My Qualifications

  • Your relevant qualifications

I am currently in my third year of my Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor Arts (Humanities) Degree at Australian Catholic University. I have completed two practicums in 2017 that all up added to 3-4 weeks including observation days. This has provided me with some experience in a school environment. I have completed my working with children check and the anaphylaxis training certificate which qualify me to enter a school as a teacher or a prac teacher.

My teaching philosophy

 

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There are many ways people learn in this world. I think some of the most effective ways for a student to learn is to work in collaboration with others to better their education. Through working together students will be able to develop unique skills that individual learning may not provide such as Paget’s learning theories. It is through Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism theories that I base my own philosophy on how people learn and how I would teach a class as Vygotsky believed that cognitive functions develop in and therefore must be explained as products of social interaction. Furthermore, I think that Vygotsky’s belief of the importance of others involved in the learning process allowed them to scaffold learning through Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) theory which commonly visualises an interaction on a task between a more competent person and a less competent person, which then allows the less competent person to become independently proficient at what was previously a joint task (Chalkin, 2003). I believe that the way I should teach involves a lot of Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist learning theories such as his ZPD to develop my classroom teaching. By pairing up students with others who may have less knowledge for certain tasks I hope to put the ZPD to use to develop the skills and knowledge of the less competent students so they can eventually complete tasks independently and assist others. This collaboration between students will help develop a healthy and social community in the class and develop students learning. I also take into account the importance of individual learning theories from theorists such as Piaget and when necessary, implement these theories in my class when individual guided learning is required. From my previous prac, I found that creating comparison work tasks was effective in communicating the desired learning outcomes to the students as they struggled more than most students of that age group in other schools. Kinds of Pedagogies that I may want to implement in my teaching to best suit me and my students would be inquiry-based learning which is directed by questions or problems that a student must work towards in order to address it, cooperative learning where group learning is a priority and peer-teaching would be another pedagogy I want to employ in my classrooms as it provides students with the ability to actively present their knowledge and act as a mentor or as a teacher to their peers. Lack of motivation is something I can relate to a lot as I also have motivation issues. As a result of this, I strive to motivate all the unmotivated students who may be in my classes. Interactive activities designed to engage students with a clear goal to work towards can be implemented to help motivate those who are not motivated. Tasks with a reward based system can help motivate students in younger years or just positive reinforcement I have found can work wonders when dealing with unmotivated students. My role as a teacher is to ensure my students receive the best education possible and that they have a mentor that will help develop their unique personalities and shape them for the future. I hope to engage my students in the study of history and develop their passion to learn about our modern and ancient pasts as they are key to our identity as a species.

Critical Reflections

Critical reflection of experiences in the classroom

Experience one:

My first experience in a school setting was back at the start of 2017 where I did my first placement for community engagement. I was placed at a special needs school in Lindfield with another of my cohort to gain experience from prac placement before my first teaching experience in a school. I acted as a support teacher in a small class of nine students who had a range of disabilities and from a range of ages. Being smaller classes I was able to spend more one on one time with the students while they were completing their assigned class work. I found that these students worked better on their own as they would disturb or distress their peers if they worked in groups, I found that behaviourism was an effective learning theory to help the students learn in the activities set out for them. One such activity which I was part of was the class trip up to the local Coles to purchase supplies for the school canteen. This activity developed the student’s life skills and allowed them to interact with people of the public to develop their social skills. I was sent to assist Peter a year 9 student, in particular, complete the tasks he had to complete while at the supermarket, this student, in particular, struggled with differentiating coins and prices of the items he had selected when it came to paying at the checkout. With some guidance, he managed to give the correct amount of money and collected his change. Once back in class I was asked to set a task that would improve the student’s ability to count the right amount of money that is required to purchase certain items from a shop. In this reflection I can draw a link to the Australian Professional Standards for teachers, the standard one: Know students and how they learn in particular with focus areas 1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities and 1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability (AITSL, 2011).

Experience two:

Following my community engagement placement in 2017 I then went on my first professional experience placement at Northern Beaches Secondary College: Cromer Campus where I was to teach junior high school English to a year seven and a year eight class under the supervision of the teacher who’d normally take the class. I had some issues while completing this prac and teaching the class. For this reflection, I’ll be focusing on my issue with my first teaching experience. Being the first time in a mainstream school I was nervous on how my first day would go teaching the year seven class I was assigned the Roald Dahl focus area in which I had only three classes to teach it in. My issue was that prior to this placement I had little to no knowledge or skills on actually teaching a class in high school as all the units I had done or currently completing did not give any assistance on lesson planning, classroom management or setting assessments to name a few and no study of English pedagogy and syllabus. This affected how I was to teach my class as I hadn’t ever seen a proper lesson plan format before so planning what to teach for the three classes I had to use powerpoint presentation style lessons to make the most of my teaching. It was my supervising teacher who assisted me in proper preparation as he showed me how to navigate the current English syllabus in use at the time.  I had the same issues when it came to teaching the year eight class although my main issue for this class was managing the students who were easily distracted. Looking back on this reflection now I can draw links to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, standard three – Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning to apply to my issues with this reflection focus area 3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs (AITSL, 2011) in particular as I found it difficult to plan proper lessons without the relevant skills I have now gained after completing and currently completing my CPA pedagogy units for stages 4-6.

Experience 3:

The third reflection I am doing is also based on my most recent practical experience at Cromer Campus in 2017. The focus will be from my year eight English class that I was tasked with teaching the topic of quest fantasy and the hero’s journey. I was excited to be teaching this topic as the fantasy genre is something I am passionate about so I hadn’t many issues when it came to teaching this topic to my year eights. The primary goal for my year eights was to get them to design their own fantasy world or the basis for one by the end of my sequence of four classes. I will be providing an activity which I tasked the students to do during the class. I used a mixture of cognitivism and constructivism in my classes to best suit my students learning needs. This activity I implemented in my third class as I believed that was when my class had properly grasped the idea of fantasy and the hero’s journey and how a fantasy story should be structured. I will attach the worksheet below. Once the students had completed the worksheet I found that they had higher levels of motivation to create their own unique stories, I noticed that several students had woven their own experiences and identities into their work when reading over their completed scaffolds for the creative assessment I would have handed out. In this task, I have drawn links to several aspects of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. These include Standard 2 – Know the content and how to teach it, focus areas 2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area and 2.2 Content selection and organisation (AITSL, 2011) and Standard 3 – Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning, focus area 3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs (AITSL, 2011)

Worksheet used in class:

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I used this video as a hook for my class before diving into the story creation

Experience 4:

My last reflection is once again drawn from my recent prac at Cromer campus. It has been difficult to reflect on experiences, issues or aspects of teaching as I had little time at the school to really gather a substantial amount to reflect on. However, the last class I had with the year eights involved some issues and experiences that I can reflect on as it involved the use of ICT and time in the school’s computer rooms. The final task for my class was to write a draft of the fantasy story they had been developing in previous lessons on the computers as part of their lesson outcomes. The issues that had become evident in the computer room as the majority of the class were troubled students who struggled with attention and self-directed learning which made classroom management difficult. I found that splitting up the friend groups throughout the class helped keep the students focused on their stories which allowed me to rotate around the class assisting students who needed guidance on developing a well-structured creative story. I can draw links between this reflection and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers which include Standard 2 – Know the content and how to teach it (AITSL, 2011), focus area 2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Standard 4 – Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments, focus areas 4.2 Manage classroom activities and 4.3 Manage challenging behaviour (AITSL, 2011). These Standards I found were the most relevant to my experience of that class in particular.

 

Reference list:

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2011). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards

American Lit Summative Entry

American Literature helps me to expand the boundaries of my own experience.

It is branching out from Australia and into the rich and diverse world of literature found in America can expand the boundaries of my own experience in the world of literature. While we have explored several of the writers presented in this unit in other literature units throughout my two years here at ACU I believe I could better connect with them when studying their contributions to America and its literature. Throughout the course of this unit, we explored many different cultures and literature that reside within America. these include the Native American writers and African American writers, both of which have significantly contributed to the growth of literature in America. Other topics explored throughout the semester included Transcendentalist writing, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson right through to modernist writers and the Beats generation of literature. All these writers and moments of literature helped me in my journey to expand the boundaries of my own experience and further my literary career for the future.

I was particularly taken by the idea of Transcendentalism with its emphasis on the understanding of the nature of reality which tasks us to analyse the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience. It is because of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau who are considered the fathers and centrepieces of Transcendentalism. Their essays Nature and Walden Pond being particularly influential in expanding my own experiences, in fact, I believe that studying these two writers and the topic was one of the most memorable and interesting things about this unit as I wrote one of my best blog entries on this subject which can be found at

https://daniel4946.wordpress.com/category/american-writing/best-creative-american-writing/

Being an American Literature unit there had to be some time looking at the many prominent African American writers which dominated the era, these included Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and W.E.B Dubois all of which were wonderful writers, however, Dubois was the one who spoke to me the most as he highlights in one of his books the idea that “The problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line” Which we discussed to great detail.

Moving onto more modernist writers such as T.S Elliot or Wiliam Faulkner and the Beats generation also helped develop my understanding of American Literature. Also, another two poets Robert Frost and Robert Lowell were also influential in their writing to help me expand the boundaries of my own experience especially Robert Frost whose poetry explored the beauty of nature while also having underlying meanings hidden from the untrained eye such as in his poem  “The Road Not Taken” which explores the idea that taking the road less taken in life can and will lead to better and more valuable experiences, and also teaches us to break away from the norms of society and be ourselves. I wrote another of my best blog entries on Robert Frost found here:

https://daniel4946.wordpress.com/category/american-writing/best-critical-american-writing/

Ultimately the study of American Literature has allowed my imagination and mind to flourish under new and valuable experiences from the studies of many writers such as Emerson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost to name a few all of which brought new ideas and thoughts to my mind, ones I will cherish. I hope to see you again in future Literature units at ACU

 

Daniel White

 

Blog post 9. Week 11

For my last blog for American Literature I decided to attempt to answer my own questions built from the blog questions that have been provided. I decided to look at what Beats generation author inspired me the most what was it in their writing that stirred my imagination the most.

Footnote to Howl by Allen Ginsberg was one such poem that influenced my perception of the Beats generation and stirred my imagination at the absurdity and strange poem which Allen Ginsberg wrote. There is quite a lot of the repetition of holy in the poem which I believe is playing on the Christian belief that everyone and everything is holy which Ginsberg twists to say that “The bum’s as holy as the seraphim”. All I could say from reading this was holy moly what a handful but it sure got my imagination and whatever is up there in that tired uni student mind. Another text from Ginsberg was A Supermarket in California which was written about Walt Whitman who influenced Ginsberg. This poem explores Whitman s homosexuality and exploring as to why Ginsberg was influenced by Whitman’s literature.

 

Peer Review 8

Hi Annaliese I liked reading your analysis of T.S. Elliot’s writing that. You appear to have a solid grasp on the ideas he presents in his literature especially on the importance of words in our lives and how words can be influenced from external sources. By referencing direct quotes from the text I can easily follow the themes behind your writing.

Keep up the good work! 🙂

https://annalieseferraro98.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/burnt-norton-v/comment-page-1/#comment-174

Peer review 7

Hey Naomi great blog post!
I loved reading this creative piece you wrote. There is a sense of urgency to the characters voice like she is constantly thinking whats next or why things are so far away. You gave this text a fast paced feel as though you were showing the readers the constant thoughts and emotions that are racing through the persons head which I liked quite a lot. Great post and I look forward to reading more in the future 🙂

https://naomizaki.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/america-writing-blog-post-8-creative/comment-page-1/#comment-22