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AEG5236: Teaching Health 2

Assessment 1: Health Teaching Inquiry Project


By Chris Duffin 3756704

INTRODUCTION
Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy that highlights the
need of teachers to adapt instruction to meet student differences
(Tomlinson,

2001).

The

Australian

Professional

Standards

for

Teachers identifies what teachers should know and what they should
be able to do. Standard 1.5 involves the ability to differentiate
teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the
full range of abilities (AITSL, 2015). To satisfy this standard, a
graduate teacher must Demonstrate knowledge and understanding
of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific
learning needs of students across the full range of abilities (AITSL,
2015). Through placement at Point Cook Senior Secondary, I have
been developing the skill of differentiating learning, through
observing and teaching Year 11 Health and Human Development
classes. The following action research inquiry identifies and
demonstrates differentiated learning strategies for two students
encountered throughout placement.

STUDENT ONE INQUIRY- JHAYSON


Jhayson is a Year 11 student who was studying Health and Human Development. I
was able to observe classes involving Jhayson on two consecutive Tuesdays before I
was going to teach. My initial observations led me to determine that Jhayson was a
quiet, reserved student. I noticed that Jhayson would not involve himself in any
classroom discussions unless pressed by the classroom teacher. Through a
conversation with his classroom teacher, I found out that Jhayson was an EAL
(English as an Additional Language) student, meaning that he was not born in
Australia, but has been raised here and is receiving extra assistance with classroom
work to help improve his school grades. The teacher explained that this year Jhayson

had only handed in 2 of the 5 required coursework assessment tasks and was at risk of
failing the first semester if this continued. He also failed on both observed occasions
to bring his folder with previous work in it, meaning that he could not receive any
additional assistance from the class teacher.
IMPLEMENTATION
My initial planning for taking the class involved investigating ways to help Jhayson
complete his work to avoid failing the first semester. My first lesson was on the
Australian Healthy Guide to Eating with first activity involving students cutting out
selected food and sticking them into their books in the correct place based on the
Healthy Guide. When students were doing this I walked around the class and noticed
that Jhayson was quiet struggling with the task. I kept my eyes on his progress, and
came back to him 5 minutes later but noticed that there had been no further work
completed. I asked him if he understood the requirements of the task. He nodded
however I sensed that he may not be so sure, so I decided to pick up one food and
asked him verbally where he thought it belonged. I was clear and concise in my
explanation, and Jhayson immediately answered with the correct answer. I then
picked up another picture, naming the food and Jhayson again gave the correct
answer. This prompted me to realise that Jhaysons lack of enthusiasm was not due to
not knowing what to do, but rather he was unable to visually interpret the information
until I verbalized it to him.
OUTCOME
Further questioning of Jhayson led to me finding out that he found some assessment
tasks hard to read and was embarrassed to ask for help, hence why he didnt complete
them. The classroom teacher gave me a list of the required work owed by Jhayson and
I offered to stay back after class to verbally go through and explain what he was
required to do. With the teacher present we spent time during recess going through the
tasks, as I read out the instructions and Jhayson explained it back to me. It was
observable that this was a productive strategy to help him understand the expectations
of the assessment. When finished explaining to him, I reminded him to get this work
done as soon as possible. Before the following Tuesdays class, I asked the classroom
teacher about Jhaysons progress. They explained that Jhayson had handed in 2 of the
owed tasks and planned on handing in the other work today. The teacher remarked

that they noticed a change in Jhaysons behavior and work ethic in class. They also
highlighted the importance of being able to recognize any learning difficulties that a
student may have, and be able to differentiate the learning to meet their needs. This
action demonstrated my ability to satisfy Graduate Teacher standard 1.5 of the
Australian Professional Standards for Teachers by differentiating teaching to meet the
learning needs of the student.
STUDENT TWO: INQUIRY- GABBY
Gabby is a Year 11 Health and Human Development student whom I observed and
then taught throughout my placement. My initial thoughts and interactions with
Gabby were that she was a very relaxed student who behaved appropriately and
worked well in group tasks, however when asked to work individually, would often
rely on looking at others work. After consultation with the classroom teacher, I was
informed that her academic results were moderate, however the teacher believed that
Gabby had the potential to achieve greater results. Through observation, I noticed that
Gabby would often take time to begin a classroom activity. It seemed that she often
had difficulty understanding the requirements of tasks and hence this was why she
would look at what the person next to her was doing before beginning.
IMPLEMENTATION
When getting students to complete classroom activities, the Health teacher usually
gave verbal instructions and would often need to repeat herself so students could
understand. In planning for taking the class, I devised my lesson to ensure that a plan
was written on the whiteboard to ensure students understood the structure of the
lesson. Then for each activity to be completed, I wrote a detailed description on a
PowerPoint presentation to show to the class in addition with the verbal instruction.
The first class lesson was on Determinants of Health. Each activity came up on a
PowerPoint slide so students had a visual representation of the requirements of the
task. Whilst allowing me to not repeat myself, it ensured students could read and refer
back at any point when completing the task. When a new activity was presented, that
too was presented on a slide for students to view.
OUTCOME
Braggett (1997) wrote that when we recognise the diversity of the learners in our

classroom and provide for their diverse learning needs in our planning and instruction,
we differentiate the curriculum. By providing the students with a visual
representation of the task, in addition to the verbal instruction, I demonstrated
differentiated learning. Through observing Gabby throughout the class, it was
noticeable that she was able to begin the activity without delay and her work
demonstrated an understanding of the requirements of the task. In discussion with the
classroom teacher after class, it was noticeable the difference in the students work
ethic in the class, and that I didnt have to spend much time repeating myself. The
teacher was pleased with this and noted that they would begin implementing this
process in the future to aid in the difference in learning styles of students. This is one
of the Principles of Teaching and Learning which states that there must be a focus on
teaching to meet the diverse needs of students (Department of Education & Training,
2015).

CONCLUSION
Jensen (2000) highlighted the importance of students developing a positive, coherent
and action-oriented understanding of health. By acquiring a coherent knowledge of
problems associated with health, they will be able to identify the scope of the issue,
the how and who it affects, as well as solutions. To develop these problem solving
skills, differentiated learning is required to ensure that students are able to connect to
the literature and develop health literacy skills, which are a persons ability to
understand and use health information (Zarcadoolas, Pleasant & Greer, 2006). By
using multiple approaches and adaptations to teaching styles, a graduate teacher will
meet standard 1.5 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, and provide a
supportive and productive learning environment.

REFERENCES
AITSL, (2015). 'Organisation Of The Standards | Australian Institute For Teaching
And School Leadership'. Available at http://www.aitsl.edu.au/australian-professionalstandards-for-teachers/standards/overview/organisation-of-the-standards Web. 3 Aug.
2015.
Braggett, E. (1997). Differentiated programs for primary schools: Units of work for
gifted and talented students. Chelterham, Vic.: Hawker Brownlow.
Department of Education & Training, 2015.. 'Principles Of Learning And Teaching P12'. N.p., 2015. Web. 2 Aug. 2015.
Jensen, B. (2000),"Health knowledge and health education in the democratic healthpromoting school", Health Education, Vol. 100 Iss 4 pp. 146 - 154
Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability
Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Development.
Zarcadoolas, Christina; Pleasant, Andrew; Greer, David S. 2006, Advancing Health
Literacy : A Framework for Understanding and Action, e-book, accessed 03 August
2015, <http://VU.eblib.com.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=272218>.