AUSTRALIAN PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS for TEACHERS
Know your students & how they learn
1.1 Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students
It is important that a teacher knows and understands the age and learning characteristics of each the students. Flexible plans with regular physical activities in the music class such as class singing and clapping engages the student and encourages participation. It is also important to focus upon all students through observation during these physical activities to assess which students may require support and encouragement. It is important to praise a student during activities; this helps create confidence and supports an environment of trust.
Mimicry is a strategy that openly engages a student. These activities can evolve and lead to the student creating their own ideas; for example demonstrating rhythmical patterns on a drum, then asking the students to copy and then create their own. Other physical activities could be as eclectic as:
8th grade mixed choir sight singing www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoSm7euk9So
Social activities also drive many social related elements within the classroom. Small groups working together, learning to practice, create and perform together. The emphasis is on fun and the fulfilling feeling of successful team- work. Communication between the students is an important element to focus upon here, the teacher should explain that the students should help each other by formulating an agreed upon set of collective ideas upon which to put into practice; some may work, others may not – it’s all about exploring possibilities and experimentation. Music is fun and creative.
Intellectual Intellectual elements are also present in both the physical and social aspects of learning music. It is important when planning your lesson of physical activities that a cognitive link is made by the student regarding outcomes. The outcomes may be diverse, such as:
• Clapping: rhythmical elements; comprehension of patterns relating to numeracy elements such as subdivision or syncopation.
I use ICT tools to help students who aren’t confident with traditional transcription and notation. An example would be using Garage Band that explores sound splicing and sequencing of synthesised sounds without notation elements: How to get started:
Youtube Example 2:
Garageband X Tutorial
Using social media such as Facebook and Edmodo is a great way to communicate with students. Edmodo is a particularly good social platform that a teacher could use to set homework, send reinforcing video links to help cement ideas introduced in a classroom lesson. Students can also share ideas with each other and help each other learn and comprehend knowledge; this is particularly important as the learning experience can then be expressed in a language that is at the level of the students. ICT can also be used out of classroom, where a student can in essence teach themselves aspects about a particular musical instrument.
My daughter has taught herself how to play the guitar on her iPhone using one of the many guitar Apps. There are also many sites a student or teacher can access to help get new ideas or expand upon. This example is a percussion based website that is a great source for all things rhythmical and percussion based:
1.2 Understand how students learn
Standard 1.2 is fundamental to a successful teaching and learning experience. Understanding how individual students learn is critical to their success in absorbing and comprehending knowledge on a deep level of learning. Observation of how individual students work through and understand content is critical to understanding if comprehension of content has been achieved.
I believe it is important to continually gather feedback from students regarding comprehension of tasks. Assessing individual students learning abilities is crucial when formulating effective classroom teaching strategies and relevant teaching platforms or tools regarding content and engagement.
It is also important that teachers be in regular contact with colleagues, supporting teaching groups and organisations to help impart teaching methodology and if relevant, specific supportive ICT tools that may help assess how students learn.
Using questionnaire elements within an ICT program such as Poll Everywhere is an excellent presentation tool to document and assess an individual’s ability to comprehend learning elements within the wider group of the classroom. Different ICT tools can also help expose/unearth a students best/preferable way to learn. Visual programs such as Prezi or Gapminder can help some students comprehension of accumulation of sequential numerous facts and figures, or comparing/relating specialised subject based elements with more everyday examples.
Collecting and gathering evidence for assessment is an obvious and traditional method of understanding students levels of learning. Employing ICT tools can help cut down workload and time constraints, and is an effective method for a teacher to employ.
Teaching two different year 8 guitar classes (2 x 16 students) was an excellent opportunity regarding an understanding of how ICT could help my understanding of an individual student’s learning. I would collect recorded documented evidence of a set practical performance assessment by way of individual students recording a sequential step of task directions of their performance elements onto their laptop computers for submission. This would immediately help my understanding of the different learning abilities of the individual within the classroom; so often in the past individual students would be left behind during group/ensemble learning experiences due to the shear number of performers participating.
1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds
Teaching and understanding students learning abilities’ and needs from diverse backgrounds is extremely challenging. It is critical to develop strategies that identify and respond to possible dominant elements that dictate how a student needs to learn.
Australian schools are in effect a reflection of a large multicultural society, and this impacts upon how complex teaching has become within schools. It is important as a teacher that I need to understand the many levels and critical aspects of each students background. All students are different, and are therefore deserving of a differentiated approach to learning by their teacher, particularly students from a non-english speaking background (NESB).
As a teacher I need to use multiple concurrent strategies within a classroom of diverse backgrounds. I need to understand potential traditional cultural issues that challenge the social environment of the classroom, such as gender equality or religious acceptance. Student seating arrangements, or even public praise can be extremely confronting for some students.
Knowing what ICT teaching tools to use is important and can help traverse potential problems within a multicultural classroom. One of the better ICT tools to use would be Edmodo, an online program that has a supportive element regarding the social networking aspect of peer group learning and interaction of the students. The student discussion board element of Edmodo can help each student learn via a peer group learning experience away from the classroom. This can help traverse difficult and different ethnicities, cultural, religion or social differences. It can by way of online participation also help remove language problems and encourage a supportive and community approach from within the student cohort.
Youtube Example 3:
What is Edmodo?
Edmodo can also be controlled by both teacher and parent/guardian regarding it being a closed social networking ICT tool. It is both a safe and effective way to communicate. Some schools have their own intranet site which works in much the same way such a as Daymap.
Other ICT programs that use pictorial elements such as Prezi or Gapminder can also be usefull, however understanding some potential cultural issues surrounding photographic/symbolic content would needed to be screened by the teacher. Using some musical based ICT software apps or programs are a very good way to bridge possible gaps in language or socioeconomically driven factors; some programs are free and a number of music based apps are extremely easy to understand and utilise such as Garageband.
A music teacher could use multiple musical programs within one class to fulfil a curriculum requirement or task such as note flight; each student could have a choice of their preferred ICT program to use to achieve to same outcome.
Youtube Example 4:
1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
Understanding the cultural aspects of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student is extremely important. As a teacher I would be in contact with relevant cultural experts and indigenous leaders to first comprehend what the possible cultural boundaries are that need to be respected. I can then work towards creating a strategy to implement that would be both effective and relevant to the student.
It is also imperative that I understand indigenous traditional values and teaching methodologies to assimilate and merge with current teaching trends and mores.
Ten possible strategies a teacher could use when teaching an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student are:
Specific learning projects:
As a music teacher it is important to create lesson plans to engage with and specifically help with the involvement of indigenous students whilst educating non-indigenous students. This could be achieved by creating a project based learning experience that utilises a cross curriculum activity such as a story telling artistic and music collaboration; setting a digital artistic narrative to music and recording it.
The story narrative could be based upon traditional dream-time elements to which the music students would set to music using another ICT tool such as Garageband. The class would learn about the cultural music and history of their indigenous classmates. This would help engender respect, acceptance and knowledge on a peer level.
Everyday classroom learning:
Using presentation tools can be extremely effective especially with simple pictorial ICT elements. As a music teacher I would use video imagery to support practical and theoretical musical concepts and curriculum content. Using presentation tools such as a power point or Prezi presentation should if possible be kept to music specific (sounds cape) curriculum criteria. However using visual ICT tools like Prezi must be continually assessed to an appropriate level of cultural acceptance and awareness regarding visual content.
Music composition software programs such as Sibelius could be appropriate ICT tools to use, these programs do need an understanding of musical theory and notation recognition but are an extremely visually rewarding program to utilise.
Prezi Presentation: Aboriginal Music
1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities
As teachers we need to have effective strategies that engages with all levels of learning within a classroom environment. Knowing your students is crucial to the successful implementation of a strategy or set of strategies. Using Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Hierarchy is an extremely helpful modelling tool for a teacher to recognise which level/s a student best falls into. An understanding of these multiple levels helps to a teacher understand what type of teaching strategy or content plan to implement.
Example: Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Hierarchy
My area of teaching music can use multiple elements to successfully reach the many levels of learning ability and participation within the classroom. Splitting students into groups for a project is a good way for all students to participate and collaborate utilising their own personal strengths; each student could be allocated a specific role within the group.
A group of 5 students can be split as such: Students 1 & 2, gathering and collecting sound effects from around the school environment using a phone app such as MultiTrack Daw (a four track recording app), Student 3 may prefer pre recorded instrumental sound bites/effects using another phone app program such as GarageBand, Student 4 and 5 could be in charge of collating visual photo’s/video footage/pictures (using Ipads, mobile phones, video recorders, power point slides etc..) to set with the music/effects being collected.
The great aspect of this project is that everyone is given a choice as to their preference regarding what level of participation each student is suited to; with important emphasis on collaboration of the entire group regarding team work and connecting/fusing all elements into the finished project. There could be a final assignment presentation requiring students to combine and present their area of input/expertise within the project. This form of project based collaboration places an emphasis of the individual student being in control of their own learning and knowledge gathering, leaving the teacher to help manage, guide and scaffold accompanying information of tips and hints for a successful outcome.
Such activities can be particularly helpful for individual students who may have a learning or physical disability; their participation would be based upon their own level of experiences, ability and input. This would also have the potential for students who may be more kinetic in their learning; moving and gathering of data etc…
As a music teacher I would also be focussed upon making sure that strategies other than peer group work should also occur. Peer group work can be at times undermined by unforeseen consequences of mismatched personalities or intelligence levels. Placing a gifted and talented student within a lower ability group can on one level be a rewarding social experience, but can on a content level risk dis-engagement from the gifted student; lower ability students would benefit but not the gifted student.
Extension worksheets, tasks, ICT developmental activities all play an important role towards keeping multiple intelligences engaged within the cohort of students.
1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability
Supporting students with a disability can be challenging. The first step is to recognise the form of disability; is it a physical, learning or psychological disability?
As teachers we must then understand that legislation requires all students to be supported regarding inclusion within the education system. Incorporating students with disabilities into a mainstream classroom environment requires significant organisation with clear structures and goals by the teacher.
We (as teachers) must endeavour to understand what the disability is, by research (training), communicating with specialists and most importantly talking with the parents of a disabled child is imperative to successful learning outcomes. Designing activities that support a disabled child’s ability to learn in tandem with the mainstream learning ability of the class can take many forms.
Using ICT tools and elements can help expidite and enhance a teachers ability to reach the multi-levelled learning abilities within a mixed class of disabled and non-disabled students. Some activities may need to be of a more physical nature with kinaesthetic elements to include a child with a cognitive learning disability, such as creating and recording music compositions on electronic keyboards/guitars. Using specific ICT tools such as Prezi or power point with a high level of visual elements may be a strategy for a cognitive disability. Using strategies that are task specific could be useful with an autistic student; e.g. using an ipad with music apps such as GarageBand to create music compositions can be very engaging for students with autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome; there are specialist apps that have been designed for specific disabilities such as autism as described in this link:
During my second teaching practice experience one of my students had a vision disability. I gathered background information regarding her abilities and potential strategies that worked best. The most important aspect when teaching this student was to be super organised; by creating a communication dialogue with the parent regarding the needs of the student I was able to plan and structure my lessons that both involved and challenged this student.
By creating in advance Plain Text files of worksheets that also contained music notation, this students mother was able to transcribe the notation element into braille for her daughter to follow and comment upon in class. I also felt it incredibly important to use explicit language to help scaffold visual elements of any content or answers to questions. Using audio recordings or playing examples on the piano also helped this student understand and comprehend and participate. It was also important that during interactive practical activities that this student was placed next to one of her teaching 'buddies' to help her negotiate specific elements; this helped my ability to focus on the class as a whole.
APST Standard 2:
Know the content and how to teach it
2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
Teaching music can at times be challenging when trying to reach all learning levels and abilities within the classroom environment. Knowing your content is imperative to achieving successful teaching outcomes. I believe that students deserve a teacher who has a deep knowledge and understanding of subject pedagogy and curriculum criteria. I also believe that this knowledge of content needs to be constantly supported and related to real world practical applications to help synthesis of content by the student regarding a deeper learning experience.
As a music teacher I find that practical performance activities help to cement deep learning of content. For example my recent placement required specific rhythmical elements to be practiced and understood. I chose a composition that used these rhythmical elements. I also added supportive exercises that sequentially went through multiple permutations of these elements. The students response was very positive and their understanding of the content was enhanced.
Using ICT elements can also help the music teacher present knowledge and ideas more quickly and effectively. Using presentation tools such as Prezi, videos or smart boards help to engage with students are good way to reinforce or introduce new content. I have also used the whiteboard in practical ensemble activities to impart a visual supportive element.
Prezi is a particularly good ICT visual tool to use when linking cross-curriculum (related) supportive material to help enhance a deeper learning experience. Prezi is the perfect platform to use when trying to explain a specific areas within music such as Rhythm, Key Signatures or Time Signatures. The visual aspect and easy sequencing of slides within Prezi helps make a presentation simplified and clear to understand. The pictorial element makes it easy for students to understand connections to related yet diverse information to help bridge an understanding and connect to specific music content being taught. It is also possible to embed within the presentation both audio and video elements to enhance the learning experience.
Knowing if students have understood subject objectives is extremely important for a teachers assessment of content delivery. Using Poll Everywhere is an excellent ICT tool to help the teacher understand if the mode of content delivery is working, or if certain areas pertaining to the content and/or its delivery can be improved upon. Poll Everywhere can be completed on smart phones, iPads or laptops by the students, and can inform the teacher which students within the classroom structure are being left behind in content comprehension, and therefore can adjust to accommodate learning tempo or content. Simple quizzes, or even multiple choice questionnaires is a fast, effective and enjoyable engagement activity for students to participate in towards the end of a unit or lesson.
Youtube Example 5:
Introducing Poll Everywhere
2.2 Content selection and organisation
One of my teaching experiences involved delivering rhythmic content to a classroom of year 10 students with significant engagement issues. I began this lesson outlining the musical notation elements but quickly surmised that a more practical activity was needed to help students comprehension. The activity was a visual whiteboard presentation of a grid with vertical lines within each grid square representative of a rhythm. The students were asked to clap the number of lines within each grid square; as the lesson progressed I gradually changed each grid square into traditional music notation which helped to connect the learning activity to the content.
It was important that I was able to assess the content level of learning within the cohort of students and adjust and become flexible with my delivery of the content. The next lesson was even more successful; I prepared the same content with additional ICT elements by using a Prezi presentation. This was most effective regarding student engagement and learning outcomes. The obvious learning experience was that the more organised and prepared I was, the more effective the outcome.
One of the main reasons an ICT tool such as Prezi is so effective within the classroom is that as a teacher you don't turn your back on the students to write something up on the whiteboard. It is important to notice that quite often, as a teacher, when turning towards the whiteboard a level of engagement from the students is lost.
Using Prezi regarding explaining the definition of “rhythm” was extremely helpful when trying to explain regular and irregular pattern sequences; I used non-music related visual content such as pictures of pattern grouping from a wide and diverse source to help support the music specific language I was teaching. This was also helpful when explaining about the break down and subdivision of notation elements; using other non-music specific elements to support the content.
This also helped individual students who may have been struggling with the concept of the content, thus reaching more levels of ability within the classroom. Using an ICT tool like Prezi would enhance my pre-class preparedness and organisation so that when the time came to begin my lesson I could then concentrate on reinforcing the ICT content by verbal instruction. I could easily move back and forth between slide/sequence stages of the Prezi presentation to help cement the content.
2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting
The curriculum is one of the most important cornerstones of a students learning experiences in schools. The curriculum helps teachers organise and design and formulate various assessment criteria to be implemented and used to assess learning.
Successful creation of lesson units and plans cannot occur if the curriculum framework is not understood. It is critical that teachers understand and have access to curriculum information bodies such as ACARA (F-10) and SACE. These bodies help to:
Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA)
South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
I use the curriculum as a guide upon which to base content criteria upon; I then research a topic, element, project, performance within my field of music and try to use the most relevant teaching method, tool or ICT platform to support and show understanding of the curriculum in regard to the specific area of music education.
Using ICT resources and tools to help implement lesson sequences and plans can be achieved in different ways. I can use Edmodo to send assignments to students, these assignments can have a discussion element that would show a students understanding of specific curriculum criteria. These discussions can also occur within the Edmodo networking platform; as the teacher I would see the results and dialogue or debate regarding comprehension of specific content, and if need be help guide the discussion in the right area.
Other elements such as digital or video recordings of performances are also be a great tool to implement when fulfilling music SACE Solo Performance Assessment curriculum criteria; indeed a significant amount of internal school assessment needs to be recorded in order to fulfil evidence based learning criteria.
Other ICT programs such as Scootle helps to plan construct unit content or topics. This program is Australian Curriculum specific and has good resources that relate to and help teachers plan content, share ideas with other teachers and understand how to sequence content in logical and clear way that helps engagement with students. The music content is extremely diverse and relevant in an Australian context; containing content topic areas such as “Improvising music from recycled materials” and, the “Beatles tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1964”.
2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians
It is important when teaching to be aware of cultural beliefs and practices. I believe it is important to have a strong understanding of indigenous history, language and cultural traditions. Respect and building relationships is at the heart of successful teaching practices, and is extremely important when teaching students of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.
Building strong relationships with students, asking questions and being interested in their background is a significant step towards a successful interaction and teaching/learning experience. I believe it is important to carefully merge cultural aspects into classroom curriculum learning with activities that are relevant and involve strong participation by both non-indigenous and indigenous students.
Care is needed when utilising ICT tools such as video or film footage; as a teacher I must be aware of potential belief drivers regarding deceased members (photography or film) of an indigenous community. Pictorials and film can be a powerful learning tool to utilise within a classroom with indigenous students, however a careful and well researched approach is the best method to employ when creating unit and lesson plan materials.
It is important to recognize the land and the indigenous ownership of the land upon which we teach; this could be achieved by viewing video footage that has been given special permission and containing no footage of deceased persons. I also believe it is important that specialised subject areas such as music embed a cross curriculum element such as reconciliation within classroom learning experiences to help learn about indigenous Australian culture:
Creating project based peer group learning experiences can also help to bring reconciliation into the classroom. Having both indigenous and non-indigenous students working together, collaborating and asking each other questions is one the first steps towards social respect and acceptance that can be carried through to adult life.
Another way to use ICT would be using non live imaging video elements such as animations; these also need to be culturally appropriate regarding permission etc… As a music teacher I would concentrate on the cultural music and storytelling of Aboriginal cultures. Power point slides showing indigenous instruments such as the didgeridoo and clapping sticks could be a start. There are also online sites such as the Music Outback Foundation that show video’s of a wide variety of Aboriginal music from traditional to popular/rock. It also has a school access point to log in and utilize:
Music Outback Foundation
2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies
Teaching music contains many key elements that require both numeracy and literacy curriculum based content.
Music is made up of rhythms and patterns that requires constant evaluation of subdivision of note values and their interpretation.
Music is often called another language, and this is true. Groupings and patterns of melodic lines, harmony and rhythms can be broken down with a generalised interpretation akin to reading a code. There are however specific terminology elements within music that are found in areas only related to learning another language (e.g. Italian, German etc.); these language based terms are what dictates instructive performance directions for any one piece of music composition.
Creating a wide variety of strategies that help students comprehension of code-like rhythmic patterns and explicit terminology is challenging. The most effective and proven strategy of all is to relate and link all written theory, visual music information to practical performance elements.
Simplistic group learning activities such as clapping and singing are the first stages of 'connecting the dots' to the code-like notational deciphering of written music. Repetition and reinforcement of content by linking practical elements with the theoretical aspect of music notation is most important. Learning an instrument is one of the most supportive and constructive way to cement deep learning of music numeracy and literacy.
Using ICT regarding literacy and numeracy elements are improving all of the time. A music teacher within Australia now has multiple choices of music software programs to utilise. My last pre-service placement required knowledge of an online music notation program called noteflight that played back student compositions with choice of digital instrument sounds. This program was particularly good as each student would share their work with me to add comments on or annotate away from the classroom - a 'flipped' classroom experience.
There are also other software programs such as Sibelius 7.5 and Finale; both these programs are professional composition programs that can also be used in a school classroom environment. They contain comprehensive information regarding literacy and numeracy elements such as language, musical terminology, musical directives and instructions, metronomic elements such as speed, notation subdivision and transitional elements such as tempo change and style.
Youtube Example 7:
Music has a very strong numeracy element that continually challenges the music student to subdivide, recognize rhythmic patterns and understand note relationships regarding their numerical standing in a chordal structure. Sibelius 7.5 also contains additional plug-in upgrades such as Auralia 4 and Musition 4 , that have training software relating to ear training and complete music theory training.
These programs are education specific and are developed around graduated knowledge understanding and learning of musical rules and criteria. An example: In the classroom I connect my computer (with Sibelius) to the classroom projector to reiterate content points or ideas; I then compose on the spot ideas to be discussed, e.g. outline specific 4 part vocal harmony rules or create topics for debate regarding the details and comprehension of the creative aspects of a composition.
Poll Everywhere would be an excellent ICT tool to use by way of creating a quiz or multiple-choice questionnaire regarding music language comprehension, e.g:
1. The definition of Perdendosi is: Dying away A: TRUE or B: FALSE
2. A Plagal cadence is: A: V – I chord sequence B: V – VI chord sequence C: IV – I chord sequence
2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
The use of ICT within the school classroom will increase to the point that it will become a preferred teaching tool for a contemporary teacher. Software programs and ICT online streaming platforms will become easier to use and more accessible to both teacher and student with a significant number of ICT programs already adept at helping teachers connect to multiple levels of learning within a classroom.
As a music teacher I use music specific software programs such as Sibelius 7.5 and note flight. These programs are extremely advanced and accessible for all students to use. One of the most beneficial learning experiences using these programs is the immediate feedback of note input; a student chooses a note length, then places it upon the correct music stave; this emits a digital pitched sound based upon where upon the music stave the note was place - immediate feedback both for note length (rhythm) and pitch!
Non music specific ICT programs such as Prezi, power point and white boards all help the teacher to make better connection with the students understanding; Prezi and power point presentations are both excellent visualization tools to learn and compare content with a students prior experience or knowledge base, thus contributing to an overall deeper learning experience.
Poll Everywhere is an excellent ICT tool to help re-affirm how well a student understands the information content of a lesson. It also helps a teacher re-adjust their teaching approach regarding feedback from a Poll Everywhere quiz. Scootle is an excellent online source to help teachers formulate ideas regarding implementing curriculum based lesson and unit plans.
Teachers can access a large database of curriculum criteria activities and subjects. Teachers can also communicate with each when trying to come to terms with comprehension of areas and resources within the curriculum. Online network forums such as Edmodo or internal school networks are a good source of information sharing; this could be assessment, test or project based sharing and discussion. This also reaches multiple levels within classroom demographics; students who are behind in work due to sickness can catch-up, students who are ahead can be given extra higher level learning curricular activities. This helps to cement and support a collaborative and co-operative learning approach for the students.
APST Standard 3:
Plan for and implement effective teaching & learning
3.1 Establish challenging learning goals
It is important for teachers to set challenging learning goals so that students can themselves be challenged during their learning. These challenges need to be based upon each individual students abilities and characteristics, this helps achieve successful outcomes and build confidence.
During one of my Year 10 Composition classes the students were learning about writing four part vocal harmony. One of the task assignments involved the students analysing a four part hymn; I felt it important that they not only understood how four part harmony was constructed but also how this hymn should be sung. This was a very challenging performance exercise for this class, but also incredibly rewarding. After singing along to a piano accompaniment the students successfully sang the hymn by themselves. I added more challenging performance elements such as tuning and identifying cadence points. Most students achieved a high level of understanding and achievement, those students who were still searching for notes were given simple adjustments to the performance task such as singing the first note of each bar or refrain from singing difficult internal parts by remaining on the main melody line.
The performance challenge element helped to significantly cement a deeper learning experience of four part harmony and note/chord progressions.
Using ICT tools within the classroom also helps to challenge multiple levels of learning ability and differentiation. Creating music compositions on ICT programs such as noteflight helps to challenge student participation and comprehension of the task whilst maintaining and working at a pace suitable to personal and individual abilities and experiences. Such programs can also help engage the students regarding their contribution and involvement in a task.
GarageBand (with iPads or Mac computers) is another excellent program to use within a music theory lesson, it helps to challenge students creativity whilst relating to traditional music notation and chord progressions. It is a particularly good program to use with students who may be struggling with either conceptual or theoretical knowledge. The challenge when using this program is that it encourages students to think ‘outside the box’ when problem solving by utilising loops, recording sounds, effects and utilising pre-programmed chord structures with diverse instrument sound fonts.
Other music ICT programs such as Auralia (aural awareness ear training and development program) keeps record and percentages of progress through sequenced in app lessons. This is extremely challenging but also allows a student to progress in their own time and at their own level of competence; repetition of lessons for improvement is a key goal. More gifted students can move ahead into more challenging lessons; this app supports a flipped classroom approach to learning away from the classroom.
Youtube Example 8:
Auralia 4 Demo
3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs
Successful learning programs depend upon a thorough and organised approach to planning content. Any single class consists of an over-arching year plan which is separated into several unit plans which are topic specific. Within a unit plan (which may last 2-5 weeks, or even an entire semester or term) there are multiple lesson plans which are systematically structured to sequence curriculum content into an organised format upon which teachers base their teaching.
One of my unit plans based upon Film Music was created as a 4 week plan. This unit plan was structured as both a historical, fact gathering plan tracing the beginnings of music in film with strong creative and performance elements by students. It is important that when creating learning plans for students that the content is of a logical and sequential order. It is just as important that good planning contains supportive and relevant practical activities to help differentiation within the classroom.
Even the best constructed plan may deviate at times due to inquisitive questions or unforeseen problems such as ICT malfunction. It is during such times that alternate and relevant content material be ready to use supporting the original plan. During one of my Year 8 Listening to Music lessons my computer froze in the middle of a power point presentation with classroom worksheets and audio examples. My plan B was ready to go (never trust ICT to run smoothly and without some teething problems!); playing and demonstrating relevant thematic material (related to student worksheets) on the piano whilst changing direction by asking explicit and direct questions related to the worksheet, and getting the class to clap and sing selected music motifs.
Sibelius 7.5 and noteflight music software programs are excellent programs to incorporate into music lessons and plans where ever possible to help to create, notate and support content. Prezi and power point are also extremely effective at keeping lessons on track, in a sequential order that is both engaging and enjoyable for the student cohort.
3.3 Use teaching strategies
Using effective preventive teaching strategies to promote a deep learning experience for the students is important. A teacher should endeavour to create interesting subject/topic content using engaging methods to help student learning.
I endeavour to utilise concurrent teaching strategies to reach the full cohort of students. It is imperative that these straggles are content related and support topics in an engaging and participatory way.
During one of my Year 10 music cadence review lessons I developed a competitive group activity to accompany the theoretical content. This activity utilised both ICT (smart board & CD player) with an aural listening/ear training component. I had already prepared 4 separate audio files (4 different cadences) to play (on CD). The aim was to play each music cadence with a melodic line to match a visual music notation score on the Smart Board that the students needed to match and identify as a group (scoring points for each correct answer). The second and more challenging part of the activity was to remove the visual component, the students had to rely on their memory and listening ability to correctly identify the correct cadence.
This was not only challenging for the students but also very enjoyable. My observation was that each group thrived on the competitive nature of the activity, wanting to 'out-do' their colleagues.
Knowing the students and their abilities helps a teacher to choose, evaluate and create teaching content that minimises or prevents misbehaviour. I carefully chose a good mix of different abilities within each student group for my cadence activity, making this activity as fair as possible; students collaborated with each other and discussed possible answer scenarios before committing the answer. This peer group learning strategy for this activity worked extremely well; no one was left not knowing what the objective of the activity was. Because of the high level of engagement there was very little behavioural problems.
Peer Group Learning:
Relating content to real world applications with activities can also keep students engaged and on task. During this same class I also incorporated a singing activity; the students were required to sing as a 4 part harmony group the relevant cadence examples. This activity was extremely challenging, but because of the high level of school choirs and vocal ensembles at this school it worked and the students could see and understand the connection to their individual vocal groups.
Other simple ICT tools such as Popplet or Post-It programs can also keep students engaged and contributing as they visualise their own individual participation. These programs are interactive and have multiple functions such as creating mind-maps or PowerPoint-like slides. Popplet allows students to do collaborative brainstorming to collect and identify content to share with the entire class. Using questionnaires or reviewing content by utilising a program such as Poll Everywhere is also a very good and engaging ICT tool.
Youtube Example 9:
One of the most effective strategies that I have employed involved working and preparing away from the classroom by the student cohort. This method of teaching is often referred to as a 'Flipped-classroom'. Meaningful work can be achieved away from the physical classroom by utilising ICT tools/programs. I implement specific music software programs such as noteflight to help students prepare content away from the classroom. This program contains a sharing element that enables the teacher to check assignment progress and get an overall understanding of student comprehension. I can make comments and share these with each individual student whilst they are at home working.
Having a class prepare content away from the physical classroom can be extremely effective regarding a deeper learning experience. The students enter the physical classroom already rich with ideas and learned content, which then helps the teacher implement further supporting content that helping to cement learning already achieved by the student cohort.
3.4 Select and use resources
Once a teacher understands their students and the differentiation within the classroom they may then choose what resources to use and how to implement the planned content. It is important that these resources are relevant, simple to use and engaging for the students.
There are many diverse types of resources a teacher could use. Once again presentation programs such as PowerPoint or Prezi can be streamed directly to student’s computers or projected onto a Smart board to let the teacher move freely around the classroom scaffolding learning content, and supporting some students with individual attention.
Ipads utilising music specific apps such as GarageBand, Auralia, Auralbook (AMEB) can all play a role in a music students development and understanding of a curriculum topic.
Teachers can also access websites such as Scootle or any .edu website to widen their educational knowledge base of ICT tools to use within the classroom.
A music teacher utilises many resources ranging from ICT programs to performance based instruments such as a piano to help demonstrate and scaffold content. One of my Year 8 composition Unit plans is about Primary Chords. To help scaffold this content I use the classroom piano to demonstrate and break-down chord structures and interval relationships. This extremely important as it helps to support theoretical content by way of demonstration with an ear training element. A piano is also an incredibly flexible tool to use by quickly conducting an on-the-spot aural quiz, or used to back up a student related question.
Another powerful resource tool to use in the classroom is a literacy online tool called TurnItin. This is simply an academic reference based tool that helps to correct grammar and plagiarism issues. The students should be encouraged to check their written assignments before submission by utilising this tool.
Youtube Example 10:
3.5 Use effective classroom communication
Communication is vital in the education of students. All stakeholders ranging from students, teachers, parents and school staff need to be kept up to date regarding learning and school related activities. As a teacher it is critical that I establish clear and explicit techniques to deliver content within the classroom.
Using concurrent strategies can be extremely effective when introducing new topics or supporting previously learnt pedagogy. I believe it is important to use both verbal and non verbal techniques to help reach a differentiated cohort of students. Using correct pedagogical terminology with supportive everyday language is highly effective when explaining a difficult conceptual point or idea. Music (much like a language based subject) is full of areas that requires specific terminology, and this requires definitions and explanations into every day language for students to comprehend.
Example: piano or p = soft, morendo = dying away, crescendo = becoming louder etc..
Once again specific theoretical elements that need clear and explicit explanation can be helped by activities or practical demonstration.
Explicit directions and clear language from a teacher is a one way dialogue that requires another element to be truly successful. Another equally important area to successful communication within the classroom is inquiry learning. Inquiry learning is at its heart a communication based endeavour with a two-way dialogue between teacher and student. As a teacher I work very hard at supporting and encouraging student participation by way of questions and discovery based learning. I believe if students are continually asking relevant questions to either a topic or content that these are the first steps toward a higher learning experience which can lead to a synthesis of ideas and higher level application.
There are many ways to communicate with students, and using ICT tools is one of the most effective and efficient methods to do so. Weekly emails on a schools intranet Daymap or using Edmodo for student projects, worksheets, homework extension or support are effective ICT tools to use. One of the best music online tools to use is noteflight, this allows the teacher to continually check a students daily progress on a music score assignment and make supportive annotate comments. I have used this in a flipped classroom scenario with a Year 10 student assignment; to create 4 variations based upon an original 8 bar theme. I was able to monitor progress and give individual feedback whilst at home away from school. The students can also respond with their own comments for clarification.
Youtube Example 11:
Emails can be used to contact parents privately regarding individual student progress or behavioural issues. Text messaging for reminders or locating an absent student from class. Edmodo can be used as a social networking program involving an entire class for online discussion of homework, worksheets or content curriculum.
Facebook is also another ICT communication tool for student and teacher groups to utilise. Correct etiquette regarding any online communication dialogue needs to be established, reinforced and reviewed regularly.
3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs
Evaluation of own teaching practice is vital to continually improve upon and assess implemented teaching programs/lessons. It is important for a teacher to self-evaluate their own ability to teach curriculum content within the classroom; understanding how successful the learning experience was for the students. Teachers need to know if planned activities were successful in helping and enhancing the learning experience for students.
Receiving feedback from students is a practical and efficient way for a teacher to understand if content knowledge has been successfully understood and if improvement could be made. This feedback could be a class by class scenario due to many contributing factors such as cultural diversification and differentiation within each class.
Teachers could utilise ICT tools such a Surveymonkey or Poll Everywhere to create interactive classroom feedback that also engages student participation. These types of tools could be used by way of a questionnaire or multiple choice questions; the students input/answers are important to help support a feeling of ownership and active collaboration with the teacher for future lessons and programing content.
I have found it extremely important to put aside each day after teaching a half hour - hour of reflection time to jot down both successful and unsuccessful evaluations of lessons. An example of an unsuccessful lesson elements being turn-around is:
A Year 10 music composition class contained all higher level extension students. After evaluating one of my first lessons with this class I realised that I was spending too much time going over worksheets/homework assignments; the class was loud and disruptive, and felt as if I was teaching in quicksand. I had interpreted the lack of response of the students to specific questions that there was of a lack of understanding, or incompletion of work. I was wrong on both counts, by going over the content I was not only wasting valuable time I was in fact boring the students.
My next lesson was structured differently; I quickly went around the classroom looking at individual students work. I then quickly put the answers, solutions and correct examples up on a smart board projection to then quickly explain and ask students for feedback. What initially took me 25 minutes now only took 8 minutes and I could then move on. The most valuable learning experience I learned here as a teacher was a more effective use of classroom tempo, and never underestimate the abilities of an extension class; they need to move on and be constantly challenged.
I finished up this Year 10 unit by issuing out an anonymous multiple choice questionnaire feedback form. My formative observations were indeed substantiated by the student feedback; they needed to be constantly challenged. I changed my entire approach with this class by not only speeding up the tempo of the lesson but also implementing at least two supporting activities per lesson.
Feedback Survey Form & Quiz:
Lesson Unit (Theme & Variations) feedback form
THEME & VARIATIONS
Dear student: Thank you for taking the time to fill out this anonymous questionnaire thoughtfully. The information will be used solely by the teacher to assess student satisfaction and learning throughout the course of the lesson unit Theme & Variations.
[Please answer the multiple choice questions by circling the answer that is most applicable to you]
I understood what was expected of me in class preparation and participation:
Most of the time
I understood the Theme & Variations assignments/worksheets and their purpose:
Most of the time
I felt encouraged to participate in class and respond to others:
Most of the time
I received clear responses to what I say in class; I find out how to improve:
Most of the time
The written worksheet and noteflight task were clear to me; I knew what the task was:
Most of the time
The teacher treats students with respect:
Most of the time
The teacher effectively directs and stimulates discussion:
Most of the time
The teacher effectively encourages students to ask questions and give answers:
Most of the time
What would you like to change about this lesson unit on Theme & Variations?
3.7 Engage parents/carers in the education process
Engaging parents, guardians and carers is vitally important to continue adding to a platform of engaging dialogue concerning the education process of the students. Parents and carers (guardians) need to be active in their Childs learning environment at school and communication with teachers is paramount to successfully addressing all educational aspects ranging from behavioural issues, learning levels and social and community based areas within a school environment.
Employing ICT tools can be an effective and expeditious method of communicating directly with parents and carers. Mobile phones, text messaging, Emails, social networking programs such as Daymap, Edmodo or even Facebook are all good examples of implementing ICT elements into a communication dialogue with parents and carers both in and out of school hours. ICT tools are also an important method (e.g. Edmodo) to involve parents and carers in homework, worksheets, discussion forums or project based school work. My daughter's school has their own intranet social network that allows parents to access (via a login password) their child's academic results and progress.
Communication is vital in the education of students. All stakeholders ranging from students, teachers, parents and school staff need to be kept up to date regarding learning and school related activities. As a teacher I need to establish good relationships and be approachable and accessible to the parents/carers of the students. This is not only a good community ethos but it also helps formulate a solid social platform upon which any future problems may be expeditiously solved and contained.
Keeping parents/carers up to date regarding assessment results particularly on a SACE level is vital for a students academic success. SACE Alerts notify parents of any potential assessment problems.
APST Standard 4:
Create & maintain supportive safe and learning environments
4.1 Support student participation
Every classroom is going to contain students who are at different levels of learning, therefore utilising multiple strategies such as classroom activities or discussion groups helps to engage with the student regarding their participation and feeling of inclusion; the student is helping themselves contribute to their learning experience.
As a music teacher one of my most pressing and important issues to address is participation levels within the cohort of students. The majority of music educational experiences are group and ensemble based. These groups can often be defined as teams, Successful music group experiences rely on strong participation levels by the students; lack of engagement or participation from a solitary member can severely effect other members within the group.
Engagement with students is critical to a successful approach that encourages participation. Using the students own levels of experiences and imagination is a fantastic starting point to encouraging participation within the classroom. Everyone has their own opinion and view when it comes to music; when listening to a piece of music (any music) an opinion is formed - likes, hates, warm and fuzzy, cold, sad, happy etc. Students are no different, and by tapping into their own views/opinions and encouraging them to voice these, you as the teacher are on the way to engaging with and supporting participation levels. Encouraging students to use their imagination and ideas based upon their own individual experience to support content creates a classroom atmosphere rich in participation and engagement.
A renowned Australian music educator talks about this during a TEDx presentation:
Youtube Example 12:
Richard Gill talks on TEDx
Non group learning experiences can also suffer if engagement levels are low. Fostering a positive learning environment (where a student feels valued) is key to encouraging the student help to drive their own learning experience through participation and collaboration. Encouraging strong collaborative approaches among student peers helps to place the student group front and centre of learning objectives. Enquiry learning is pivotal to this approach; students asking questions is to be encouraged and supported with significant praise.
Giving a cohort of students multiple options related to task completion can have a strong impact upon participation levels. By creating options students are then best able to choose an option that best suits their:
Setting assignments with other ICT tools such as using Podcasts for assignments or assessments can also lead to good collaborative input; everybody is involved and included. Using ICT tools is an important strategy to reach out to all levels; it enhances a teacher’s ability to guide the learning process into the student’s domain.
4.2Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.
Teachers need to be organised and have well structured plans for each lesson. Organising work- stations or seating arrangements for a class activity before students have arrived can help with the clarity of a task set.
During one of my first Professional Experience placements lessons I had decided to introduce a new element - the Blues scale and 12 bar blues. It was imperative that this class had a strong performance element due to a history of behavioural challenges and number of kinetic learners. Engagement was of course important, however being extremely well organised with both lesson plan, smooth sequencing of content with supportive fun performance activities was absolutely necessary for the success of this lesson.
The first important aspect of this activity needed to be well prepared in advance by taking these steps:
Activities could incorporate ICT tools such a Smart-boards to access websites, specific content, video streaming. Theses can also help with a teacher’s ability to be flexible within the classroom environment by way of accessing related but previously non planned content. Setting specific tasks by using Edmodo; a teacher can set jobs/tasks for individual students to work on, they can then be instructed to incorporate these ideas with fellow students via a discussion board within Edmodo. Any problems before submitting work can then be discussed between students.
Activities such as project based group work where individuals have specific roles within the group. This could help a struggling student by assigning work on their level within a group environment. Using an ICT tool like Edmodo in regard to discussion groups can also be a great way to engage with a shy student; their participation can be enhanced from the safe environment of their home, something they might feel uncomfortable with at school.
An extremely helpful ICT tool to use during a music classroom band rehearsal is a personal wireless microphone + speaker system (Voice Amplification). Students are able to hear your instructions clearly, you don't have to raise your voice - bands are very loud in a small enclosed space such as a classroom. I have utilised such a tool teaching Year 9 Band and it works extremely well, particularly when transitioning smoothly between warm up routines, exercises and activities by using directions, singing key change tonalities or rhythm changes.
Youtube Example 13:
4.3 Manage challenging behaviour
Managing challenging behaviour can be extremely difficult for a teacher. Challenging behaviour or students are best handled with a preventative approach strategy. “Knowing your students” is at the heart of preventing problems from occurring; a child might have a disability and therefore multiple teaching strategy may need to be employed to incorporate that student into the classroom environment.
Assigning specific tasks that are achievable and challenging for a student is important. Sometimes appointing a leadership role within a group environment can be beneficial to help minimise poor behaviour by helping engage the student via collaborative contribution and involvement with peer group members.
Continual praise for good work or behaviour helps to keep a positive momentum and classroom atmosphere. It is also important as it reinforces that good behaviour will be rewarded by praise.
If a capable student is misbehaving then corrective measures need to be taken. These corrective measures can be part of a preventative strategy of establishing a set of previously agreed upon class rules with the entire classroom of students; if these rules are broken then the implementation of corrective measures could be employed such as the misbehaving student staying later in class by 5 minutes, or certain privileges are removed for the day.
Sometimes it may be needed to have a relaxed approach to introducing classroom rules. The below Youtube clip is an example a humorous way (using Minions) to introduce (or review) rules to a class.
Youtube Example 14:
Using ICT tools such as ClassDojo with a student who is struggling to remain in control could be used. ClassDojo is software that is fun and engaging for students, it can help create a reward system and help with the management of the classroom. It’s a good ICT tool to keep students on task.
Youtube Example 15:
4.4 Maintain student safety
A teacher has a duty of care to their students and the environment in which the students learn. Teachers need to ensure that throughout the course of a lesson that the environment in which the students work doesn’t become unsafe. Classroom tools, equipment, substances need to all be used safely; having a set of safety class rules is important for this to work.
Each school subject and classroom have specific sets of rules. One of the most dangerous areas within a school environment that a student can be exposed to hazards and risks due to the nature of the subject area and topic being studied are the science laboratories. A science laboratory has specific sets of safety rules and procedures to minimise any risk towards injuries:
Youtube Example 16:
Science Lab Safety Rules
A teacher must be continually alert for potential safety issues ranging from basic 1st aid to a student who may have an anaphylaxis reaction to something. A teaching environment needs to feel safe and non-threatening for the students; the teacher needs to work hard at making a student feel respected and valued within the classroom.
A set of rules pertaining to classroom behaviour can help support this; no bullying is allowed, no name calling, a buddy system, helping another student in distress, no phones allowed in class. A teacher needs to lead by example and set a warm atmosphere of empathy within the classroom group.
It is even more relevant with regard to ICT technologies. The use of Facebook has not always been a trouble free platform for students to utilise in regard to cyber bullying. More controlled programs such as Edmodo are better social networking tools to use; it is controlled by both teacher and parents with no access from outside elements/persons without a specific code from the teacher.
Youtube Example 17:
4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically
With new technologies comes greater responsibilities for the student, and quite often they are not equipped emotionally or mature enough to fully realise the potential consequences of a world full of ICT elements and technologies. It is important to incorporate a set of school rules that extend into the classroom and students.
Youtube Example 18:
Safety Issues with Technology
These rules must be based upon the well being of the students and this needs to be communicated to them regularly. If possible the rules need to have an element that the students feel that they themselves have ownership.
Youtube Example 19:
There needs to be a corrective, consequence measure attached to help in-force these rules that the students need to be aware of; possible demerits, phone confiscation, detention after class etc..
Running information videos within the classroom based upon the subject of cyber bullying, phone etiquette and technology driven morals, should be incorporated. These informative videos should be ethically driven in regard to appropriate behaviour as well as information regarding responsibilities to copyright laws, plagiarism of content and appropriate websites to visit. Incorporating a class project based upon ICT technologies and the Internet could be used to educate students as to expectations and responsibilities.
Regular reviews of appropriate ICT school etiquette within the classroom and related consequences should be common place with supportive rules and support staff and counselors involved.
APST Standard 5:
Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
5.1 Assess student learning
Assessment for student learning needs to occur in various forms. Different ways of assessing a student’s learning helps to address different learning needs and abilities within a cohort of students. The two main types of assessment are Formative and Summative; these are vital to measure a students ability to understand and comprehend content being taught.
As a music teacher I use practical performance activities to gain a regular formative assessments of a students ongoing learning. Supporting each performance activity are underlining diagnostic evaluations regarding each students current and prior knowledge and experiences; this is critical to formulating successful lesson plans and content material. Understanding and knowing your student's knowledge and experiences is essential to successful and meaningful learning experiences.
The basis for formative assessments is to have a real-time understanding of a students current knowledge regarding content learned and being taught. These performance related activities can be extremely diverse, ranging from solo and class ensemble rehearsals with a strong participation elements to theoretical activities requiring an enquiry based understanding of content. As a music teacher formative assessment can occur constantly, particularly in whole class ensemble scenario's where the teacher is constantly observing and producing feedback to the students.
Youtube Example 20:
Formative Assessment Testimonial, Music teacher Laura Tellman
Summative assessment elements requiring set tasks such as worksheets and individual written tests are more evidenced based method of assessing student's learning abilities. Marking and grading a students academic progress is usually more reliant upon summative assessments because of the strong evidence based element that supports student learning. Utilising both formative and summative elements concurrently helps a teacher best evaluate and understand how content is being learned and how much content is being understood by students regarding specific curriculum topic.
The reason why I use both types of assessments (formative and summative) is:
Youtube Example 21:
Comparing Formative and Summative Assessment
ICT tools for assessment in music are many; Garageband creating, recording of tasks. Mobile phones for recording audio and visual performance of task. Specific IPad apps such as Auralia record a student’s progress with scores to help continual improvement, this can be kept and recorded by the teacher by snap-shot of each lessons progress and areas needed for improvement to add to a digital/electronic file. ICT IPad apps also benefit a student’s learning regarding instant feedback regarding progress.
5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning
It is important to a student’s development and comprehension of learning content that feedback be given by the teacher in a prompt and timely manner. Receiving quick and relevant feedback allows students the opportunity to adjust and improve any learning areas that need further development to achieve higher grades.
Feedback can be given in many different ways; verbally via real-time, spontaneous dialogue to either the whole class or as individuals through discussions that are in-depth and related to the content being taught. Feedback can also be non specific with simple single word responses from the teacher. Written feedback via worksheets and tests results are also a good method to isolate specific content with explicit feedback for the students to read and understand.
I believe it is important to always provide feedback in a way that students understand and relate to. Sometimes it is necessary to carefully unpack, repeat and re-word feedback which enables the full cohort of students and different levels of intelligences within the classroom the opportunity to understand.
Using Edmodo or internal school internet systems can be extremely helpful when providing feedback to individuals and whole class grades and comprehension of tasks and what to improve on. Sibelius or noteflight are good programs to use with music students; noteflight score files or worksheets can be shared with the teacher for ongoing feedback with corrections, and scaffolded, annotated comments attached; both individually and for whole class for later discussion.
Creating a task that specifically requires a peer group social network dialogue amongst students to complete that task can help students better understand projects or set work. It is an extremely powerful method that lets students help each through dialogue and responses to questions and feedback. Understanding how their peers work, interpret and answer tasks/questions can be extremely informative and beneficial; e.g. sending Sibelius files via Edmodo in a forum format.
Using other ICT programs such as the LAMS Foundation online managing, sharing collaborative learning activities with comments, reflections, evaluations and feedback relating to interpretations of a task. Peer answers and individual responses can be evaluated.
Youtube Example 22:
LAMS Introduction Screencast
5.3 Make consistent and comparable judgements
A teacher should assess a students learning by using a variety of methods such as:
It is important to collect assessment data results for each student and compile them into a clearly understood Excel Spreadsheet that shows the students chronological progress with comments and results. This data collection can be refered to supporting the grading and learning progress of a student.
Cross referencing assessment results (such as Test results) with other students within the classroom is also an important method for a teacher to use. This helps to compare each students results when reaching a fair and consistent grade; this can also help a teacher's feedback regarding possible future improvements to teaching content by exposing elements that were clearly misunderstood by the general cohort of students.
Understanding benchmarking within each assessment task is imperative for a teacher to be able to reach a fair conclusion regarding results. Finding out what constitutes an average result for a subject or assessment task can be tricky when implementing new learning content or material. Moderating these results can also at times be challenging; using colleagues additional knowledge to help formulate a fair assessment by sometimes double marking a particularly difficult task is extremely helpful in attaining a fair judgement of a students work.
A teacher could also use ICT tools such as Quizlet to help track each student’s progress through a set of quick tests with efficient turnaround of answers and results to be promptly evaluated, assessed and compared to class comprehension and learning of content
Youtube Example 23:
Excel for Educators 1: Organising Information
5.4 Interpret student data
Collecting and recording student assessment results is extremely important; it helps to analyse and evaluate a student’s understanding of content and subject area. Being able to use and understand assessment data of student results is particularly important as it helps to direct any readjusting and modifying teaching methodology of pedagogic elements.
Interpreting data can at times be challenging regarding reaching a conclusive evaluation of a students learning progress; for example a student may perform extremely well in practical activities but under-perform in written and theoretical work. Reaching a fair and balanced grade result for such a student is difficult; such a student obviously understands content on one level but is failing to connect practical activities with theoretical. As a teacher my observations in real time within the classroom would be supported by this collated data, and I would spend more individual time with such a student carefully scaffolding the theoretical elements of subject content.
As mentioned in Standard 5.3 using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets is a excellent way to collate student’s data and results. It can quickly show patterns relating to specific content based learning issues of both the individual and collective students.
Collecting student data can occur in many different formats. Using other ICT programs such as Quizlet can also be an efficient way to analyse student progress and learning via collected individual data.
Youtube Example 24:
Quizlet; Monitoring Class Progress
5.5 Report on Student achievement
Reporting students’ academic achievements can only be achieved by careful and organised record keeping. Reporting a students achievement is the ultimate and final step towards providing feedback to both students and their parents/carers. It is important that when providing reports to students and parents/carers that the communication requirements of the report are clearly understood and that a student's academic results be related directly to assessment criteria requirements of Australian Curriculum.
Reports must provide an accurate and reliable account of a students achievements so that appropriate measures can be implemented to help support a student's future progress and goals.
Communicating results in the format of a report is paramount to a parent/carer and student ability to understand the student’s achievements and learning outcomes. Many schools utilise their own internal website to post report results and grades with teacher comments and feedback. Conducting Parent/Teacher evenings to discuss student progress is also an important pre-report step to initiate; this helps keep parents/carers informed. Showing parents/carers collected data records and specific task worksheets or test results of their child's progress helps to support future dialogue relating to final reports.
Keeping parents informed helps:
Online programs such as Learnboost can help a teacher collate and post students results in much the same format as Microsoft Excel. It can be set-up as a private viewing resource for only the student and/or parents to view. Teacher comments can also be added to grades to support the recorded data collected by the teacher.
Another ICT report tool to utilise is Edmodo Gradebook or Edookit Online Gradebook. Edmodo Gradebook is particularly good tool to use for sending reports to parents/carers in a secure online network protected by a password.
Youtube Example 25:
Edmodo Grade Book
APST Standard 6:
Engage in professional learning
6.1 Identify and plan professional learning needs
This standard (6.1) helps identify a teacher’s professional learning needs. This standard provides a guide to help teachers plan, oragnise and understand their professional goals and development as teachers. This development should be based upon continual improvement set of values and achievements, utilising colleagues and peer group support to help expand knowledge and improvement. Creating new programs, activities within a school department; collaboration with colleagues for vital feedback for improvement and successful outcomes.
Continual improvement and life long learning is at the heart of addressing this APST Standard. It is important to continually update skills particularly regarding new technologies; the contemporary classroom is in it self a continually evolving environment due to new technologies, evolving curriculum requirements, teaching methodology and strategies. Students are much more savvy and connected to the information network via iPads, Laptops and computers, therefore it is imperative that teachers not only keep up with new ideas and approaches but actually help drive change.
Learning and understanding the APST is also imperative to know exactly what areas of professional learning need addressing. Understanding the Standards in relationship to further development is critical to successful improvement (see Standard 6.2).
Professional development can occur in different ways:
ICT tools can help assist with planning, implementing and improving both personal and peer group learning and understanding of new platforms for scaffolding curriculum. A music teacher could use an IPad program called Auralia to implement and support planned lesson content regarding ear training for students and meet curriculum requirements. The sequencing stages within this program also help expand and refresh a teachers own abilities and contemporary approach to using ICT within the classroom.
Scootle is a wonderful ICT source to support a teacher looking to improve methodology of classroom activities regarding content. This site is perfect when accessing other teacher’s ideas and successful implementation of content based activities. Accessing Edmodo to discuss further ICT elements with colleagues and their methods and interpretation of ICT content and scope is also significant to a teacher’s development and expansion/growth.
Specific online resources linked directly to education and helping educators identify and plan developmental programs are extremely helpful and accessible:
Scootle: Linked directly from the AITSL website for teachers to access for resources.
Smithsonian Education: helping teachers plan, prepare and teach with a wide variety of resources.
Youtube Example 26:
Scootle and the Australian Curriculum
6.2 Engage in professional/improve practice
Teaching is a continually changing area of communication of sharing and acquiring knowledge. Subject specific teaching groups are formed to encourage and foster new ideas of teaching to help understand contemporary ideas, goals and methodologies.
The Australian Society for Music Education (ASME) meet regularly for conferences and personal development workshops to exchange ideas, promoting diversity and technology into a musical format and platforms. ASME workshops also promote specific learning and professional developmental material linked directly to the APST. Most workshops will address specific Standards dependent upon the content and issue a certificate of competency linked to that particular standard.
Online workshops, seminars, journals and newsletters all play an important part to engage and share with colleagues and peers to improve individual teacher development.
Utilising Scootle to invigorate and expand and improve ideas towards implementation of the curriculum is one ICT tool to access.
Schools will as part of their internal Personal Development Program invite guest speakers to come to the school and lead a workshop or seminar; these are usually in line with each schools particularly learning ethos which are implemented by the school leadership group and imbedded into the schools teaching beliefs and philosophies.
Joining online real-time 'Webinar" forums is another accessible way to participate in personal development:
Youtube Example 27:
(Webinar) 21st Century Professional Development for Music Educators
6.3 Engage with colleagues and improve practice
Engaging with colleagues is vital towards continual improvement as a teacher. No teacher can live in the past or within a bubble of ignorance regarding collecting and imparting knowledge. Contemporary students require contemporary methods and platforms.
School teacher-meetings are one vital area regarding sharing ideas and keeping all teachers on track via clear communication of acceptable current teaching practices that are not only the norm but which can evolve with flexibility. Discussions and communications regarding each schools teaching strategies (usually a specific teaching strategist) and beliefs is central when directing and keeping all teaching staff on the same page.
Forming small groups during meetings to discuss daily schedules, programs, community projects or specific subject area topics is essential to improve a schools overall teaching philosophies and methods.
As a music teacher one of the most beneficial teaching experiences that I have been part of is team-teaching. Team teaching is all about closely following a fellow colleagues train of thought regarding delivering content and complimenting this with your own style and input. An enormous amount of information can be gained by observing another teacher's delivery of content in close proximity.
Being in regular communication with colleagues in other schools is also extremely beneficial to personal development. Networking and opening new doors in regard to knowledge accumulation is imperative. Establishing good healthy relationships with other teachers is also important regarding personal development; a music teacher needs to constantly be appraised of specialist Instrumental Music Educators. The IMS (Instrumental Music Services) is a group (DECD teachers) of dedicated instrumental teachers servicing the public school system; knowing each instrumental teacher is key to the success of a healthy music program within a school environment.
Communicating via emails and using internal school internet (intranet) websites are a source for information to be shared amongst colleagues. Facebook and Edmodo are also key ICT tools to foster sharing of information between teachers to help improve and develop ideas relating to curriculum content and how best to teach this content.
Videoing a lesson and emailing segments to a colleague or mentor teacher for evaluation and critical comment is a great way to help personal development. This is especially relevant when trying to prepare an online 'Flipped Classroom' teaching element; feedback from colleagues is crucial to success. Incorporating a flipped approach to Personal Development is a new and exciting method of communicating with colleagues. The approach is similar to the 'Flipped Classroom' with the difference being aimed at groups of teachers. There is a sharing and participation element involved that helps engage teachers and their responses.
Youtube Example 28:
Flipping Professional Development: No Teacher bored in the Background
6.4 Apply professional learning
The purpose for acquiring extended knowledge, new skills and new methods through personal development is to implement these into the classroom and curriculum content. The students are the beneficiaries of a teachers endeavour to improve and up-skill their overall teaching methods.
It is vital that the collecting and sharing of information with colleagues can be applied successfully in the environment of the school classroom. Learning new or additional information to enhance established teaching methods, ideas and curriculum content has to be relevant when being applied successfully within the classroom environment.
By increasing teaching knowledge and skills teachers are in effect creating opportunities where they have greater choice regarding different ways of delivering content into the classroom. Implementing new skills into previous taught lesson plans/content is all part of continual improvement based upon evaluation and reflection of past teaching practices.
During one of my teaching placements a guest speaker conducted a seminar based upon creating a 'Flipped classroom'. This presenter sequentially moved through successful elements and steps required to create and succeed at implementing a Flipped learning/teaching experience for the students. One of the main basic elements during this seminar presentation requires teachers to create a short information videos with sequential steps and directions to send out to all of the classroom students to watch, helping understand content away from the classroom. I believe this to be a fantastic and efficient method to help student learning; the related 'spin-offs' of this approach are almost endless.
A flipped classroom can be designed and implemented for very specific or general purposes:
Teachers must continue their own learning to be relevant regarding new technologies and their application. Students ICT devices, programs and software will continue to develop and change, therefore it is important that teachers also develop and learn new ways to teach regarding ICT elements.
Reflective practice and evaluation of a teacher’s learning new abilities to teach content successfully is paramount to whether a teacher reaches diversity and differentiation within an ICT savvy classroom. Using sites such as Scootle can help a teachers application of ICT, this site contains a large range of many helpful and diverse ICT specific subject resources to incorporate into lessons.
Youtube Example 29:
What a 'flipped' classroom looks like
The following Youtube link (Brighton Secondary School) shows a brief example of applying professional developmental knowledge into an entire school's teaching curriculum and learning areas. The students gain unique opportunities to experience learning approaches that have direct connections to real world experiences through application of learned content. Each subject area is briefly high-lighted regarding the benefits of new and developing ideas, teaching innovation and student engagement with participation. Brighton Secondary School is a fantastic example of how successful learning experiences are key to a student's positive education and are direct result of teacher's continual personal development.
Youtube Example 30:
Brighton Secondary School - Professional Learning
APST Standard 7: Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers and the community
7.1 Meet professional ethics and responsibilities
This standard outlines a teacher’s professional ethics and code of conduct in relation to the protection and well-being of students. A teacher must uphold three core values that underpin the teaching profession:
Code of Ethics
Code of Conduct
These core values should be used as a framework to assist teachers in making ethical and professional decisions relating to their commitment of teaching and education of students. Understanding the core principles of both the Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics is central to a teachers values, beliefs, morals, expectations both in and outside of the classroom.
It is a teacher’s duty of care to ensure that a student is safe when using ICT tools or software programs. Cyber bullying is a particularly prevalent area of possible harm towards a student’s well-being, and is therefore important that a teacher be aware of and constantly monitor for this.
Using online government sites such as cybersmart (http://www.cybersmart.gov.au) is a way to educate schools, parents and students by way of instructional videos and learning workshops that are age specific. This site teaches the student/child to be cyber-smart citizens that are aware of possible dangers when utilising social media platforms such as facebook, twitter or Edmodo.
Using Edmodo as a information sharing social media source is a good example of how a teachers monitoring and duty of care can influence acceptable behaviour; students, parents and teachers all have the same login code, therefore a teacher can monitor behavioural issues when they arise and inform parents and students if unacceptable behaviour were to occur.
7.2 Comply with legislative and administrative and organisational requirements
Standard 7.2 outlines legislation that a teacher must comply to how laws are administered within a school’s organisational constitution and policies.
Teaching registration and standards are all governed by legislation such as the Teachers Registration and Standards Act (2004) and Regulations (2005). This legislation can be freely access under the Freedom of Information Act (1991), via this link on the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia:
The object of the Act is:
“The object of this Act is to establish and maintain a teacher registration system and professional standards for teachers to safeguard the public interest in there being a teaching profession whose members are competent educators and fit and proper persons to have the care of children.” (Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004).
Without fulfilling TRB requirements it is impossible for a person to teach in South Australian schools. Registering as a teacher can only occur once an accredited recognised teaching degree has been successfully completed.
Teachers must also understand their responsibility and duty of care under the Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA).
It is important to understand that different schools will have different policies pertaining to the legislation and that it is incumbent upon the teacher to inquire about and know how these policies are administered.
Using the internet/website of a specific school will provide information of its policies and procedures of governance and compliance:
Scotch College Melbourne:
7.3 Engage with the parents/carers
It is important that establishing a good healthy and trusting relationship to parents and carers is pivotal to the positive development of the student. The teacher needs to provide effective and clear communication with parents. This communication needs to be respectful, approachable and cognizant to the parents needs concerning their child.
As a teacher we must continually remind ourselves that teaching a student is in collaboration with parents and the social and cultural aspects that may drive familial demographics. Teachers must be sensitive and totally professional in regard to confidentiality and ethics surrounding students and their families.
It is important to identify which ICT platform that appeals to teachers and parents as an effective communication tool. Edmodo is an excellent ICT tool to use that involves the 3 main stakeholders of the teaching triangle; Teacher, Parent and Student. Both parents and teachers have access to dialogue between students, or homework set by the teacher.
Email exchange is also a very good way to document important dialogue between parents and teachers. Making a simple phone call to introduce your self and arrange meetings is also a good ICT tool to use. Most schools also have a DayMap program that details school scedules, student work, student and parents email information, teacher and staff contact information and more. this is an excellent tool for communication between all stakeholders involved in a students learning and educational experience.
Youtube Example 31:
7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities
It is important to establish relationships with professional groups and organisations outside of the teaching sphere of a school. These organisations help add to and contribute greater understanding and knowledge regarding the application of subject content into real world scenarios.
As a music teacher supporting and becoming a member of an organization such as ASME (Australian Society for Music Education) is incredibly important regarding exchanging of ideas and clarifying interpretations of the curriculum. I have already experienced an ASME observation session of a practice SACE assessment, it was particularly informative witnessing the dialogue and interpretation relating to specific assessment criteria between attending teachers.
As a music teacher it is critcal that I develop contacts via networking and building professional relationships with other music educators and organisations to help not only increase my own skills and competency, but to also share what I have developed regarding my own skill set and experiences.
Integrating social networking ICT elements into communicating with diverse groups and associations by using Facebook, online forums, emails, subscriptions and advertising of musical concerts. A music teacher’s range of contacts using the above ICT methods would include organisations as diverse as The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (and players), State Opera, Arts SA, ASME workshops, Kodaly Society, Indigenous music groups etc..
Youtube Example 32:
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Education Program
One of the most important expectations connected to a school music program is to engage with a broad spectrum of the community by presenting concerts both in and out of school hours. Parents, carers, grandparents, the local surrounding community, teachers, staff, guests and their families are all part of a wider community that can be reached due to a vibrant music education program.
School concerts can be varied in format utilising larege resources within the school such as:
Community is important to a school and the individual students who attend; a strong school community translates into a healthy and positive education experience. The following Youtube clip is an example of a public concert involving percussion groups and ensembles form around the state of South Australia. The Percussion Ensemble featured in this clip is from Brighton Secondary School.
Youtube Example 33:
Brighton Secondary School SA Percusion Showcase 2010 Mercury Rising Senior Percussion Ensemble.
1. Eighth Grade mixed choir sight singing www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoSm7euk9So
2. Garageband X Tutorial
3. What is Edmodo? https://youtu.be/nHtwgZEHzNs
5. Introducing Poll Everywhere
6. Music Outback Foundation
7. Sibelius 7.5
8. Auralia 4 Demo
11. Noteflight Flipped
12. Richard Gill talks on TEDx
13. Voice Amplification
14. Classroom Rules
16. Science Lab Safety Rules
17. Cyber Bullying
18. Safety Issues with Technology
19. Cyber Safety
20. Formative Assessment Testimonial
21. Comparing Formative and Summative Assessment
22. LAMS Introduction Screencast
23. Excel for Educators 1: Organizing Information
24. Quizlet; Monitoring Class Progress
25. Edmodo Grade Book
26. Scootle and the Australian Curriculum
27. 21st Century Professional Development for Music Educators (Webinar)
28. Flipping Professional Development: No Teacher bored in the background
29. What a 'flipped' classroom looks like
30. Brighton Secondary School - Professional Learning
31. DayMap Overview
32. Brighton Secondary School Percussion Ensemble, 2010