Educator and researcher, Helen Timperley once stated that successful teachers “…are able to flexibly retrieve, organise and apply knowledge to new problems and are not restricted to executing established routines of practice” (Timperley 6). Over the past year, adaptability has been integral and at the forefront of every teacher’s practice. Although course content may remain unchanged, instructional strategies are ever-changing.
Throughout the first year of the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) program, I have acquired immense knowledge of what it means to be a teacher. I have challenged preconceived notions and disrupted any hidden biases I possessed prior. Inadvertently, due to virtual learning, I also expanded my digital skillset. Within the program, I am routinely grounding learning through multiple Communities of Inquiry. For instance, I have increased insight from peers in the B.Ed Program, with ongoing projects I have situated learning by reviewing educational research, and countless zoom lectures including discussion boards have contributed to fostering virtual communities.
After attending Professional Learning Communities (PLC), I feel greater equipped to formulate my pedagogical approach with areas concerning mental health, well-being, creating equitable learning environments, in addition to integrating inclusive practices.
With the majority of extracurricular activities being cancelled, it is integral to instill a sense of community in the classroom, regardless of a remote location. With the start of each lesson, I look forward to using diverse discussion prompts to gain a comprehensive perspective of students. I will keep communication a priority throughout my practicum by offering ongoing classroom support, live polls and check-ins. I will also be mindful of student’s screen time/ attention span and incorporate short breaks throughout lessons. As an educator in a unique point of history, it is my job to understand how each student learns and how I can accommodate them on their learning continuum.
When instilling classroom management, I will diverge from punitive measures and consider, does this strategy contribute to building the student’s self-worth and integrity? Following the ‘Responsive Teaching, Diversity in the Classroom’ PLC I gained a broader perspective of how to conduct classroom management. For instance, I will utilize restorative questions to guide students to self-reflection. These questions include “what were you thinking at the moment? What have you thought about since? Who has been affected by what you have done? What do you think you need to do to make things right?” Overall, we can utilize proactive discipline approaches by knowing ourselves, knowing the students, understanding policies and curricula standards, then plan effectively and practice healthy behaviors in the classroom.
In this sense, I aim to embody Leadership in Learning Communities one of the professional standards of practice as stated by the Ontario College of Teachers. Recognize the overarching responsibilities and influence within these settings, to enable student success.
Within my practicum, I look forward to fostering a great sense of socio-cultural awareness. I will be attentive to how one’s intersectional positionality may affect their learning experience. Consider how to minimize any barriers at play and work collaboratively to assist students uniquely. Furthermore, I will tirelessly strive to avoid assumptions of universality by curating diverse exemplars through art, artists, scientists, diverse ways of instruction, providing a platform for students to share traditions, varying values, expansive historical context, as well as continually highlighting BIPOC leaders. I am aware that equity and inclusion are lifelong practices, and I am devoted to continuously learn.
With the recent pivot to online learning Students now have access to online platforms which grants a vast opportunity for differentiated informal assessment where applicable. Utilization of Kahoot, exit ticket to assess student’s progress at the end of each lesson. Submission of a short elevator pitch of a concept over video, live, or over a chat interface. Creating a digital portfolio of their best work to be graded, virtual poster sessions, video or audio reflection. Peer assessment adapted for online to instill a collaborative classroom assessment. Dividing students into breakout rooms with clear success criteria. With multiple avenues to participate with low stakes, students can receive feedback to propel them forward on their learning journey.
Although I would have preferred to experience practicum in person, the placement in an online setting allows the opportunity to strengthen Ongoing Professional Learning, as encouraged by the OCT. While becoming acquainted with Google Classroom, I will seek online materials to inform pedagogy, and ultimately enhance student learning. Overall, throughout the next eight weeks in practicum, I aspire to be a prepared engaged educator, know the learners, all while building a sense of community.
Timperley, Helen. “Using evidence in the classroom for professional learning.” Étude présentée lors du Colloque ontarien sur la recherche en éducation. 2010.