Challenges with prac

As a part of this week’s learning path we were asked to answer two questions about fears or challenges we have with professional placements. My responses are as follows:

  1. The top 2 challenges/problems/mistakes you have faced or made on prior Professional Experiences.

– Not being aware of the behaviours of all students. In the past one of the recurring comments I have received in regards to my lessons is that I often don’t notice minor behaviour issues such as a couple of students talking amongst themselves at the back of the classroom.

– Being confident in the content that I am teaching. I tend to not deliver my lessons as well when I am not as certain that the content and way I am teaching is what’s best for the students

  1. The top 2 fears/challenges you have about your EDC3100 Professional Experience.

– I have always had a fear of the mentor/school staff sitting at the back of my class and judging my lessons while I teach

– Being ready with a plan B when things go wrong. I don’t want to be standing in front of the class with a blank stare when my Youtube clip won’t load.

To see another student’s response to similar questions regarding our upcoming prac, visit Maddy’s page.

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#CodingCounts

Science and technology are becoming increasing more important in society every day. Therefore, the #codingcounts initiative to prepare school students for these opportunities is a wonderful idea. This project aims to develop student’s digital literacy and nurturing coders, innovators and entrepreneurs through practices such as robotics and coding clubs.

Although I support this initiative, I agree with Lucy that current and future teachers such as myself are not adequately trained and equipped to pass this knowledge and skills along to my students. If I, a pre-service teacher currently undergoing training for future education, feel uncomfortable with teaching this, I fail to see how a teacher who has been in the profession for decades is capable of adequately transferring this knowledge. Therefore, I believe that it is imperative that both current and future teachers undergo more training to prepare our students for the technological world.

 

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Prac

Many of my fellow pre-service primary teachers (Maddy, Tahnee and Lucy) have written about their confusion and concern over prac, the exact way that I am feeling currently. I know that we have all been on professional experience placements before but every new mentor and course requires something new of you. For this course, we have to incorporate ICT within our lessons. However, As I have not taught in this classroom before, I no very little about what different forms of ICT I have access to as well as how good the students are at using these ICT’s. It makes me very nervous as I feel I will have to have multiple back up plans for every situation.

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Online shopping issues

Well over a month ago, I designed an artwork which I uploaded to a website. The purpose of this site is to convert artwork into a variety of forms, print it and deliver it to the person for a reasonable price. The site seemed great. It told me when my order was printed, when it was sent an estimated arrival date and also provided me with a tracking number. I was really excited about receiving my artwork in a sticker form and checked my letterbox everyday after the estimated arrival date. Unfortunately, after 10 days of waiting my parcel still hadn’t arrived. I contacted the company who originally said that my order must not have been shipped. After I provided them with my tracking number, I discover that the company had sent my order using an American only shipping service which is just great considering I live in Australia!!! They then continued to say that they would be willing to resend my parcel using the correct shipping method at no additional cost to me. Eventually, one month after the estimated arrival date, I have received my parcel and I will certainly not be using this company again.

This goes to prove that although internet shopping can provide you with a variety of resources you wouldn’t be able to have access to in stores, sometimes a good old hand over of goods in person is much more reassuring.

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Constructing and Transforming

In order to develop an engaging and worthwhile learning experience for our students, both constructing and transforming knowledge must be utilized. Constructing or declarative knowledge relates to the students static knowledge and understanding of the concept and specific facts. Once mastered, transforming or procedural knowledge can be implemented. This type of knowledge is more dynamic, providing students with ways of working and knowledge of how to do something.

Both of these forms of knowledge can be found in the Australian Curriculum. As identified by Benjamin, the remembering, understanding and applying stages of Blooms Taxonomy relate to constructing knowledge while the higher levels of analyzing, evaluating and creating align with transforming knowledge.

This knowledge made it far easier for me to select appropriate content descriptors for assignment two, where I will be creating a unit plan and assessment tasks for a year 2 history unit.

These content descriptors are:

Constructing knowledge: The impact of changing technology on people’s lives (at home and in the ways they worked, travelled, communicated, and played in the past) (ACHHK046) ( From the Historical Knowledge and Understanding strand)

Transforming knowledge: Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present (ACHHS051) (From the Historical Skills strand)

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Developing PCK

As future teachers, although we may possess a deep understanding of a specific concept or skill, it is important that we are also able to foster this understanding in our students. This overlap between the knowledge of the subject being taught and the pedagogic knowledge of how to teach it is known as Pedagogical Content Knowledge (read more about PCK here).

As we prepare for our practicum in the next few weeks, I plan to develop my pedagogical content knowledge through:

  • Theory learned during preparation (e.g. from curriculum documents and other publications)
  • Experience gained through previous placements and specific knowledge gained through previous courses that I have completed.
  • Analysing factors related to my personal background which may influence my PCK

I will also avoid ‘recipe-style learning’ such as only teaching through a text book, or focusing on only the fun aspects of the subject, marginalizing other important content or skills.

 

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Pedagogical Content Knowledge

As we move through this course into the creation of our second assignment and preparation for our professional experience in the coming weeks, the concept of Pedagogical Content Knowledge comes to the foreground. This concept was brought to light in 1986 by teacher education researcher Lee Shulman. He defined pedagogical content knowledge as “teachers’ interpretations and transformations of subject-matter knowledge in the context of facilitating student learning (IDRA, 2009).”

This concept is extremely important for our next assignment and professional experience as our actions as pre-service teachers are largely determined by our pedagogical content knowledge of all aspects of the curriculum, content descriptions and learning experiences. Sound pedagogical content knowledge links knowledge about teaching with knowledge about learning, providing us with a strong foundation for our future experiences.

 

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My experience with technology

Last week I bought my first tablet and at first I was quite concerned “Oh no, that’s a lot of money. If I buy this now, I will have to live on the streets for the rest of my life!” (I have a flare for the dramatic). Thankfully, I bought it and absolutely love it. I was amazed with it’s efficiency and ease to use. Researching is simple, all notes I take are easily retrieved, and all of my paintings can be saved so that I can return to them later. Additionally, I was amazed to find out how many apps are available to teachers, ranging from apps to record grades, to tips for teaching maths skills. Here are some Literacy Apps, many I have found very useful. I hope you will too, enjoy!

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On the road to becoming a teacher

Sometimes when I look forward to my future of being a teacher, I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. “How will I stop anyone from falling through the cracks, What if the students think that I am boring, How will I keep on top of everything, What if the parents have birthed the spawn of Satan?” Thankfully, I am not the only one who has had these sorts of thoughts and there are people out there who are willing to provide these expert advice. One of these such people is Melinda who has posted an advice article, 100 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Teacher. Thankfully, the one piece of advice that I keep having to come back to when I start getting overwhelmed is number 38. “Believe in yourself, if you want to improve…you can”.

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Using ICT to support literacy learning

I have recently been researching reasons for implementing ICT into literacy lessons, and have come to discover how interconnected the two really can be. I now understand that in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the meaning making process, students make experience interactions on both a physical and cognitive plane. Through constantly shifting between modes and texts, students are able to build layers of meaning connecting their reading and writing processes. However, throughout my study one overwhelming concept kept coming up: it is the quality of the experience rather thean the time spent using ICT that improved literacy learning. This means that even if technology is incorporated into a lesson, if it is only used to replace traditional print methods, the knowledge the students gain form that lesson will not be enhanced or reinforced. To see what insights other students gained from this assignment, visit Maddy’s blog.

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