Having just received data from my first round of student surveys, I am pleased with the students’ perceptions of my teaching. The most interesting aspect has been that my initial concerns about Care have proven unfounded. I was finding it challenging to learn students’ names and was worried they would think I didn’t know them well enough. I am glad that this isn’t the case, and that they do feel cared for as individuals.
One area that I now need to work on is Consolidate. The fascinating thing is, that in my design subjects, students have so many opportunities for personalisation, creativity, and exploration in medium-long term projects that I assumed “consolidation” would occur fairly naturally. As it happens, the assessments I have developed are possibly too open – meaning that with students each working on a unique, individual project, there are not enough common “lessons” for skill-building, theory, etc. Instead, I have been operating more as a director/coach – conferring with each student/team and guiding them as individuals rather than whole-class teaching. Possibly, this student response could also be because they are conditioned to more traditional styles of teaching, but it is something I will be taking a look at. Some ideas I have to improve this are:
- Embedding more common assessment tasks into each course
- Developing a series of “masterclasses” (flipped or in-person)
- Offering students “out-of-the-box” design projects in case they would prefer more structured projects
From here, I’m going to share my reflections with my class, share my ideas and see what they think.
Although I established some goals during last years’ trial, I have since moved from the ES into the High School and already feel like my priorities have shifted and that I should look at a different set of goals.
After the pre-survey reflection and given the school’s focus on Care, this seems like an appropriate focus. I have always been conscious of creating an environment where students feel safe and supported, but often this is framed through an academic lens. For example, I constantly emphasize the importance of respectful peer feedback and critique in design projects and support students in developing their communication skills. But I think I should make more of an effort to know my students holistically and support them in ways outside of my subject expertise.
Some early ideasI have around this theme are:
- Inviting students to routinely share their interests, motivations and goals within my subjects and beyond
- Allowing flexibility for students to explore personalized design projects
- Developing routines and protocols to check in with students one-to-one
In addition to Care, I also want to make Classroom Management an explicit focus. I think my classroom expectations for respectfulness and productivity are always clear, however, due to the nature of design and creativity, at times it can be difficult to ensure table conversations aren’t hindering student output. Basically, students should be able to work productively and have a quiet conversation simultaneously. To this end, I am going to use various strategies such as dynamic grouping and formative assessment routines to hopefully build a sense shared accountability among my students.
Looking forward to sharing surveys with students and checking in next time.
With a focus on Captivate this year, there have been many opportunities to put this into action. Dragon Design, an enrichment in Middle School, offers students with a variety of design-based projects that have proven to captivate learners. These projects include 3D printing cookie cutters and mazes, using the vinyl cutter to make laptop stickers and a sewing project where students re-created a book character to share with the Elementary School library. I think what made these projects so successful in engaging students was that for each project, there was a genuine purpose, and in the case of the sewing project, a real, live audience – a Pre-K classroom!
How to design cookie cutters
For the remainder of this year, I want to look closely at the ways I clarify concepts and techniques with students. Hopefully there will be opportunities during upcoming science and engineering units to gather useful student feedback. Some of the ways I want to examine my practice:
I need to pay closer attention to the words I use. Is my vocabulary too advanced for Grades 3-5? Is my terminology consistent with what students hear and see in homerooms? Should I bring more Mandarin into my instruction?
In what ways should I adapt the slides, images and video I use in my teaching to ensure my instruction is as clear and accessible as possible?
How can I improve the way skills and techniques are demonstrated to students in real time?
With these questions in mind, I intend to take some time reflecting, talking to students and teachers and considering some of the improvements I might be able to make to the ways I clarify concepts and techniques with students.
Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.
- Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
- Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards (Tripod 7C’s)
- Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
- Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
- Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
- Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
- Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
- You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.
If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!