Below is my response to the DEEDC selection criteria.
SC1 Demonstrated knowledge of initiatives in student learning including the Standards, the Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12 and Assessment and Reporting Advice and the ability to design curriculum programs consistent with their intent.
Over the course of my studies at University and my time spent in the classroom during my practicum, I have been provided with theory, knowledge and the skills needed to employ the current initiatives in teaching. Initiatives including the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT), VELS, VCE, VIT standards for graduating teachers. Through these initiatives I have been able to design and implement units of work in engaging and informative ways.
Using VELS, I have designed and delivered many lessons through creative and inventive ways, which have been consistent with the intent of the curriculum. During my teaching rounds I have had the opportunity to design and implement a range of unit plans which were informed by the VELS frameworks. One unit I have taught in the VELS framework have included mime to the year nine drama class at Vermont Secondary College. This unit of work integrated both ‘creating and making,’ through a performance based assessment task, and ‘exploring and responding,’ through a research based assessment task. Within this task interdependent learning was encouraged, especially through the performance based task. The use of the VELS enabled me to collaborate with my mentor teacher and track the progress of the class through out the unit.
The PoLT document has provided me with valuable insights in how to teach and the way which I should get my students to learn. My knowledge of the principles has grown and been useful in helping me in the development of my pedagogy, which in turn has helped me with my development of engaging lessons. Such as using drama games toward the start of my time teaching to “know my students.”
I use a range of developmental activities which students learn through, such as getting students to learn about the basic rules of photographic composition whilst actually using cameras. When students are active in the classroom, they learn better, I see this all the time. If a student is actively engaged they want to learn.
I create a safe learning environment where a student is free to take risks and let their personalities shine through. I encourage group work, especially during performance based tasks, this makes the task less threatening to students who are not natural performers. It also boosts their confidence and self belief.
I have used the assessment and reporting advice document to inform how I assess and report back the results of my findings to students, parents and particularly the school. By using a range of both summative and formative assessments, I am able to track the students individual progression. To sum up, I am a motivated teacher who puts student learning at the forefront of what I do.
“The content Christian brings into class is excellent and he is well prepared” J***** ******, Mentor (Vermont S.C)
“The way Mr Standing teaches is very good because it helps me understand drama more, which is good.” Year 9 student (Vermont S.C)
SC2 Demonstrate an understanding of how students learn and effective classroom teaching strategies and the capacity to work with colleagues to continually improve teaching and learning.
Each student is unique. As a result of this, each student has their own unique needs when it comes to their learning.
Knowing how students learn is important to gain optimal results. I’ve been exposed to a range of theories of education, such as Skinner, Vygotski, Piaget and Gardner. What I learnt during my studies is that each student has a unique and individualized learning style. Taking into account each students background, preferences, and values, I create a learning environment in which each student is engaged and is relevant to the class.
I use a range of techniques to make certain that I am aware of my students needs and modify my lessons to suit their needs. Techniques I have used previously include one on one conversations, discussions with other staff and my observations from group dynamics.
During my rounds I employed a write, say do method with my teaching, a simple yet highly effective teaching strategy. Based in part on Gardners Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the basic idea is to first write down what you want the students to learn, with them copying it out. This caters for the visual learners. Once each student has written down the information, I read over it adding any other information that may be needed and creating a dialogue about it. This caters to the auditory learners. Next I get the students to do a practical task where they explore further what we have just discussed. This caters for the kinesthetic learners.
The ability to adapt my teaching is the most effective classroom strategy I have learnt. By being flexible I am able to provide a learning environment which is engaging, yet still caters to the educational requirements of the class. This is important to me. Even when I am in the middle of a lesson and I can see that no one understands, I adjust the strategies maximize the outcomes. I don’t expect students to change the way they learn to fit my style of teaching.
I believe in constant teacher reflection. Before, after and during a class I am always going over my lesson to ensure I am teaching students in a manner to gain the best possible outcomes.
Working closely in a team committed to achieving the same goal and outcomes is a rewarding experience. The approach I use in these and any group situation is one of an approachable attitude and open-mindedness. Often I like to sit back to assess the views of others first, but will always be an active member of the group, contributing my own ideas and thoughts by the end. My first experience of working in this manner was working with my mentor teachers to improve my teaching and student learning.
At Vermont S.C one of my drama classes was split between my mentor teacher and the other drama teacher there. Whilst due to time restrictions I didn’t have the opportunity to work with this class in any great length, I did have a rare glimpse into the process of team teaching in this manner. By being a part of this process I learnt quickly how it is important to keep open the lines of communication. This also required close planning to ensure that what we taught the students wasn’t being doubled up or other vital pieces of information were being left out all together.
“Very well and he makes drama enjoyable. Its also very helpful he makes sure you perform at your best.” Student when asked to describe the way I teach.
SC3 Capacity to monitor and assess student learning data and to use this data to inform teaching for improved student learning.
I believe that assessment should be used all the time to let the student grow and improve themselves. It is something I use all the time as a teacher. I use it to see what my students know and what they don’t. It may sound as though I am doing complex algorithms, but in reality I am simply using my observations and responding where necessary.
Monitoring students comes natural to me. Being an approachable person, students naturally gravitate towards me and this opens up golden opportunities to have realistic discussions with them about their learning.
By establishing straight away what students know through diagnostic assessment, I can make informed decisions about the content which I teach them next.
With the use of formative assessment I am able to see the progress of the student. During these times I set specific goals for the students to achieve. During these formative assessments I give instant verbal feedback to the students, also making notes for my own use.
I then use summative assessment to ensure that students are performing at the expected level. This then informs any action I might need to take to help struggling students.
Discussions, observations, written tasks (such as the regular journal entry my students keep) and the setting of goals are some of the many methods I use to inform my assessment of student learning data.
During my studies I were taught how to create rubrics, matrices and Guttman’s (a form of data analysis which enables quick reference for the teacher to see aspects in which the class struggle.) By analyzing this and other forms of data I can see where I need to make improvements in my teaching practice.
This data is also important in reporting back to the parents, other staff members and invested parties.
“He also gives good help and creative criticism.” Student in year 7 on a feedback form.
SC4 Demonstrated high level written and verbal communication skills and high level interpersonal skills including a capacity to develop constructive relationships with students, parents and other staff.
To get the best out of the students it is paramount to have a high level of communication between them and myself. I am approachable to all students and always have an opened door to them. I am always looking to keep the lines of communication open with my students. Students need the safety to be free to express themselves. I am a firm and fair teacher who provides a fun, warm and caring environment.
Building rapport with students is second nature to me. I easily relate to them and this gives both of us an ease of communicating to one another.
In this world we live in, where everyone seems to be pressed for time, I see the need for flexibility on my part when it comes to communicating with parents. I encourage parents when able to get involved with the education of their child, whether it’s helping with homework or helping with a weekend rehearsal of the school production. Written forms of communication I employ include the use of notes (often in the students school diary) and school reports. Verbal forms of communication I use are PTI, meetings (both formal and informal) and phone calls in cases of emergency. Using my skills gained during my time working in customer service I have learnt how to deal with pushy people and calm down anxieties in people. Communication is a two way street, seeking the concerns and views of parents is important in order to address these in a professional and timely manner.
Keeping communication open with staff allows a positive environment to grow and flourish. I am calm, flexible and professional in my approach to communication with other staff. It is important to be open with staff and to share ideas amongst each other, it is my belief that by doing this the whole teaching process is easier.
I found during my rounds the best means of communication with staff is a direct approach. By letting those who need to know, know as soon as possible and face to face, it minimizes confusion and misinterpretation that written communication may harbor. Written communication is necessary sometimes, I use both e-mail and notes to achieve this. I am, however, definitely a fan of verbal communication with other staff members over the written.
“Mr Standing your too cool for school.” Year 7 Student at Vermont S.C
“Mr Standing is awesome! Please come back next year!!!” Student in year 9 at Vermont S.C
SC5 Demonstrated commitment and capacity to actively contribute to a broad range of school activities and a capacity to reflect on, evaluate and improve professional knowledge and practice.
School life excites me. Getting involved with the broad range of school activities excites me. It enriches both the lives of the staff, parents (in some circumstances) and most of all the students. I put my all in to providing the best experience possible for all involved in any activity. I participate with energy, vigor and demonstrate positivity to the students. I am particularly keen to be involved with school productions in a directorial/producing manner.
I believe reflecting upon my teaching is important as it allows for me to grow as a teacher. I am constantly on the look out for ways to improve my professional knowledge and practice in any way I can. Reflection of my knowledge and practice is important to me. By reflecting I can build areas I need to improve upon and adjust my teaching to cater for the students in individual classes. I am keen to learn about teaching practices from others and use this information to inform the way I teach. Constantly reflecting my practices comes naturally to me, be it before, during or after a class.
I seek to evaluate and improve my practice so that I may be sure I am providing the best possible educational outcomes for all of my students.
During my practicum I have actively reflected, evaluated and improved my professional knowledge and practice. By having talks with my mentors, I can see where I need to improve and what I am excelling in.
Activities I have been involved with during my time spent on my rounds included:
2 x Weekend Production Rehearsals, (Set Construction, Supervision) spent well over 20 hours helping in this capacity. (Also during some free periods I helped in this manner)
2 x Matinee Production Performances, (Backstage supervision)
Attend performance of production
Year 7 Activity day – set up ad running of an activity
Staff social events
Parent Teacher Interviews
“Happy to be involved in all school activities” J****** *******, Mentor (Vermont S.C)
“Christian listens to feedback and I can see him applying it to the following lesson” J****** *******, Mentor (Vermont S.C)