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2015

EDED11404: Professional
Knowledge in Context
Assessment Task 2
Personal Professional Philosophy
S0230312 Ethan Mann

INTRODUCTION
As an educator it is my goal to teach all students through enjoyable, engaging and rigorous
learning experiences. Before I can do this, it is essential to reflect on my own learning journey
and develop a personal philosophy on my role as an education professional. This is achieved by
critically reflecting on my values, beliefs and role as an educator and the relationships I have
with students, families and the education system that underpin my practices (Arthur, Beecher,
Death, Docket & Farmer, 2005). This philosophy is current to the micro context of my own
classroom and school and macro context of society and the teaching profession. As is the nature
of education, flux will ensure that this philosophy remains evolutional and adapted for
relevance within my contexts.

IMAGE OF LEARNERS
Due of the vastness of cultures and contexts it is impossible to restrict the definition of a learner
and learning to a single conceptualisation. I perceive children as agentic individuals with
responsibility and accountability for their learning and actions, acknowledging that it is also my
job to promote and instil these qualities (Woodrow, 1999). This image of childhood centres on
the view that children are their own agents, interacting with the world around them through
inquisition and construction (Sorin, 2005). Through perception and communication of this, I can
transform the needy and incompetent images of children, as suggested by Sorin (2005).
Children commence school with a range of diverse knowledge, skills and experiences, relevant
to their cultural context and discourse. I can use these broad range of experiences as prior
knowledge links, when making connections in lessons and have students explicitly revisit their
schema and experiences.
Pritchard (2009) defines learning as students acquiring knowledge by cognitively constructing
information and concepts onto their current knowledge structure. Constructivism is a learning
theory that resonates with me as children have prior knowledge and connections with their
current learning and are not clean slates. They build on their existing schema to actively
construct their own understandings (Pritchard, 2009). Nichols (2007) reports that knowledge
and skills are acquired through adaptive and social learning experience. I can embed this theory
of social constructivism within my practice by providing challenging learning experiences
where students can work collaboratively, and through inquiry to develop their own
understandings.

FAMILIES AND SOCIETY


I believe that family and societal composition have an unparalleled influence on students
education. Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs
(MCEETYA) (2008) states that parents, carers and families are the strongest influence on
childrens attitudes and values with education. In recent years, change has occurred among
family dynamics and social patterns within families (Henderson and Berla, 1994). Not only is
longitudinal change occurring throughout generations of families, but fluctuation and instability
within the daily lives of children affect their cognitive, emotional and social developments.
Postmodernism has transformed the dynamics between families and schools, influencing the
teaching profession. Some families have strong partnerships with school and the classroom,
whereas others can be distanced due to individual reasons (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing, & Le
Cornu, 2011). Aspects such as socio-economic status, relationships and parents experiences of
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education are some key influences on a child and their previous schema (Henderson and Berla,
1994).
The main influence family configuration has on students, from personal experience, is the
communication of the value of education and expectations to children, both inferred and
verbalised. Henderson and Berla (1994) list key factors influencing children within the home as
a learning environment, daily routines, monitoring activities, high but realistic expectations for
achievement, encouragement and resilience and relating academic discussions in the home. The
key aspect that is illuminated to me is the modelling of self-discipline, hard-work and the value
of learning through conversation and demonstration to attain success (Henderson & Berla,
1994). I believe that this is impeccable to students success, a sense of intrinsic motivation.
Formal education allows me to inspire qualities that will allow children to be successful citizens
within this era. The Melbourne Declaration aims for children to become life-long learners,
equitable, innovative, active and informed citizens (MCEETYA, 2008). MCEETYA (2008) assert
that partnerships between families, communities, students, teachers and schools ensures
mutual benefits for stakeholders, maximising commitment to and success of these aims.
I can involve parents/carers and families into my classroom by keeping them current within the
learning journey, communicating learning outcomes for different KLAs and integrating units
into discussion and interactions at home around content. This gives the parents a relationship
with the classroom and myself. I will be approachable, confidential and non-judgemental in
relationships with parents to ensure comfort.

CURRICULUM, PEDAGOGY AND ASSESSMENT


The essence of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are interlocked message systems in a
network of underpinnings for educators. This network is not only a linear progression, but also
integrated aspects for pedagogical quality. Through my experience with curriculum I have seen
that relevance and interest in topics and units heavily affect the learning outcomes. As stated by
ACARA (2015), The Australian Curriculum provides standards of what needs to be taught, not
how it needs to be delivered. Through its achievement standards, content descriptions and
elaborations, and easy accessibility, I am clear and comprehensive with what is expected of me
in transmission. My role becomes to broker and interpret the curriculum, and use pedagogies
and assessment for delivery of these learning outcomes. According to Harreveld (2002, as cited
in Harreveld, 2009) teachers become mediators for the socio-cultural portrayal of linguistic and
social structure within their work. I can achieve this through reflection on action and reflection
in action throughout my practice (Harreveld, 2009).
By maintaining a dynamic, engaging pedagogical approach I can provide my students with the
means to construct their own understandings. Sorin (2005) states that teacher-student
collaboration formulates the basis of curriculum and pedagogy for the agentic child. My role is
to guide the learning, through the interests of the students and co-construct understandings of
relevant units (Woodrow, 1999). This co-assembly of the learning journey is achieved when
pedagogic approach supports the pursuit of learning outcomes (Penney, Brooker, Hay &
Gillespie, 2009, p. 431). I consider this as a basis for my practice, aiming to integrate students
into the planning, execution and the reflection of learning journeys. I aim for this as when
students become active collaborators and contributors to their own learning, they gain a sense
of empowerment and responsibility for that learning (Sorin, 2005). Through this, twin value
arises, through students becoming intrinsically motivated and becoming empowered within the
classroom for their own learning journey (Dockett & Fleer, 2002, as cited in Sorin, 2005). I use
the Dimensions of Learning as a framework for my pedagogy, maintaining focus on learning,
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understanding the learning process and planning curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
(Marzano & Pickering, 1997). Through communication of the habits of mind, students know
them, allowing for focus on particular habits within lessons. I use complex reasoning processes
within my units and assessment. Davis, and Dargusch (2010) state that this ensures students
use higher order thinking and deepen their knowledge and apply it meaningfully.
Assessment and reporting is the final stage of the linear network of implementing the
curriculum. Through understandings of diagnostic, formative and summative assessment, I can
use these to assess learning outcomes and progress and provide feedback to students and
reflect on my own pedagogy. Penney et al. (2009) claim that authentic, quality assessment will
support and endorse quality learning. I can make my assessment authentic through application
of real world tasks and skills, relevant to context, innovative and meaningful (Brady & Kennedy,
2012). Through my communication of expectations of hard work and intrinsic motivation, I can
assist my students in achieving success in assessment. Davis and Dargusch (2010) state that
implementing assessment with intellectual quality, authenticity, credibility and accessibility will
give relevance and interest to assessment. I can achieve this through backwards mapping, and
embedding my assessment task within the learning journey prior to sequencing lessons in order
to find the most beneficial pedagogy for the unit. The second part of assessment is reporting and
feedback. Reflection is a critical part of a professionals role (Brady & Kennedy, 2012). I use this
as a chance to reflect on my practice and discover how I could improve. Communication of
expectations and feedback throughout the learning journey give students to means to strive in
completing their tasks. Mali (2002, p. 1) summarises my view of assessment communication in
his poetry, writing I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor. I believe my role
in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment is not purely as diplomatic as achieving the standards
of the curriculum, as much as it is helping my students achieve success.

A PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR
From my experiences, a professional educator has a social responsibility for students as well as
their intellectual and academic requirements. The role of an educator is complex, more so than
just an instructor (Groundwater-Smith, Ewing, & Le Cornu, 2011). The responsibilities of
educators extend further than the school grounds, due to the representation of teachers in
media and society as professionals. This is something I am not fond of, though I know that in
society I must present myself as confidential, approachable, attired appropriately, law-abiding
and ethical as a representative of my school and government. Responsibilities of teachers are
changing over time as our postmodern society has given limited scope for teacher mistakes and
failure within society and their personal lives. Smith, Lynch and Knight (2007) state that
educators are increasingly strained by social change, globalisation and a knowledge-based
society. Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) (n.d.) has high expectations of ethical behaviour
and professionalism, outlined through seven values; integrity, dignity, responsibility, respect,
justice and care in the Code of Ethics. These communicate roles and responsibilities for teachers,
as well as AITSL standards, Code of Conduct and Duty of Care policy, legislation and documents.
From these, I am clear on my roles and responsibilities as a teacher and need to channel these in
everyday life on and off of the school site.

DILEMMAS
Lampert (1985, as cited in Groundwater-Smith et al., 2011) describes teachers as dilemma
managers, dealing with a regular onset of ethical dilemmas as professional conflicts. Stronach,
Corbin, McNamara, Stark and Warne (2002) state that teaching is becoming complicated
between policy, ideology and practice. I believe professional autonomy is becoming overthrown
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by policy, prescribed approaches and school decisions around brokering of curriculum.


Goodson (2000, p. 14, as cited in Stronach et al., 2002) states educators are becoming less and
less planners of their own destiny and more and more deliverers of prescriptions written by
others. I have encountered a major professional dilemma around this statement and the
implementation approach of Curriculum into the Classroom (C2C) resource. I perceive this to be
a personal dilemma as I view the delivery aspect of teaching as an art, and feel passionate about
creativity and personal flare within units. I can see the constructive aspects of C2C as a resource
with resources compiled, however I know I teach best when I have designed my own units and
lessons, and I gain a better understanding of the content myself. This approach conflicts with my
approach to co-construct a learning pathway with students.
To deal with this dilemma, particularly in schools where delivery of C2C lessons and assessment
is a mandatory whole-school approach, I will aim to collaborate with students to form the lesson
sequence. It becomes difficult when year level planning all aligns with the C2C approach, to add
my art into the lessons and delivery. I can broker this resource package to deliver and
differentiate it best for my students. To a degree I can bring my students into this planning
process to collaborate and identify what we want to learn and how we can find the information
and skills. Professional knowledge through frameworks can be applied to dilemmas such as this
one to decide on the best moral and ethical response and action to take. This dilemma and
strategies to overcome it involve considerations from school policy and approaches to the
differentiation my students need within their lesson sequences.

CONCLUSION
This philosophy will be self evaluated throughout my career, and be implemented throughout
my practice. This document has a direct relationship with my practice, with both influencing
each other. Ayers (1993) claims that reflection on values and beliefs is required to understand
and comprehend ourselves, our context and our choices with professional decision-making. This
philosophy provides a framework for ethical dilemmas as I can self-reflect on my values and
beliefs in regard to the predicament. Ayers (1993) continues to state that this reflection is
significant to take action toward improvement within schools, and ultimately make a difference
as a teacher.

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REFERENCES

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Docket, S., & Farmer, S. (2005). Programming and Planning in
Early Childhood Settings. Victoria, Southbank: Thomson.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015). The Australian
Curriculum: Introduction. Retrieved from
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/curriculum/overview
Ayers, W. (1993). To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2012). Assessment and Reporting: celebrating student achievement (4th
Ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
Davis, S., & Dargusch, J. (2010). Learning Management and Assessment. In Lynch, D., & Knight, B.
A. (2012). The Theory and Practice of Learning Management: A text for the student of
Learning Management. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Originals.
Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple Intelligences: new horizons. New York: Basic Books.
Groundwater-Smith, S., Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2011). Teaching Challenged and Dilemmas (4th
Ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia.
Harreveld, B. (2009). Brokering Change [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from CQUniversity,
EDED11404, Professional Knowledge In Context,
https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/course/view.php?name=EDED11404_2151
Henderson, A., & Berla, N. (1994). A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student
Achievement (Eds.). Flint, Michigan: National Committee for Citizens in Education.
Mali, T. (2002). What Teachers Make. Retrieved from http://www.taylormali.com/poemsonline/what-teachers-make/
Marzano, R., & Pickering, D. (1997). Dimensions of learning: Teachers manual (2nd ed.).
Alexandria , VA: ASCD.
Ministerial Council On Education, Employment, Training And Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) (2008).
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from
http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_edu
cational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf
Nichols, K. (2007). In Smith, R., Lynch, D., & Knight, B. A. (2007). Learning Management:
Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW:
Pearson Education Australia.

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Penney, D., Brooker, R., Hay, P., & Gillespie, L. (2009). Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment:
three message systems of schooling and dimensions of quality physical education.
Sport, Education and Society, 14(4), 421-442. doi: 10.1080/13573320903217125
Pritchard, A. (2009). Ways of learning: learning theories and learning styles in the classroom.
Oxon, Abingdon: Routledge.
Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) (n.d.). Code of Ethics for Teachers in Queensland.
Retrieved from http://www.qct.edu.au
Smith, R., Lynch, D., & Knight, B. A. (2007). Learning Management: Transitioning teachers for
national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education
Australia.
Sorin, R. (2005). Changes Images of Childhood Reconceptualising early childhood practice.
International Journal of Transitions in Childhood, 1, 12-21. Retrieved from
http://education.unimelb.edu.au/
Steel, D. (2015). Professional Knowledge in Context Week 2 [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from
CQUniversity e-courses, EDED11404 Professional Knowledge in Context,
http://moodle.cqu.edu.au
Stronach, I., Corbin, B., McNamara, O., Stark, S., & Warne, T. (2002). Towards an uncertain
politics of professionalism: teacher and nurse identities in flux. Journal of Education
Policy, 17(1), 109138. doi: 10.1080/02680930110100081
Woodrow, C. (1999). Revisiting images of the child in early childhood education: reflections and
considerations. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 24(4), 7-14.

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