|Co-operating Teacher and Head Teacher English Comments|
|Improving Professional Practice|
|6 – Engage in Professional Learning|
|6.3 – Engage with Colleagues and Improve Practice|
Artefact Number 3:
The comments below are taken from conversations with my co-operating teacher and the Head teacher of English.
Co-operating teacher: ….”I am concerned about the level of participation of some students in the class. There tends to be a domination of two or three students answering questions while others are sitting back and are going under the radar.”
Head Teacher English: …”You can try engaging all students in the classroom by using a teaching strategy such as Jigsaw. I have been using it in my class and it works wonders.”
For information on the jigsaw teaching strategy click here.
This artefact has been chosen as it exhibits my engagement with colleagues while on practicum in order to improve my teaching practice. It is important to me as it shows how I worked with colleagues to solve the problem of a lack of student participation in my class. It is in line with the AITSL National Professional Standards for Teachers standard number 6 focussing on “engaging with colleagues and improving practice” (AITSL, 2012, p.9).
My co-operating teacher commented on the lack of student participation in my class and the dominance of a few students. As I was focussed on carrying out the lesson effectively and getting through all of the content, I failed to pick up on this myself. I asked the Head Teacher English for advice and she suggested implementing the jigsaw method of teaching to solve the problem.
Analysis / Reflection / Research:
The comments made by my co-operating teacher made me reflect on my practice in the classroom. I realised I was focussing on getting through as much content as possible but failing to provide students with meaningful and authentic learning experiences.
Academics such as Jonassen (2009, p. 219) argue that constructivist models of learning, such as the jigsaw model, provide the most benefit to students. Jonassen (2009, p. 219) states, “the key to meaningful learning is ownership of the problem or learning goal.” The jigsaw method encourages students to take charge of their own learning and creates a student centred learning environment.
After implementing the jigsaw method I noticed I was able to have more control over what went on in the classroom. I was able to divide the class into groups, so that each group contained a diverse mix of learners, and I was able to ensure that all students were participating, as they each had a separate responsibility. The reluctant or shy students seemed to enjoy the task as they did not have to voice their opinion to the whole class only to their small group.
Most importantly I was able to connect and collaborate with my colleagues, gaining insight into tried and tested ways of solving pre-service teacher problems. By working with others I was able to develop confidence in front of the class, and spend less time worrying about covering the content and more time on engaging the class in meaningful discussion and activities.
Puguch and Johnson (as cited in Adams, Brownell, Sindelar, Waldron and Vanhover, 2006, p. 169) point out the benefits of engaging with colleagues, stating “in collaborative working environments, teachers have the potential to create the collective capacity for initiating and sustaining ongoing improvement in their professional practice so each student they serve can receive the highest quality of education possible.”
This artefact is significant as it demonstrates my ability to recognise my weaknesses in my teaching practice and my ability to acknowledge and make use of the advice given to me by my colleagues. It shows how working with others is beneficial not only to the teacher but ultimately the students.