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My learning experience. Kenneth Hillsley Introduction.

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my learning experience

My learning experience

Kenneth Hillsley


Welcome to my presentation on my learning experience in this module. My name is Ken Hillsley and I live in Gippsland, Victoria. I work full time in an aircraft engineering role while studying to become a teacher by distance education. I also volunteer for a few hours each week as a teacher aid at a small rural primary school.

Learning well is vitally important to me because I do not just want to be a teacher, I want to be the most effective teacher I can.

In this presentation I have listed some of the learninghighlights from each week that are important to me and my learning journey.

week 1 introduction to teaching
Week 1 – Introduction to teaching

What I learned:

  • Teaching is life-long process that ‘leads to change’.
  • You need to reach acceptable teaching standards in order to teach.
  • Teaching is about developing relationships, understanding who you are as a person, being at ease with yourself, and knowing your students.
  • You must strive for teaching excellence – it will not just happen.
week 1 continued
Week 1...continued…

How I reflected:

  • To be a truly inspiring teacher you need to know yourself and your students. Your emotional state will affect how you teach, understand this.
  • Always be prepared to make changes, laugh at yourself and seek to improve constantly.
  • Be prepared for awkward moments and turn them into teachable moments.
  • A teacher needs to reach suitable teaching standards in order to teach, but the important thing is to want to reach them.
week 2 what is teaching
Week 2 – What is teaching

What I learned:

  • Teaching and learning can take many different forms. It can occur in the classroom, at play, through construction, interaction and through reflection. It is important a teacher understands this diversity of opportunity.
  • Teaching is about being creative, open, taking risks, humanity and warmth, but always it is a very privileged profession.
  • Teaching is complex, requiring intellectual curiosity about how your students think and learn, how they react to your style, changing to meet challenges, and being perceptive to students needs.
week 2 continued
Week 2…continued…

How I reflected..

  • The classroom is a place of wonder and rapid development for students. I need to be innovative with my ideas to ensure I keep pace with learning expectations to accommodate this.
  • Teaching is multifaceted and I will learn as much as I teach - my eyes and ears should always be open.
  • I should take time to think about why something did or did not work in my classroom.
  • Reflection is key to both learning and teaching and must always be catered for, both for myself and for my students.
week 3 historical insights
Week 3 – Historical insights

What I learned:

  • Education can be classified as ‘the formal system of teaching knowledge, values and skills’.
  • The way we teach today has been shaped by history.
  • A societies social cultures are passed on through schools and are important to student identity.
  • Memories of your own teaching experiences are important because they can influence how you teach.
week 3 continued
Week 3…continued…

How I reflected:

  • Seeking to understand the history of education, the different cultural aspects, and how they can affect your views is another element of intellectual curiosity.
  • The more knowledge a teacher has the better equipped they are to really understand students, themselves and some of the hidden influences of the profession.
  • Learning the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of asking culturally appropriate questions will be a valuable skill in understanding your students.
week 4 beliefs and attitudes
Week 4 – Beliefs and attitudes

What I learned:

  • Learning to teach is a process of phases; I am in the pre-service phase of building knowledge, skills and learning teacher identity.
  • My pre-existing knowledge will influence the teacher I want to be. It can act as a filter and shape my views.
  • I need to be aware of pre-existing knowledge because it can be wrong for today’s times and children.
  • Ideas from the past can be out of date, largely untested and therefore unreliable, but providing I have awareness of them they can still be valuable to my teaching.
week 4 continued
Week 4…continued…

How I reflected:

  • I have built up an image of the sort of teacher I want to be, but I am uncertain at this stage about how much this has been influenced by my early teacher and school experiences.
  • Therefore I should look at my pre-existing knowledge and reflect carefully on how it is affecting my current views.
  • We need to know who we are as people by thinking critically about it and where appropriate, endeavour to modify or expand our beliefs.
week 5 contextualising teachers work
Week 5 – Contextualising teachers work

What I learnt:

  • You need to ask yourself what your beliefs of teaching are and how you will evaluate your ideas.
  • In the context of teaching, students are primarily in your room to learn in an engaging and enjoyable manner, not to have fun.
  • The world is continually getting smaller with globalisation and education must change in order to meet the subsequent challenges.
  • Pre-existing knowledge is a theory of teaching that needs to be uncovered, scrutinised and refined.
week 5 continued
Week 5 …continued…

How I reflected:

  • As the world shrinks through globalisation and the information technology age, I will need to continually change my teaching strategies. My students require and deserve this.
  • This will mean adding to my skills and knowledge and being even more innovative with my ideas – it is continuous professional improvement.
  • Theories of teaching are where I will form my foundation of teaching ideas. They should be explored beyond the learning in this unit.
week 6 the teacher in the classroom
Week 6 – The teacher in the classroom

What I learnt:

  • Our personal images of children can influence how we relate, communicate, and teach.
  • We all think in metaphors and this can include metaphors about teaching and learning.
  • All students have basic human needs, however all humans develop differently and this impacts on learning.
  • There are many theorists who have studied cognitive development and can guide our teaching.
  • Pre-service teachers form their own ideas and therefore have pre-existing theories of teaching.
week 6 continued
Week 6…continued…

How I reflected:

  • I can build on my existing knowledge of student development by reading renowned theorists such as Piaget, Bruner and Vygotsky.
  • There is no single theory I should follow. I need to consider many, choose wisely, and align with my own beliefs.
  • Speak directly, be honest and open, be hands-on and let students do things for themselves. I believe that knowledge won’t find you, it needs to be actively sought.
  • My initial theory on building classroom knowledge starts with sharing what you, your students, other teachers, and informed people know.
week 7 student motivation and engagement
Week 7 – Student motivation and engagement

What I learned:

  • There is a risk students can develop a mindset of failure when unable to solve problems. Overcome this with positive reinforcement, gain their attention and engage them in learning.
  • Motivation can be intrinsic, coming from within, or extrinsic, coming from external stimulus.
  • Both are important and can be used in the right context for different students and different ages.
  • A teacher should be aware when using extrinsic motivation and what the implications are.
  • There are many different strategies for motivating students.
week 7 continued
Week 7…continued…

How I reflected:

  • Intrinsic motivation can be influenced by pride, curiosity, or just the needto know something. Children who feel safe and valued would likely show signs of being intrinsically motivated.
  • Extrinsic motivation can develop from rewards and praise from teachers. It may be more effective on younger students.
  • It seems logical that students progress to intrinsic motivation as they become more independent, value their own ideas and individualism.
  • Teaching strategies will play a large part in using or encouraging one motivational style over another.
week 8 the learning environment
Week 8 – The learning environment

What I learned:

  • Teachers create a classroom environment for a purpose, for example, to establish learning goals, make best use of resources and allow the most effective communication.
  • The physical classroom environment has a powerful impact on how teachers teach and students learn- factors such as layout, use of colour, noise, natural light and traffic areas.
  • Emotional needs of students cannot be separated entirely from physical classroom layout.
  • The classroom environment provides for security, identity, creativity, behaviour, lesson transition plus many other influences on learning.
week 8 continued
Week 8…continued…

How I reflected:

  • Layout and physical features are things a teacher and students can have input to that will create classroom atmosphere.
  • The classroom should reflect how you and your students learn most effectively. It needs to be a safe area in terms of happiness, physical comfort, stimulation and learning activities.
  • It is important students feel ownership of their classroom through features such as photos, wall charts, displayed work, student profiles and plants.
  • A classroom should evolve along with development, age and accomplishment levels - it is a living thing.
week 8 continued1
Week 8…continued…

A formal statement:

My classroom will always be a haven for students and teacher, where we will be a team and always support each other. Ideally the room will have up to four zones; a formal learning area, a group learning area; a computer/library/ printer/supply area; and a relaxation/role playing/refection area. Students will understand the unique expectations and rules of each zone. Under minimal guidance they will organise and manage rosters for bins, whiteboard cleaning, handout duties, general cleaning and any other responsibilities we agree on. Our rules for learning will always be agreed upon up-front and in partnership.

week 9 planning
Week 9 - Planning

What I learned:

  • A major goal for all teachers is learning how to prepare effective lesson plans. It is a high order teacher skill.
  • Lesson plans can be formal, written in your notebook, or in any usable format, however they always require elements of mental and verbal input.
  • There are constant parts to lesson plans that are important such as a beginning that engages and motivates, interesting learning activities, and a positive way to end a lesson.
  • Lesson plans should connect to learning outcomes and objectives in curriculum documents.
week 9 continued
Week 9…continued…

How I reflected:

  • To prepare effective lesson plans I will need to know my students and their current level of knowledge through personal contact, genuine interest and formal assessment.
  • I should have high expectations for my students and these should be apparent and presented in my lesson plans.
  • How I research and prepare lesson plans help establish my credibility as an effective teacher.
  • Lesson planning is an ongoing skill that I will get better at as my experience grows.
  • My early PE placements will provide opportunities to develop my lesson plan identity.
written and oral communication
Written and oral communication

How I am developing my skills:

  • By accessing university on-line self-help guides and reading guides such as Reading and Making Notes by Jeanne Godfrey.
  • I am concentrating on how I am being perceived when speaking, for instance if I am establishing credibility through good subject knowledge and if my body language is positive and engaging.
  • I am observing teachers at my school and how they gain attention, control a class and give instructions.
  • I am noting feedback from my AT1 and advice on discussion boards.
written and oral communication cont
Written and oral communication…cont..
  • I am concentrating on some of the specific skills of oral communication such as maintaining focus, keeping an open mind, listening skills, using language that is appropriate to the subject and speaking clearly.
  • To help my own writing I have started to critically analyse other written work, for example, I read an interesting article in a newspaper and evaluate the features that have engaged me.
  • When practical, I volunteer to write teacher lesson instructions on the whiteboard as this reinforces the practice of writing clearly, using correct spelling and the logistics of fitting everything on the board.
  • I have added a quality dictionary to my library.
information literacy
Information literacy

How I am developing my skills:

  • Whenever preparing to read for study or research, I now have the specific purpose for my reading summarised in one or two sentences.
  • I am planning in advance how I will get the information I need, for example by visiting the library, using the internet, or referring to my study texts.
  • I allocate time to search for reference material.
  • I am practicing my academic referencing skills.
  • I have organised my folders with tabs to clearly section my course material, my notes and my reference material.
information literacy continued
Information literacy…continued…
  • I try to read information with a more critical mindset, for example, taking into account the author’s personal interest in the subject.
  • I have become more familiar with the student resources available from UTAS on-line.
  • I have committed to the need to further develop my understanding of available information and communication technologies.
  • I am being more selective with the information I collect, for example ensuring it is from a recognised source, only printing what is neededfrom internet sources and being more focused on the specific question or subject I am researching.
knowledge of teaching
Knowledge of teaching

How I am developing my knowledge skills:

  • I am reading and considering the theories of student development written by acclaimed authorities such as Ericson, Vygotsky & Piaget.
  • I am collecting and reading state curriculum documents including the overviews, and assessment and benchmarking policies.
  • I am actively increasing my skills in areas such as literacy and numeracy by self-testing through on-line quizzes and reading subject specific books.
  • By writing notes on the strategies used by experienced teachers and analysing why they are effective.
knowledge of teaching continued
Knowledge of teaching…continued..
  • I am reading more about lesson planning and assessment and have asked for examples from teachers at my school (with student names removed).
  • I am allocating more time to reflect on what I am learning about teaching and keeping records by updating my journal and thoughts on PebblePad.
  • I am taking more notice of the various media discussions on the teaching profession, and reflecting on the implications for education and students.
  • I have requested copies of the policy documents, for example, discipline, safety plans and legal obligations from my local school, and am reading these for a greater understanding of how a school functions.
and finally
And finally…

I hope this presentation has given an insight into some of my learning highlights from the first two modules of this unit.

I would be pleased to discuss anything in this presentation with other pre-service students or tutors either personally, or on the unit discussion boards.

Thankyou for taking the time to look at this (long) presentation and good luck to all for your future studies.


The main sources of information I used for preparing this presentation were:

  • Pittaway, S. (2010). Foundations of teaching [Custom book]. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson.
  • University of Tasmania. (2012). Information literacy. Retrieved from
  • National Professional Standards for Teachers (2012). Retrieved from
  • The students, teachers and principal at Cobains Primary School, Victoria.