TEACHING QUALITY STANDARD REFLECTION
As per Alberta's Teaching Quality Standard (2018), quality education interweaves six competencies that guide educators to make decisions and apply pedagogical practices that result in the optimum learning for all students. The below educational artefact reflection demonstrates and symbolizes my experiences as an educator, in relation to the competencies and indicators held under the TQS.
1. Fostering Effective Relationships
During my distance learning practicum experience, I designed an online Grade Two health and wellness lesson plan to promote student self-expression and emotional regulation during the onset of COVID-19. Throughout this online experience, I guided students with empathy and genuine care during a time of uncertainty, displacement and alarm. Expectations of the lesson represented fairness, respect and integrity for student's well-being, where expectations and assessments were tailored individually and flexibly to each student's own learning experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This holistic lesson provides meaningful opportunities for students of all cultural backgrounds and promotes a safe online space for parents/guardians, as partners in education, to support not only their child's learning, but their own health and wellness. Collaboration with community service professionals, such as Learn Alberta, allows families to flexibly work on an "Inclusive Education Feel Better Form" to further develop mental health knowledge and skills.
Lastly, you will see that this lesson honours cultural diversity by inviting First Nations literature by Canadian author, Monique Gray Smith, into the classroom to connect Cree and Lakota Indigenous culture to student education and well-being.
2. Engaging in Career-Long Learning
The artefact to the left, which is a mug gifted to me by my learning community, represents how I have been accepted into the fold of my school by positively collaborating with other teachers and students to build student success in inclusive, welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Having the teacher title, 'Ms. Boland', I know I am responsible for constantly seeking, critically reviewing and applying educational research and feedback to enhance my teaching practice. I must also engage in my own excitement for career-long learning to instill the same joy for life-long learning for students in my class. I aim to do this by continuing to attend conferences, professional development days and workshops with an open mind and heart to maintain an awareness of emerging technologies, strategies and philosophies. I also look forward to further enhance my genuine understanding of First Nations, Métis and Inuit worldviews, cultural beliefs, languages and values to authentically incorporate this paramount history in my classroom.
I look forward to injecting my positive, determined, empathetic and flexible traits to my future professional learning community. Engaging in Career-Long Learning, we as educators can optimize our skills and build collective efficacy for our student's journey of life-long learning.
3. Demonstrating a Professional Body of Knowledge
This TQS competency is exemplified by the design and facilitation of a Grade One English Language Arts unit based on Jan Brett's remarkably illustrated story "The Mitten". This unit plan represents Demonstrating a Professional Body of Knowledge by addressing the Grade One English Language Arts programs of study learning outcomes, implementing short, medium and long range planning, ensuring all students developed their literacy skills, and creating links between thought-provoking and creative activities for highly gifted student expectations and intended learning outcomes.
Seeing as there was an array of IPP goals and individualized ELL requirements in the class, each lesson promoted capacity for collaboration and discussion, and allowed for individualized one-on-one time for formative assessment to ensure students were understanding concepts. Each activity also varied from one another and proved to be engaging and relevant with students, as demonstrated in summative assessments and energetic responses and engagement throughout the lessons. My favourite response during this unit was the genuine excitement for the student's final digital performance of "The Mitten Song".
This competency was overly achieved through an incorporation of digital technology, which comprised of interactive read-alouds and online performances to build student capacity for acquiring knowledge, collaborating with others, and critically thinking about subject matter in connection to the programs of study.
4. Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments
Spending a majority of my pre-service education at Westmount Charter Elementary School for gifted or "twice-exceptional" students, I was fortunate to be part of a school community that regularly communicated the philosophy of education, affirming that every student can learn and be successful.
Fostering equality and respect, and recognizing the specific learning needs that our students require to enable achievement of learning outcomes, our philosophy as educators is to teach students to become their individual best by teaching from the inside out.
One example of this competency was demonstrated by Inside Out Day at school, where students would dress as one of the characters from Disney's "Inside Out", use Zones of Regulation strategies to address strengths, learning challenges and areas for growth, and work through engaging and creative activities that promoted student's personal strengths into learning.
The artefact example to the left represents the rather fine-motor skill-driven art lesson for this Inside Out Day, where students transformed pinecones found outdoors into their favourite Inside Out character, or the character that represented their feeling that particular day. Students were very engaged and excited by this activity, and it even provided opportunities for student leadership as they shared their creative process and gave fellow students tips-and-tricks!
5. Applying Foundational Knowledge about First Nations, Métis and Inuit
Achievement of this competency is demonstrated by an engaging, culturally responsive and introspective Indigenous totem pole lesson I facilitated for a Grade One class during Métis Week. During this lesson, students built upon their knowledge and respect for the histories, cultures, languages, contributions, perspectives, experiences and contemporary contexts of First Nations and Métis peoples in Canada. Multimodal resources authentically created by Indigenous peoples were allocated to accurately reflect and demonstrate the strength and diversity of First Nations and Métis peoples.
Students enjoyed a "Louis Riel Day!" National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation video to enhance their knowledge of history and culture before participating in an activity that personally connected them to their learnings. After reading "Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox" by Canadian Métis author, Danielle Daniel, and watching "3 Cool Facts About Totem Poles" by CBC Kids, students reflected and drew their own totem pole animal to represent their feelings that day. My teacher prompt for the totem pole feelings are illustrated on the right.
This activity supported student achievement by engaging in a collaborative approach to First Nations and Métis education, where they continued to use totem animals to share their feelings, challenges and actions with others. The totem pole still stands tall in their classroom today.
6. Adhering to Legal Frameworks and Policies
The below Ethics and Law analysis illustrates how an educator's presence on social media must adhere to the legal frameworks and policy of this competency in addition to maintaining an awareness of, and responding in accordance with, requirements authorized under the School Act and The ATA Professional Code of Conduct.
Not only does this treatise exemplify my knowledge of the importance of relating social media practices to policies and procedures established by the school authority; but it also recognizes the seriousness of being bound by standards of conduct expected of a caring, knowledgeable and reasonable educator entrusted with the custody, care or education of students.
HOW IT ALL CONNECTS
One of the wonderful things about contemporary education is the united push toward authentic, real-world learning that draws students in through interest, engagement and a personal desire for life-long learning. With this in mind, I would like to connect the Teaching Quality Standard competencies to my life experiences and personal skills to make this a more authentic read for you!
Simply visit the below link to learn how I have found myself in the field of education and what I may offer learning communities.