After watching Chris Betcher’s classroom demonstration, two things immediately stood out to me. Firstly, it is clear that Chris has a very good knowledge of the content that he is teaching (which in this lesson is about creating blogs – the web platform that the class is using is WordPress). Secondly, I feel Chris implemented extremely well the teaching strategy of explanation/demonstration (on the SmartBoard) to his students on what he was talking about. Then Chris lets the class ‘go’ so that they can implement what it is that he has just spoken to them about. As a result of this, there seemed to be a nice feeling of learning and discovery amongst the students.
Therefore, from a professional practice perspective, I believe Chris demonstrated the following from the National Professional Standards for Teachers:
Standard 2 – Know the Content and How to Teach It.
2.1.2 – Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.
You could see by his ability and understanding that Chris has in-depth knowledge about the software platform WordPress. As such, he is very effective in his teaching because there is no confusion about what he is saying and the students appear to be able to following his directions easily (Shulman 1987, pg.9).
2.2.2 – Organise content into coherent, well-sequenced learning and teaching programs.
Due to the deep knowledge that Chris has on this content, he has been able to organise the information in a coherent and well-sequenced manner. This is demonstrated by his explanation of what the learning content is, as well as by his ability to let the class ‘go’ so that they can implement what he has just taught them.
2.6.1 – Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students;
The use of the interactive whiteboard was an excellent choice of ICT integration into the learning environment because it enabled Chris to explain and demonstrate in real-time what he was trying to teach the students. Also, it mirrored what the students were seeing on their own laptops (or other IT device).
Standard 3 – Plan For and Implement Effective Teaching and Learning.
3.2.2. – Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.
As mentioned above, Chris implemented a well-structured lesson which was filled with good content knowledge, which made it easy for the students to follow. This appears to create a rich learning environment with strong student engagement.
3.4.2. – Select and/or create and use a range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.
During this lesson Chris integrated the use of a SmartBoard into his teaching as well as other ICT resources such as the Internet (and blog pages) and laptops/other IT devices for the students. This appeared to create an engaging environment where students were eager to learn. Also, learning was modified to suit what was being taught. The aim of this is to help students better understand the content, and therefore, hopefully the students are more likely to absorb the information (Mishra & Koehler 2006, pg. 1023).
3.5.2. – Use effective verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student understanding, participation, engagement and achievement.
I feel Chris managed the interactions in the classroom very well. He was able to control the students and get their attention when needed. To do this, he used techniques like ‘being silent’, asking students to close their laptops half way (so that they weren’t distracted by what was on their screen), and he was able to re-direct focus on to him by saying “eyes up here…”. Furthermore, Chris appears to physically move around the classroom well and this helps to keep students engaged and not stray ‘off task’. Finally, his body language is open and warming. This helps to create a nice feel in the class between him and the students, which ultimately leads to a rich and engaging learning environment.
Standard 4 – Create and Maintain Supportive and Safe Learning Environments.
4.2.2. – Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.
As outlined above, Chris had a well-structured lesson which incorporated the use of a good range of ICT resources. His content knowledge was excellent and this made it easy for him to be able to provide clear instructions and demonstrations to his students (Shulman 1987, pg.9).
Overall, I felt that this was a very good lesson as it appeared to be informative and interesting. The live interaction between the SmartBoard, the Internet (the example blog page that Chris was using), and the students and their laptops was amazing. This would truly have created an engaging and high-productive learning environment for the students.