KNOW THE CONTENT AND HOW TO TEACH IT
2.1: Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
2.2: Content selection and organisation
In relation to standard 2 I believe that:
Literacy and numeracy are highly weighted in education systems (MCEETYA, 2008) and are seen by many (especially parents – Robinson 2007) as the most important elements of education. I attach importance to all areas of curriculum and school life in general. With economies moving beyond the manufacturing, creativity is an important skill for all students to have in an exponentially changing world (Robinson, 2005, 2007). Learning to collaborate, communicate and co-operate (Wood, 2010) and how to appreciate or create art are also lifelong skills. In all curriculum areas, knowing and understanding content, is no longer sufficient. The modern teacher must lead the way (Education Queensland, 2013) for students to learn how to acquire knowledge for themselves (MCEETYA, 2008). The teacher must present information in a way that students can understand it (Gardner 2006, Sternberg 1997) using a variety of teaching strategies (Arends & Kilcher, 2010) through engaging and equitable lessons (MCEETYA, 2008) so students produce work demonstrating their understanding of the curriculum (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).
I taught a Science unit of inquiry “Spinning in Space” whilst undertaking practical experience in a large primary school, in a semi urban location to the South of Brisbane. The teachers of two, year 3 classes team-taught, requiring my unit lessons to be presented to 52 students at a time. With a large number of students, it was important to be well organised (2.2) and flexible with teaching strategies (2.1) to meet the various learning needs of a diverse group of students including an ASD child, a sight impaired child and a child with an academic performance around the early year 1 level.
I drew curriculum content knowledge (2.1) from an Astronomy unit (PPHY1107) from my recently completed Graduate Certificate in Science. After establishing the ACARA learning content and descriptors (2B p.1), I also checked the C2C unit requirements. I established specific learning objectives and each lesson was checked against Pritchard’s (2013) checklist – ensuring they contained clear focus through explicit learning objectives, appropriate context, scope for interaction and activity, variety and choice of approaches and responses to work, content based on and extending student knowledge and moving students forward. For the initial lesson, I needed to establish prior knowledge (Vygostky, 1962) of the subject matter to build upon and scaffold the students learning, nurture interest in the unit of inquiry topic and establish authenticity by relating the topic to the students world with a sense of fun and adventure (2.2; real life contexts Gulati, 2004).
To achieve these goals I began the first lesson (2B p.2) with a Pixar animation “Night and Day”. The short animation vividly illustrates the difference between night and day and how both are beautiful and complementary to each other and the world. A class discussion and a T chart written on the white board from student suggestions (2B, p3), reinforced student understanding and prior knowledge of the differences between day and night (2.1, 2.2).
“You used a range of questioning to cater for learning styles.”
7 August 2013
Having established confidence and enthusiasm for the topic, we then explored possible causes for the cycle of night and day based on a Primary Resource Sheet (2B p.3, 2C s.2). Three possible explanations for the occurrence of night and day were modelled (2.1), and then each student, illustrated the option they thought best explained the process by producing a labelled diagram. Labelled diagrams were modelled (2C s.6) again building on prior knowledge by using examples of labelled diagrams from previous inquiry units insects and the water cycle (2C ss.2-3).
Students were highly engaged and actively participating in this and subsequent lessons (2D, 2E). The unit of inquiry continued to be interesting for the students, with a variety of activities such as creating globes of the Earth with the characteristics of day and night written on each side, size and distance with outside ball activities (2F, 2G).
I took the success of this early experience and built on it in later practicums and internship to create more activities of varied styles and backward design more complicated units of study. I continue to investigate ways to improve ways of presenting information and allowing students to access information through their preferred
learning styles (including ICT; (2.6), through strategies (2.1) such as providing choices of activity e.g. working alone or with a partner, gather information from preferred sources, internet, books, or video clips, complete a worksheet or solve a problem.
- A great lesson Darren. You have obviously thought about the lesson a lot…
- The video clip (Night and Day) was a very good choice to start the unit with and gave the children lots of ideas.
- Your questioning is much better and prompted many children to contribute to the lesson.
- When giving instructions, they were clear and precise. This meant the children were settled and were on task when completing the worksheet.
- A good conclusion that briefly reviewed the lesson and wrapped it up perfectly!
20 May 2013
Arends, R. & Kilcher, A. (2010). Teaching for student learning: becoming an accomplished teacher. NY, USA: Routledge.
Education Queensland. (2013). Pedagogy and pedagogical frameworks in Education Queensland. A background paper. Retrieved October 2, 2013 from https://learningplace.eq.edu.au/cx/resources/file/927c8b81-652b-ba19-f7e2-a2269cd21461/1/Pedagogical-Framework-Background-Paper.pdf
Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: new horizons. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.usq.edu.au/login?url=http://library.books24x7.com/library.asp?^B&bookid=45450.
Gulati, S. (2004). Constructivism and emerging online learning pedagogy: a discussion for formal to acknowledge and promote the informal. Retrieved from http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00003562.htm.
MCEETYA. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved 16 August, 2014 from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration
Pritchard, A (2013). Ways of learning : learning theories and learning styles in the classroom.3rd Edition. KY,USA: Routledge.
Robinson, K. (2005). How creativity, education and the arts shape a modern economy. Education Commission of the States. Retrieved on 19 September 2014, from http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/60/51/6051.pdf
Robinson, K. (2007). Do schools kill creativity? Retrieved on 18 September 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
Sternberg, J. (1997). Thinking styles. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Vygotsky, L. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge. MA: MIT Press.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Wood, K. E. (2010). Interdisciplinary instruction for all learners K-8 : A practical guide. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.