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School of Education

102605 Professional Practice Community Engagement - Reflection

REFLECTION

The placement undertaken at Kellyville High School Learning Centre allowed me to appreciate
the diversity of learners across years 7-10. The learning centre is designed to support students with
learning and behaviour difficulties both inside and outside the classroom settings. The centre takes
the responsibility of providing day to day support to students with their classroom activities,
additional support to students for improving their literacy and numeracy skills, and personalised
learning plans for students with special learning needs.

As part of the placement I had the opportunity of supporting students (individuals/groups)


with their learning activities across different KLA’s (Maths, Science, English, French, Music, History
and Geography). These differences allowed me to witness a range of differentiation techniques in a
classroom setting, such as independent learning for more advanced students and heavily guided and
supervised learning for those who needed it. This allowed me to visualise student behaviour and their
learning pattern in different classroom settings and enabled me to understand as well as analyse
their learning needs and interests. I was surprised to see how one-on-one interaction with a student
can make a huge difference in knowing the students, getting the acknowledgement of learning from
them and in turn paving way for a positive student-teacher relationship.

Before I commenced my professional experience at Kellyville High School, I corresponded with


the learning centre coordinator, researched the school website and liaised with the one of my co-
preservice teachers who is currently working as a Student support officer, to understand the roles
and responsibilities of support teachers. During the placement I worked in collaboration with the
school’s learning support officers, classroom teachers, sign-language instructors and Aboriginal
officer to broaden my understanding on student learning and behaviour management. Intensive
team discussions and brainstorming at the centre to develop appropriate learning activities for
individual students as per their needs, allowed me to participate in the construction of inclusive
learning activities for students as well as develop stronger relationships within the school’s teaching
and non-teaching community.
My initial goal for this professional experience was to collaborate with the school community
members to develop deeper understanding of student learning and improve my teaching practice.
However, observation of same students in different classrooms under differential learning practices
expanded my knowledge on teaching strategies that can be incorporated in my own KLA, the most
important being communicating with the students. The realisation of importance of communication
in establishing a student-teacher relationship and its indispensable role in student learning pushed
me to broaden my goal and thus include focus on individual students. By undertaking one-on-one
teaching sessions both inside and outside the classrooms, I was not only able to support the learning
of my students, but I also came to know more about them, their interests, needs and concerns and
thus was able to build a positive relationship with them.

I hold the values of respect, accountability, social justice, self-control and gratitude as highly
important. Students were constantly reminded of these values in a positive manner to build a
positive classroom culture. Reflexivity in my practice also allowed me to think and plan for new
strategies and classroom designs for enhancing student-teacher interaction, student engagement and
reducing inappropriate behaviours. This experience allowed me to grow as a teacher and use my
knowledge and skills towards supporting student learning needs. Through active listening and
effective communication, I enabled students to realize their needs, evaluate their choices to fulfil
these needs and consider alternative choices. As a result, I was able to generate a sense of
motivation in my students to achieve more and believe in themselves.

This course allowed me to experience the philosophical, ethical, practical and pedagogical
perspectives of becoming a teacher in diverse, contemporary educational settings. It showed me how
to build a capacity to modify and adjust teaching practice to best meet the needs of all students.
Adoption of culturally responsive pedagogy by inclusion of diverse perspectives, knowledge and
multiple modes of representation increased student engagement and inclusiveness. Inclusion of
extended reading resources and interactive activities also targeted the talented students in class.
Regular interaction with the class and encouraging students to ask questions and reflect on their
perspectives also allowed me to assess the formation of learning.

Overall, learning in this setting allowed me to achieve a greater sense of personal efficacy,
personal identity, spiritual growth, moral development, and improved my social responsibility and
teaching skills. I gained more reflexivity in my practice, reduced stereotypes and developed greater
inter-cultural understanding, resulting in greater involvement with the students. By integrating
meaningful student relationships with instruction and reflection, this experience has brought a
substantial change in my development as a teacher.