Anne Keary, Kelly Carabott, Narelle Woods and Karina Barley (Lecturers and Teaching Associates in the Faculty of Education, Monash University)
This unit of work on teaching the ‘teaching-learning cycle’ involves seven weeks of a twelve-week teaching ‘English 1’ unit (see synopsis below) to first year pre-service teachers undertaking a Bachelor of Education (Primary/Secondary hons) course. A large number of the pre-service teachers were International students who had English as an Additional Language and had not undertaken schooling within an Australian context.
Unit Synopsis – English 1
This unit introduces students to the complexities involved in teaching English and literacy, and in developing theoretical perspectives on learning and teaching in the field. Students develop their own discipline knowledge of English. They are encouraged to research changing practices in the teaching of English, critically reflect on their own beliefs and teaching practices, and develop a robust theoretical perspective on the learning and teaching of literacy for a diverse range of
learners. They focus on the range of ways children encounter and use symbol systems while exploring their diverse everyday worlds and building their literacy skills. Students develop understanding of relevant local and national English curriculum for schools, and the interrelated strands of language, literature and literacy.
Details of Assessment Task 2 for ‘Teaching-Learning Cycle’ Unit of Work
In small groups, pre-service teachers were asked to collaboratively design a curriculum plan based on the teaching-learning cycle. The plan involved scaffolding primary students as they create a picture story book. As part of the design process, the pre-service teachers in small groups composed their own picture story book so that they experienced what was involved. They created a model (both of the process and the product) to share with the primary students. As part of the inquiry project, they were asked to keep an individual reflective journal documenting their learning about developing the curriculum plan, composing the picture story book and undertaking readings.
The curriculum plan was to span around 4-6 weeks and was to take in the needs of diverse learners.
It was to take into account aspects such as:
- familiarising students with the nature of story picture books (e.g. their diversity, their history, their different modes of production)
- selecting and reading several picture books with the students (using such activities as modelled, shared, guided and independent
- deconstructing (with the students) the story picture book that your group has created as a model for the students’ own story picture book (e.g. modelling the composing process, features of a good story, how the story is organised, how the characters are developed, depiction of the setting, the interplay between image and language, some key language features)
- jointly constructing with the students elements of their own picture story book reading.
The main focus of the inquiry project was on the process of designing the curriculum plan (including a model picture story book) and reflections on learning gained through the process (as documented in a reflective journal).