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Key Selection Criteria

Katharine Tsoucalas (#404126)

SC1
Demonstrated understanding of initiatives in student learning including the Standards, the
Principles of Learning and Teaching P-12 and Assessment and Reporting Advice and the capacity to
implement curriculum programs consistent with their intent.

I understand that it is pivotal to have an understanding of the role that the Australian Curriculum plays in
student learning as well as the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT), the Standards. and Assessment
and Reporting. In order to provide my students with the best possible education, I design curriculum
programs with their intentions at the forefront of my lessons. The Australian Curriculum provides me with an
outline of what students should be learning as they progress through their schooling. This therefore facilities
me in creating lessons that are conducive to my students needs. I have demonstrated my ability to use the
Australian Curriculum to:
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Plan differentiated units of work that would meet the needs of a grade 2 ESL student at Toorak
Primary School.

Interpret the content descriptors with additional support from Scootle when planning lessons and
units.

Plan formative and summative assessment opportunities that have allowed me to understand how
my students are developing in relation to the outlined progression points.

Plan an open-ended and differentiated unit of work over a range of subjects for students in year three
at St Josephs Primary School in the Cook Islands, using the limited resources I had at my disposal.

My time at Monash University has allowed me to gain an understanding of PoLT as they provide me with the
knowledge of how students are able to gain the most from their learning environment. I have demonstrated
my understanding of PoLT in the following ways:
-

I endeavour to ensure that I create a safe learning environment by creating good relationships with
my students so that if there is an issue they feel comfortable talking to me.

I aim to create a learning environment that is reflective of the needs of my students by involving
them in coming up with classroom expectations and designing how they would like their learning
environment to look.

I ensure that I assess the learning needs of my students as well as their knowledge as this will enable
me to critically understand their learning needs.

I devise lessons that are challenging, stimulating and relatable to the students lives. I feel promoting
real world learning experiences that link directly to the students community and home life is the
best way to foster concepts, which will therefore provoke higher order thinking and life-long
learning.

Assessment and reporting are a pivotal component to how I can develop ways of improving student learning.
I understand that assessment and reporting are necessary in constructing the curriculum as well as allowing
parents and guardians to understand how their child is progressing.

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Key Selection Criteria

Katharine Tsoucalas (#404126)

SC2 Demonstrated high level classroom teaching skills and the capacity to work with colleagues to
continually improve teaching and learning.

It is my opinion that students are the most effective learners when they are participating in hands on activities
that relate to life outside the classroom environment. To empower and enable students to learn effectively I
create learning experiences that include the following;
Appropriate and effective classroom management; where student behaviour expectations are clear, fair and
consistent.

When completing practicum in the Cook Islands my class collaborated effectively to devise a chart
outlining expected classroom behaviour. This chart empowered students to create the rules themselves
whilst also ensuring that my expectations of their behaviour were clear and fair.

Explicit instructions; learning goals and objectives are clear and concise to students.

At the beginning of every lesson I ensure that the learning outcomes are clearly displayed on the board
for all students. The objectives of the lesson are also visually outlined for students to check-in on
throughout the lesson.

Regular feedback to the students; focusing on positive and constructive reinforcement.

Throughout lessons I roam the classroom to ensure all students are on task and to help to identify any
students who need immediate assistance. I have found throughout practicum, and whilst relief teaching
that this is the best way to provide meaningful immediate feedback and assistance to students.

Critical reflection and evaluation of each lesson to ensure effectiveness of the learning programs, whether I
utilised all resources and learning opportunities; and on my own pedagogical beliefs and educational
philosophy.
Reflecting upon lessons comes very naturally to me and I find the process very therapeutic as well as
informative to my future teaching. I have avidly written since the first day of my first practicum and
continue to do so as I relief teach now. Whilst teaching in the Cook Islands I taught a challenging
dynamic class. After meticulously planning a fractions lesson I entered the classroom confident of its
success however left feeling deflated as the lesson was a disaster. Upon reflecting on the lesson, in
particularly the manner in which the students themselves responded, I was able to plan effectively to
meet their specific learning needs. The previous lesson I had planned drew on my experiences in
Australia however I was quick to discover that this was not necessarily transferrable into my Cook
Islands classroom. The success of the next lesson on fractions was reflected in the manner in which
students engaged in the task and completed a range of activities in a collaborative and focused manner.
Creating a classroom where students can actively participate in and be involved in the learning process;
encouraging critically thinking and independent goal setting from the students.
A mentor of mine instilled in her students that mistakes are good because we learn from them. This
resonated strongly with me and I have since utilised the same mantra in my own classes. I find that some
students are afraid to participate in class or create meaningful individual goals because they are afraid of
failure or being ridiculed by their peers.
Throughout my employment history, both prior to and continued into the commencement of my teaching
career, I have demonstrated a strong ability to work constructively as part of a team. I greatly appreciate any
guidance my colleagues have to offer me and actively seek out mentoring and collaborative opportunities
with leading teachers when I can. Participation in Professional Development and planning days during
practicum have immensely contributed to improving my teaching.
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Key Selection Criteria

Katharine Tsoucalas (#404126)

SC3 Demonstrated ability to monitor and assess student learning data and to use this data to inform
teaching for improved student learning.

It is widely recognised that assessment practices are an integral part of teaching and learning. As educators, it
is paramount that we have available the necessary information regarding the learning progress of each
student, in order to help further enhance their learning experiences. Through continual monitoring and
assessment of students I am able to accurately facilitate future learning experiences, reflect upon my own
pedagogical practice and ensure that I am working within relevant Curriculum standards. Assessment enables
learning programs to be evaluated and further planning and teaching to be informed. I am also aware of the
importance of giving students regular constructive feedback, along with keeping parents, and the wider
school community, informed on the progression and involvement of their students.
Across the span of my placement rounds I have participated in and administered a number of formal and
informal assessment tasks to students. These include:

Pre-Tests: I often have students undertake pre-tests at the beginning of a new topic or unit of work. This
provides me with an understanding of their prior knowledge of the topic, and will then tailor and assist
in the planning and structure of future lessons, as I have a better understanding of what areas require
greater emphasis.

Student Feedback: After completion of a PD surrounding the value of student feedback I now fully
appreciate how it informs my own teaching practise. I value the honest feedback that students provide
and draw on it to improve and guide the future direction of my teaching.

Peer assessment: During placement in a 3/4 class my mentor teacher had developed a peer assessment
rubric for students to complete after completion of writing a persuasive writing piece. I administered and
explained the rubric to the students; then students were required to self-reflect and then assess the work
of a peer. The students gained an understanding of the assessment process as well as the importance of
reflecting upon their own work in relation to the rubric.

Formal Assessment: Administration of formal tests such as Running Records and Numeracy Tests to
provide my mentor teacher with further data to compile mid-year reporting. Administration of formal
tests such as Running Records and Numeracy Tests to provide my mentor teacher with further data to
compile mid-year reporting. Analysis of post-test data also allowed me to see how much my students
had learnt in the particular overall unit, lesson or activity.

My final placement round at Parkdale Primary allowed me to be involved in administering the year
threes with their NAPLAN test which allowed me to gain an understanding of the process involved.

Teaching, learning and assessment are all interconnected components of education and I believe it is
important that students are able to assess their own efforts and feelings of accomplishment as well as set
themselves personal goals. Through ongoing self-reflection, students learn that assessment is not an isolated
process from learning, but a collaboration between teachers and students and a fundamental part of how they
learn and improve.

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Key Selection Criteria

Katharine Tsoucalas (#404126)

SC4 Demonstrated high level written and verbal communication skills and high level interpersonal
skills including a capacity to develop constructive relationships with students, parents and other staff.

Effective written and oral communication skills are essential qualities for teachers. Whether it is with
students, parents or our colleagues; our entire practice is dependent on these skills being highly developed.
Being an effective communicator empowers us, as teachers, to accurately convey our expectations,
collaborate with other staff, report back to parents, and model our skills and attributes to students. I believe
that it is paramount to build strong relationships with students, colleagues and parents, as this promotes an
environment of mutual respect, trust and contributes to higher educational outcomes and morale; both in and
outside the classroom.
My communication skills are highly developed as a result of my teaching practicums, professional work
experience, both Masters and Undergraduate University Degrees and extensive travel. I have had the
opportunity to work with and/or engage in dialogues with persons of all ages and different cultures. These
encounters have helped me gain a deeper understanding of human behaviour and emotions, and have
provided me with invaluable experience in overcoming barriers in difficult communication situations.
I am a confident, friendly and approachable person and it is these skills which enable me to develop positive
relationships with students, staff, parents and members of the community. These skills can be demonstrated
in the anecdotal examples presented below.

Whilst completing the teaching practicum in the Cook Islands, I was able to successfully form
relationships with both staff and students which enabled me to contribute to a positive working
environment and to adapt my teaching strategies to meet the needs of the each students.

Develop a good rapport with various staff members, some of which I am still in contact with and
actively seek for advice.

Develop a good rapport with students which has lead to the building of a positive relationships based
on trust.

Showing a vested interest in their successes as well as their interests. For example I have frequently
connected with students through a mutual love of sport, music, singing, dance, reading, football team
and any other interest that they posses.

Eating lunch and snack with my students has allowed me to learn more about them as this is typically a
time where there isnt always a focus on learning.

Observing parent-teacher meetings on problems within the classroom.

Volunteering my time in both the Cook Islands and Australian placement opportunities to ensure that I
continue to build upon the relationships I have built with parents, students and staff and ensuring that I
continually improve my communication skills.

I have attended numerous meetings, P.Ds and team planning sessions throughout my practicum
experiences, where I have actively contributed to forming new ideas and discussing issues surrounding
student learning.

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Key Selection Criteria

Katharine Tsoucalas (#404126)

SC5
Demonstrated commitment and capacity to actively contribute to a broad range of school
activities and a commitment to ongoing professional learning to enable further development of skills,
expertise and teaching capacity.

As a teacher I am committed to participating in a journey of lifelong learning and understand that this will
immensely improve my skills both as a learner and a teacher.
Throughout my practicums I have endeavoured to actively contribute to a broad range of school activities,
which have each contributed to improving my professional knowledge. I have participated in:
I have participated in staff meetings as well as morning briefings to ensure that I am able to understand
what the school may be working on or that I am aware of any issues.
I have assisted with school productions at and provided support during rehearsals.
As a pre-service teacher I have already had the opportunity to undertake a number of personal
development sessions which have enabled me to deepen my teaching and learning practice.

During my first year of Masters I also applied for and was accepted to undertake a three week placement
opportunity in the Cook Islands; this would be my second placement of my degree. The time I spent teaching
in the Cook Islands was honestly one of the most challenging and incredible experiences of my life. I found
that the main aspect that stood out as significant to my development as a teacher was learning how to prepare
lesson plans with little to no access to the typical resources that I had become accustomed to in Australia. A
back to basics approach was taken when planning my lessons. I can confidently attest to the fact that this
practicum has made me a better teacher. It dramatically increased my confidence both in myself and the
quality of my lessons and proved to be a learning experience like no other. Managing challenging classroom
behaviour was at the forefront of importance during this practicum and after adapting a variety of techniques
to improve this behaviour the lessons I planned ran smoothly and improved as the practicum progressed. The
collaborative development of a classroom expectations chart commenced the increase in improved
behaviour. This not only empowered students but explicitly outlined the expected behaviour of the whole
class. I discovered early on in the practicum that the students in my Grade 3 class had little understanding of
the concept of team work. Therefore, rearranging their seating arrangements to place them into table teams
and providing points for well-behaved teams was a successful strategy which had a flow on effect into lesson
activities. Without a doubt, to date, this practicum has been the most rewarding professional learning
experience i have engaged in as it has informed my current teaching practise and immensely enabled me to
further develop my skills and expertise as a graduate teacher.

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