Professional Engagement

September 26, 2019 | Focus Areas: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 0 COMMENTS

Engage in Professional Learning

Lesson observations 

2nd of May, 2019

The following observations occurred during my 10-week placement. Below is an example of one of the observations that my mentor completed during a HASS lesson on the 2nd of May 2019.

Mentor feedback from lesson, 2nd of May 2019

Click here to view details of Mentor feedback

One of the constructive pieces of feedback received from this lesson was to continue to look for students ‘doing the right thing’ and acknowledge this to the class first, instead of redirecting students who are not ‘doing the right thing’. When implemented, I found this to be an effective positive behaviour support tool which improved student engagement and participation. (6.3)

14th of June, 2019

I applied this constructive feedback, and this was noted during my next lesson observation. This was completed by my graduate mentor on the 14th of June.

At the start of the lesson I engaged students with a warmup activity. For this, students had white boards and markers out on desks. I engaged students with open and closed questions to elicit prior understanding. Then I did some explicit teaching about discount. Giving clear directions, I sent students off to do some practice questions in the textbook. Throughout the lesson, I maintained a teacher presence, had excellent peripheral vision and kept an eye on all students. I used consistent, firm and fair behaviour management using appropriate tone, pitch, and speed. I gave appropriate feedback to students, acknowledged and developed student responses in an appropriate and inclusive manner. For example, I acknowledged who was ‘doing the right thing,’ and pulled out students who required extra support. I always remained calm and patient. Students were working in class on different activities, some were doing work with the text at their desk, others were working with me in a small group. After I finished with the small group and they went back to their desks, I walked around the room to check in and assist students to ensure their understanding and engagement. I varied gestures for student engagement and management. My graduate mentor noted that I was working hard to understand my mathematics content knowledge. She acknowledged that I was using appropriate vocabulary and meta language to develop students conceptual understanding. She advised me to keep working hard at this. (3.3), (3.5), (4.1), (4.2), (2.5)

Graduate mentor feedback, 14th of June 2019

Click to view details of Graduate mentor feedback

My graduate mentor suggested that I include a WALT, a WILF, a TIB and a reflection at the end of the lesson. These connect to learning outcomes from The Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2019). When I did apply these in following lessons, I found that students were clearer about what they were expected to know, understand and be able to do as a result of the lesson (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011). Making time for students to reflect at the end of a lesson helps students to make stronger connections with their learning (Moon, 1999). The implementation of these allowed for further student learning growth. (1.2), (6.3), (2.1)

This experience has led me to reflect on my numeracy practice and identify professional learning needs based on the AITSL standards. For example: In the AITSL standard 2.5, it states clearly that I should “know and understand literacy and numeracy teaching strategies and their application in teaching areas” (2019). Therefore, I planned for professional learning needs. I explored professional mathematics associations and professional development associations, for example The Mathematics Association of South Australian, Learning 4 All and SPELT SA for professional development opportunities. (6.1), (6.2)

Mathematics with Lisa-Jane O’Conner

Based on observations of my practice and discussions with colleagues during placement, I decided that I should extend my literacy and mathematics teaching practice by doing the following: (7.4)

  • Complete professional development in literacy
  • Complete professional development in mathematics
  • Make my Internship project about mathematics.

After my extended 10-week placement, I participated in a Lisa-Jane O’Connor’s workshop (7.4),  “Where’s the sense in number sense?”

Click here to see how I have implemented these strategies – Internship Maths Project

I have been able to implant my numeracy professional learning during my Internship project. It has already enhanced my teaching practice and impacted positively on student learning growth. Students have made considerable growth in the mathematical learning. (6.2), (6.4) Click here for evidence -Maths consolidation group

Mathematics: MASA Conference

On the 21st of September, 2019, I went along to the Mathematics And Primary School Association (MASA) conference. I learnt some more strategies consolidating mathematical knowledge and extending gifted students. One of the key messages was to make mathematics challenging for gifted students by allowing them to fail. This is because that is where the most growth can be gained and failing creates resilience, especially important for those students who are not used to failing. (6.4) Strategies that I am looking forward to implementing are:

  • When giving students questions, there are 5 essential rules.
  1. The answer is worth = 0 points
  2. They get a point for the conjecture (guess) = 1 point
  3. Change your mind and try another conjecture = 1 point
  4. Once you have tried one conjecture on your own, you can copy a friend.
  5. You are not allowed to rub anything out.

This strategy will be beneficial for all of the students in the class.

  • Principal of problem solving – change the structure of the question. For example, change the operation or put a gap in a weird place.
  • Put constraints on the question. For example, you must … or you can’t…
  • Encourage students to explain their process by asking these two questions. What is the same? What is different?
  • Drip feed pieces of the puzzle. Let students grapple first.
  • Prove me wrong – how do you know it’s not …?
  • Always let the. gifted student work with a friend – otherwise they could feel isolated. This will also benefit the friend’s mathematics skills.
  • ‘Weird up’ the questions.

In Term 4, I will be working with a small group of year 7 students who require mathematical extending. I hope that the impact of using these strategies will challenge and create further growth in their mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills.

I also learnt some more strategies for students requiring catch up and further consolidation of mathematics knowledge, understanding and skills:

  • Increase student metacognition and self-regulation by having students’ monitor their own learning.
  • Make use of peer tutoring. Provide students time to prepare their answers and swap partners regularly.

I envisage that these new strategies will further enhance my numeracy teaching skills and student growth in mathematical learning.

Literacy – Jolly Phonics

On the Wednesday the 23rd of January and Friday the 29th of January, I participated in in Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar professional development.

Certificate of Attendance Jolly Phonics 1 and 2


I implemented many of these strategies whilst on placement. This was challenging as I had to learn these concepts from Reception to Year 6 all at once. I structured and taught (with mentor support) grammar lessons with varied success. I found that using a power point helped to keep me on track while teaching these new concepts. I felt that I needed to revisit the training again to consolidate the Jolly grammar concepts. (6.4)

On Thursday the 18th of July and Friday the 19th of July, I participated in Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar professional development.

Jolly Phonics July 2019

Jolly Grammar July 2019

Jolly phonics teaches students literacy skills by teaching them synthetic phonics. There are 42 letter sounds that are taught using a multi-sensory approach. Students learn letter sounds, formation, blending, segmenting, and tricky words. Jolly Grammar teaches essential grammar and spelling rules and a wide range of language forms including, parts of speech, plurals, punctuation, and the tenses, past, present and future. Jolly phonics content is organised in a way that allows students to learn grammar and spelling in a structured manner. This created diversity in student writing and improved their spelling.

I planned structured weekly spelling and grammar learning programs during placement. Every week, following a grammar lesson, students received new spelling words. They then set out on completing the various tasks required in their spelling contract  (Attribution: Heather Buck). Everyday students had a different spelling or grammar task to complete. Student tasks were differentiated based on flexible grouping to make the content accessible. (2.2), (3.2)

Following my teaching practice and further professional development I have more confidence and knowledge in literacy teaching and this will continue to improve in my practice as I use these skills in future lessons. (2.5)

Engagement with parents/carers and the community

During my extended 10-week placement (Internship), I used a range of strategies to involve parents in the educative process.

Letter correspondence

Before the start of my extended placement, I wrote a letter to parents Introducing myself. I felt that it was important to start to build relationships with parents/carers as soon as possible. This is to support student learning. (3.7), (7.3)

Email correspondence and parent/teacher meeting with T’s mother

Below is the email that a parent wrote to my mentor quite concerned about her sons amount of extra homework. (3.7), (7.3)


Email correspondence with T’s mother

Email from T’s mother

Building positive, supportive, open, sensitive and confidential relationships with parents/carers is essential to supporting student learning. Writing this email back to T’s mother (although it was not sent), helped me to practice the skill of communicating to parents in an empathetic and appropriate manner with the support of my mentor. This email followed a parent/teacher meeting with T and his mother which was successful. There was no requirement for T to do extra homework. T realised that he needed to focus more during class and to ask for assistance when he needed it. We also gave T a graphic organiser to further support T during extended writing tasks. The impact from this communication allowed me to further support T so that he could manage classroom tasks and learn more effectively.

Moreover, during my Internship, I had the opportunity to post regular updates on the class blog, communicating homework, lesson tasks, student work and celebrations of student work. I am aware that at times I may need to contact parents by phone when appropriate.

“Kerry updated the class blog with weekly diary notes, project information and celebrations.” (Mentor teacher, 2019)

I maintained parent communication and built positive relationships with parents using the following strategies; email, meet and greet, discussions, participation on acquaintance night, participation at parent/teacher interviews and updates on the class blog.

“Kerry communicated with parents and invited engagement effectively, respectfully and with empathy using a variety of modes.  She made time to make herself known to parents by attending Acquaintance Night, participating in Parent Teacher Interviews and conversing with parents as they dropped off/picked up their students.” (Mentor teacher, 2019)

I endeavour to maintain open communication with parents throughout my teaching practice. I will comply with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements so that I can support student learning (DECD, 2019). (7.3), (3.7), (7.2)

Education Legislation 

I comply with Child protection, Work, Health and Safety, and Occupational, Health and Safety school policies and requirements. (7.4), (7.2)

Kerry has sound knowledge of Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum – she discussed a concern for a student and appropriately made the decision to report using the eCarl call line. Kerry participated in in-vacation and evacuation practises. She has sound OH&S knowledge.

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