Building my own pedagogical practice

I was reading with interest Miss Galea’s blog post on ICT at prac, and she touches on the different theories and frameworks we are expected to use throughout my planning. The Cambridge CELTA teaching methodology I undertook many eons ago used the eliciting process to underpin the teaching and engagement of second language learners. I still use this phase in my orientation when tapping into prior knowledge. As I began my initial first year Professional Experience, I watched my mentor clarifying learning intention from the outset in setting expectations with a Learning Intention and Success Criteria. I have since adopted this into my planning, yet unlike my mentor, I do it after the eliciting stage. I do think it’s important to do what works for you, and this has culminated into me taking bits from CELTA, bits from 1st Yr Prac, and bits from 2nd Yr Prac to establish my own teaching methodology. Learning theories and frameworks are also evident in my planning, and get roles as I become more aware of how they can benefit my students and my teaching. I found a great site that outline some different educational theories and frameworks that help establish your teaching identity. Education itself is lifelong, so is, I believe, defining and progressing your teaching presence.

Organisation Apps

Keeping organised is key to staying on top of your University study. Most Bachelor of Education students at the University of Southern Queensland are juggling part time or full time work commitments, children, a University load ranging from one to four subjects a semester, and just life, so it’s pretty easy to drop behind and be playing a catch up game all semester. Earlier, I blogged about my assignment tips, but this time I wanted to talk about management tips in a broader context. I have used fantastical in the past, it’s basically a smart calendar and was a winner when I did use it. I think since upgrading to a new operating system, I’ve resorted back to the osx calendar app, which with smart integration syncs to your iphone or/and iPads. I use notes a lot now. It’s another than syncs accross multiple devices effective making organisation much more seamless. With all that said, David mentioned on the learning path this week that an app like trello could be worth a shot for keeping a dialogue of information ongoing with your mentor while on Professional Experience. I did take a look at it and can see some potential but whether I not I take the plunge to it remains to be seen.

Lesson Planning

Almost every assignment I’ve ever done, I’ve struggled with the lesson planning component. I just never seem to be able to get down all the little details that are expected there. On a recent PE, my mentor suggested to me to just jot down your activities in each phase of the learning plan, and go from there … “Open ended questions can generally be thought of on the fly, but have the initial there as a prompt” or something along those lines was the advice. Suffice to say, I really did enjoy some successful lessons on the back of that. I have seen though, fellow prac students at schools I’ve been to produce lessons that look like they were written by Confucius, covering every single base with a script that could see the Sly scripted up to act until Rocky 15. Anyway, writing them, clearly my weakness. This week’s learning path suggested a lot of site that can help develop my weakness into a strength, so here’s CRLT, with strategies for effective lesson planning. I’ll be revisiting this blog about 45 times during prac!

Skype goes cultural

I was reading through the learning path this week with interest as David mentioned Skype in the classroom. This is about the third time I’ve read or heard about the app/service in a couple of weeks. Skype in the classroom allows you to invite a guest speaker into your classroom, or alternatively speak to another class from around the globe, in an attempt to guess their location by asking a series of yes no questions. I think this is a wonderful way to foster a cultural understanding in a society that is becoming more and more intercultural. This is something I’ve added to my bookmark list of ICT to try in practice.

Been placed. Weight lifted.

So I was just reading Elizabeth’s blog post regarding prac and it inspired me to make a nice polite phone call to prac office to follow up on things. I’m generally quite passive and assume that prac office will get things done and a phone call from me would probably annoy them but I’m tired of wondering. Actually, being placed is about the only thing that I dwell on quite a bit. I am going to a year 2 class which would mean my pracs to date will have been;

Prep/Yr 1 composite, Year 2, Year 3/Year 4 composite, Year 5/Year 6 composite. Look at that for a pattern, I will have been placed with every year level. I think that should have me placed to make an informed decision on what Year level I would like to do my intern with :). If I can’t decide then, I could always try the ‘Which Year level should you be teaching‘ app ;).

FWIW, Prac office said that they were onto our unit now, I she had just update another ten students, excluding mine, before I called.


Maths Games, Where art thou?

As prac slowly approaches, I’ve taken stock to assess where I sit in the scheme of getting my uni assignments done. I’m pretty confident to have put away my EDP4140 and EDC3100 assignments before the weekend, and EDX2170 is assignment free for a little while yet, so that leaves me ready to tackle the notorious Maths 3280 eportfolio bad boy BUT, …. where oh where are all the great Maths interactive games?

For the eportfolio assignment, I have a solid plan on measurement but I have found interactive online games, activities and resources hard to come by. IXL looks to be one site that I am looking at but struggling a little bit beyond that. Does anyone have any recommendations of sites you’ve used in the past, or present for Maths interactive resources.


My assignment secret

I read with interest Emily’s blog on study tips that can help you go to that next level. When I was High School I’m the first to admit, in the words of Mr Strickland …. I was a slacker.

I’ve since picked up my game. I find I’m able to stay on top of my game with a clear setting of expectations and adhering to them. In practice, that means I set what I need to be done, and by when. An practical example is when working on assignments, once I have a plan in sight, I aim for 300 words a day over a five day period. I know good and well that I can pound out a lot more than that but exceeding 300 always leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy.

Hardly groundbreaking, but what’s your secret? How do you get that 15oo word assignment done when the motivation factor isn’t there.

FWIW, here’s a generic list outlined by Adelaide Uni for a few more pointers.