Curating a Scoop.It site has helped to synthesise my approach to teaching, bringing to the fore some of the key principles that I want to consciously apply in my pedagogy. Namely:
- Exploration and Connectivity
‘Visible Thinking’ has stuck with me as an approach to encourage metacognition in the learning process, by “making students’ thinking visible to themselves and one another” (Visible Thinking, 2015). Teaching conspicuous strategies facilitates higher order thinking and allows learners to make meaningful connections between ‘big ideas’ and everyday life (Evans, 2015). I think that the HSIE K-6 syllabus provides a rich landscape for teaching ‘big ideas’. It is for this reason that I focused on the way in which ‘care of natural things in the immediate environment’ could be explored through literacy, art and mathematics, complementing HSIE content.
- Outcomes-focused learning
The second key concept influencing my approach is being outcomes-focused. Being able to plan effective assessment, teaching and learning ties in to Standards 2 and 3 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (2012). Backward design, through its goal-setting approach, focuses explicitly on teaching and learning with clear outcomes in mind (Fahey, 2012). It ensures that lessons and activities are developed with clear links to curriculum outcomes and takes learners’ prior knowledge into consideration. The variety of activities and resources on my Scoop.It site are cascaded from syllabus outcomes relevant to my topic, with one example being – ‘be involved in classroom projects such as recycling, re-use of water, conservation of electricity’ (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p. 32).
- Inclusivity and use of ICT
I am really invested in the philosophy around inclusive education (Evans, 2015). Using children’s literature, audiovisual materials, creative activities, and participatory activities, I aimed to provide varied opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning and understanding, which (in an actual classroom) would reflect what I know about my students and how they learn (Australian Professional Standards for Teachers 2012).
Integrating ICT in lessons provides another medium for engaging different types of learners, assisting students to expand their “modes and breadth of learning” (Australian Professional Standards for Teachers 2012). It also enables access to up-to-date, rich content, which allows access to varied perspectives (including diverse cultural perspectives). Equipping students with the critical thinking skills to undertake self-directed research through ICT prepares them for lifelong learning. Strategies should, however, recognise issues that need to be addressed around the ethical use of ICT. This might include awareness of appropriate websites, cyber bullying and online behaviours, and the need for appropriate attributions through referencing (for later Stages).
Reflecting on my own learning, I believe that ICT plays a role across the three ‘domains of teaching’ (Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, 2012, p. 5):
- It will facilitate my professional knowledge in HSIE by keeping me up to date with relevant content;
- It will allow me to be responsive in engaging different learners; and,
- It will underline my professional engagement through my continued learning and collaboration with colleagues, especially through shared sites such as Scoop.It.
- Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. (2012). Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW. Sydney: BOSTES. Retrieved from http://www.nswteachers.nsw.edu.au/publications-policies-resources/publications/australian-professional-standards-for-teachers/
- Biesta, G. J. J. & Miedemac, S. (2002). Instruction or Pedagogy? The Need For a Transformative Conception of Education. Teaching and Teacher Education, pp. 173-181.
- Board of Studies NSW (2006). Human Society and Its Environment K-6: Syllabus. Sydney: Board of Studies.
- Evans, D. (2015). Curriculum Adaptations. In A. Ashman (Ed.). Education for Inclusion and Diversity (5th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
- Fahey, C. (2012). Planning for Teaching and Learning in Geography and History. In T.
- Taylor, C. Fahey, J. Kriewaldt & D. Boon (Eds.). Place and Time: Explorations in Teaching Geography and History. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
- Visible Thinking in Action. (2015). Visible Thinking. Retrieved from http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/01_VisibleThinkingInAction/01a_VTInAction.html