Standard 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

Professional practice

Standard 4

4.1 Support student participation

Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

Understanding (theory)

By constructing learning experiences around design thinking methodologies students are asked to research, experiment, create prototypes, gather feedback and then redesign. This process works best when students work in pairs or small groups. This a process which engages students in visual/spatial (media, diagrams, drawings, paintings), kinesthetic (walking, exploring, sculpting, drawing), logical (planning, strategising, hypothesising), linguistic (researching, reading, writing, interpreting), interpersonal and intrapersonal modes of learning.

Design thinking can be coupled with engaged pedagogy and critical awareness and inclusive participation where students are active participants in a classroom community that values equal voices and the equal chance to listen. This can be achieved through moderated class discussion and establishing classroom rules around shared responsibilities and mutual respect. Setting up the classroom to suit the planned activities is also of high importance in the development of safe and respectful learning environments.

Evidence

Digital archives unit plan

Inclusive participation through design thinking (Yr 11 Art)

Visual poetry

Engaging the class with praxis (Yr 11 Studio Arts)

Mentor feedback

Kevin was able to make decisions on the suitability of the classroom layout for the classes he wanted to deliver – occasionally asking students to rearrange the seating to make it more appropriate for group conversations or more appropriate for teacher led demonstrations.

Andrew Landrigan

Head of Art, VCASS, 2017

4.2 Manage classroom activities

Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

Understanding (theory)

One of the most important aspects for ensuring that classroom activities are well organised and that directions are clear is preparation. In making certain that lessons are well planned instructions can be arranged into a logical order and transitions between activities become smooth. Planning also allows for the scaffolding of tasks and ensures that students know the direction that they are headed towards via learning intentions and demonstrations.

Writing key activities on a communal space such as the whiteboard or in Google Classroom assists students with remaining on task and progressing to the next planned activity. Planning activities around a design thinking methodology helps to define the key activities/stages in a lesson. Setting up the classroom at the beginning of the lesson and developing a safe learning environment also contribute to the successful organisation of classroom activities.

Evidence

Exploring Korean cinema

Thorough planning for engaging activities (Yr 9/10 Media)

Google classroom

Providing direction for learners beyond the classroom

Mentor feedback

One of Kevin’s strengths is his ability to provide clear and logical instructions, directions and feedback to the class. He can very diplomatic in his approach – taking on the feedback of students to inform the direction of his classes. Kevin was rigorous with his communication with both the class and individual students.

Andrew Landrigan

Head of Art, VCASS, 2017

4.3 Manage challenging behaviour

Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.

Understanding (theory)

One of the most effective methods I have developed so far in the management of classroom behaviour is to develop a positive rapport with students. On my last placement I introduced myself and my interests to each class that I was working with. I then had all students do the same to me. From here I worked hard to memorise their names and also had a place of interest that I could approach them from. This also helped me to develop lesson content that students could relate to and then fully engage with.

Another method for ensuring student engagement has been to make instructions explicit, making sure that all students are paying attention when key instructions are delivered. Having a visual reference that students can refer back to also seems to improve engagement.

One aspect of educating through the Arts is to teach students to deeply notice what is within and around them. Noticing how students are behaving, along with developing a rapport, also assists with managing challenging behaviour. If behaviour that is detrimental to learning is exhibited the student could be moved to another space or a conversation could begin to figure out what may be the cause. Strategies could then be developed based on this cause.

Evidence

ACCA gallery activities

Building rapport through games (Yr 12 Studio Arts)

Animation unit website

Making instructions explicit (Yr 10 Art)

Mentor feedback

As the round progressed Kevin developed a clear approach to ensuring that all students were listening during every part of the lesson, making this an important and effective part of his pedagogy.

Cheryl Kerin

Head of Art, Ave Maria College, 2016

Kevin took the time to learn student names very quickly which contributed to the positive emotional environment of the classroom. Students felt like individuals and cared for. This was most evident during class conversations when Kevin could call upon students by name within the second week of his placement.

Andrew Landrigan

Head of Art, VCASS, 2017

4.4 Maintain student safety

Describe strategies that support students’ wellbeing and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

Understanding (theory)

Maintaining and supporting the safety and wellbeing of students is paramount in developing a positive learning community. By developing positive relationships with students, valuing and respecting their backgrounds, communities and interests, promoting student self confidence, allowing them to take risks and valuing and recognising their work, students experience a safe environment which directly influences their wellbeing.

The sum of these strategies and the community that is developed directly influences student wellbeing, which is ‘a reflection of the quality of social relationships and spaces (or communities) in which young people are embedded’ (Wyn, 2009, p. 108). One method I have observed in which students actively work upon these social relationships and spaces is through Student Action Teams. In these teams students are given the autonomy to make decisions as group around environmental, community and social wellbeing.

Of course the school environment now extends beyond the physical confines of the schoolyard and into the digital realm. Ideas around student safety and wellbeing in Standard 4.4 are discussed and built upon from an ITC perspective in Standard 4.5.

Evidence

Choose your own adventure

Supporting student and community health through narrative

Collaborative art

Engaging students in collaborative art practice for wellbeing (Yr 12 Studio Arts)

Mentor feedback

Kevin’s clear and reinforced rules and expectations ensured a positive and most importantly structured and safe learning environment at all times.

Cheryl Kerin

Head of Art, Ave Maria College, 2016

Each lesson Kevin delivered was inclusive and caring to ensure that he met his professional responsibilities of maintaining a safe and healthy working environments for his students.

Andrew Landrigan

Head of Art, VCASS, 2017

Resources

Principles for Learning & Teaching

References

Davis, B., Sumara, D. & Luce-Kapler, R. (2015). Engaging Minds: Cultures of Education and Practices of Teaching (3rd edition), New York, NY, USA : Routledge

4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically

Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

Understanding (theory)

With the rise and prevalence of social media, cyberbullying has become a topic of much discussion in education. One emergent argument is that cyberbullying is ‘an indicator of a broader, systemic problems’ (Davis et al. 2015). Therefore cyberbullying should be addressed in the classroom by fostering safe learning communities that support cultural change, empathy, critical thinking, alternative pedagogies and the awareness of others. These are all ideas which can be built upon from Standard 4.4.

Emphasis can be placed on the use of ICT by using the classroom as a space where appropriate use of and interaction with social media and online communities can be discussed, modelled, monitored and practiced. Bill Green’s model for 3D literacy can also be applied to digital technologies in order to create authentic learning experiences where students become aware of their role in the digital environment and become aware of how to behave in a safe, responsible and ethical manner online.

Evidence

Cyberbullying essay

Research into fostering online social responsibility

Google classroom

Leading by example in an online space

Mentor feedback

He would summarise classes online for students to refer too and provided significant one-on-one support to students as they developed and created animations and websites online. Kevin was able to organise appropriate materials for students by booking computer trolleys ahead of time and speaking with IT staff about the availability of software on the school computers for upcoming classes.

Andrew Landrigan

Head of Art, VCASS, 2017