EDFX348 – Professional Profile: Adam Jones

Professional Profile: Adam Jones, S00214138

Your relevant qualifications: (50-100 words):

I am a 3rd Year BTBA student with three weeks of practical experience in teaching. I have experience in creating short and long-form tutorials for 3D modelling and 2D art software. Was previously a lead 3D environment artist at Planet 55 Studios in charge of communicating between the 3D team, 2D team and producers. I am currently an Ice Hockey NSW, state-level Referee and coach Ice hockey development league part-time.

A teaching philosophy (500-600 words):

I have always enjoyed teaching, whether it be me at home making small tutorial videos for anyone out there interested in learning Valve’s Hammer map editor or being out on the ice teaching kids how to skate and shoot a puck. So when it came to what I should make my carer it was an obvious choice. I knew I should teach.

As a teacher, it is not just my duty to teach students the syllabus but to help teach them life skills like teamwork and communicating with one another, because of this I personally believe heavily in Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism approach to learning (Churchill, 2015, p. 91). It’s due to this I personally try to incorporate some form of collaborative work within my lessons and assessment planning. Along with the collaborative work I also like to give students and even myself time to reflect on what was learnt that lesson. I plan on doing this through a class conversation as I’ve noticed it often promotes engagement of the students but also helps those who may be struggling to understand from a new perspective which may allow them to understand the topic. Because of what is mentioned above I have made a small list of what I plan to implement as a teacher in my classroom:

  • There are NO stupid questions.
    • In my class, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If students are told their questions are stupid it could negatively affect them and cause them to lose curiosity in a subject, which in my opinion, curiosity is one of the key aspects a student needs.
  • Collaborative activities.
    • I’m a firm believer in Social Constructivism as stated above. I try to incorporate some form of group work in almost all of my lesson plans.
  • Constant encouragement for students to voice their opinions.
    • This is here for two reasons. 1. Students should never be afraid or worried about voicing their own opinions. Just because you may oppose an opinion doesn’t make it any less valid. And 2. I believe we can only better ourselves if we learn to hear other opinions and form our own thoughts on a given subject.
  • Encourage students to be inquisitive, if you don’t know, ask.
    • How can you learn if you never ask? This ties back to point one. I want students to ask questions, I want them to be interested in what they’re
  • Everyone is treated equally
    • Pretty self-explanatory. Everyone should be treated with the same levels of rights and respects regardless of their gender, ethnicity, economic standing, religion or sexuality. We are all people, we all deserve to be treated fairly.
  • Encourage students to try their best.
    • I want students to succeed, I want them to reach their full potential in whatever it is they choose to one day pursue. I firmly believe that without teachers encouraging their students we would have a lot less innovation within the world.

Reflections:

Experience One: How to run an effective class!

The first experience I have chosen for a critical reflection is based on an English teacher I observed during my first prac. Within this prac I was assigned to shadow a student named Deejay, Deejay was known as a “troublemaker” and “class disturbance” by most of the staff. While working with Deejay I learnt a lot with how to approach students with learning disabilities, in Deejays case he had behavioural issues (often switching from happy to ready to fight on the flip of a switch) stemming from his diagnosed Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Due to this disorder Deejay was prone to wandering around the class if uninstructed, fidgeting and generally disrupting the class. However, one teacher helped me understand Deejay and showed me how to effectively work with him. So let’s look at what aitsl standards this teacher met and reflect on what I learnt from this teacher.

Understand how students learn (aitsl standard 1.2)

The English teacher of this class recognised that while Deejay struggled linguistically he was very capable of picking up on visual stimuli’s. The English teacher recognised Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (Churchill, 2015, p. 105) and in doing so was able to provide a teaching method to Deejay which helped him understand the content she was delivering to the class.

Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds (aitsl standard 1.3)

As teachers, we should never assume that students have access to all the equipment we may have access to within a school. The English teacher in this scenario recognised that students needed their physiological needs met before they could even engage in learning, which is step one Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Churchill, 2015, p. 88).
This English teacher was by far the most useful teacher I had the pleasure of observing during my short stay. Because of her, I learnt that as a teacher we need to go out of our way to both understand how our students learn and how we must try to help students meet their physiological needs if we want them to be able to engage with our lessons.

 

Experience Two: How to not run an effective class!

For my second experience, I’d like to focus on teachers who do not engage students but instead set work and expect it to be completed by the end of the lesson., The teacher gave four words to the class, “work on your assignment”. Then he proceeded to sit at his own computer and work on his own reports.  It’s safe to say not much work was done that lesson, and I don’t think the teacher really cared, he seemed more focused on whatever it was he was doing. So let’s look at some aitsl standards this teacher clearly was not meeting, and reflect on what I learnt from this teacher.

aitsl standard 1.2: Understand how students learn (aitsl, 2017).

This Science teacher either didn’t understand or just plain didn’t care to understand how his students learn. For some students, the task given was completely foreign to them as they did not fall into the category of logical-mathematical learners (Churchill, 2015, p. 105). With no help from their teacher in helping these students understand the content in some other context, they were unable to complete the task. This really highlighted to me the importance of knowing how your students learn.

aitsl standard 4.2: Manage classroom activities (aitsl, 2017).

If I had seen a lesson plan for this lesson it may have just been two lines long, Take students to the computer lab. Tell them to do work. That seems like all the preparation that the teacher had made for this lesson and while observing the class I could tell that there was not much guidance as half the class was either finished their assignments while the other half had barely touched it due to lack of knowledge on the subject. This really highlighted to me the importance of actually managing and planning your class’s activities, and specifically the importance of scaffolding material so that students can accomplish their tasks and move to working independently (Churchill, 2015, p. 87)
It honestly felt like this teacher had given up on this class and I think the students also picked up on that from his lack of engagement and enthusiasm. This experience taught me that I need to show passion in what I’m teaching if I want students to engage with the lesson.

 

Experience Three: Communication and Goal setting is incredibly important!

The third experience I have chosen for this blog entry is a lesson from a math teacher I observed. Now while this math teacher was nowhere near as bad as the science teacher I witnessed she too was lacking in certain areas when it came to engaging and interreacting with her students. Specifically, in those students who seemed to struggle with the subject. So let’s look at what standards this teacher both me and didn’t meet and reflect on what I learnt from this teacher.

aitsl standard 2.5: Literacy and numeracy strategies (aitsl, 2017).

The Maths teacher definitely met this standard. While she may have had trouble communicating different ways to explain how to solve the problems she definitely had a very firm grasp on mathematics as she also taught the extension maths.

aitsl standard 3.1: Establish Challenging learning goals (aitsl, 2017).

This is another standard I think the Maths teacher half failed to do. While the teacher did set challenging goals to try and further student’s progression some students failed to meet their full potential of development as there was little scaffolding set in place to help them understand the content. (Churchill, 2015, p. 87)
I don’t believe this teacher was a bad or negligent teacher like the Science teacher I observed. I think she was just lacking in communication skills which made it harder for her students who weren’t mathematically minded. This experience taught me that it’s crucial that as educators we have to really step back and reflect on our teaching. We need to look at our self’s critically and really think, what is working? What isn’t working? How can I deliver this content in a way that my students will be able to understand and engage with their education?

 

Experience four: Care not only for your student’s education but for their safety!

The fourth and last experience I have chosen for this blog entry is a lesson from a textiles teacher I observed while on prac. This class was interesting for me as it was the one subject class I visited which I had no experience actually doing during my time at school. The teacher of this class was quite different from the last two experiences I mentioned. He was extremely warm and inviting to all of his students while at the same time being stern and showing that he was quite serious when it came to the safety of his students, this was probably due to the students doing a hands-on activity using broken tile pieces (I believe the students were making mosaics) and sharp glass cutting pliers. Along with the English teacher I mentioned in experience one this teacher was clearly meeting the aitsl teaching standards and his genuine love for the subject and teaching was radiating from him. Let’s take a look at the standards I think this teacher exemplified the best and reflect on what I learnt from this teacher.

 

aitsl standard 4.4: Maintain student safety (aitsl, 2017).

This Tech teacher definitely maintained student safety within his classroom. Not only was he trained within first aid himself, had a first aid kit within the classroom but also would run through the safety instructions before each task was given so the students knew how to safely operate the tools they had to use. All of these factors showed me that this teacher clearly understands Maslow’s hierarchy and was very efficient and effective in meeting the second basic need of safety (Churchill, 2015, p. 88).

aitsl standard 7.1: Meet professional ethics and responsibilities (aitsl, 2017).

Again, this Tech teacher was on top of this aitsl standard. He clearly understood his responsibilities to not only give the students a quality education but knew how to keep them safe while receiving that education in a practical subject. He showed a great deal of enthusiasm to teach his students and his students responded warmly to this enthusiasm.

This teacher much like the English teacher in experience one was extremely useful to observe. Not only did he show me the importance of being passionate about your subject but he showed me that there is a fine balance between giving and receiving respect from students. If your students respect their teacher, they are much more likely to actively engage in their education.

 

References:

Aitsl, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2017). Australian Professional Standard for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards

Churchill, R., Godinho, S., Johnson, N., Keddie, A., Letts, W., Mackay, J., . . . Lowe, K. (2015). Teaching: Making a difference (Third ed.).