Thinking about scenarios for the future

The first scenario I considered and wrote a response to:

Scenario 3: It is 2063 and owing to climate change, cultural tension and increased terrorism, there have been significant movements of world populations. Australia, in a dramatic u-turn from the start of the century, has opened its doors to these displaced global citizens. Sydney, and its surrounds, is now a cultural hub. Your brief is to design a classroom that will cater for the varied styles of education these refugees are used. In particular the class you are concerned with has a high percentage of students from the African continent and Afghanistan.

Creating a learning area that accommodates for refugees will need to be carefully planned as an ESL classroom. Students from war-torn/conflict areas such as Afghanistan and Africa most likely did not have the opportunity to learn at a level which is conductive to their age or have resources, classrooms, stationary, etc. so the first step would be to make the new environment welcoming and acknowledge that many of the students would have English as their second language which will require extra support to determine what learning level they are on in order to start from what they know and build up.

Once this has been established with the children the next step is to enhance the learning area to cater for their needs, having a literature rich classroom will help by immersing them in words and writing to familiarise them with English as they learn. Also having technology used in many learning areas will help them to understand the use and give them skills to help them adapt to a technology based world in Australia. Another important aspect of creating the learning area would be to encourage group work and a big sense of community in the classroom by providing group working spaces, online sharing forums, team work and collaboration. Moving to a new country and learning everything new that comes with that is a big culture and lifestyle change for the students and establishing friends and making connections with others in a similar situation would provide the support and relationships they need to make the transition a more stable and enjoyable one.

The second scenario I considered and wrote a response to:

Scenario 4: It’s 2063 and the last of the 1960’s prefab classrooms are being decommissioned. You have been given the brief to redesign a classroom that has direct access to the school yard, veggie patch and chooks.

Asbestos in schools

Asbestos was used as a strong, durable insulator in many buildings built around the time period of the 1950’s onward to the 1980’s. Many old schools, houses, hospitals were fitted with asbestos and as we now know the long term health risks associated with it the removal of the asbestos is something that should be undertaken by an organization or home owner and done so carefully by a professional. In a school environment the removal of asbestos would ideally be done during the school holidays to ensure no students are at a risk or come in any contact with the material.

Pets in the classroom

As shown on the website Pets in the Classroom created by the South Australian Government, pets can provide many benefits to the classroom if managed well. Pets can provide a sense of responsibility for the students, a sense of ownership, builds a community atmosphere in the classroom, inclusion, motivation, can be a learning experience and build social and emotional wellbeing through the care and empathy it takes to look after another living being. I have seen many pets used in the classroom throughout my time on prac and all have been well looked after and managed and a great learning tool. One example was for Year 3 students learning about life cycles the Teacher brought in a pregnant mouse and the students were able to learn and watch as the babies were born and grew literally in front of them and the students were so engaged and took such a high level of responsibility and care of the mouse and babies.

Veggie patches in school

Having a veggie patch, a compost heap, worm farm and recycling program in a school is such an effective way to teach the value of being self-sustainable to the students. I have been at schools where this has worked fantastically and a rotating roster ensures that each class gets a turn to tend to the veggie patch, to collect the recycling from each class, to check on the worms, etc. Having a veggie patch is not only a learning experience in itself that can provide lifelong skills it can also be used to encourage healthy eating. A school I attended on prac had a fresh food Friday kitchen in which the years 6’s and 7’s used the veggies from the veggie patch to create healthy options for the tuckshop on a Friday which were sold for a donation price to encourage healthy options. The students embraced this as the sense of inclusion and community was encouraged and being able to buy food that the students (with the help of a teacher and parents) had created was a highlight.

Reflective Practice

Throughout my degree it has always been said by many tutors and lecturers that one of the key skills to learn and implement  that will highly benefit you as a teacher in the way you teach, grow and learn and benefit your students in the way you create their learning to suit them and the skill is being able to be reflective on your practice. Being able to look at the lessons you taught and think about how effective they were, how they could be done better, what worked and to be able to shape and change the way in which you teach based on your reflective thinking. I really believe this and throughout all my practicums I have aimed to be reflective and to look for ways in which i could improve and to reflect on how the learning went.

Peter Pappas Taxonomy of reflection is a great guide to follow to allow critical thinking and to look back, improve and implement changes based on how things have been going in the classroom (2010). Looking through the taxonomy of reflection shows what kind of questions as a teacher we should be asking ourselves and constantly evaluating the way in which things worked in the classroom to ensure the learning is being understood and taken in, to ensure the style of teaching and lessons cater for the students needs and to ensure that we are continuously improving in our practice

taxonomy of reflection

Being a reflective teacher is one of the best ways to ensure that you are taking the time to think of your students and to ensure that crucial learning is being taught effectively and the students in your class are being catered for. This can also be done in learning spaces, they way in which the room is set up needs to be reflected upon to ensure the space is being used well, the areas are benefiting learning, the structure is enhancing learning, the seating arrangement is benefiting the students and that the room is set up in a way that encourages learning and development. This can also be said about online learnign spaces – reflecting on the way in which the class blog is being used – is it simple to use for those learning, is it benefiting learning, is it being used in an appropriate manner and are the students engaging with the medium.

Being reflective is a great way to ensure that as a teacher you are striving to provide the best education for the students in your class by looking at how things are being done in the lessons, content, classroom structure and online mediums to nesure that learning is enhanced and encouraged at every opportunity.

Reference

Pappas, P. (2010). The reflective teacher:a taxonomy of reflection. Retrieved from http://www.peterpappas.com/2010/01/reflective-teacher-taxonomy-reflection.html

Taxonomy on how to be a self-directed learner

Taxonomy on how to be a self-directed learner

In the 21st century where we learn has changed a lot, we can learn in informal settings online which has changed the way in which we view the educational landscape and scope of learning as stated by Kop and Fournier (2010). This taxonomy will look at some skills required to be a self-directed learner in an environment where learning can continue and happen outside of the classroom and through many different mediums.

Becoming a lifelong learner is a very important skill to establish from an early age so that learning is not something that you react to but something you can be proactive about. This is something that as a pre-service teacher I would like to improve on to better myself and to encompass that skill so pass on to the students in my class to encourage them to reach their full potential and to have the desire to keep learning outside of the classroom. This taxonomy will show what steps I would need to take to become more proactive in my learning.

A Taxonomy of Self-directed Learning

Remembering – Looking back at what I have learnt in the short and long term aspect and reflecting on what I have learnt and looking for any aspects in could I look into a certain topic more, did I get enough information on what I learnt about. For example do I comprehensively understand all aspects of grammar or are there some areas in which I could look into and learn more to improve.

Researching – Being proactive about researching things that I want to learn more about or that I think would be beneficial to know about for the future. I could do this by creating a list of things that I want to know more about for my own knowledge, to help in the classroom as a teacher or things that I want to improve on. Researching and learning could be done in multiple ways through PD courses available on the topics, through online mediums, through colleagues, at school, in the classroom, through online forums and articles and through literature.

Recording – I learn best from taking in information and recording it in my own words or writing things down, after researching to ensure the information I have looked up is retained I would record it and write it down so I can refer to it at a later time and to help with my memory recall.

Recalling – Being able to recall the information I have learnt is an important aspect of learning so not flooding myself with too much information could be one way to ensure the knowledge I am trying to gain is meaningful and I can recall it. Learning outside of the formal classroom should be a way of life, I don’t want to view it as a set task due on the weekend but as a way of learning that can enhance my knowledge and professional life.

Reflecting – A great way to learn for myself is reflection, reflecting on what I know, what I’ve done in a professional sense and always looking for strategies that worked and things that I could do better and different ways to do things. The same view applies to being a productive lifelong learner, I would reflect on what I know and have learnt and look for different ways to do things, what I could learn more about and ways in which I could do things better to enhance my professional learning.

 

 

The group learning space

What I have learnt while looking into group learning spaces is that the space can by physical such as a collaborative area in which students work together in a setting that enhances group productivity such as a classroom that is designed to cater for group work and collaborative learning. The group learning space can also be an online space in which people can share ideas, knowledge and information in a way that allows information to be shared and accessed and users to contribute and talk to learn together. The learning space in the 21st century is a fast and changing environment that is no longer seen as just a traditional classroom setting with desks in rows etc. the learning space especially for a proactive learner can be anywhere as devices make that possible and learning can continue outside of the classroom.

The electronic learning space

Ipads in the classroom

I think there is a fine line with over using technology for the sake of it or using it for beneficial learning. My brothers school is an Apple certified school in which every student from Year 1 up has an ipad that they are required to bring on a daily basis and do the majority of their work on at school (depending on the teacher, but it is encouraged). Their homework is all done on the ipad, their textbooks (when they get to high school) are all on the ipad and their work at school involves using interactive apps, or notes pages to do their work.

I think there are positives and negatives to this program, the students hand writing is suffering due to the lack of writing and the screen time does do damage to their eyes, not to mention the use of technology should be embedded through all learning areas but it shouldn’t be the centre of all learning necessarily. I think introducing technology into the classroom is very important and has so many benefits as listed in the Queensland Education Initiative ‘Smart Classrooms’. I also believe that when using technology ensure it is the best and most accurate way to introduce and teach a topic and not the only way. We know students learn in many different ways, so only providing students with one medium to learn is limiting them when we should be exposing them to as much knowledge, tools and strategies for learning as possible.

Ipads are popular and well liked because they are seen as fun, especially by children who put games on them and they are seen as being ‘up to date’ to use in the classroom. They are viewed as being a flashy new way of teaching but the principle should still apply that they should be used only to enhance learning not to base learning around the apps or tools available.