Is it me or is it them? I used aitsl’s self assessment tool online last year and I have used it again this year. Both times I have found the questions a bit odd, both times I have come up with results I find odd and both times I have to wonder if their self assessment tool needs a bit of tweaking or whether I do. What I can safely say , though, is the results I get lead to some good thinking on my part and to some good discussions with colleagues. Last year I did it as part of my first professional conversation for the year. No matter what I think I have to confess it’s a good way to get started on an appraisal of my performance. The site itself provides a lot of questions to answer. My problem is I hold classroom teaching as far more important than any other thing in a school. I have dedicated my life to creating an effective classroom and technology has made it even more effective. I don’t think I am a better classroom teacher because I have a leadership position or aspire to one. I am a better teacher if I look at who I have in a classroom, analyse what I am expected to accomplish with them and then think carefully about how I shall deliver that so students feel like they are genuinely involved in learning and improving their capacity to learn. This year I shall look at what have come up as my weaknesses and discuss them in a trilogy of SAT posts. On the SAT site you can go back through the questions to see what you have answered and you can also put in what you would use as evidence that you have met the criteria. It is a very effective tool if you are going to have some serious discussions about who you are as a teacher and what makes you strong.
The first section I am dealing with is:
Teachers draw on a body of professional knowledge and research
to respond to the needs of all of their students. They know the
content of their subjects as well as what constitutes effective,
developmentally appropriate strategies in their learning and
teaching programs. In all subjects teachers develop students’
literacy and numeracy and use ICT to contextualise and expand
their students’ modes and breadth of learning.
My first weakness is :
1.5 G Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of
strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the
specific learning needs of students across the full
range of abilities.
This confounds me as it did last year. It is something I have discussed on this blog, which I focus on my other blog and something which has always been considered one of my strengths. I do look at who I teach and how I can effectively get them to learn. This blog has focussed on how I can use technology to improve that delivery and learning and how I include feedback from students as a means to enabling even more effective strategies in class. I partner with them so I can get the best out of them no matter who they are. I have also pioneered courses for vision impaired students and, at the time, that was also technology which helped them to achieve in a mainstream classroom. I need to go back through the questions to see what I am doing to come up with a weakness which is actually my strength. This is why the SAT tool is useful. Perspective is something which is essential to good performance. As a teacher you need to be very clear about what you are or are not achieving.
My second weakness in the area of professional knowledge is:
2.3 L Lead colleagues to develop learning and teaching
programs using contemporary knowledge and
understanding of curriculum, assessment and
I have done a lot to help colleagues interpret technology in an educational sense and context. I even gave a talk at the ANU about it based on how we can better deliver our content using technology. I don’t see myself as a leader. I see myself as someone who does things and then shares them so I can then get feedback to improve what I am doing. I have explained that in the post Personalise and connect their learning. Assessment and how to assess is something we often discuss in our office. I have also discussed it on my blogs and explained how I go about that because I am very interested in and committed to the South Australian TeFL. I have also been working on how to to interpret the new ACARA curriculum and criteria for Languages and Personal and Social Capability. I have unpacked the elements for both groups so they are in a workable format. Reporting I cannot lead in. It is determined by the school or the examinations board. What I have impacted with are the assessment sheets and assignments I do for the senior students. They have been valued outside of my classroom. leading colleagues is not as important as leading myself and then sharing what I learn. If that then helps others then that is what I believe I should be doing as a teacher.
As you can see, if you work with the SAT tool you have something concrete on which to pin your thoughts and decisions. The report which is generated by the SAT tool gives you plenty to discuss and think about.