In my time at Alfred Deakin I have sought advice from my supervisors and fellow colleagues, however there have been times when advice has been needed from other areas in order to ensure that I am able to continue to provide all of my students with the support that they need. In order to do this I sought advice and feedback from students, and also from the parents and carers of my students. Through these channels of communication I have been able to adjust my approaches to different aspects of my teaching, and guide students towards the help that they need.
Evidence Group 5 displays a range of approaches I have made throughout the year to communicate with others in an attempt to improve my teaching strategies, and support my students in class and through official legislative means. This group of evidence displays the following:
1.3: Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, 3.6: Evaluate and improve teaching strategies, 3.7: Engage parents/carers in the educative process, 4.4: Maintain student safety, 5.5: Report on student achievement, 7.1: Meet professional ethics and responsibilities, 7.2: Comply with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements, 7.3: Engage with the parents/carers.
Student Contact and Feedback:
Student feedback is an important part of evaluating and improving on my own teaching strategies. At the end of each unit or semester I give students a Google Form survey rating the class work, support, understanding etc. from the unit, as well as an opportunity to comment on positives and negatives.
When I begin planning for my next unit of work, I take into account the responses from my students to adjust and improve on my teaching strategies, as well as helping to maintain student safety within my classroom as I am allowing their voice to be heard and acknowledged.
For example: I try to make some sort of connection to the lives of my students through the work we are doing. I have found that keeping the relevant helps some students to engage more the with curriculum. Therefore, at the end of Semester 1, I asked students to rate the relevance the curriculum and activities had to their lives. The responses indicate that I am succeeding in doing that for a large number of students, however there are a few that I have not reached. From this I was able to reflect on the ways I could provide more opportunities for choice and relevance for the following units.
Through this process I have opened myself up to a range of feedback that I would not ordinarily receive from my supervisors and colleagues. The feedback is always a mix of both positive and negative responses, which can be hard to accept at times, but it allows me to reflect on my practices and the reasons behind why I work, respond, plan etc. in certain ways. It has helped me in modifying my approach, as well as acknowledging my success and maintaining positive practices to help support and engage my students.
Parent and Carer Contact and Support:
Throughout the year I have been in contact with parents and carers, as well as colleagues and other stakeholders, for a number of students. In order to maintain the safety and wellbeing of my students, meet professional ethics and responsibilities, comply with legislative requirements, and improve on my teaching strategies for all students, engaging with parents and carers has been crucial. Three students in particular highlight the range of purposes behind this engagement with the stakeholders in their lives; Student L, Student W, and Student R.
Student L – I first sought advice about Student L in February of this year. Through the initial communication with Student L’s Tutor Group teacher and Year Coordinator I was able to observe for any further changes in behaviour, and refer this to the necessary stakeholders. As the year progressed Student L regressed in her attendance at school, and so communication with her Tutor Group teacher and Year Coordinator were important in ensuring I could support Student L when they reentered my classroom. Unfortunately, Student L has not returned to school.
Student W – Student W is an EALD student who produces limited work in class, if at all, yet works on the curriculum from his home country when not at school. After tirelessly encouraging Student W to participate I was advised by my colleagues and his previous teachers to contact home, in order to form a united approach in supporting Student W’s education. As school was clearly not a comfortable environment for Student W, I requested the support from home in helping Student W to access the Australian curriculum in an environment where Student W was more at ease. I also reduced the expectations of time frames and quantity of work submitted, with the hope that HaSS would be a more manageable workload alongside the overseas curriculum.
Through the ongoing communication with home I was able to engage Student W’s parents in the educative process, and provide feedback on progress. This appeared to be a success, as Student W was able to complete most components of the assignment.
Student R – Student R started the year as an energetic and bubbly child, who had the tendency to be quite sociable in class. Towards the end of term 3 I noticed a change in his outgoing behaviour, along with a lack of completed work. I had been in contact about his submission of work earlier in the year, however the behaviour along with it indicated there may be further issues. This prompted me to engage in conversation with Student R’s parents to inquire about how I might be able to further support Student R.
After a number of emails I spoke with Student R’s mother over the phone. She indicated that Student R seemed to be fine at home, however she suggested it might be due to some mental health issues she thought had been dealt with earlier in the year.
This conversation prompted me to contact Student R’s year coordinator, as well as the Student Engagement Team, and I completed a triage form so that Student R could have access to the school’s support resources.
Since then, Student R has been slowing improving, in attitude and submission of work. I did not openly approach Student R about my involvement in the process, as I felt that Student R might feel more at ease within my classroom. However, I have kept a close eye on Student R, checking in frequently to make sure I am doing all that I can to support the wellbeing and learning in my classroom.