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Assessment

2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings


Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Focus
Over the course of five weeks, twenty-nine grade six and seven students partook in a
study to recognise if collaborative learning in mathematics strengthens student
development, explore a diversity of devised learning tasks and whether authentic
learning is greatest achieved through hands-on, paper-based or problem-based
learning.

The inquiry question is ‘What type of effective strategies and designed learning tasks
can enable authentic learning in mathematics for a 6/7 class?’

In order to best prepare pre-service teachers for a real classroom, the University
emphasis’ the concept of authentic learning. Traditional methods of teaching, such
as lecturing students out the front of the classroom or following a textbook from
beginning to end are failing to keep student engagement and lack the growth of
critical and creative thinking. The inquiry question was chosen as the focus of the
study in order to better understanding authentic learning and its efficiency in
achieving learning standards within the mathematics curriculum. With education,
veering towards the ideology of place-based and problem-solving based learning I
decided to utilised this opportunity to foster and enhance upon my capabilities when
devising authentic learning.

This study contains an examination of three implemented learning tasks and my
perceptions of authentic learning. The findings of the study reveal which pedagogical
concepts best facilitate authentic learning.

Justification of Teaching Behaviour & Curriculum Area Focus


Authentic learning is the process of understanding, usually gained through the
means of real-world practice and problem-based activities (Lombardi 2007, p. 2). The
use of authentic learning allows educators to situate learning tasks in a context of
future use for their students. The approach promotes the imagination and
innovative of educators, who then in turn transfer the developed learning

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
experiences into knowledge their students can use and adapt to real-world practice
later in life (Herrington et al. 2013). Authentic learning pedagogy offers a
complementary instructional model founded upon dense ideologies for the intention
and application of multifaceted and genuine learning tasks (Herrington et al. 2013).
Students will connect on a deeper level of understanding and appreciation when
learning is designed and focused around their interests and needs. Such an approach
has the advantages of preparing students for life challenges and demonstrating that
numeracy and mathematics can be useful for them in their lives (Sullivan 2011, p.
19).

Van de Walle (2014) illustrates the key to effective mathematics within the 21st
century, is that learning principles are based on two fundamental ideas. One being
that, students learn mathematical understandings when the learning environment is
enhanced through students evaluating their own ideas and learned new ideas are
ones students will face in the future (Van De Walle et al. 2014, p .3). Significantly,
introducing problems that are designed with authenticity and taking into
consideration relationships between context and solution is an important aspect of
helping learners with their mathematics (Sullivan 2011, p. 4). Sullivan also outlines
that a social perspective to mathematics is more than just applying already acquired
mathematical knowledge to new desired realistic contexts, but more as an avenue to
generate students familiarity with social contexts and use this as a potential path for
engagement and profound thinking (Sullivan 2011, p. 4).

The students in my class travel daily by public transport, so learning tasks were
based around the timetables of the local transportation the students utilise daily. By
delivering challenging tasks that are significant to the student’s everyday lives, has
the potential to enlarge student’s curiosity in mathematics, increase engagement &
achievement (Kramarski et al. 2002, p. 225).



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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Context & Curriculum Area
The primary school caters for Foundations to Year 7. This government primary
school is apart of the Greenhill South Partnership and is located 5km from the
Adelaide CBD, in the inner Adelaide suburbs. The enrolment of students by the end
of 2017 was approximately 550 students. It is categorised as a level 7 educational
institution and has maintained a high level of attendance at 94.9%. This school offers
19 classes from Foundations to Year 7, having around 30 students per class.

The study comprised of eight year 7 boys and girls, five year 6 girls and eight year 6
boys. Three students within the classroom have difficulties with auditory processing;
two students work privately with an SSO and one student has ADHD and angry and
behavioural difficulties.

Design & Data Collection Techniques
Preparation taken previous to implementing the inquiry project, was in the form of
pre-testing students mathematical abilities and students perceptions towards
mathematics overall. In order to effectively design learning tasks, it was significant to
elicit student’s prior experiences and how they each transmit mathematical
knowledge to further scaffold new content (Van De Walle et al. 2014, p .23). This
assessment for learning, was conducted through observation lessons, discussions
with students and mentor, checking through previous work and executing pre-
testing provided by the Maths Mate Program, which the students utilise regularly
(see appendix 1). This data informed the foundation on which the learning
experiences and overall unit on ‘Time and Timetables’ was developed.

The pedagogic notion of ‘Backwards Design Model’, assisted in the construct of the
designed authentic learning experiences. Backwards Design Model, is the process of
identifying desired results in accordance to the Australian Curriculum, then
composing acceptable assessments as evidence, finally leading to what learning
experiences and instructions will lead students to the desired results (Department of
Education and Communities 2014). This model enabled each lesson to have specific

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
objectives and links between each other and relevancies to the students. Students
participated in a variety of activities over the course of the ‘Time and Timetables’
unit. However, only three designed learning tasks were in regards to the inquiry
project. The three learning tasks were all designed to enable authentic learning,
although they all had a definite focus. Lesson one was based around hands-on
learning and collaboration, lesson two was paper-based learning individually and
lesson three was problem-based learning and collaboration.

The data collection techniques utlised in order to consistently reflect and evaluate
upon my progression with the inquiry and my practice included reflective journal,
verbal feedback from with my mentor and student work samples (see appendix 2)
(Grundy 1995, p. 19).

Data Results & Analysis
At the conclusion of the implemented lessons and through the collected data, it was
evident that lesson three, where students engaged in a problem-based learning task
which also incorporated the teaching strategy of collaboration was the task that
enabled the highest engagement in authentic learning through mathematics (see
appendix 3). Through monitoring student’s work I was able to see their engagement
with the paper-based learning and how majority of students had not completed the
required tasks. During the third lesson, however, students managed themselves and
created high order discussions based around the tasks. When it come to estimating
their footsteps students calculated how long it would take them, them measured
how many steps they took within ten seconds and multiplied this to find their
estimate. Feedback received from my mentor was “This task is the perfect example
of how maths connects to the real world, and the tasks I want to see Leah continuing
throughout her practice”. Authentic learning may not always be possible to
implement, but this study has shown students engross themselves with the content
more in-depth when they are able to relate on a realistic level.

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Reflection
After evaluating my teaching behaviour, I have acknowledged areas in which
changes or improvements were necessary. Within my reflective journal, I reflected
on my explicit teaching, student engagement with the learning tasks and made notes
on how to improve my practice for the following lessons.

Through reflecting I was able to identify that I spent too much time having the
students go through examples as a class and not allowing them to problem solve on
their own or with their peers. Erickson (2002, p. 47) states that quality curriculum
consists of a balance among process expectations and content understanding.
Insinuating that it was essential that I found a balance between what I needed the
students to ‘know’ before they were able to ‘do’. This also arose in my one-on-one’s
with my mentor as she also thought my instructional time was to large of a portion
of the lessons, leaving students disengaged and not enough classroom time to
complete the required tasks. Nevertheless, identifying this teaching behaviour early
provided opportunity to monitor and refine my instructional time abilities and by the
completion of the unit improvement was apparent.

Collaboration within the learning tasks was the key teaching strategy used to enable
authentic learning, as students throughout their lives will have to continuously work
within teams and with a variety of personalities. I initially allowed students to decide
on their own pairs/groups, which wasted valuable time and I should have, pre-
prepared pairings based on abilities and people students may not always get the
opportunity to work with. This strategy comes with its positives and negatives; as for
the final lesson/summative task I had a high-level numeracy student with an average
numeracy student with minor behavioral issues paired together. They seemed to
waste most of their lesson time talking, however, produced quality work. The
standard of work was above average, although if they utilised their time effectively
they would have received a higher mark. Thus, proving knowing your students is
critical with collaborative work.

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
The process of designing authentic learning tasks became timely compared to
learning tasks based just off of content. Preparation for each task required specific
scaffolding and insight in order to relate to the context of the students. Through the
study I found that my time management of creating and preparing for lessons
warranted improvement, as I often was still enhancing or altering on the day. This is
a teaching behaviour ill resume to improve on as a graduate, nonetheless,
identifying this now disadvantage now will later benefit me later.

Conclusion
To conclude, the inquiry process has vastly impacted my professional learning and
teaching behaviour. Through undergoing the inquiry project I have gained a grander
appreciation for knowing the content and knowing the context of your students and
the multifaceted ways in which they learn. I always thought that authentic learning
provided quality work and high engagement, however, until know was unable to
experience it first hand. Authentic learning is a pedagogical technique that I believe
immerses students in meaningful activities that provides connections to their worlds
and develops student’s curiosity and freethinking. I will continue to deliver authentic
learning not only with mathematic concepts, but were it fits elsewhere.



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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
References
Department of Education and Communities 2014, The backward design model of
curriculum planning, Strong start, Great teachers – Planning a sequence of lessons,
State of New South Wales, viewed 23 September,
<http://www.ssgt.nsw.edu.au/documents/1_backward_design_model.pdf>.

Erickson, H. L 2002, Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Beyond the
Facts, Corwin Press, Inc.

Grundy, S 1995, Action research as professional development, Innovative Links
Project, Murdoch, WA.

Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C. & Oliver, R. 2013, Authentic Learning Environments,
Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, viewed 1st
August 2018, < https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5_32>.

Lombardi, M. 2007, Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview, Educause
Learning Initiative, viewed 1st August 2018, <
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marilyn_Lombardi/publication/220040581_A
uthentic_Learning_for_the_21st_Century_An_Overview/links/0f317531744eedf4d1
000000.pdf>.

Sullivan, P. 2011, Teaching Mathematics: Using research-informed strategies,
Australian Education Review, Australian Council for Education Research, viewed 1st
August 2018, <
https://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1022&context=aer>.

Walle, V. D., & Kay-Williams, K. 2014, Elementary and Middle School Mathematics
Teaching Developmentally, 8th Edition ed., London, England: Pearson Education
Limited.

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Appendix
Appendix 1 – Observation Notes:

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Appendix 2 – Personal Notes after each lesson:


















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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Appendix 2 – Mentor Feedback Notes: Verbal
• Too much time spent on giving examples or you asking questions out the front of
the class. Not enough time having the students actually do maths.
• Hands-on based learning, where is the maths within the task? Yes, the task was fun
and the students were engaged, but how has this allowed them to develop their
mathematically thinking? Was the task to lower based thinking?
• Lesson 2 was much better than previous. Students all engaged with the work and
understood what to do.
• Instructions were clear.
• Constantly working around and checking on student’s progress, and understanding.
• Sat and supported less confident students.
• Planning to the Central Markets, excellent task that works perfectly with other tasks
students are doing.
• Links to student’s real world and school based context.
• All students seem engaged and enjoyed the task.

















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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)

Appendix 2 – Example of the same student’s work: This is an example of a student who did
not enjoy the paper-based learning, however, did engage well with the problem-based
learning task.

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)

Appendix 3 – Lesson Three: Summative Assessment:

Journey to the Adelaide Central Markets


The Adelaide Central Market is one of Australia's largest fresh produce markets providing a wide range of fresh and multi-
cultural products. Established in 1869, the Adelaide Central Market has been a thriving hub of food and culture for over 149
years.
th
On Tuesday the 11 of September, your buddies and yourself will be making the journey to the Adelaide Central Markets.
While at the Central Markets you will be exploring the fresh produce and culture in order to purchase your ingredients for
your ‘Paddock to Plate’ presentation, which you will display at Createx.

Your task is in pairs to plan the journey for yourselves and your buddies. You will
have 2 hours to travel to and from the Central Markets and to arrive back at school
in time for lunch.

Travel
You will begin your day at XXX Primary School.
• What time would you have to leave to arrive back at school by lunch?
• Work out 2 ways of transport to and from the Central Markets.
• What time would you arrive at the Central Markets?
• How much time is spent on traveling?
• How far are the stops from school and the Central Markets? How long will it take to walk to and from the stops?
Estimate your steps.
• Compare the 2 ways of transport and conclude on what will be the best option.
• Include images of your timetables and maps.

Tim etable
Once you have arrived at the Central Markets, it is your responsibility to plan the time spent there for your buddies and
yourselves.
• You are to create a timetable outlining the moment you arrive at school to the moment you return.
• You need to include the time an event begins and the duration.
• Using a map of the Central Markets, plan which stalls you will visit.
• Estimate the time it will take to walk between each stall and the amount of time you will spend at each stall.
• You may also include a rest break or a drink break.

The Market
Estimate how long it would take you and your buddies to walk down an aisle at the Central Markets.
Criteria Needs Improvement Satisfactory Proficient Excellent

How long would it take you and your buddies to walk down all the aisle at the Central Markets?

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Assessment 2b – Professional Inquiry Plan (PIP) Findings
Professional Experience 4: Teacher as Inquirer – EDUC 4206
Leah Katavatis (MBET) (ID: 101147356)
Reading & Interpreting
Timetables/Maps
Timetables
- Transport
- Created
Estimating Times
Thinking
Interdependently
Presentation

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