Friday, 29 September 2017

Future Focussed?

This year I have ensured to cover careers education, as I understand the importance of providing these opportunities for my learners. The Ministry of Education explain that students need to be aware of different career pathways and the knowledge and skills that are required to follow various career paths. It can also support students to be more motivated about school and higher education.

This term I have done a lot more work in this area than I had previously and I introduced a range of occupations to my learners, from architecture to engineering to working for the police. As a school we have invited lots of different individuals and organisations in to talk to our students about their careers.

I have found that this has had a positive impact on my learners, as they are far more aware of the different avenues that they could pursue. I found that they particularly learnt a lot from the engineer that I put them in contact with. He reported the importance of maths and physics for engineering, but expressed that he was not a strong writer at school.  A lot of my students could relate to this and found this quite meaningful. He was also very impressed with the students ICT and the fact that they were learning to code.

This caused the students to realise that they are quite privileged to belong to a cluster of schools that promotes the use of ICT, different media and programming skills, as it is not offered in all schools yet. We had a large discussion regarding this and they began to identify some of the other special skills that they have learnt so far, such as movie making and editing.

I look forward to hearing from past students in the future and learning which career path they decided to choose.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Teaching as Inquiry

This term my teaching inquiry has been focussed on eliciting rich discussion from my learners and supporting them to justify their answers. I have been focussing on this across the curriculum and I have found new ways to promote discussion in different areas.

In reading I have been using a mixture of reciprocal and guided reading all year. My students are now able to follow the reciprocal reading cycle in their groups without my support, and they can engage in great discussion. However, I have used guided reading alongside this to probe the students for deeper responses; to make inferences and judgements about the text. I also encourage my students to use the text to justify their answers during this time.

In writing I have utilised peer feedback to get my students discussing their writing more often. I also use language experiences and text analysis at the start of the year, so that they discuss their ideas before they put them to paper. The use of text analysis has been able to generate some good discussion between learners, as the students discuss their interpretations in small groups before sharing their ideas with a larger group.

I have also started writing short stories for my class, so they can watch my writing process and offer me feedback and editing advice. My students must then interpret the story that I have written, as I always leave a hidden message in between the lines. This has been a wonderful way to support their inferencing skills, to make judgements and to determine the authors purpose for writing.

In maths I have been using the problem solving approach which requires a lot of discussion between the learners, as they must work in groups to solve a word problem. To support the students to improve their ability to discuss their thoughts, I have began to use talking frames with them. I believe that this will have a great impact on their discussion skills.