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For this blog post I though I would explore my own teaching practice and pedagogy and how I can better this. I will also take this as an opportunity to prepare myself for my first practical placement. To do this I have looked at the book Becoming an effective teacher by Tony Fetherston (2007).

Originally I thought I’d be able to go into the classroom with all my fantastic ideas and activities and make the learning experience new, exciting and engaging for my students. I have now come to realise this will only result in burning out. Through my classes I have learnt about Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence’s and de Bono’s six thinking hats and explored the various ways students best learn. I understand how important it is to address the needs of all learning styles as well as provide opportunities for students to develop their skills through different ways which perhaps are more difficult and challenging.

I guess one of the key points I have taken away from my observation days and from classes is that I am not alone in this. Teaching is very much a collaborative profession/trade (still playing with my final definition). In this field I will be working with young minds and fellow-colleagues whose experience could be as little as mine to 30 odd years in schools. The best thing I can do for myself and for my colleagues is share resources, activities, ideas and stories. Then the reflection and evaluation can begin so I can better my own pedagogy, benefiting my students.

I need to be realistic in my expectations. I will not model perfection in my first class but will over time become competent in the classroom (Fetherston, 2007).

‘No amount of class work can adequately prepare a first-time teacher for the realities of the job’ (Fetherston, 2007).

Being unsure and unprepared of what to expect in the classroom are natural thoughts but I still feel excited and confident about teaching. I look forward to getting it wrong and having to rebuild the puzzle, it is not about focusing on the negatives but rather what you do to move forward from mistakes and you can continue to develop and better your practice.

‘Reflection is not an end in itself. It is a means towards the development of ethical judgements and strategic actions.’ (Groundwater-Smith, 2007)

I am really looking forward to my first practical placement and even though it seems daunting it is important to keep the big picture in mind and that is, why I want to be a teacher. The answer is forever changing and developing but at heart, my dedication and determination for teaching lies with my desire to give students the same wonderful experience I was fortunate enough to experience in my schooling. I want to be a positive mentor for my students and provide them with essential skills and encouragement to achieve and believe in themselves.

Reference:

Fetherston, Tony (2007) Becoming an effective teacher Nelson Australia.

Groundwater-Smith, Susan & Ewing, Robyn & le Cornu, Rosie (2007)Teaching challenges & dilemmas, 3rd edition, Thomson Australia

Ten Top Tips for Teaching: The teachers ‘Don’t Panic’ survival guide.

For my second STS1 reflection blog post I would like to further explore the link between ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and pedagogy. For my first teaching practical placement, I will be in a classroom which does not have an IWB (Interactive White Board). I will only have access to a television with VHS and DVD play capabilities, but no screen, projector, IWB, computer and Internet, similar to the classrooms I experienced in my schooling.

In the Grad Dip, so much emphasis is placed on the use of ICT in the classroom and developing pedagogy to compliment and extend its success for enhancing student engagement, learning and achievement. Now I am faced with the issue, how do I incorporate ICT into my classrooms when I have limited access to it? This then addresses Provocation number 1: What kind of Teacher do I want to be? and number 6: What will students want and need from me? The potential of IWB’s excites me and I have always thought and wanted to use them as part of my pedagogy techniques when I’m teaching. At least for my first placement I will not be the kind of teacher I want to be, because I won’t be able to use an IWB and developing the student’s digital literacy skills. Through my observation days I have noticed just how important technology is to these students, they are constantly on their phones and IPods accessing the Internet. I will be restricted in being able to provide part of what my students will want and need from me. They will want to be using technology as part of their learning and will need me to guide their use and teach them how to use technology successfully, critically, analytically and appropriately. Having said this that is not to say I cannot successfully and properly educate without the use of ICT and find other ways of stimulating their thinking and keeping students engaged, as Churchill et al. points out in Teaching Making a Difference,

 ‘Many classroom programs are successful and meet the needs of students without using ICT. The hype surrounding the ‘transformation’ of teaching has yet to be actualised.’ (2011, pg. 313)

 I believe the strategies my mentor teacher uses are successful and effective without the use of ICT in every lesson.

 I have already begun thinking about how I will tackle the issue that I will not have access to an IWB, the Internet or screens and projectors on my placement. I will use the library recourses and the mobile laptop trolley unit to introduce ICT into this class. The Library have access to an IWB and the computer lab upon request can provide a research training session with students. I plan to use these as a solution to the lack of ICT in the classroom. Once students have experienced more guided lessons with computer use then later on I will hire the mobile laptop trolley unit to use in class for one or a couple of lessons. This will break up the pedagogy I use and help to keep students engaged, interested and focused.

Bibliography:

1. Churchill, R et al. (2011). Teaching Making a Difference. John Wiley & Sons Australia. Pg. 313.

Today’s 21st Century learners are primarily driven by a technological world. Education is  just one area needing to adapt and quickly, to the exponential growth of  sophisticated technology. For students, the benefits of modern technology open  up a whole new world, information is sought and exchanged, easily accessible, a platform or tool providing almost no boundaries or limitations. The opportunities now available are incomprehensible to many, lack of interest and use can be attributed to little knowledge, understanding and absent media and digital literacy skills, which are now more than ever extremely crucial. Through the exploration of five different articles on new media literacy in an educational context, conclusions can be drawn determining the difference between digital and media literacy skills, why these skills are necessary for students
and how new media can be used in schools.

In the first article Changing Technology = Empowering Students through Media Literacy Education, de Abreu highlights how important it is to educate everyone about new media technologies and how they can advantage and sometimes disadvantage students. He directly addresses the problems with school administrators and companies creating firewalls or
blocks to hide information and websites from students. This fear of the unknown correlates to Krausz’s article Children and the new media literacy, which worked towards unpacking the role of teachers and parents when educating children and adolescents about new media. The concluding results concerning Krausz’s opinion in addition to my own reflection placed high emphasis on both parties needing to educate students about New Media. Literacy skills in this area would need to be incorporated as part of the curriculum and schools would have to take part in helping to educate parents and previous generations, providing new media literacy skills as they weren’t equipped with this knowledge in their schooling period.

This idea then links to Luke Carmen’s article As seen on TV or was that my phone? New Media Literacy. On suggestion of Carmen’s advice, skills in deconstructing, analysing and reading visual imagery is more important than teaching usability skills for machines and devices. This kind of critical engagement develops skills necessary for students to be successful in their
future. Providing education on how to use technology thoughtfully and appropriately are associated with moral values and character building, especially when dealing with plagiarism, by developing these characteristics teachers work on the hidden curriculum dealing with a more social and professional feature for students.

The other two articles, Teaching literacy in the new media age through the arts by Christopher Walsh and Media Literacy in the Social Studies Classroom by Greg Nielsen, look at how New Media can be used as part of a teachers pedagogy for content delivery. What was also discovered through examination of these two articles is that teaching content through new media is one of the most effective ways to further develop and enhance new media literacy skills.Whilst these articles do well to address New Media literacy and the skills being used and taught in education, they do little to define and discuss what new media
is. Debate inspired by the very definition of new media has continued over decades. The fast development of technology, machines, software etc. forever changes what is determined as old and new media.The generality of the term new media can be misleading or simply misunderstood. New media has been made the coined term due to its inclusiveness. It avoids emphasis on the formal definition such as digital or electronic, interactive media, information technology etc. so different
meanings can be derived from the term New Media (Lister 2003). Defining concepts of new media include communication and information.

Trying to define what new media is, is concerning for these articles. They continue to theoretically identify the need to teach new media literacy but never address what that means and how to teach it. To maximize understanding it would be
beneficial to further explore digital literacy and its notable variation to new media literacy. Often, the two are confused with one another. New media literacy focuses on the deconstruction and analysis of messages and themes by providing people with the skills to do this. It directly relates to popular culture and is crucial in understanding the world. New media literacy creates
awareness on the how, what and why of visual imagery, video, music, news reports advertising, sculpture, art and much more. Digital Literacy tends to focus more on the usability of technology and through this have the proficiency to source and critically engage with information competently (Flew, 2008 pg. 53).

Walsh and Nielsen’s articles give readers a better understanding of what new media is and how it can be used in a teacher’s pedagogy in the classroom. Through this, as previously mentioned, new media literacy skills are developed. What needs to
be addressed is how to educate stakeholders of students and schools. Students are being taught these skills in schools yet their parents are part of generations where new media wasn’t of crucial importance and especially not being addressed in schools. The question then becomes how do we engage these previous generations of people to learn the literacy skills of new media and do they even want to learn? As parents are part of the education process in young people’s lives it is necessary for them to also learn these skills. While it may seem students are more knowledgeable and savvy with technology, the illusion is based on instructional ability, for example, turning on a computer, logging into a school network system and signing into the latest new media social platform such as Facebook. However parents, teachers and guardians will need to have the knowledge behind how the computers are networked and the risks involved when providing personal information on these particular sharing sites.

Even if not all generations prior to 21st Century learners are educated about new media literacy skills, it is imperative the process of educating students on the topic is established within schools immediately.If new media literacy skills are not incorporated into the school curriculum, teachers will be developing a generation divided and sending them into the workforce and part of our society and world. With the drastic changes happening with technology and the rate at which it is growing and developing has lead our world and the education system to be reliant on technology. If schools and our culture are so dependent on these technologies how can we possibly deny the importance of teaching new media and digital literacy skills in schools. If these are not fully incorporated into the curriculum many students who do not on their own accord explore this avenue of information will be left behind ill-equipped to join the workforce with the understanding of new media and how
it relates to and affects our world. Taking a preventative method by educating students in new media literacy skills will ensure the generations of the future are able to successfully take on what will be passed onto them. The education system must not be ignorant and realise the necessity of new media literacy skills, something to be taught and can be taught through subject content.

Bibliography:

de Abreu, Belinha (2010) Changing Technology = Empowering Students
through Media Literacy
, New Horizons in Education; Vol. 58 Issue 3, Drexel University, USA,
Education Research Complete pg. 26-33

Carmen, Luke (2007) As seen on TV or was that my phone? New media
literacy
. Policy
Futures in Education; Vol. 5 Issue.1 p.50-58

Flew, Terry (2008) New Media an
introduction,
3rd Ed. Oxford University Press, Australia pg. 53

Krausz, P (2001) Children and the new media literacy, Australian Screen Education Issue 25 pg. 106-108

Lister, Martin
and Dovey, Jon and Giddings, Seth and Grant Ian and Kelly, Kieran (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction,
Routledge, New Fetter Lane, London England pg.11

Nielsen, Greg (2011)Media
Literacy in the Social Studies Classroom
,
Education Digest Vol.
76 Issue 7 pg. 43-45

Walsh, Christopher (2008) Teaching literacy in the new media age
through the arts
, Literacy Learning: the Middle Years Vol. 16 Issue. 1 pg. 8-17

http://chasingmrchips.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/education-foundations-module-c-post/#comments

Blog Comments 2: Module C: Stan’s Scenario

Through her analysis of Stan’s scenario, Jodi has done an extremely concise job linking research from learning theory and how it can be applied in Stan’s situation. Rather than expanding on points already discussed by Jodi, I will link these to some of the nine provocations.

In the scenario description Stan mentions the behaviour of students has gone downhill over the last years. Stan, being an experienced teacher twenty years would surely have seen varying behaviours among students, from both ends of the spectrum, some positive and some negative. It is important for Stan to remember the ways in which evolving culture affect the behaviour and social development of the youth. It would be beneficial for Stan to reflect on the provocation do we teach students or
subjects? Students who are interested, motivated and engaged tend to behave properly in class (McInerny, 2006 pg. 207).

What Stan needs to evaluate is teaching and learning in a changing world.

‘Each generation brings with it greater access to information.’ (Groundwater-Smith 2007 pg. 134).

The way technology has impacted on teaching and learning is phenomenal. We now have more access to information and more easily. Teachers are now bound by almost no limitations for innovative ways they can teach their content. Pedagogy has been redefined as an inclusive term which has now moved far from the ways of the industrial age (Groundwater-Smith, 2007 pg. 137). As Stan is a teacher trained as a learner teacher in a way very different from today, I wonder whether Stan has taken these new technological advances on board in his classroom. My curiosity stems from the very last statement in the scenario, ‘They (the schools leadership) just leave it to him (Stan) to battle with kids who won’t sit down quietly and do the work he sets for them.’ Are the students in Stan’s class forever sitting down? Are they expected to work quietly for the whole duration of the class, meaning there is no discussion based group work? If the students are forming ‘gang’ type groups as Stan suggests, maybe it would be beneficial to allow them to work collaboratively, their team work may be electric in an active and engaging classroom. It would also help Stan to be mindful the students he is teaching now are digital natives (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 109). They have never known a life without computers, colour television and mobile phones (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 109). Stan must reassess his pedagogical techniques to meet the needs of his students whom are 21st Century learners; what will my students want and need from me?

As Stan has been a teacher in this same school for the past twenty years he has seen its rotations and new school leaders taking over. He says the leadership at the school aren’t doing anything to properly support teachers with their
behaviour management. In the past the school has had a wonderful sense of community between teachers, students and parents and was working quite successfully. As Stan has so much experience it may be helpful to utilize this and speak with the new principle, informing them of successful practices from the past and develop a new positive relationship.

Bibliography:

Churchill, Rick et al. (2011). Teaching Making a Difference. John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Groundwater-Smith, Susan & Ewing, Robyn & le Cornu, Rosie (2007)Teaching challenges & dilemmas, 3rd edition, Thomson Australia.

McInerney, Dennis M. & McInerney, Valentina (2006) Educational psychology constructing learning 4th ed. Pearson Education, Australia.

http://toriabell.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/discouraged-disillusioned-but-not-down-and-out/

Blog Comments 2: Module D: Jane’s Scenario

In her blog post title Discouraged, Disillusioned but not Down and Out, Tori has done a wonderful job analysing Jane’s scenario. In her thorough investigation Tori discussed why it is so important to make learning relevant for the students of this rural community and link it to their emotional lives and lifestyle where parents are able to see the benefit of proper education as well. I thought I might add to this idea by looking further into models to help engage students in class and spark motivation.

Relative to provocation 6: What will students want and need from me? Jane’s students will need her to make learning interesting and relevant to them, their culture and general way of life. To succeed in doing this Jane will need to link education to their worlds which will develop self-motivated learning. Self-motivated learning is an intrinsic process and occurs once children have learned this beahvior (McInerney, 2006 pg. 208). Putting into practice, strategies and techniques to guide students toward achieving self-motivation will benefit them in their working life. Those who wish to continue studying
will need to be able to engage with education and learning and move past a behaviorist model where there are expectations of reward upon achieving particular tasks (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 116). Other students who will remain in their community, actively working and contributing through skills and trade or perhaps farming will still need to be able to have self-motivation
which correlates with self-confidence and linking to success and general happiness (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 117).

As well as addressing the hidden curriculum, enhancing student’s motivation will benefit Jane’s classroom behaviour management. Once she can successfully link subject matter with students emotional lives students will feel more connected
and work collaboratively,  improving their levels of engagement and critical thinking. McInerney gives a number of examples for different and common strategies that can be used to enhance motivation including:

‘…showing interest, giving responsibility, attributing thoughtfulness and improvement, promoting cooperation, selecting stimulating tasks and giving choice of tasks.’ (2006 pg. 246).

By implementing some of these strategies and researching more, Jane may be able to improve the engagement of the learners in her classes. By continuing to reflect and evaluate on her own practice and pedagogy as well as the students she
teaches, she will come up with the successful tools necessary to engage her classes. Remembering of course that this is Jane’s first year of teaching, she is not expected to know all the answers and over time (especially if she commits herself to this community for a few years at least) she will grow and develop her teaching style and have a better understanding of the context she is teaching in and the students emotional, social and physical development.

Bibliography:

McInerney, Dennis M. & McInerney, Valentina (2006) Educational psychology constructing learning 4th ed. Pearson Education, Australia.

Churchill, Rick et al. (2011). Teaching Making a Difference. John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Education Foundations:

Module D: Teaching all Learners

Scenario:

Wayne

Wayne teaches at an inner city public high school. While he is really excited about his new job close to the inner city suburb where he lives and went to university, he’s finding that not all the students share his enthusiasm for learning. Wayne really enjoys the subject matter of his senior classes and spends a large proportion of his planning time ensuring he has the depth of content covered. However he is finding that his class is falling into two groups. In one a group a number of apparently highly motivated students are intellectually pushing him. Another group seems to consist of students who don’t really want be there. Both groups are causing Wayne concern as it appears that the ‘motivated’ group don’t engage at a deep level and instead want to know the ‘correct’ answers, while the ‘less motivated’ group are difficult for him to engage. A number of students seem to be distracted at school, he thinks they are tired or have perhaps been using drugs and alcohol. He is also concerned that a number of students seem anxious and fearful of not getting into the nearby University. When talking about his situation with a friend Wayne realised he is torn between the need to make learning interesting and relevant for a number of his students and the pressure from others to prepare for the end of school exams.

This scenario highlights Wayne’s genuine character as a teacher. Clearly concerned with his students and class work, Wayne has reflected on his pedagogical practices and identified concerns needing to be addressed. Although Wayne’s current situation has him anxious, by applying theories of motivation and engagement to his classes, Wayne may very well be able to connect with his students and encourage their participation and level of critical thinking. 

Before evaluating the student’s level of motivation and engagement it would be beneficial for Wayne to reflect on his own agenda and expectations. Wayne is really enthusiastic about learning and is overjoyed at the opportunity to stay close to home, working near the University he studied at. This may create a false sense of security for Wayne and he may be disillusioned in thinking the students have the same passion and eagerness to learn as he does.

Wayne is dealing with two very different dynamic groups in one of his senior classes. The first group are solely focused on knowing the correct answers and are preoccupied with their university entrance scores, to address this Wayne needs to teach beyond content based work and highlight the links between class work and final scores to make meaning of their regular class tasks. This will help make the learning relevant and link together future goals with current work. In addition to this students will become more motivated. This motivation will encourage students of this group to aim to succeed and flourish, knowing their efforts will be rewarded and evident in their marks for the class work and unit overall.

Rather than just knowing the answers to questions Wayne needs to develop self-motivated learning with his students. McInerney identifies that the basis for self-motivation requires problem solving skills which create awareness and comprehension for problematic or unclear situations (2006 pg. 208). This then correlates to provocation number 6: What will students want and need from me? One group of Wayne’s student’s may want to know the answers to everything, but realistically will need him to teach them critical thinking skills allowing students to source information for themselves. A skill they will certainly need for their tertiary studies.

Wayne’s second group of students whom he is unable to engage and fears there may be use of drug and alcohol. This group seems particularly uninterested and don’t seem to care or want to be there. Wayne has done well to identify varying factors affecting student’s level of engagement (drugs and or alcohol). He also needs to consider the possibility of whether his pedagogical strategies and arranged work caters to the needs of this group. In the scenario description Wayne is said to be spending a large proportion of his planning time covering content in detail, this would be catering to the motivated students rather than those uninterested. As it is a senior class, the case may be that the workload is too difficult for some of the students and as a result their learning is compromised as it shuts down. This idea relates to Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development and a student’s zone of proximal development (Woolfolk, Margetts, 2010 pg. 55)

This is relative to provocation 7, Should we teach students or subjects? My personal belief is that we teach students our subjects. From the scenario description it appears as though Wayne’s content delivery is only reaching half the class. He needs to practice more strategies from a constructivist theory of learning, perhaps incorporating more group based tasks working toward peer-to-peer learning (Fetherston, 2006 pg. 162). As the class are older and do not possess the intrinsic desire to learn, it may be better for Wayne to skip over social cognitivist views on motivation and try applying a behaviourist approach. If some students are using drugs and alcohol which is affecting their participation in class, they won’t have achieved self-efficacy (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 116). These students may be seeking to gain attention. By using positive reinforcements and rewards in the classroom through a behaviourist approach to learning could help achieve this and build self-confidence.

Above all, to improve motivation with all his students, motivation to actively partake in class and motivation to improve critical thinking and engagement, Wayne must analyse the social setting of his students, their socio-economic status and general morals, values and goals. Many of his students are aiming to further their studies at University as he did, Wayne can use this to his advantage to connect with students.

‘To motivate students in a productive and meaningful way, a teacher must carefully consider how to tap into students’ emotional lifeworlds’ (Churchill et al. 2011 pg. 122).

This then ties in with provocation 1, what kind of teacher do I want to be? Clearly through his reflection and pro-active planning time, Wayne wants to improve the quality of the learning, engagement and motivation in his class. Changes Wayne will need to make in his classroom are the physical environment and the social-emotional environment (Groundwater-Smith et al. 2007 pg.115). By re-establishing these factors within the classroom, Wayne will be able to engage his students in critical thinking and encourage motivation. Wayne is definitely on the right track and through this experience will be able to further develop his own pedagogical strategies and techniques in the classroom and have a better understanding of his students which he can apply to other classes he may encounter in the future.

Bibliography:

Churchill, Rick et al. (2011). Teaching Making a Difference. John Wiley & Sons Australia.

Fetherston, Tony (2007) Becoming an effective teacher Nelson Australia.

Groundwater-Smith, Susan & Ewing, Robyn & le Cornu, Rosie (2007)Teaching challenges & dilemmas, 3rd edition, Thomson Australia.

McInerney, Dennis M. & McInerney, Valentina (2006) Educational psychology constructing learning 4th ed. Pearson Education, Australia.

Woolfolk, A & Margetts, K. (2010). Physical and cognitive development (Ch. 2). In Educational Psychology. 2nd Australian ed.(pp. 24-80). Pearson Australia.