacher Learning Network), teacher training videos (such as Cowley and Bailey) at Teachers Media. I have also listed a number of Australian professional educational associations (6.4) to evaluate when I find employment (6G). I am also interested in continuing my formal studies in the future via a Master of Education.
Dempsey, I., & Arthur-Kelly, M. (2007). Maximising learning outcomes in diverse classrooms. South Melbourne, Australia: Thomson.
Musanti, S. I., & Pency, L. (2010). Collaboration and Teacher Development: Unpacking Resistance, Constructing Knowledge, and Navigating Identities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 37(1), 73-89.
Walkington, J. (2005). Becoming a teacher: encouraging development of teacher identity through reflective practice. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. Vol. 33, Iss. 1. Retrieved 30 September 2014 from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/10.1080/1359866052000341124.
White, J. (2005). When innocence meets experience. Practically Primary. 10(1). pp.13-15. Retrieved 30 September 2014 from http://search.informit.com.au/fullText;dn=142133;res=AEIPT