Monday, October 27, 2014

Week Three

A week of full control completed with satisfaction but also joined by a head full of ideas, reflections and alterations to consider for next week. Throughout the week I had numerous challenges and celebrations with lessons which needed reflecting on and revisiting. But that is simply the life of a teacher; teaching, evaluating, planning and teaching again. Two personal goals which I have reflected on throughout the week are being connected to whanau and multicultural knowledge. Throughout the week I had many opportunities to consider these goals and question my practice.
Standard six of the graduating teacher standards states that teachers must develop positive relationships with learners and members of learning communities. Throughout this week I had a number of opportunities to interact with student whanau. Each morning a number of parents/grandparents bring their students to class. Over the week I made deliberate effort to connect with each person to discuss casually and also about their child. To begin it was quite uneasy but as the days went on the connections became easier and more natural. I was able to learn all about whanau concerns and considerations for their child each day. This would often be in regards to how the student is feeling and doing at home. It was really valuable to have these discussion and it showed me personally how important whanau to teacher connections are. A point which was further highlighted to me within this is the benefit of connecting with whanau right from the beginning even if it is awkward.
The topic for this term is globalisation so the plan is to each week look at a different country/culture and learn about about it’s differences. We began by looking at Maori culture this week and learning about some traditional crafts. When considering  Graduating Teacher Standards three my goal is to gain deeper multicultural knowledge of tikanga and te reo Maori. Throughout this week as a class we made a number of very cool things which are related to maori culture. It was encouraging to learn background information about some maori art forms and then teach them to my students. Then it was further encouraging to have students engaged in the learning by showing that they were interested asking questions and adding further information. It highlighted to me again the importance of connecting to the culture of my students in order to create a rich learning environment.

Week Two:

The first week of term 4 done and dusted. Over the past week I have reflected on a number of different areas within my teaching practice. A personal goal which I have addressed is in relation to knowing what to teach at level one, in regards to pedagogical, assessment and content knowledge.
Over the holidays I spent a lot of time planning and familiarising myself with the teaching content appropriate to level one. During the week I looked into the numeracy project to try and make clearer sense of the content needed to be taught at this level. My first reactions was that the numeracy project is not an easy, nicely laid out programme. I found myself getting confused between the names of stages and strategies. There is a number of areas that don’t overlap or connect nicely. After frustration and a lot of time I decided to stick to following the progression sheets printed of tki. These sheets are very handy but they are quite vague and do not break down the strategy very clearly. Also it must be remembered that these sheets to not show number knowledge progression only strategy progression. And a good numeracy programme must take into account both strategy and knowledge. From discussion with my AT I have come to an understanding that strategy is often the deliberately taught material during groupings. Whilst number knowledge can be easily taught during whole class teaching and also it is likely to be taught indirectly during whole class and group teaching. Another area which students must have daily learning is basic facts. From reflecting on this learning I have come to the conclusion that a numeracy programme needs to be very focused and include a number of different aspects, of which need to be clearly defined and deliberate. Group work must include deliberate strategy teaching because it is in these groups that a teacher is able to listen, discuss and critique a students working in order to direct them towards develop correct strategies. As a whole class, within groups or during follow-up activities number knowledge needs to be taught to in order to give students the foundations to being able to learn and complete strategies. And within this number knowledge, basic fact knowledge must be deliberately taught to give students speed and efficiency in solving strategy. Therefore from my reflection on teaching level one numeracy I have been able to understand what an effective numeracy programme can look like by breaking it down into separate yet deliberate acts of teaching.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week One

After three years of training I now find myself at the end of my first week of my final practicum. Over the coming weeks I know I will be challenged in many different areas but also find strength from the past experiences and knowledge that I have. Over the next six weeks I hope to achieve my criteria well but my motivation and commitment is much deeper than that of an assignment. This practicum is the foundation to which my 2015 classroom will begin from, so I want to test, experience, develop and define my personal teaching style, pedagogy and proficiency to a high standard of excellence. But, deeper than all this is my motivation to see this class excel and learning flourish daily.
This week brought a big change to my recent previous experiences, not only in year level but more significantly in digital integration. As a teacher who has had experiences in and believes in the full integration of digital learning I want to challenge and consider my views as I take a step back to experience a non-digital classroom. Over the coming weeks I hope to redefine and establish a richer personal pedagogy for the integration of digital technology in the classroom. Although I come from a biased standpoint already I hope to be able to see both sides to this issue to truly establish a strong understanding and position.
Other goals which I hope to achieve during this practicum are in relation to the Graduating Teacher Standards. Of which all relate to content, pedagogy, multiculturalism and learning excellence. Satisfaction of all these areas will hopefully create space for learning within a classroom that is inclusive, empower and inspiring.
Reflecting back over the past week I want to begin to question the differences I found within this non-digital classroom. One of the most apparent differences that stood out to me was the amount of content that was delivered. For example in mathematics students were required to copy down a list of 30 equations which were written on board then solve each problem and finally go to the teacher to check their answers. This process took a long time with some students not even competing half the equations. Here I see one huge benefit where digital technology can transform learning for example using a web programme such as Xtra Maths, Maths Whizz, Mathletics. Using these programmes students are able to solve numerous problems in a short amount of time whilst also receiving instant feedback allowing them to rethink their strategies and understandings for further questions. If I try to consider negatives effects of such programmes only aspects such as number formation, writing skills and strategy steps would be absent. But, these do not affect the actual process of learning to complete strategies in order to solve a problem. Although in some situations allowing a student the ability to write down the steps used would be of benefit to their learning. Mathematics appears to me as one subject area that digital technology can bring significant transformation. It allows students to complete more problems in a shorter time period and also gives instant feedback to guide students.
In conclusion, the past week has felt like I’ve stepped back in time to where digital technology isn’t used within education and worksheets are the key medium. It has been interesting to reflect again on how education is without digital 1:1 devices. Overall I found that the learning content appears to be at a slower pace because the medium doesn’t offer the speeds that devices do. Motivation within the classroom didn’t appear to be lacking at all and students appeared to be mostly all engaged with their learning and most completed all their learning efficiently.