My evidence sets are built around Biesta (2015) and their framework on good education that focuses on Subjectification, Qualification, and Socialisation.
Relationality is key to any human interaction; to be human is to be in relationship. It is, therefore, the responsibility and privilege of an educator to deeply know their young people. To support them in discovering themselves, who they are in community with others, and support developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to shape their future (FA: 1.1).
Throughout my placements, I have taught; young people from year three to year six, young people with physical disabilities and those able-bodied, young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyslexia, Low Working Memory, Speech and Language Delay and neurotypical young people, as well as young people who identify as Aboriginal and those who identify as white Australians. I knew that to best support such a diverse range of young people, I need to rapidly develop relationships with them to frame my understanding of them and what would help them (FA: 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 4.1)
Figure 2 - Class Dress up (FA: 1.2, 1.3)
Figure 1 - "The three domains of education and the three domains of educational purpose (Biesta, 2015, p. 78) (FA: 1.2, 2.1)
My evidence sets are built around Biesta (2015) and their framework on good education that focuses on Subjectification, Qualification, and Socialisation (FA 2.1). This evidence set focuses on Subjectification.
Early in my second placement, the centrality of relationships became very clear for the teaching and learning of all young people. Engaging with my mentor as we examined the planning work completed during the university semester, they advised that the complexity of the design was in advance of where these young people were at. With this in mind, I sought to gather more relevant contextual information of the young people’s readiness across the curriculum, their interests, and information they wished to share (Figure 4).
Figure 3 - Journal of relational and academic reflections (FA: 1.1, 1.2)
He was extremely confident in changing some of his short-term plans and learning programs to better suit the students' learning needs.
Figure 4 - Collegial Feedback, (FA: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, 4.1
It was important, however, for the young people to understand who I was and position myself relationally. As I was entering their space, this gave them a locus to respond to (Nicoll, 2004). Figure 5 shows correspondence with the young people, parents, and carers and offers them an opportunity to engage with me as a professional and enter into the educational space at a time and manner that might suit them better than entering the school gate (Rennie, 2006). Duchesne & McMaugh (2018) and their work on educational psychology detail the affective elements of relationships, particularly friendship, in developing strong subjectivity. Therefore, producing strong, healthy social bonds, especially friendships, is central to supporting young people within a good education system.
During my planning days, I deliberately spent time gathering information and developing rapport with each young person. This helped me see each young person and help them feel seen (Duchesne & McMaugh, 2018). Using both formative and summative assessments, I located young people on the learning curriculum and more strongly aligned their interests and preferences to the structure of the learning design and environment (Tomlinson & Jarvis, 2009) (Figures 6 and 7).
Building a holistic picture of each young person’s context and the dynamic interaction of all the young people inhabiting the same classroom space is critical for developing good education. These opportunities came in the form of participating in professional conversations with colleagues such as; The Department of Child Protection to develop a ‘One Plan’ for a young person under the Guardianship of the Chief Executive, as well as engaging with parents and carers for student-led conferences, and meetings with parents and psychologists to support young people suffering from trauma.
I needed to pay attention to the affective components of young people’s readiness to be at school. Using the Mood Meter (Brackett et al., 2006; Hoffmann et al., 2020) and the work done by the Centre for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University, I knew how paramount it was to check in with young people about their emotional state. As part of the roll, the class would circle on the meter how they were feeling. This gave me
crucial information about the state of well-being of each young person as well as the class as a whole (Figure 8). As my professional experience went on, we began to examine as a class how this relational element might impact our learning environment and what we could do to shape it to the needs of our group. I made sure that I always positioned myself on the Mood Meter to model that to be human is to have emotions, that all emotions matter, and that we have some agency and the capacity to develop strategies to help manage our emotions.
I gathered information about young people’s readiness for persuasive writing through other preassessment tools. Persuasion is one of the more relational activities within the English curriculum. It requires deep knowledge of self and others and the ability to form an opinion between those two domains (Flint et al., 2020). The preassessment data showed that young people were hesitant to express preferences and opinions in the format required for the preassessment, as seen in Figure 9. The young people also struggled with the technical skills of producing a piece of writing. From observations and other activities such as Take a Stand, it was clear the young people either didn’t feel safe expressing their opinions amongst their peers or had been indoctrinated by the education system to provide answers the teacher was after rather than answers true to their identity. When explored alongside my mentor teacher through moderation practices, this data informed the development of my unit plan (Figure 10). All the young people in the class were assessed as being below level when assessed purely on their production capacity of a persuasive text when moderated against the ACARA exemplars (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2014). Consolidating my understanding of the young people, their state of readiness and their preferences, I developed a gamified approach to persuasive writing using the game “Werewolves of Millers Hollow” (Pallières & Marly, 2001).
Through scaffolded lessons that developed young people’s skills at the game, there was a deliberate orientation on reflection of the persuasive elements, making the thinking often hidden from young people explicit (Mergler, 2008) (Figure 11). My understanding of and relationship with the young people allowed me to differentiate game elements towards supporting or extending them depending on their requirements. Differentiating by role, group, and readiness provided opportunities to meet the young people where they were at (Jarvis, 2020; Tomlinson & Moon, 2013; Tomlinson & Imbeau, 2013).
This game also supported the breakdown of perfectionism and ‘rightness’ by lowering the stakes of success and providing enjoyment regardless of the game's winner or the role played. Young people developed the capacity to express their opinions and preferences in a safe and supportive environment while working towards a common and shared outcome. There was also a low response time to an event of persuasion and feedback on that event. As voting rounds of the event are short, people could express persuasion, and through the results of the vote, everyone in the group got to experience the benefit or loss of that piece of persuasion, all within a few minutes of hearing it (Berg, 2003; Black & Wiliam, 1998; White & Gunstone, 2014). Research shows that the shorter a feedback loop, preferably a feedforward loop (what might work better next time), the more likely long-term learning will occur (Wiliam, 2016).
Figure 10 - Unit plan on persuasive writing (FA: 1.1, 1.6, 2.1, 2.3, 3.4, 4.1, 5.2)
Figure 11 - Lesson plan for persuasive unit (FA: 1.1, 1.4, 1.6, 2.1, 2.3, 3.4, 4.1, 5.2)
Figure 5 - Correspondence with parents and carers (FA 1.4, 3.4, 3.7, 4.5, 5.4, 7.3)
Figure 6 - TORCH test data Term 2 (FA: 3.1, 4.1, 5.4)
Figure 7 - Detailed mapping of student work against the TORCH framework (FA: 3.1, 4.1, 5.4)
Figure 8 - Mood Meter used during class (FA: 1.4, 3.1, 3.4, 4.1, 4.3, 5.4)
Figure 9 - Assorted texts produced by young people (FA: 3.1, 4.1, 5.4)
Gareth used a variety of teaching methodologies. He utilised hands-on materials, problem solving, and research based activities as well as ICT. He also used a card game to develop a unit around persuasive writing. This particular activity has been so successful our class will continue to use it and our school sees it as a very valuable way to improve our students' ability to be persuasive but also develop the ability to discuss and analyse different situations.
Figure 12 - Collegial Feedback, (FA: 3.4, 4.1)
The feedback from my mentor teacher that you can see in Figure 12 clearly shows the impact this unit had on the young people in my class, the staff at the school, and the different ways learning can take shape within a classroom. I believe the Education Director was a bit shocked when they heard werewolves had been eating students in the class.
From a purely affective perspective, the young people loved to play this game. In my Action Research Reflection, also conducted during my professional experience, I reflect on how frustrating it was to have the young people be so incurious (Figure 13). Comparing this to how the young people were engaging with this unit by the end, there was a marked difference. Never before had young people asked to do literacy multiple times a day.
The young people were highly successful in the summative task of this unit, as shown in Figure 14, with most of the young people being assessed as at standard for the core goals of the unit (the other goals are applied to multiple genres within English with further opportunities to meet the year level standard). A sample of the young peoples’ work can be seen in Figure 15.
The fact that the young people were both successful in the learning and enjoyed engaging in the unit demonstrates the value of listening deeply to the young people and their needs and desires and finding ways to express that against the curriculum requirements. Most of the young people said it didn’t feel like learning.
Figure 13 - Action research reflection: How might I design questions that, when delivered as feedback, support young people to be more curious?
Figure 14 - Moderated Summative Assessment Results for Persuasive Writing Unit (FA: 2.3, 5.2, 5.4, 7.3)
A real strength of Gareth’s is his capacity to connect and build positive relationships with students and staff. It was evident that the students both liked and respected him. Many teachers commented on Gareth’s attitude and enthusiasm to this vocation. Coupled with the life skills and experiences that he brings with him to the classroom, I have no doubt that Gareth will continue to grow as an educator and positively impact the lives of students in the future.
Figure 16 - Leadership Feedback (FA: 1.1, 1.3, 6.3)
Figure 15 - Summative assessments texts produced by young people (FA: 3.1, 4.1, 5.4)
My ability to develop effective and impactful professional relationships was evident from my first placement experience (Figure 16). This was further reinforced by my mentor (Figure 17), liaison (Figure 18), and site coordinator (Figure 19) comments from my final professional experience. By deliberately focusing on building relationships with the young people and seeking additional contextual information about them, I shaped the learning environment in a way that supported each young person to be seen and to know I cared for them as a subject but also how they might best learn with me as their teacher and alongside their peers.
Gareth has displayed an excellent ability to build student relationships as well as staff relationships. He built strong student relationships, understanding the need for a positive relationship to help support academic achievement. He was genuinly caring and considerate of the students' needs and was able to support them, while also helping them to pursue their learning goals
Figure 17 - Collegial Feedback, (FA: 1.1, 1.3, 6.3)
The young people could better engage with this unit of work because I noticed when they were disengaged in other aspects of learning and curated an experience that met them where they were at, transitioning from the known to the unknown and scaffolding the journey depending on their learning profile preferences and their interests (Duchesne & McMaugh, 2018; Mergler, 2008)
Gareth is someone who is passionate and cares deeply about providing rich learning experiences for students. He plans thoughtfully and purposefully with the aim of supporting students to develop their curiosity and an intrinsic motivation for learning. Gareth's drive to be a teacher who offers empowering opportunities means that he is constantly reflecting on how to develop his practice.
Figure 18 - Liasion Feedback, (FA: 1.3, 4.3, 6.3)
My professional practice could be improved if I developed more rigorous data collection methods in various areas. An example of this would have been to keep a checklist that was used to track young people’s progress towards the unit plans goals during each game of Werewolves and to offer more structured and targeted feedback to each young person at that time. A piece of feedback would have more powerfully linked their actions to their understanding, which they could refer to before the next game, shape their next steps and provide a firm method for tracking young people’s progress, more so than just a mental checklist. This would have helped them know I cared for them and their progress toward the unit outcomes.
He quickly developed relationships with the students and staff and continuously sought feedback which he then acted upon...Gareth genuinly cares about the students he was teaching and could clearly articulate their needs, their trigger points and strategies to support their learning.
Figure 19 - Leadership Feedback, (FA: 4.3, 6.3)
Also, all the feedback from the young people regarding their seeness and the recognition that I cared for them and their preferences is purely anecdotal. Providing the young people more opportunities to complete surveys about how they felt I explained content, linked it to their interests, cared about them, and cared about their learning would give me some more touch points to direct the next steps of my development.
He has been actively engaged in professional conversations around school practices, new educational ideas, and curriculum. These professional dialogues clearly demonstrated his passion for learning and enthusiasm to be involved in new ways of thinking. Gareth was extremeely reliable, punctual, and participated actively in all staff meetings and Professional Development activities which have been based on Numeracy and Music.
Figure 19 - Collegial Feedback, (FA: 6.4)
1.1 Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students - By understanding different young people’s needs, I designed learning around their requirements (Figures 3, 16, 17). Provided differentiated tasks depending on the young people’s development and characteristics (Figures 4, 10 and 11)
1.2 Understand how students learn - I used research-informed practice to shape my teaching approach and content (Figure 1). Engaged in school/community events to build effective relationships with the young people critical to learning (Figure 2). Provided the opportunity for the school community to offer me feedback on the learning design (Figure 5). I reflected on how the young people were learning and adapted my practice (Figure 13)
1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds – I have designed and delivered teaching for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds (Figures 2, 4, 16, 17,18)
1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – Spending dedicated time with each young person, building a connection with them, and understanding their unique identity perspectives. Ensuring I did acknowledgments of country and integrated Indigenous voice into the learning environment through texts while positioning myself relationality (Figures 4, 5, 7, and 8).
1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability – I shaped my learning design to consider young people with disabilities by providing a calm working environment, regular breaks, and structured and clear learning tasks and outcomes while differentiating tasks to ensure they were suitable (Figures 4, 10 and 11)
2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area – Designed fun and engaging learning tasks relevant to the teaching area and developed a literacy-rich environment (Figures 10 and 11).
2.2 Content selection and organisation – The unit plan developed a strong scaffold to progress young people on their learning journey (Figure 10)
2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting – Learning intentions were linked to the Australian Curriculum with feedback providing young people, parents, and carers information on their development (Figures 10, 11, and 14).
3.1 Establish challenging learning goals – Assessed where young people were at and shaped learning design based on the data collected relevant to their readiness (Figures 6, 7, 8, and 9)
3.4 Select and use resources – Smartboard, Kahoot/Quizzes and the Werewolves of Millers Hollow all engaged young people in the learning (Figures 5, 8, 10, 11, 12).
3.7 Engage parents/carers in the educative process – Engaged parents and carers through student-led conversations, one-on-one meetings and digital platforms (Class Dojo, Jotform) (Figure 5)
4.1 Support student participation – Utilised digital tools to capture information and engage young people, supported young people to use the additional spaces in the classroom as required. Differentiated task difficulty was scaffolded for students requiring additional assistance (Figures 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15). Developed various activities that supported students with disabilities (Figures 10 and 11). Identified and integrated students’ learning preferences in lesson planning (Figures 4, 9, 10, and 11).
4.3 Manage challenging behaviour – Built strong positive relationships with young people that let them know I was always on their side regardless of their behaviour. Understanding their trigger points and their methods, as well as the schools, for regulating their behaviour shaped a safe learning environment (Figures 8, 18 and 19)
5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning – Feedback was provided to the young people through playing the game and participating in reflective conversations at the end of a lesson (Figures 10 and 11). Written feedback was provided to young people on their work as well as using the marking rubric for the summative assessment, which was used as a self-assessment and teacher assessment tool (Figures 14 and 15)
5.4 Interpret student data – Used formative and summative assessment information to capture student data, i.e. TORCH and MoodMeter, and used it to respond to student needs and modify my practice (Figures 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 14).
6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice – Sought feedback on my teaching and learning design from my mentor, liaison, site coordinator and curriculum leads and integrated that into my ongoing practice (Figures 16, 17, 18, and 19)
6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning – Participated in a range of professional learning conversations around school practices, educational concepts and curriculum that I integrated into my learning design (Figure 20).
7.3 Engage with the parents/carers – Engaged with parents and carers regularly through class dojo and meeting with them for discussions around the well-being of their young people (Figures 5 and 14).
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