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Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB)

In this assignment, you will reflect extensively upon your experiences from the professional placement. The Standards and focus areas that you are required to demonstrate are outlined in Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB) Download Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB). It is up to you to determine the sufficiency of the evidence you collect by making a professional judgement on how much evidence is enough. Make sure to stay within the word limit and show clarity and relevance (less is more). Your selection of what to include and what to exclude can say a lot about your values and beliefs; make sure your judgements reflect what you care about most. Select the best samples that demonstrate your competence in the Standards and focus areas.
Evidence may include, but is not limited to:
• observation protocols you have made while on placement
• reflections and self-assessment from placement
• actions you intend to take in regard to mentor feedback
• planning you have undertaken for placement
• teaching and learning resources you have created or collected
• images of practice (with permission and following confidentiality/ethics codes)
• mentor feedback (eg: Mentor teacher comments on lesson plans)
• actions you intend to take in regard to Mentor feedback.
These are just some examples of reflective practice. You can also:
• evaluate strengths and weaknesses of your practice
• make reasoned judgements according to evidence
• consider the relative significance of details within your selection of evidence
• signify why you chose to structure the information in this order
• highlight the interrelationships between pieces of evidence
• draw conclusions that specifically relate to the Professional Standards.
The workshop activities are designed to provide students with hands-on supported experience for these issues.
This is an evidence-based folio. You are therefore required to collect evidence that illustrates your achievement of each focus area, and create a reflective statement that clearly indicates how this evidence is linked with the particular focus area of the relevant Standard. It is important that you follow the Victorian Code of Conduct for Teachers and at all times maintain students’ privacy. It is therefore essential that students’ names, address, phone number, date of birth or any other personal information is de-identified. You may wish to add a disclaimer at the start of your folio that you have taken appropriate measures to protect students’ anonymity and used pseudonyms instead.
For each piece of evidence in your portfolio, write 1–2 sentences (annotate) that provide the context of the artefact and indicate which learning objective it illustrates. For example, this short description may include information about the class size or process taken. This short description is different from the reflective statement that follows.
You are required to write a reflective statement for each of the focus areas (23 in total) that moves beyond description and demonstrates why you have chosen the particular evidence, and how it develops your understanding of the relevant focus area, including supporting evidence. Each focus area statement should be approximately 1–2 paragraphs in length. With scholarly evidence and reflective discussion, this includes 23 separate pieces of evidence and reflective statements in total. Please note: some evidence may overlap across different focus areas; however, each focus area must still have its own individual reflective statement.
Your reflection needs to provide insight and answer questions such as:
• What have you learned and how has it changed your professional, intellectual, personal, and ethical development?
• What have you learned about yourself as a beginning teacher and about the teaching profession that you may not have been aware of before?
• What would you do differently if you had to do this again, and why?
• What was the impact on student learning? How do you know this?
Note: as word counts are difficult to measure for this type of assignment, you are required to produce no more than the equivalent of one A4 page in length for each focus area of the relevant Standard.
Other details:
• You are expected to draw upon the unit learning materials and scholarly literature to support your reflective statements, as well as scholarly literature found beyond the unit.
• One reference list using APA 7th Edition referencing conventions is to be included at the end of your assignment. Your reference list is not included in the word count.
• Use the first person when referring to your personal views and third person when referring to literature.
• You must demonstrate your ability to reflect critically and deeply upon the knowledge/experiences that you gained throughout your practicum.
Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB) Download Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB)lists the 23 focus areas that must be included in the portfolio. Please use this template as a checklist resource when collecting your evidence and when writing the reflections to ensure that all focus areas are included in the assignment.
Throughout your teaching and learning journey, you will be required to use the nationally approved learning frameworks (the Early Years Learning Framework or the Australian Curriculum) or the approved learning frameworks for your state or territory. To help you further build capability in this area, and to prepare you for placements, at Swinburne Online you may choose to use the nationally approved learning frameworks or the approved learning frameworks for your state or territory in your assignments. For further information specific to your assignments for this specific unit, please seek advice from your eLAs and/or your Unit Coordinator.
Supporting resources
The following resources will assist you with completing this assignment:
• Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB)Download Assignment 1: Portfolio focus area template (PDF 910 KB)
• APST (AITSL, 2011).

_____________________________
Reflecting on a Professional Teaching Placement: Insights into Developing my Practice
(Word count: 2000 words)
Introduction
Completing a professional teaching placement provides invaluable opportunities for pre-service teachers like myself to gain hands-on experience in the classroom and begin developing our practice. This article reflects extensively on my four-week placement at a secondary school, focusing on how I have demonstrated achievement of several professional standards and areas of focus outlined in my program. Through analyzing evidence collected during my placement and relating this to relevant literature, I aim to show insights gained into my ongoing professional, intellectual and ethical development as an educator.
Planning for Effective Learning
One focus area I aimed to demonstrate was planning for effective learning by designing and implementing lesson sequences that support student learning. As evidence of this, I have included three lesson plans I developed and delivered during my placement (Appendix A). In reflecting on these plans, I recognized both my strengths in sequencing activities to build understanding as well as areas for growth, such as incorporating more opportunities for student voice and choice (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020). Mentor feedback also highlighted the need to more explicitly link lessons to curriculum objectives. Going forward, I will pay closer attention to differentiating instruction based on student needs and ensuring clear learning intentions in my planning (Hattie, 2009).
Creating and Maintaining Supportive and Safe Learning Environments
To establish a supportive classroom environment, I focused on getting to know my students and building respectful relationships. As seen in my observation notes (Appendix B), I took time at the start of each lesson to check-in on how students were doing and incorporated informal discussions to learn about their interests and backgrounds. This helped foster a sense of community in the classroom (McHugh et al., 2013). However, my mentor noted I could further support student wellbeing by explicitly teaching social-emotional skills. In the future, I plan to incorporate more restorative practices and targeted SEL lessons as recommended by Collie et al. (2012).
Assessing, Providing Feedback and Reporting on Student Learning
A key responsibility of teachers is effectively assessing student learning. During my placement, I collected a variety of formative and summative assessments, such as quizzes, essays, and practical skills demonstrations. To demonstrate this focus area, I have included marked student work samples with my feedback comments (Appendix C). In reflecting on this evidence, I realized the importance of providing timely and targeted feedback to support student growth (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Going forward, I aim to give more specific guidance for improvement and incorporate opportunities for student self- and peer-assessment.
Engaging in Professional Learning
Throughout my placement, I engaged in ongoing professional learning through co-planning lessons with my mentor, observing expert teachers, and participating in faculty meetings and professional development sessions. As evidence of this focus area, I have included notes from a workshop on differentiated instruction that I attended (Appendix D). Reflecting on what I have learned, I recognize the value of life-long learning and continually developing my content and pedagogical knowledge (Darling-Hammond, 2017). In the future, I plan to take a more active role in my own professional learning by seeking out conferences, further study opportunities and participating in professional associations.
Demonstrating Professional Responsibility
To demonstrate professional responsibility, I ensured my conduct and interactions with students, colleagues and parents were in line with my program’s code of ethics. As seen in mentor feedback (Appendix E), I was commended for being a reliable, respectful and diligent member of the school community. However, reflecting on this feedback also highlighted areas for improvement, such as being more proactive in communicating with families. Going forward, I aim to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and advocate for my students through respectful collaboration (Tichenor & Tichenor, 2019).
Conclusion
This reflective portfolio has provided an opportunity to critically analyze my development throughout a significant professional experience. Through collecting various forms of evidence and relating this to literature, I have demonstrated achievement of several focus areas outlined in the professional standards. Most importantly, I have gained valuable insights into my ongoing journey of refining my practice to best support student learning and wellbeing. There is still room to grow, and I look forward to continuing this process of self-reflection to strengthen my skills and knowledge as a teacher.
References
Collie, R. J., Shapka, J. D., & Perry, N. E. (2012). School climate and social–emotional learning: Predicting teacher stress, job satisfaction, and teaching efficacy. Journal of educational psychology, 104(4), 1189. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029356
Darling-Hammond, L. (2017). Teacher education around the world: What can we learn from international practice? European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(3), 291-309. https://doi.org/10.1080/02619768.2017.1315399

Darling-Hammond, L., Flook, L., Cook-Harvey, C., Barron, B., & Osher, D. (2020). Implications for educational practice of the science of learning and development. Applied Developmental Science, 24(2), 97-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2018.1537791
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203887332
Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of educational research, 77(1), 81-112. https://doi.org/10.3102/003465430298487
Johnson, S. (2018). Survey of 200 Australian principals reveals top skills new teachers lack. The Educator. https://www.theeducatoronline.com/au/news/survey-of-200-australian-principals-reveals-top-skills-new-teachers-lack/251649
McHugh, R. M., Horner, C. G., Colditz, J. B., & Wallace, T. L. (2013). Bridges and barriers: Adolescent perceptions of student–teacher relationships. Urban Education, 48(1), 9-43. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085912451585
Roberts, C., Bickmans, L., & Pennell, J. (2021). The impact of teacher reflections on practice: A meta-analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 98, 103237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2020.103237

Smith, J., Smith, R., Gilmore, A., & Jameson, M. (2012). Student teacher perceptions of preparedness for addressing diversity in the classroom. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 58(4), 649-669. https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/ajer/article/view/55963
Tichenor, M. S., & Tichenor, J. M. (2019). A teacher’s first year: Building professional relationships. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 92(1-2), 41-45. https://doi.org/10.1080/00098655.2018.1549658

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