Integrating the Australian Curriculum Using Web2.0
As I contemplate my future teacher career and anxieties about my inexperience surface in the face of great responsibility next year, I am starting to think about what kind of teacher I am going to be. Of most concern is how I will deal with particular negative behaviours. As a younger teacher, I want to be a relaxed, easy-going teacher where the focus of the classroom is learning, technology and respect rather than poor behaviour. This is however a Utopian classroom, and not all students will be able to be self-directed in their learning, it is also a cruel reality that not all students will learn the same, come from stable home lives or be as interested in their learning as I am.  

In my behaviours management classes, the lecturers joked about the idea "we don't smile until Easter" or "treat them mean, keep them keen". Furthermore, my practical teacher this semester is a very experienced teacher who I respect very much. I would consider her one of the most effective teachers I have ever witnessed and yet she is what I would describe as a tough, finger on student's behaviour at all times kind of teacher. She created a sense of respect as she would not accept any behaviour from any of the students. Her teaching style was incredibly efficient and effective as she got the absolute most of her students. 

So the question remains, do I take that role, lay down guidelines early and create a hierarchy of response and make sure that if any negative behaviour occurs it is stopped by paying attention to it and punishing those students involved.  Alternatively, I would prefer to allow a little bit of off-task behaviour if it allows for students to feel comfortable in the classroom, are willing to try new things and trust me to push them in their learning. One of the best ideas I have heard through my studies is the idea that if we plan more interesting relevant lessons less time will be spent on classroom management. This is of particular interest to me as my strength is in my lessons and creating unique interesting learning situations and is clearly not in classroom management. 

One other interesting way to look at this issue is through the thought of social justice. This strategy looks at creating environments where students feel safe, where all students have the ability to succeed without fear of failure. This places a large emphasis on the role of self-motivation and self-regulation where students will feel remorse for their actions on others and want to improve their behaviour because they want too. Students don't receive awards or punishments and it is their success which they strive for. 

Stay tuned, I will let you know how it goes over the coming months. 

The Miniature Earth Video
Following on from my work this semester at UNI based around the subject of social justice and how education can be seen as an act of social justice; this video speaks clearly about the world we live in. If the world's population was broken down into a representative 100 people, what would it look like? Does the world's resources, finances and energy represent this break up of our population?  Should it?  This video would speak clearly to students in Australian classroom's, who are on the whole wealthier than a large proportion of the world's population and similarly have greater opportunities through the ability of work, running water, food etc. 

Uses for Education: 
This video could be used in an English lesson to look at ways of communicating. The video has only picture and written words. This is a social justice resource as it allows for those people who are hearing impaired. HSIE Outcome: CUS2.4 - [Describes different viewpoints, ways of living, languages and belief systems in a variety of communities].  Students could break down their classroom, use Maths to find out the percentages of different cultural groups in their class and make up their class' miniature earth.  From there they could create a video like the one shown above or some other way of displaying the information. 

Note: I am now going to start including a Uses for Education section in each post. This is a technique used by rmbyrne in freetech4teachers blog which I have much respect for. 
What more needs to be said.
tara.Ed is a program set up by a friend of mine at university. She is passionate about improving the quality of education throughout India.  Jen has established tara.Ed as a charity which focuses on three things; 
1. Linking Australian schools with Indian schools in the hope of advancing learning outcomes for both groups of students.
2. Offering teacher tours and enrichment programs to Australian Student teachers who are offered a sponsored opportunity to travel to India, learn through teaching Indian students and experiencing Indian education in the slums of Mumbai and other major centres.
 3. An Indian Volunteer program where Indian University students have the opportunity to perform outreach activities relevant to the target population.

Jen works very hard at this program and her efforts are inspirational.  She is really trying to make a difference and unlike most she is actually doing something about it. 
In class this semester, we have been studying EDUC 343: Literacy in a multicultural society. It has been a very very interesting experience being in this class as it has made us think and reflect on our own identity, assumptions which we hold and how we are going to teach in the future.  This class is based on two main concepts, social justice and identity. 

The first assessment which we completed was about our own identity. It is called a cultural plunge. We were expected to go out and place ourselves in a situation, a context which is different from our own culture and experiences. It had to be something which we had not done before and something which we would feel uncomfortable doing. I chose to complete my plunge in the indigenous Australian community.  If you don't know this is a community which has been very poorly treated over the past 200 years, through stolen generations, the dispossessing of land and the government continues to make an absolute mess of providing equal opportunity to the community. However, I knew this is what would make me feel the most uncomfortable and it would make me begin to question some of the assumptions which I held from my upbringing.  Living in the north shore of Sydney, i had rarely met indigenous people and I didn't have any indigenous friends that I was aware of, so this was going to be a very very very new experience. 

The plunge taught me a lot about my own identity and strengthened in me a desire to teach. I feel an inherent need to help people who are less fortunate. I am not sure where this comes from, I am not religious (in fact quite the opposite) however I feel powerful and strong enough in myself that I need to help others, I think I get strength from that.  After the experience, I found that my racist preconceptions were not warranted. I felt completely comfortable in the community and I really enjoyed the experience, something I wish I could do again, but unfortunately I have not. 

So today in class, we were looking at social justice in literature, particularly the plight of women and how we can show an image of strong women through literature. We read a book to each other and it was about a young girl who was a bit of a tom boy (thats what the others called her) who wanted to climb trees. Her mother (we suppose) asked her several times to come down from the tree but she wouldn't. She wanted to keep climbing because that is what the boys were allowed to do. The moral of the story was all about women continuing to fight against all the forces who tell them they can't do something.  I believe (not being a woman of course) that this story is universal. In society, particularly in such an open visual society it is important that we strive for what we want in life, what we need to make us happy and what we feel good doing. 

A clear example is the lecturer of this class. He is gay and proud of it, and as a result of the injustice and lack of equity he has felt being a homosexual in a very straight white community, he is trying to teach the next generation of teachers not to fold to societal pressures which he was subjected to. He experienced prejudice, and he doesn't want to see that happening to any one. 

There was an interesting point raised in one of the podcasts which we had to listen to, can a gay man stand up in front of a class and talk about the bad parts of prejudice towards gays?  The point here is, the crowd is going to witness that and think, "Here he goes again", and that he is on his soap box.  It will be seen as agenda pushing, which would be ok if it came from a non-gay person however from a gay person is disregarded and thought of negatively.  Can an indigenous person stand up and talk about the injustice which has occurred, I will assume they cannot.  The moral here is, being in the white male population, holding the most amount of power and say in all society, I have the ability to do something, to stand up and to change things. This is going to be done through education, in my classroom every person will be free to contribute their thoughts and ideas, no one will be held back due to their cultural differences or perspectives.  EDUCATION is the way forward. 

In a research subject I am taking, the unit is focused on Teachers making a difference. This resonates with me, I know teachers can make a difference. It is now up to me to do it. 

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    This blog is that of a very confused, bewildered and amazed new scheme teacher in Sydney Australia who is hoping with all his might that he doesn't fall on his face. Enjoy!


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