What has helped you to learn, and what has interferred with your learning in this unit?

In the first weeks of my Dip-Ed I reflected on the type of teacher I will be:
Reflection of the type of teacher I will be!
3 months down the road on my journey much of what I expressed remains the same, however my understanding of the type of science teacher has become clearer now having completed the General science education unit.
There have been a number of varying opportunities during this unit which have helped and hindered my learning. Having the opportunity to discuss and workshop some ideas for the camp in the first week was not as productive to my learning as ultimately being thrown in the deep end and teaching at Somers ..
Somers Science Special

In the two weeks prior to placement the lectures and tute touched on the VELS and VCE. At the time I felt frustrated and a little confused as to how this was going to help me in a school setting. But in retrospect having some background in the cirrculum was of huge benefit to my placement teaching outcomes. In a scienctific perspective I felt that VELS was so loose- what equation, what concept do you exactly want to know in year 9 science- it just wasn’t there, my inital perspective was of dread and confusion. But when I consciencely stepped back as a scientist and started to analyse VELS as a science teacher it became more valuable to me as a teacher. It provided some framework but also the flexibility to develop science education specifially for the learning needs of my students. In one of the first lectures it was suggested that we need to teach students the way in which experts think and undertake science. I believe that being able to interchange my thinking between “scientist” and “science teacher” will assist with achieving this in my classroom.

I particularly found a session for the VCE Biology , run by Mandy Berry, gave me a licence to think outside the textbook. A particular example of a “cell communication” song written and performed by VCE Unit 3 students resonated with me, I saw a real application of Bloom’s taxonomy and the science curriculum. I was able to see the real learning not just content but an understanding of the biological system demonstrated by the students.

From this point in the semester I started to dissect and evaluate my own learning style. I started to realise that I have a whole picture style of learning where I need to understand most of the components of a topic ie science teaching to effectively learn and understand. It was during the chocolate cake lecture that I realised that while I have a chemistry masters, I do not have a high level of confidence to rely the nitty gritty chemical process for making a cake. I have a very broad brush view of science. I understand lots of principals and processes and their linkages, but my accuracy of definitions and specific components within these are not polished. As a science teacher understanding this limitation I will need to pay more attention to details when the learning style of my students is based on precise definitions and the “unpacked” components of science.

Perhaps it was my tummy taking over my mind, but the chocolate cake demonstration infiltrated my thoughts when planning my science lessons during placement. In particular the idea of “relevance” stuck with me. Everyone has experienced chocolate cake. At this point I put together a “lecture” for my year 10 about how bushfires can effect the water quality of streams particularly pH. This was my master’s topic and I thought it relevant to the lives of my students. My powerpoint presentation went for 20 minutes and I asked students to reflect on what they learnt about pH. It was amazing, the learning was easy as was the teaching! I was becoming aware that I had a preference to verbal and visual learning and teaching opportunities. I was grateful that the unit provided a number opportunities for me to verbalise my thoughts and understanding via group discussion and asking questions in both tute and lecture situations. Having these learning preferences and starting to see them in my teaching style is beneficial to verbal and visual learner however it is important that I understand the other learning styles incorporate activities and teaching that are based on these styles.

In the coming period I expect that I will continue to refine my understanding of science pedagology and its application in the classroom. In the remained of the cource I want to develop a better understanding of how students with unusual learning abilitilies, either advanced or delayed, can be supported

About Sarah

Currently teaching in Collingwood College as a science and outdoor education high school teacher. After a huge 2020 I have decided to change direction and later in the year plan to undertake a coding bootcamp... After training to be a teacher via a Diploma of Education and Masters in Chemistry via thesis on the effects of bushfire on receiving water bodies (Gippsland 2002-2003) at Monash University Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Australia I have been teaching in Secondary schools in Melbourne including Sophia Mundi Steiner School . I have been an active member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), represented Australia at the world Canoe Polo Championships, am keen on other sports: netball, basketball and road cycling. I am a keen gardener and owner of chickens as well as a German Shorthaired Pointer and mother to four children. Life is busy but I would not have it any other way!
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