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EPR300: COMPONENT #2: Educations

North Star
Planning & Teaching

Excellence in education can only be provided with consistency in three corporate areas; curriculum,
pedagogy and assessment. Only when these areas are in collaboration with each other can a school
provide the utmost beneficial learning experience for their students. This is best demonstrated
through methods of collegial planning and teaching based on a core focus known within Australia as
Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA. 2016). This institutionalization
of a national curriculum aided all schools within Australia to align their educational focus towards a
common standard. Ultimately the planning and teaching focus of all Australian school now were able
to provide their teachers with a consistent foundation to fall back on in all decision making matters
regarding planning, teacher and assessing.

As a teacher one is faced with many choices and decisions both inside and outside the classroom.
Yet before any structure of lesson designing and assessments can be implemented there is a strong
need for various decisions being made within the shadows of leadership, staff and year level
meetings. These decisions no matter what they are regarding always fall within the parameters of
the ACARA standards.

Throughout my placements within various schools I had the opportunity to be part of


decision making processes applied to planning out unit plans, lesson plans and the
implementation of assessments. It was an important learning experience as I was able to
witness the great relevance of the ACARA standards in which my colleagues relied greatly on
when crafting their ideas for planning out the school terms and individual outcomes of lesson
and achievement standards.

Rebecca A. Stephens 20/07/17

Just as the ACARA standards provide a base line for instructional decision making regarding school
wide teaching and planning unit and lesson plans provide that same base line on a much smaller
scale. The unit plan is created taking the expectations of the ACARA standards and putting it within a
10 week format known as a term. This provides the teachers with an idea of the knowledge that is to
be taught, learning expectations of the students and upcoming summative and formative
assessments that students are to complete.

When undergoing any classroom learning, activity or assessment a teacher always builds an
individual expectation of student achievement. The time I spent in a classroom I also formed my
own ideas of the achievement standards which my students would perform in relevance to the
subject matter. Inclusive of curricular knowledge there was also a level of expectation regarding
general capabilities which the students would additionally hone and develop throughout the
learning & teaching period.
Some Expectations of Student Achievements in Current Term

Skill Knowledge: Capabilities


(ACSSU182)
I can describe the wave and
ICT Capability: Ability to
particle models and relate it to
All Students: Can comfortably mediate various
energy transfer, including sound
understand where static forms of ICT.
and light.
electricity comes from.
Students can draw a circuit
I can describe convection,
Critical & Creative Thinking:
conduction and radiation and Most Students: Know the
Ability to analyse information &
relate this to real life situation breakdown of an Atom.
think outside the box.
such as an electric circuit. Students can successfully
complete a circuit and draw a
limitedly detailed circuit
I can describe the wave and A few students: Can explain in Personal & Social Capability:
particle models and relate it to Ability to understand ones self
detail the atomic process that
energy transfer, including sound and interact with others around
causes static electricity. Can
and light. them.
reflect on previously learned
knowledge of a circuit and
energy transfer and relate it to Intercultural Understanding:
I can demonstrate energy their current drawing. Ability to relate and interact
transfer through STELR
sensitively with people from
demonstrations.
other cultures.

Additionally when it comes to supporting student learning outside of the classroom just as there are
broad academic expectations of skill, knowledge and capabilities that students are worked toward
throughout the year there are also individual expectations and goals set for each and every student.
These are known as Personal Learning Plans (PLP). PLPs are instituted per student providing
uniquely customized achievement, goals and skill development based on the particular student.

In reference to my three focus students I was able to take a look at their PLPs which were
instituted based on their strengths and weaknesses they had shown class. These were very
helpful as they provided me with an idea of the levels of challenge, excellence and growth
that my specific students exhibited and allowed me to easily understand the academic goals
and expectations for them throughout the term.

Rebecca A. Stephens

There have been a variety of support methods mentioned for student engagement and learning that
are preformed outside the classroom. Below are listed some other strategies used to support
student learning and engagement within the classroom.

Lesson Energizers: Component of the lesson that seek to engage the student immediately at
the start of the lesson.
Examples: Providing examples within a lesson can be crucial for students to comprehend the
subject matter competently.
Group Activists: These can allow students to work together using creative thinking and
brainstorming to solve a provided challenge.
Practicals: These allow students to use the knowledge learn and apply it in a practical
environment. It engages the more tactile students and also intrigues the more intellectual
students at the same time.
A majority of these methods for student learning and engagement can be seen below within the
attached lesson plans provided.

The ideology of everything working perfectly in theory yet not in practice is one often observed in
the classroom. Behind closed doors in staff, year level or personal meetings everything can be
contained within the walls of design and order; often not accommodated the absurdities that take
place in the everyday classroom. This is why it is imperative to be aware that ones intended
outcome of curriculum content and what is actually enacted within the classroom at times can be
two different things.

The context for my two lesson plans was within a middle school focusing primarily on year 9
students teaching the subject of the method energy travels. When structuring my lesson plan I
was assured that I had thought out the best method of achieving student learning outcomes and
content needing to be covered.

Nevertheless when I found myself in the situation I was bombarded with questions students
asked, impromptu need for examples to further clarify my teaching subject, funny stories I added
to provide context and various other unexpected events which occurred due to actually being in
front of a classroom of students. It was a very sobering moment for me as I realized that
although lesson plans must be aligned with the ACARA standards and focus I also need to have a
level of flexibility and freedom in which I can build relation with my students and cater for the
unexpected.

Rebecca A. Stephens

Additionally there is a great difference between intended assessment achievement among students
and enacted achievement preformed. That is why it is imperative to incorporate formative
assessments within lesson plans to fully understanding the full range of academic abilities prior to
incorporate a summative assessment. Observed within the lesson plans provided are various
methods of formative assessing of student abilities through practical exercise, answering examples
in their books for assessing, answering key questions at the end of the lesson etc. This would aid the
teacher in gauging what areas of strengths and weaknesses of their students leading up to
summative assessments.

Although formative assignments can be viewed as time consumers by some, they hold great
value to me in my lesson teaching. I use them as bench marks to understand what I can do
better and develop on as a teacher. In light of my focus students reviewing their achievement on
various formative assessments helped structure their PLP and also provided a better
understanding as their teacher.

Rebecca A Stephens

Overall the importance of planning based on national curriculum focus like ACARA has aided
schools and teaches to continue to provide consistent and structured learning environment and
pathways for their students. Inclusively methods such as PLP and other various forms of
inclusion instituted within lesson plans assist in the personal development and engaged of
students and their learning. From this structure the formation of more narrow learning
intentions such as Unit Plans, Learning Sequences, Lesson Plans and Assessments can be
incorporated with appropriate content. It also assists in introducing achievable goals and
assignments for students. In regards to the role of planning and teaching within education it can
be assured that the structures put in place act as any teachers North Star.