Element 4


Element Four Aspects - Graduate Teacher 

4.1.1 Communicate clear directions to students about their learning goals. 
4.1.2 Demonstrate a range of questioning techniques designed to support student learning.
4.1.3 Listen to students and engage them in classroom discussion
4.1.4 Use student group structures as appropriate to address teaching and learning goals
4.1.5 Use a range of teaching strategies and resources including ICT and other technologies to foster interest and support learning.

Milestones- I have...

During my Stage 1 professional experience, I adapted the normal class reading group lessons to use jigsaw grouping to explore the topics of reptiles and insects, as part of an overall unit on living things. At the beginning of the first lesson related to reptiles, I explained to students that their learning goal would be to work collaboratively to build a set of information that could be shared with one another about each of the four types of reptiles. I have found that clear learning goals and directions are especially important when students are engaging in group work as students can then work collaboratively towards a commonly understood goal (Aspect 4.1.1).


Lesson Organisation

I sourced four different non-fiction texts about turtles, snakes, crocodiles and tuataras. These texts were of varying difficulty. Each usual ability reading group was assigned one text to read. I explained that each student in the group would be assigned a different aspect of the animal to construct information about, for example, habitat, diet, physical features.  Students were given the choice of writing their information, or constructing a labeled diagram. In order to challenge the more able students, I provided only suggested topics, and students worked collaboratively to ensure that each group member addressed a different topic. To support the less able students, I provided titles in the form of questions, such as ‘What do they eat?’ which each student answered with either a sentence or a picture. Each group then compiled their information and reported back to the class about what they had learnt about their specific animal. This process was repeated for students to investigate and report about insects.

At the end of the unit on living things, I constructed a class quiz which assessed students’ knowledge of topics covered throughout the unit, including reptiles and insects. Students were arranged in mixed-ability groups so that at least one member of each reading group was represented in each quiz group (Aspect 4.1.4). The quiz was presented to the students using the new ICT resource of a classroom laptop and projector, on which I presented a Powerpoint slideshow (Aspect 4.1.5).

I have sought to increase the range of questions that I used in the classroom to assess student understanding of concepts, particularly aiming to include more open-ended questions when engaging students in classroom discussions (Aspect 4.1.2).  I have also developed my skill in differentiating the types of questions that I ask students when working one-on-one, to ensure that a variety of questions are used to both extend and support the abilities of each student. This was reflected in the comments of my coordinating teacher on my last Professional Experience.

To view my Professional Experience Report 2008, click here.

I have utilised different strategies of promoting classroom discussion throughout my professional experiences (Aspect 4.1.3). One strategy I have used in a recent in-school teaching experience was to ask students to link the experience of the main character of a story to similar but different experience of their own. Students engaged in a ‘role-walk’ where they explored the emotions experienced in such a situation. Students were subsequently able to engage in a rich and thoughtful discussion of the emotions which may have been felt by the character in the story as they had been stimulated to draw on their own experience.

Except from Drama/Music Lesson Plan: 

Ask the students to suggest how Li Cunxin would feel.

Ask students to reflect on a time when they have experienced feelings of being confused, lost and scared, for example when they have been separated from their parents in a shopping centre, or their first day of school. If students cannot recall a situation where this has happened, they should imagine what it would be like if they were in one of the situations suggested by others.

The teacher should share an anecdote from a time that they have experienced such emotions.

The teacher should guide the class through a role walk...
During this role walk the students should improvise facial expressions and body language of someone who is feeling alone, confused and scared.
Students should be guided to approach others in ‘the crowd’ and:- explain their problem, for example ‘I can’t find my mum’ or ‘I don’t know where the classroom is’.- ask for help

The class should once again reflect upon how they think Li Cunxin would feel.  

To view full Lesson Plan read the full article, click here.


Milestones- I will and I need

I will

I need
Develop more negotiated student-driven learning experiences- To engage students in class discussions about learning goals during inquiry-based learning experiences through the use of KWL charts
Explore a variety of group structures- To seek advice from my cooperating teacher, and read literature, such as Managing Small-Group Learning (Reid, 2002), about different grouping strategies which I can implement in my next Professional Experience
Increase my use of open-ended questions to engage students in higher-order thinking and sustained class discussion- To explicitly plan for open-ended questions to be used in different lessons, as suggested by Sullivan and Lilburn (2004).