Know Students and How They Learn

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Content in this category evidences my ability to cover standard 2 of AITSL’s National Professional Standards for Teachers “know students and how they learn”. For each subcategory I will provide at least one example of how I achieve that standard.

1.1  Physical, social, and intellectual development and characteristics of students

I have engaged in thorough research into flipping the classroom and its potential to reshape instruction by maximising interactive teaching and activities in class learning time for higher order learning. It will lead to learner centred spaces of active learning and student engagement where the teacher is a facilitator rather than a presenter of content. I am currently engaged in a second trial of flipping the classroom with a professional learning team.

1.2  Understand how students learn

In 2012 I completed How Language Works: Success in literacy and learning with AISSA. This course is the equivalent of 86 hours of work, and was “a comprehensive and innovative professional development program for educators seeking to extend their understandings about language and literacy. It does this by dealing with the English language in a highly systematic way and by methodically building participants’ understandings of how language works to make meaning across a range of contexts.” 1

1.3   Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds

In Stage 1 Media Studies I often have Chinese students in the class and it is essential they understand what is required of them in the SACE tasks. I often create separate task sheets for these students in Chinese using a translation tool, sometimes enlisting the International Students Support Officer to check these task sheets. I also check their progress regularly, particularly at the beginning of units, to ensure that they have understood what is required and address any misunderstandings.

1.4  Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

While I have not had the opportunity to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students, I ensured that I had some experience by choosing the Pitjantjatjara Lands for my Option 3 teaching placement at Flinders University. In a culturally enriching experience I spent two weeks teaching the senior class at Fregon Area School. While there I became involved with the local community (such as working with the breakfast for children program, running computing tutorials for adults, and playing with children after school).

1.5  Differentiate teaching to meet specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

For students with significant learning needs I assign them alternative assessment tasks that still focus on the same learning, but require students to produce evidence of their learning in a manner that they find engaging, achievable, and sets them up to experience success. For example in Stage 1 Media Studies while the class completed films for their entries in the DirtTV Mining competition, another student completed a ‘day in the life of a magpie’ film. This allowed them to meet the same SACE criteria and experiment with film making, but engaged them by incorporating their avid interest in using drones for filming, made it achievable by removing the in depth research into mining, and set them up to experience success by allowing a fluid narrative structure to the film.

1.6  Strategies to support full participation of students with disability

I have not taught students with a disability, but have supported a student in a debate team over a few years. I ensured that our meetings were held on the ground floor, that scheduled debates by Debating SA for that team were also held on the ground floor, and that the student was able to easily enter and exit rooms (often just needing someone to hold the door).

1. Government of South Australia, Department of Education and Children’s Services. (2011). How language works: Success in literacy and learning. Teacher development course. DECS Publishing: South Australia.

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