"It is essential to reflect on the needs of the students and consider the methods of teaching, the tasks that will be used during learning experiences, and the groupings of students within the class.”
Encouraging his students to develop a love of learning and sense of self-belief, experienced primary school teacher, Daniel Pratt, is committed to seeing his Year 6 pupils realise their fullest potential. This dedicated teacher goes to great lengths to create active rather than passive learners through his collaborative, student-centric learning process.
A foundation staff member at ACG Tauranga with over 15 years in the profession, Daniel utilises his knowledge and understanding to ensure learning is interactive and attainable for his students.
“Learning becomes more accessible when students (and their parents) are aware of what they’re aiming to achieve” explains Daniel. “In this way, they gain a deeper understanding of what to do, as well as why they’re doing it, and have greater ownership over their own learning along with a basis for self and peer evaluation.”
“At the beginning of every unit of work, I discuss the learning outcomes with the students and tell them what we’re aiming to achieve. I also send home a letter to the parents at the beginning of each new unit of work in English, Mathematics and Humanities that provides an outline, lists the key aims and objectives, and provides a summary of the skills that we’re aiming to develop – it’s important to involve all of the significant adults in a child’s life” he continues.
By sharing the objectives of each lesson, Daniel empowers students with their own learning outcomes. Together, they generate a variety of success criteria which, when met, enables students to understand when they have conclusively achieved these goals.
Daniel believes that differentiating between the needs of each student is a key element of effective teaching and plans his classes accordingly. He describes how “In any primary school classroom, you will see that students vary in regards to level of ability, styles of learning, and the pace with which they work. It is therefore essential to reflect on the needs of the students and consider the methods of teaching, the tasks that will be used during learning experiences, and the groupings of students within the class.”
Providing diversity in various ways, Daniel utilises both ability and mixed ability groupings (where student teams work together to guide and learn from each other), along with varying tasks, outcomes and support-based alternatives.
Support is always available for those who require a little extra assistance. “We have a whiteboard table and the students know that if they need any help, they can go to that whiteboard table and get the support they need, when they need it” Daniel says.
Emphasising the importance of this personalised approach, Daniel concludes by saying “I believe in ‘fairness’. This does not mean giving every student the exact same thing; that is not fairness. Fairness is giving each student what they need. The aim is to have all students reach their individual potential. As a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding. This is why teachers do what they do.”