Standard 6 – Engage in professional learning
Focus Area 6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice
Graduate: Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.
Professional learning is a process every educator must engage in throughout the year. It helps them to improve their professional knowledge, highlights the characteristics of high quality teaching and helps improve on students and school outcomes. It is important that teachers are provided with opportunities to learn form each other as here they can share new curriculum resources, remain up to date with innovating technology and with new research regarding how students best learn.
I engaged in a mathematics related professional development session about ‘Big ideas in number’ run by a Senior Leader in mathematics named Jenni Hewett (Artefact – hand written notes taken throughout part of the session). This session provided myself and the other educators with numerous ideas for teaching number sense particularly in numeration, the operations and mental strategies for working out number facts. What I found most beneficial from this session was the resources explored, the games taught to us with several modifications for different abilities and the way we were encouraged to participate in multiple hands-on activities ourselves. This professional learning experience has allowed me to improve my practice in teaching mathematics in a number of areas.
Focus area 6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice
Graduate: Seek and apply constructive feedback from supervisors and teachers to improve teaching practices.
Professional feedback is an essential aspect of the lifelong learning process every educator goes through. Throughout my professional placement I sought after professional feedback so that I could make improvements on my teaching strategies throughout my time in this classroom and gain as much as possible through this experience. My mentor was extremely helpful in providing me with this and was keen to give me constructive ideas where necessary and praise when she thought I did something well.
The artefact is a scanned copy of written feedback provided to me on one of my days teaching. She made notes on different activities done throughout the day and provided me with questions to think about how I could adapt some strategies to improve them. This feedback was always timely, relevant to the group for students, ongoing and consistent which allowed me to make immediate improvements on methods of managing the class and planning learning experiences.
Focus Area 7.3 Engage with the parents/carers
Graduate: Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.
It is important that parents are encouraged and have the opportunity to be involved in their child’s education in a variety of ways. It is important that schools and parents work as a partnership where parents can be involved in decision making processes regarding their children’s education. It is fundamental that parents remain informed about their child’s progress although in order to do this pathways for communication must be established.
Multiple systems for this have been enacted into the classroom of my professional placement. Communication folders are folders prepared where my mentor places any relevant school policy notes and writes personalised notes to parents regarding matters concerning individual students when necessary. Students also receive weekly classroom newsletters, which I assisted in writing for the majority of my placement (Artefact – Newsletter from my final week at my placement school). Parent involvement is strongly encouraged within this classroom setting. Students are only at reception level and therefore need to be escorted to the classroom where parents are asked to stay during the morning activity. The newsletter often entails detailed referring to specific events parents are invited to participate in such as meetings or specific learning experiences requiring extra adult supervision.
Focus area 7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities
Graduate: Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.
Engaging with professional networks provides educators with an opportunity to take responsibility of their own learning. By working with other educators they can
The Greater Gawler Partnership is a professional association which supports the knowledge and practice of educators and schools surrounding the Gawler District. It is comprised of 15 different sites and supports joint solutions between them. The partnership has specific focus area they target to make improvements on such as curriculum implementation, positive education and now moderation.
A Senior Leader named Gail Holland is working towards a Learning Improvement Program focusing on moderation in mathematics. In one of these sessions we compared portfolios of student work ranging from above average, at level and bellow average performing students in mathematics. Our job was to assess the usefulness of these tasks against the achievement standards and decide whether the students grading was fair (Artefact – images of work samples completed at the moderation and calibration development session). I found this session beneficial in working with a wider community of educators, including those outside of the context of my placement school.