Category Archives: Other

Teaching Strategies for Diverse Students

Through the use of my knowledge of students’ diverse backgrounds, I have implemented teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. I have altered my teaching and lesson plans to suit students on an individual needs basis where possible, in order to enhance their learning.

An example of the above can be taken from a year 9 mentor class I taught for a period of 10 weeks. The 5 indigenous male students involved with the mentor class had behavioural issues in a certain learning area and it was decided that they may benefit from individual instruction and a more relaxed, but firm teaching style.  Some of these students had issues with language, literacy and numeracy and were from a low socioeconomic area. In order to achieve progress with this group of young boys, I had to implement teaching strategies that were responsive to their learning needs. I asked advice from experienced colleagues who gave me several ideas of how to address these issues and the best methods they have tried and had success with.

My main goal was to develop a strong student-teacher relationship with each student, which in my opinion is one of the best methods to ensure students respect and work for you. This would help to motivate, connect and “get through” to these boys to hopefully make a difference and change their somewhat negative attitude towards school. Firstly I made the lessons informal by making the class a group discussion or a place where the boys could speak about anything and everything. There were still rules and guidelines that were followed. E.g. No hats inside, no headphones and ‘minimal’ swearing. They could sit where they chose, could speak when they wanted, and had a say it what would be covered in each lesson (up to a point). In order to get the best out of each individual I needed to understand what was going on in their world and in their heads. Their likes, dislikes, goals, role models and most importantly what motivates them.

I designed an ‘About you’ questionnaire in order to gather this information during the first lesson of the program. I found that giving them the independence and autonomy to choose and have an input in their own learning had a positive effect and increased engagement. In addition, the relaxed environment and verbal based activities helped with understanding and developing their language, literacy and numeracy skills.

Mentor – Year 9 ‘About You’ Activity

I introduced a goal based competition where the boys would attempt as many push ups as possible for the first lesson and try to beat their score every lesson thereafter. This simple exercise introduced goal setting in a fun, competitive and achievable manner, which the boys looked forward to every week. I would use this as a reward for finishing all set work during the lesson. On a more serious note in relation to goal setting, I had the boys write down three short term goals and three long term goals on a piece of paper and placed them all in an envelope to look at later in the year. Some of the boys achieved their goals, some did not.

I also considered the ‘bigger picture’, focusing a number of the lessons on the skills needed to find employment. We discussed relevant documents, including cover letters and resumes and I gave the boys the opportunity to create their own. In conjunction with this I explained the importance of achieving the best grade possible at school in order to improve their chances of getting a job in the future. We made certain agreements using a reward system based on attendance and behaviour at school. If the boys obeyed all requirements then they would be rewarded at the end of the term. This gave the boys motivation to achieve and attempt to follow the rules, even though this proved difficult for some of them. I created a comical/fun contractual agreement which I made all the boys agree to and sign.

Mentor Agreement

Although teaching this group of boys was challenging at times, I enjoyed it. Some would label this group of boys as ‘trouble makers’ or something similar, but once you break down the tough exterior and begin to understand what is going on in their heads, it’s clear to see that all they want is to succeed at something and should always be given a second chance.

This article relates to the following Professional standards: 

1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
2.5
3.1
3.5
4.1
4.3
6.3

 

 

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education

“We acknowledge the traditional and original owners of this continent and pay respect to today’s Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities who are its custodians – including in particular their past, present and future Elders”

Every Australian has a duty to appreciate and understand the origins of their country and the original inhabitants of this land. In conjunction with the history of this supposed ‘Terra nullius’ (Australia), unfortunately arises the concept of reconciliation, due to the poor treatment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people in the past. In order for reconciliation to be successful, education and understanding is required for all Australians. Through a variety of mediums, education and understanding can be achieved. This education starts at the school level. In order for a teacher to be able to design and implement effective teaching strategies and provide opportunities for students to develop in relation to ATSI people, they must first understand the history and culture themselves. We need to gain a respectful understanding and knowledge of Indigenous cultures, histories and modern contexts whilst working in partnership with Indigenous communities.

Aboriginal Australia Picture

In order for a teacher to understand the modern life of Indigenous Australians, an understanding of the historical and cultural background of ATSI people is essential. ATSI people have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world, with estimates that they have inhabited what is now known as Australia for up to 60,000 years before European settlement. They lived with a strong dependence to the land and water and developed location specific skills such as hunting, fishing and gathering. Their way of life was changed dramatically after they were forced to submit to European rule. An understanding of ATSI history can be developed through the mediums below.

Share Our Pride Website

The Social, Cultural and Historical Context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (PDF)

History of Indigenous Australians

The history of ATSI people has demonstrated that there has been a varying degree of disrespect shown towards them since European incursion, up until recent times. In the past, racism and control have belittled ATSI people and in some circumstances taken away their rights. Today, positive steps are being implemented to promote reconciliation.

Reconciliation – “The ending of conflict or renewing of a friendly relationship between disputing people or groups”

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Don’t take Australia for granted kids!

Occasionally students and even some adults can lose track and become so self involved they can forget how lucky they are to live in a country like Australia, with education opportunities, facilities and in general, the higher standard of living.

In relation to my epistemology once again, I want to TRY to educate students on not only Health and Physical education, however morals, life skills and world issues during the course of the year, wherever I may be teaching. Health and PE will always be the focus however, small videos, quotes or comments throughout the school year could (hopefully) alter a students thoughts, or expand their thinking beyond what they are doing tonight or on the weekend to something bigger, like world issues. Always trying to push students to extend themselves is something I aim to achieve. Behaviour management could also be combated by shocking students into realising that ‘their world’ isn’t the only thing that matters.

Thinking

School Project Idea – How much do you know about world poverty and how much do you care? Sacrificing one thing a week to be able to relate in some sort of way to how someone across the other side of the world may be feeling. ‘Whenever you are feeling down, just remember how lucky you are, and keep your head up. You can always ask for help”

“Try sacrificing that one red bull, or that one bag of lollies and give that money to charity. If every student in Australia, Western Australia or even Perth did this even once, it (YOU) can make a difference. Give up that energy drink in Australia so a child younger than you in Africa can have one drink of water.”

Adult idea (18-30 year olds) Over the course of one month cut back on alcohol intake or a leisure activity and donate one quarter of the money saved to world vision or a similar charity.

“You couldn’t live without your apple iPhone, some children in Africa can’t even afford a real apple.” – Gary Corley