Establish challenging learning goals
During my placement I worked with year 10 students in a drama class. The unit of work involved a performance using a form of experimental theatre with the theme "good vs evil". Experimental theatre requires students to deviate from the formal and traditional dramatic arts process to a self-driven creative process and unique performance. Rather than establishing a specific learning goal the students created a question in collaboration with each other. This supported an Inquiry-based approach to learning. The question was “How do we create order in a world full of chaos?”. As the students were of mixed abilities it was a challenging goal and task. The unit deviated from more traditional approaches to drama and theatre (script based) that students were more familiar with.
Establishing a challenging learning goal and open-ended tasks and activities encouraged students to create and experiment which supports a philosophy of deep learning. Students initially felt confronted by the Inquiry based-learning goal and process which led some students to feel more anxious and reserved about participating in class activities. When the students began to research, collaborate, develop their ideas and theories and reflect and refine their skills, the learning process became smoother and the students developed increasing levels of confidence with the content and learning in each class. Engagement increased as the students develop higher order thinking skills and competencies in experimental theatre.
The artefact that best supports setting learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics is my class notes from one of the drama lessons.
Plan, structure and sequence learning programs
The artefact I have chosen is a lesson plan and part of a unit of work in experimental theatre in secondary drama. Experimental theatre requires students to deviate from the formal and traditional dramatic arts process to a self-driven creative process and unique performance (demonstrated in Standard 3.1). This lesson plan highlights the prior-knowledge of students within the class and demonstrates how knowledge and skills are being further developed in this lesson. It shows the sequential learning process including warm-up activities, main activities and reflection and review activities including the length of time for each activity and the required resources. You can also see how this lesson has been structured for a larger body of work to build and refine skills required for their final experimental theatre performance piece.
Use teaching strategies
During my final arts education course, I was introduced to the concept of Design Thinking (DT) and Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL). I designed a unit plan that incorporated both DT and IBL teaching strategies. I have utilised a number of different teaching strategies in the classroom including experiential learning, student-centred pedagogy and constructivist and social learning approaches. Part of my teaching philosophy is that students learn effectively through doing- a hands-on approach.
I believe that students learn effectively when their environment supports their natural desire to learn and acquire skills and knowledge. I believe that collaboration (involving small group work) is one of the most effective strategies for students to acquire knowledge. In my dance classes I have observed how knowledge and skills are enhanced, created and transformed through the learning experience. It is my beliefs, values and principles for effective learning that have enabled my students to accomplish tasks and achieve their learning goals. This has also resulted in my students becoming more independent and self-directed in their learning.
As a dance and drama teacher it is natural for me to teach students to learn through physical movement. An activity that I conduct with my students in dance classes involves a number of teaching strategies. Students work collaboratively in small groups or pairs to develop choreography and a creative composition using a Rubic’s Cube as stimuli. Students develop their own movement vocabulary, structure and sequence: creating a short dance routine for performance to music. The artefact that I have below is an example of students work from the Rubics Cube activity.
Select and use resources
Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.
As a secondary specialist teacher, I am continuously developing my own curriculum units for teaching dance. I am constantly selecting the appropriate resources that I can incorporate into my lessons to effectively engage students and teach various concepts. One of my favourite lessons is a hip-hop lesson which involves the use of geometric shapes to create movement patterns and sequences. I begin the lesson using a you tube video to communicate the purpose and intent of the lesson. Students reflect on the video and then arrange themselves into small groups where they are given a resource to guide them in the development of their movement sequences. Music is also used so students can connect their movements to the beats and sounds and various rhythmic patterns. Students are using purposeful and relevant tools that work to enhance their learning and engagement during the activity .
Below is a copy of the geometric shape resource I use in my classes. Whilst it is simplistic in nature, the task is open-ended with students having the opportunity and freedom to collaborate and create.
Use effective classroom communication
Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.
Whilst delivering the curriculum is important, teachers must be aware of how they communicate and deliver teaching and learning in the class environment.
There are many forms of verbal and non-verbal communication that teachers can implement to support student engagement.
Provide a variety of stimuli, provide a safe and secure environment, adapt activities to students.
An issue I identified during English classes involved students reading a class text. In particular I observed students disengaging from the text for reasons such as: cultural barriers between student dialect, too slow pace and too fast paced readers and Insufficient levels of literacy to competently read the text aloud.
In the planning of the English unit the class teacher should consider the various learning styles in their class and or cater to student with diverse learning needs. This is particularly poignant for students who have English as an additional language.
Evaluate and improve teaching programs
Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.
Design Thinking and Inquiry-based learning are teaching strategies that I utilised to design a unit plan for my dance lessons. As this was the first time I had written a unit plan that incorporated these methodologies , the lessons and units I planned within the 4-week unit had not yet been tested. If I was to implement the unit plan with my dance students I would be able to evaluate the teaching and learning process more closely. I would refine the lesson design to ensure that the content knowledge is acquired and teaching and learning is effective.
For this unit plan I received constructive feedback from my lecturer that I could utilise to redesign aspects of the unit plan and evaluate my teaching strategies more closely.
Below is a copy of the feedback and comments from the unit plan assessment task provided to me by my class lecturer.
Engage Parents/Carers in the educative process.
During my placement I will be writing a similar letter to the students I will be working with in drama classes . If I was their permanent classroom teacher I would use the same letter and communicate it to the parents and caregivers of the students I am teaching as a way of building and establishing a positive relationship.
The artefact I have chosen is an excerpt from a letter of introduction to my placement supervisor.