Identifying an area of improvement

September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

– Element 3 of the Professional Teaching Standards –

My very first lesson with my Year 10 History was a very disappointing one. A new class that which I had yet to figure out their personalities and learning style, I was aiming to teach them about the Protection Policy for Aboriginals. Here, I assumed that many students would be very uninterested in the topic and therefore aimed for a very high energy, student driven empathy activity.

My main outcome to address was 5.9: Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts. My indicators were:

  • Identify and explain perspectives of different individual groups
  • Interpret history within the context of the actions, values, attitudes and motives of individuals or groups.

These outcomes and indicators however, were not achieved due to a number of reasons.

I had planned for students in groups to create foreign identities with career and family goals whilst an assigned group was to act as the government and were to counter the goals of other groups. This failed because

  1. It was a brand new class that had not establish friendship ties and therefore could not function well as groups.
  2. I did not provide the class and individual groups, especially the government group, a goal to achieve and strongly relate why they were doing this activity back to the Protection Policy before they embarked on their group work. Some students caught on to the purpose of the activity; however the majority of the class did not.

Lacking an appropriate learning goal for this lesson, I immediately identified this weakness in my teaching and lesson plan. Through this, I learnt that each lesson must have a clear goal – at least one concrete message for the students to take away from the lesson. Without this clear goal set for the class, my activities neglected the outcomes and indicators I had nominated for this lesson.  Such errors were ones I had not considered earlier in my preparation and therefore became evident during and after class.

On the positive side, the majority of students enjoyed the activity as it fed their imagination and allowed for new interactions with peers that they had not spoken to before. The students were engaged, however, as already mentioned, could not identify the point of the activities.

Despite being my very first lesson in Week 1 that I taught solely, this lesson became a defining experience for my future lesson planning, scaffolding and activities.

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