Six Strategies for Change

[Posted Pursuant to Memorandum on Modalities of Completion A Task 2]

The literature identifies six pedagogical approaches that can facilitate the learning of working class and low SES students in ways that bridge incongruity between the student body and the institutional context those being

  1. Know and respect your students
  2. Offer them flexibility, variety and choice
  3. Make expectations clear, using accessible language
  4. Scaffold your students’ learning
  5. Be available and approachable to guide your students’ learning
  6. Practice reflectively

Let us discuss each in turn, but in the context of what the NSW Department of Education has articulated as three principles of effective teaching strategy under the rubric of its Quality Teaching Model, those being intellectual quality, quality learning environment, and significance. We do not need to know what those concepts mean for our purposes. What we want to do is to think about our understanding of those concepts and how that understanding can be used to develop connecting phrases linking the six strategies for change in a concept map.

Know and Respect Your Students

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “Understand low SES students are time poor; communicate with them, embrace and integrate their diversity and enable contributions of their knowledge to everyone’s learning” (Page 6).

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts that we know are applicable to our students. When articulating those be mindful to justify why you identify that concept.

Offer Them Flexibility, Variety and Choice

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “While upholding academic standards, offer low SES students flexibility, choice in assessment and variety in teaching and learning strategies” (Page 6).

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts, applicable to our specific learning areas, that might be relevant to the provision of flexibility, variety and choice within the ambit of the set curriculum at both middle school and senior school levels.

Make Expectations Clear, Using Accessible Language

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “Speak and write in plain language to ensure students understand the concepts being taught, your expectations of them and what is required to be a successful student” (Page 6).

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts or words, specific to our learning areas, that we could use to more accessibly communicate our expectations to our students.

Scaffold Your Students’ Learning

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “Take a step-by-step approach to teaching to ensure students build on what they bring to higher education and are taught the particular discourses necessary to succeed” (Page 6)

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts that encapsulate how we could better scaffold the learning of our students, including through formative assessment, within our specific learning areas.

Be available and approachable to guide your students’ learning

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “In addition to being available, be approachable so that students may make use of your expertise and guidance to improve their learning and performance” (Page 6).

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts that encapsulate how we could become more available and approachable inclusive educators. What are some concepts, for example, that encapsulate communication in the inclusive classroom?

Practice Reflectively

Devlin et al describe this as follows; “Reflect and seek to act on your own reflections, those from peers and feedback from students, to continuously improve your teaching practice and your students’ learning (Page 6).

Stop, Discuss, Build: Let us come up with five concepts that encapsulate five concepts that could make us more proficient reflexive educators, both informally and formally, as individuals and as a corporate body.

Bringing It Altogether

Now that we have six strategies for change arising from the theoretical literature let us build a concept map with all the concepts that we have discerned are applicable to developing greater levels of student engagement in our school and our class rooms. We want to link as many of these concepts, be mindful of our previous mind maps when doing this, together using connecting phrases arising from our intuitive understanding of the three core elements of the Quality Teaching Model.

Stop, Discuss, Build: Using our notebooks develop a concept map in the above manner in groups based on our individual learning areas. Upon completion of this task we will gather collectively to discuss all our ideas and justify them in the context of comment and critique from our colleagues. We will collaboratively collect all our ideas into the one concept map covering all the individual learning areas within our school. Our final product will be displayed on the Workshop Blog immediately below this post. Remember the concept map is a living document subject to revision through reflective practise.