XXXX College is a private co-educational Catholic College situated in the North Eastern suburbs of Adelaide and is part of a three-campus initiative which includes XXXX High School (Government School) and XXXX (Christian School). The cultural background of the student population is comprised predominately of students with Anglo-Saxon and European heritage. The socio-economic background of the students is mainly middle income. The school is an active part of the community, involving students in various after-school sport, open nights, external work experience and community service activities.
My practicum specifically included:
Comments from my Mentor Teacher and the Site Director can be seen below.
Damien is to be commended for his professional approach in his teaching practical at the College. His positive manner has enabled him to develop an excellent rapport with students and staff, this was particularly evident in his professional communications that he had with staff throughout his practicum experience. He showed his eagerness to learn and step outside his subject area by continually seeking other opportunities with staff in other areas. He also showed his enthusiasm to engage in the Catholic Charism of the school with a keen interest in Student Leadership and Social Action events. Damien has shown passion in all areas of education, he has continued to strive to learn and achieve success in all that he has done
Damien has been professional in his approach to this placement, showing competence and confidence. His communication with both students and staff was excellent. Damien was able to motivate and reinforce student responses and reflected enthusiasm when delivering Year 10 Child Studies and Stage One Religion Studies lessons. Furthermore, Damien demonstrated initiative organising with other Staff Members times to observe their lessons. He had a particular focus on wanting to learn more about effective behaviour management strategies. During his teaching, he used very relevant teaching strategies, skills and technologies. He was always well organised for units of work and individual lessons, evidently taking the time to reflect after each lesson. In addition, Damien has supported other student activities through Care Group and actively involving himself in Junior Relay for Life. He has attended staff meetings, House meeting, morning meetings, Staff Moderation Day, and, has included himself in the day to day teacher requirements such as yard duty. Whilst at the College Damien also attended the Year 12 Farewell Assembly and assisted with the Year 11 High Tea event that catered to invited paying guests.
1. Know students and how they learn
2. Know the content and how to teach it
Damien supported student learning in numerous ways. He quickly learnt student names, a key strategy he used was beginning his initial lessons with appropriate ice-breaker activities. This strategy was effective as it enabled him to learn student names quickly but also allowed the students to get to know him as well. It is great that Damien has quickly identified the importance of relationship building when teaching. In addition, Damien produced a ‘Tell Me Card' that allowed students to choose topic options for up and coming lessons in Religion Studies, as well as exit cards and evaluation/feedback forms for both classes taught. Students liked the independence this strategy gave them and as a result were deeply engaged in the lessons he delivered.
Across both classes, some students require additional support. Damien supported the students by ensuring instructions were visually and verbally communicated, by designing his worksheets with a simple layout and simplified language. He also had the opportunity to observe a variety of strategies to support a range of students across a few classes. Furthermore, Damien spent some of his time in the Flexible Learning Centre helping to support students with needs on a one on one basis.
During his placement, Damien developed and collected a range of resources which inspired some of his teaching. The units and resources he developed have become a valuable tool for him and me.
Damien has continually developed his skills in the areas of both teaching and learning. He has spent his time developing and analysing his teaching methodologies- with some focus on Behaviour Management strategies. He always seeks advice on his teaching practice and is constantly looking how he can improve. He acts on feedback and is confident to try new things.
Damien’s lessons reflected contemporary trends in both subjects taught, ensuring relevance to the students. He incorporated technology into his teaching which aided in his delivery of information, examples include the use of the College’s online site ‘iScholaris Workspaces’, emailing, Power Point, and, relevant YouTube clips that provided the students with real imagery of contemporary music videos and songs related to the topics of self-worth and self-respect in Religion lessons. The visual techniques proved to be popular with students and assisted their learning experience.
From the beginning of his placement, Damien has been enthusiastic and eager to teach students by planning and supporting them in classroom activities. In planning units of work, Damien kept in mind the various ways students learn keeping them engaged and promoted positive, stimulating discussions. This was evident in Child Studies; after providing suitable scaffolding students actively engaged in discussion of various activities suited to implement at a Primary School visit to a year 1 class, and in Religion on the topic of Self Worth and Self Respect.
Damien is eager to learn, although he wasn't directly involved in marking, he often collected students work to read through and engaged with me while I started to mark a class set of work. From this experience, he has gained a better understanding of the Stage One Religion Studies Performance Standards and Rubric.
3. Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
4. Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
5. Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
Damien’s lessons were always well-planned. Lesson plans are well detailed and timing has been excellent. He has catered for individuals as well as the group as a whole.
Damien’s creativity when planning lessons has been very good and has initiated some excellent ideas which students have responded to positively. He has adapted lessons very quickly due to last minute changes such as issues with technology, internet connection and resources available.
His learning goals have been achievable for all students. Students established individual and group goals when completing their, Child Studies – Primary School Activity Session Assignment. Students were challenged to create and plan a 40-minute session with a Year 1 class, the ideas developed had to support creative and literacy learning. Damien ensured that lessons built on and scaffolded each other from; how to read a book to children using the appropriate expression, suitable activity ideas for the age group, time allocated so students could share ideas and receive feedback from the class, as well as time to trial an activity idea. Students had many options to evaluate their ideas, this strategy strongly supports the design method; critique, design and reflect. Students valued the ownership and independence of this strategy.
Damien would always actively involve himself in the room, his presence around the class always visible.
Damien always provided a positive and enriching learning environment. He constantly thought about student safety and was quick to discuss issues with me. He provided clear expectations in the classroom and dealt with behaviour problems quickly. His classroom environment was one of support where students had no problems approaching him to discuss their learning. He ensured inclusive practices were present in all his teaching. Damien's confidence to implement firmness with students improved during his placement. In addition, one particular strategy became very useful when trying to get students attention. This was a simple strategy that involved Damien raising his hand, once students noticed they would do the same. Once students were aware of this strategy they supported it, and it worked well. Damien learnt quickly that talking over students and waiting for all of their attention is important and worth it when in the classroom. When necessary Damien set-up the classroom to be most effective for his lesson. For example, Damien would group the table's dependent on the type of theory lesson he was delivering, and he separated the tables for individual work. During his placement, Stage One Religion Students had to complete a Source Analysis under exam conditions). Damien was able to support both environments well.
Damien has monitored student progress and assisted by providing positive feedback. All feedback Damien delivered has given students direction in their learning.
6. Engage in professional learning
7. Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community
Damien has shown he is a very positive individual who has an excellent attitude towards his teaching. He has worked tirelessly during his placement showing an extremely high level of professionalism. He has worked closely with myself and other teachers and has developed a very good working relationship with staff and students alike. He always sought both positive and constructive feedback in order to continually improve his teaching.
As previously mentioned, Damien took it upon himself to arrange additional observation lessons with other teachers in the College, attended Staff Meetings and Staff Moderation Day.
Communication between Damien and all aspects of the college community has been professional and output in all classes has been effective. Communication in class with students has been excellent. In addition, I feel it is important to add his ability to build positive relationships with students in such a short amount of time- Damien’s presence was active in morning Care Group. His interpersonal skills have meant that students have accepted him as their teacher in a very short time.
When working with other staff he has developed a professional relationship and engaged in conversation appropriate to whomever he spoke with, both students and staff.
Damien Walker is currently studying a Bachelor of Education, Food and Textiles Technologies at University of South Australia. This is him engaging with readings and questions throughout his teaching journey to gain professional insight and knowledge.