Posts tagged ‘STS’

Last STS Reflection

This reflection discusses Kerry’s last lecture for STS. This particular lecture seemed to many of the Grad Dip students to provide that “practical application” advice for which we have all been hungry. I scribbled two pages of notes but have found that the key points have remained foremost in my mind without having to refer to my scribble.

So here is my list of that which ‘sang’ to me:

1. It’s okay to have some things sacred in your classroom.

I was indescribably relieved to hear this kernel. In my prac school, there is a tendencey – nay, epidemic, of that lovely four letter word, starting with F. I have witnessed it slip out unbeknownst and I have witnessed it used in anger, defiance, comedically and with absolute surrender. In discussions with other “praccies” I have had several replies, some simpatico but also others that advise to ignore it. However, I feel pretty passionate that teaching our students’ life skills is just as important as the content; and appropriate behaviour in any situation is a basic life skill that will actually protect and propel them through life. So I tell myself that my aversion to swearing is about safe passage for them and keep it sacred.

2. Develop class rules collaboratively.

This will greatly appeal to the students at my prac school. I think it might also be a good way to establish some kind of relationship with them early on. The nature of of my observations means that I have not been observing the classes I will be teaching so that leads me to number 3 on the list:

3. Take time to develop a relationship with the class.

I am allowing fifteen minutes at the beginning of class to engage in circle time, check ins, ‘Big Wind Blows” and other games to facilitate a positive learning environment where the ‘getting to know you’ stage is mutual. I think the fifteen minutes will better serve the next forty-five minutes. If the students can begin to trust me (or at least consider trusting me) because I spend fifteen minutes engaging their attention, I have a better chance of engaging them in a qualitative manner for the next forty-five minutes.

4. Choose words carefully when speaking with children and think about the impact of those words.

The thought that in twenty years time, a student will recall words that I have spoken, is a weighty responsibility. Let that memory be positive, inspiring, amusing, mildly anecdotal. But please, let me think through what I say before I say it, and avoid being a memory that burns, hurts or unknowingly belittles.


STS Reflection 2

This week I have been reflecting on different pedagogical thinking in relation to forming my own pedagogy. Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist theories appeal greatly – the student can construct their own learning, based upon what they already know and believe, through social discourse. As a teacher , I do not want to simply ‘transmit’  knowledge but facilitate the ‘getting of wisdom’ by helping the student uncover it, identify it and analyse it. I believe that class interaction and discussion are integral to this process.

The notion of Authentic Pedagogy builds upon constructivism to include the student’s ability to retain information beyond mere memory recall but to be truly engaged with that new knowledge. Also, that the student can recognise that not all knowledge is of the same value – some knowledge carries more authority than others – for surely the ability to categorise sources as valuable or less valuable opens up the world of critical analysis to students.

Provocation 2 and 3 are very prevalent this week. Will I be allowed to be the teacher I want to be? To whom am I accountable? There is a great deal of focus on pedagogical knowledge in this unit. More than there is on English content. I can see the value of this – it is an inspirational approach to producing a new generation of teachers focused on a wholistic style of education that caters for all students. Furthermore, studying the Essential Learning Areas of several of our states’ curriculums demonstrates that this is current thinking that encompasses all learning styles, genders, cultural and ethnic origins. It feels like a wonderful new direction. But it concerns me that we are also moving into a political environment that measures the worth of teachers and schools in very basic quantitative measures, that leaves little room for measuring the social, community orientation or even artistic worth of a school. This week I am reflecting on all the stakeholders to whom I am accountable and realising that this is a large group – students, parents, school, community and government.

STS Reflection 1


[ This post relate to Kerry Heath’s STS  lecture.] 

Kerry related that her son was experiencing some temporary social isolation at school due to the new school year and changes to the class constituency. This was a result of her son moving from a composite class last year, in which he mainly mixed with elder students, to a single grade class this year. Kerry highlighted how difficult it was  for her son to learn effectively, or even to maintain his attendance in school until these social issues – part of the milieu of curriculum  – were recognised. As teachers, we must understand that the aspects that form the curriculum (teachers, students, subject matter and milieu) have a direct implication for learning. We do not teach in a vacuum, nor do students operate in a singular environment. Comprehension of the multitude of pressures that students face outside our classroom will transform what seems personal to us, but is actually  individual to our students, so we may evolve an individual approach to their learning.

Secondly, and briefly, is the notion that as a teacher, we facilitate learning rather than the traditional model of teacher-centric education. This married well with Meg’s ELPC  lecture, in which she reminded us that with digitization, the “teacher is not the only font of knowledge in a room”. If we can facilitate learning rather than transmitting knowledge at our students, then we have given students the ability to learn in an autonomous manner, that will last many years beyond the scope of our classroom and even our interaction with those students. Seems like a no brainer to me. That is how I want to teach!