In my rationale for the unit of work on how I would be able to meet my students needs in the context of the Australian Curriculum development, my fictitious class is a Suburban Primary School known as Goodhope primary where I am responsible for teaching a group of 22 sixth-grade students. In this multicultural classroom, the complex dynamics involved in teaching and the learning process takes on a new layer of approach so as to be able to effectively deliver the expected quality of education to these youngsters. In order to achieve this, the Australian education curriculum’s guidelines for the various requirements of learning ought to be followed to the letter. It is through quality education that these students are moulded and developed both academically, mentally, socially and religiously. The instructional tools included in the national curriculum expects the teacher to thoroughly engage the student so as to develop their individual learning.
However, in the quest to fulfil the desired curriculum objectives, a teacher is normally faced with numerous challenges that requires a lot of in-depth critical thinking and professionalism. For instance, in my assigned classroom, I have to consider the aspect of teaching in a mixed cultural classroom, the socio-economic background of my students as well as the major character traits being depicted by most of these young students. All these factors imperative considerations in the rationale for setting up a unit plan to effectively assist in the holistic development of the students.
In regard to the education requirement for my students, the general educational performance for these students has not been at its best. The majority of the students have been performing below average. Nonetheless, there are eight students who recently joined this class and have therefore been experiencing an immense level difficulty in class participation. In my unit, I intend to create a highly involving classroom that encourages student participation in all aspects of their learning and in accordance to the Australian curriculum guidelines. The approximate period of time to fully implement this unit is a total of three months. After three months, the students should be able to familiarise themselves with all the aspects of learning as outlined in my unit.
Section 2: Learning purpose
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEECDYA, 2008, p. 9) largely identifies the educational needs of the Australian children to being able to understand and recognise the value of learning amongst people of different cultures and possess the relevant knowledge, skills and the understanding that can be used to contribute and benefit from this form of cultural interaction. Therefore, in my unit, intend to convey the notion of positive interactions between the Australian Caucasians, whom are the majority in this suburban classroom and the six distinct ethnicities that are present among the students.
In addition, the students are expected to be able to learn and practice from each other all the subjects that will be taught such as basic maths, science and language. Since this class’ performance has not been very impressive in the past, this unit will require to a large extent, the application of the key components of the curriculum that are aimed at student’s diversity. Providing access to the required information to meet the diverse learning needs which includes gifted students, students with disability, and a culturally diverse classroom is among the key objectives of the Australian Curriculum (Joseph, 2010, p.122). Additionally, the unit will extensively stress on the issue about individual discipline. After the senior teacher informed me about the rampant instances of teasing and bullying among this grade cohort, it became evident that the issue of indiscipline should be addressed since it could be one of the major factors that has led to the poor performance for the past two years.
Section 3: Pedagogy
In any given school setting, the school principal, class teacher and all school stakeholders recognises the fact that highly effective teaching approach is key to improving learning for all the students in the school. Therefore, they assume solid leadership roles that promotes the use of research-based teaching practices in the classrooms that ensures that all the students are engaged and highly challenge to improve on their learning and ultimately on their performance. Through an effective pedagogy, a teacher understands the importance of the use of various effective teaching methods in order to maximise on the students learning. These teaching methods includes explicit instructions among many more other effective approaches to teaching. I acknowledge the Australian Curriculum since it is pedagogy free, it has solely bestowed upon the teachers the authorities to make decisions all along the learning process.
In regard to my school setting, the pedagogical approach to teaching this K-6 students would involve a learning process that emphasises upon the underlying concepts and principles that are developed over time during the course of learning and teaching. In order to improve on the current poor performance, high expectations on the side of the student must be set. Ambitious targets for each student’s progress should be established so as to influence the general performance of the class. Since this classroom is composed of more than six different ethnicities, this unit would seek to build on the students beliefs which would be accomplished on their own capacities to learn. In this unit, the main pedagogical practices that are required in order to achieve my intended learning purpose can be further explained in the context of the teaching strategies that I intend to apply, the issue of grouping my students, the various types of questions or discussions as well as the resources needed.
The rationale for the use of groupings in my classroom setting stems from the numerous researches that shows its success in developing the child’s ability to learn. The use of groupings as an effective pedagogy approach groups and regroups students of varying ages, abilities and backgrounds so as to meet their institutional needs. The general assumption that students of the same age learns almost at the same rate provides the basis for the use of this approach in teaching. In my classroom setting, this approach would be highly effective since I would be able to subdivide the 22 students into smaller groupings which consist of different socio-economic, cultural and intellectual ability. Through flexible grouping, students who demonstrate a higher command in subjects such as maths or sciences are able to assist other students and thus leading to a whole–group improvement.
Additionally, the knowledge base in the context of instructional grouping in a classroom has been proven by numerous researchers such as Kamberelis, and Dimitriadis, that it leads to effective teaching, overall student’s academic success, student’s self-perception and that of others, a positive change of perception towards the school and also an improvement in their interactions with other students in the classroom (388). Therefore, the use of groupings in my unit is of immense importance in teaching this suburban school.
- Teaching Strategies
When dealing with weaker students, a teacher has the duty to develop various strategies that would assists these students improve on their performance, especially the students who are constantly exposed to failure. Arguably one of the key factors that tends to lead to poor academic performance is a weak reading ability. However, the textbooks that these students use in the classroom normally includes a lot of information that may seem unnecessary to the younger students. Therefore, in my unit, I will include various strategies that expounds on the student’s ability to learn. Since most of the students tends to become passive when faced with a reading text due to their poor reading strategies, my rationale for teaching them is solely based on these teaching strategies:
- Ensuring that I teach my students on topics that would be interesting and motivating to them. The main reason for applying this strategy is to ensure that the topic that I am intending to teach them does not bore them and is interesting enough that they can easily understand and expand on their knowledge on taught topics.
- In addition, the teaching strategy that ensures that reluctant students are helped to learn at a step-by-step order so as to be able to digest larger chunks of texts would be adopted. My unit intends to start with smaller texts such as titles, word clues and subtitles and proceed to more texts that involves vocabulary.
- Despite the differences in ethnicity composition of my classroom, my unit plan would ensure that emphasis is placed on the authenticity and meaningful language during communication in speaking as well as writing.
Section 4: Justification
In numerous occasions, a student will behave in a manner that the instructors intends or requires them to carry themselves out, therefore, it is no surprise that, in the Australian classroom, students discussions are often initiated and encouraged by the teachers. In light of this explanation, some students from various ethnic groups may find themselves feeling a bit uncomfortable when called upon by the teacher to a discussion, however, since it the Australian Curriculum encourages active class participation, the teacher is bound to use this method. It is therefore imperative for the teacher to go beyond the teaching aspect and explain to the classroom that this experience is meant for their benefit and is done on a friendly invitation for all-inclusive participation.
There also exists various aspects in my plan that are very important in ensuring a conducive learning environment or relationship between the students and the teacher. One of these things is the issue of setting rules in the class. Upon my leadership as the class teacher I will make it known that I do not tolerate indiscipline and neither does the school. The senior teacher was categorical that some of these sixth grade students were bullies and used to tease other classroom members for the past two years. My unit and rationale for helping them improve their academic performance is therefore pegged on improving their discipline first. However, this issue of creating rules and order in the classroom setting will be carried out amicably and in a professional manner in accordance to the guidelines in the Australian Curriculum. This is important because when the students are included in the formulation of the classroom’s governing rules, they would feel much more involved in the affairs of their classroom and would therefore be comfortable to even approach the teacher for help.
In regard to the justification of my pedagogical approach on this unit, my cohort of leaners fits perfectly into the strategies that I outlined in section three. The Australian Curriculum presents core knowledge, skilled, understanding and general capabilities to being in very important for an Australian child. This curriculum is the biggest foundation for high quality education for the young Australians so as to ultimately impart the knowledge that they get in schools for the growth of their communities. The aspect of grouping my students is one of the most effective methods outlined in my unit. The teacher-led groupings has for many years been used as an effective approach in introducing new material, summing up the various conclusions that have been reached by individual groups and also provide individual instruction or attention to the students (Macintyre, 2011, p.42). In addition, my classroom setting will largely benefit from this groupings since it would ensure that these children interact, learn from each other, and respect their diversity. In fact, it is possible that the class bullies would be challenged to during these interactive meetings to abandon their behaviour. On the other hand, I consider the teaching strategies that I included in my unit plan to being very effective approach to teaching these underperforming grade six students. In general, this paper manages to provide my rational for unit of work that I have designed to be an effective tool for assisting the sixth grade students of Goodhope primary school.
Joseph, P. B. (Ed.). (2010). Cultures of curriculum. Taylor & Francis.
Kamberelis, G. and Dimitriadis, G. (2008). Focus groups: strategic articulations of pedagogy,
politics, and inquiry. In Denzin, N. and Lincoln, Y. (Eds.). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials (pp. 375-402). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Macintyre, P. (2011). English for the Australian curriculum: Book 1. Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press.
MCEECDYA (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs),
(2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved October 20, 2013