The power of poetry

Catherine Oehlman with Libby Hathorn (in conversation)

There is power in poetry. Poems make us feel and think. Poets use their words to connect with our emotions and challenge our perceptions. Children who are exposed to quality poetry in a positive environment learn to appreciate the rich depths and subtle nuances of the English language. Children who are further encouraged to respond to the world around them through their own compositions learn to wield the poet’s powerful tools for themselves.

This PETAA Paper brings together the dual perspectives of classroom practitioner and poet. Lesson transcripts and student work samples sit alongside thoughts and reflections from poet, Libby Hathorn. In light of the Australian Curriculum, the paper explores the identification of quality poetry, pedagogy around responding to and composing poetry, and considers multimodal possibilities and assessment.

Children and poetry — theoretical underpinnings

While simple nursery rhymes and skipping chants are synonymous with childhood, Richard Flynn (1993) suggests that the question of children’s poetry is actually quite complex. On the one hand, poetry is perceived as ‘natural’ for children, while on the other it is considered ‘the elite member of the literary canon, a subtle and complex discourse where meanings are often ambiguous and understanding may be difficult’ (Halliday, 1996, page 20).

Unexamined assumptions about poetry and childhood, and the connections between them, abound. ‘Poets, like children, are thought to have access to some originary, mystical language of the unconscious. The language of poetry is thought to be ‘other’ — archaic, grounded in rhythm and play,’ (Flynn, 1993, page 37) but this association of linguistic rhythm and play with childhood limits our understanding of what poetry is (Jacqueline Rose, in Flynn, 1993). As ‘other’, Flynn points out that both poets and children may be ‘nostalgically cherished, and simultaneously diminished’. The challenge then as Flynn sees it, is for educators to facilitate the discovery of poetry’s value while acknowledging that ‘neither poetry nor childhood derives from some essential, unimperiled human nature’ (Flynn, 1993, page 42).

In the primary school context, the teaching of poetry is not simply a creative luxury but rather a ‘highly linguistic, intellectual, social, and cultural act in which students engage both creatively and cognitively in writing and performing it’ (Certo, 2015, page 78). Mary Weaven agrees, further stating that at the heart of a pedagogical rationale for studying poetry is ‘a sense of communicative quality, of reading closely, of learning both how to handle and how to appreciate the heightened ambiguity of the poetic mode of expression’ (2010, page 26).

The benefits of teaching poetry are widely documented. Tarr and Flynn (2002, page 2) suggest that rhyme, meter and imagery help to prepare emergent readers; that poetry disciplines memory and urges young readers to reflect on personal and public concerns and that the study of poetry ‘directs students to the beauty of language, its arbitrariness, and its versatility’. Several articles and studies, both in Australia and abroad, claim further benefits from poetry for other aspects of student life and learning, especially the broader range of communicative skills, knowledge, and understanding cultivated in the subject of English (Weaven & Clark, 2009).

Australia’s poetic past

‘I was a lucky child. Poetry was read instead of bedtime stories. I remember many Australian narrative poems, like The Ballad of the Drover, and I also remember hearing old English poems. Sometimes I had no idea of the meaning, but I wouldn’t dare interrupt. The ‘singiness’ resounded in my head. In the fifties, in schools, recitation of poetry was required in class and was just part of the curriculum. I suppose I was imbued with poetry as a young child and it has affected me ever since.’ Libby Hathorn


Poetry has played a significant part in Australia’s literary history. In fact, Australia’s most celebrated authors are probably the bush poets Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson. The narrative ballads of stereotypical battlers in harsh landscapes reflected Australia’s emerging white identity, and were regularly printed in publications such as The Bulletin. Of course, the Indigenous poetic voices of Australia’s first people existed long before The man from Snowy River, though it was some time before they were recognised. The work of those pioneering balladeers is still read today in schools, but contemporary study of poetry also incorporates broader perspectives, and encompasses a wide range of forms and styles. From Indigenous poetry to multimodal haiku, from shape poems to verse novels and even poetry slams, the study of poetry in today’s classrooms is diverse and multifaceted.

Our current context: The Australian Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum: English is divided into three strands — Language, Literature and Literacy. The teaching of poetry is embedded primarily in the Literature strand, through the sub-strands of Examining Literature and Creating Literature. The Literature strand engages students in the study of literary texts including poetry, and outcomes within the strand provide opportunities for students to understand, appreciate, respond to, analyse and create literary texts.

‘Learning to appreciate literary texts and to create their own literary texts enriches students’ understanding of human experiences and the capacity for language to deepen those experiences. It builds students’ knowledge about how language can be used for aesthetic ends, to create particular emotional, intellectual or philosophical effects’ (Source: ACARA, Australian Curriculum: English).

Although many outcomes across the three strands could be achieved through teaching poetry, the following outcomes (in Table 1) from the Literature strand explicitly refer to poetic devices and forms.

 
 
LITERATURE
​​
 
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
EXAMINING LITERATURE
Listen to, recite and perform poems, chants, rhymes and songs, imitating and inventing sound patterns including alliteration and rhyme.  ACELT1585 Identify, reproduce and experiment with rhythm, sound and word patterns in poems, chants, rhymes and songs.  ACELT1592 Discuss the nature and effects of some language devices used to enhance meaning and shape the reader’s reaction including rhythm and onomatopoeia in poetry and prose.  ACELT1600 Understand, interpret and experiment with a range of devices and deliberate word play in poetry and other literary texts, for example nonsense words, spoonerisms, neologisms and puns.  ACELT1606 Understand, interpret and experiment with sound devices and imagery, including simile, metaphor and personification, in narratives, shape poetry, songs, anthems and odes.  ACELT1611 Identify the relationship between words, sounds, imagery and language patterns in narratives and poetry such as ballads, limericks and free verse.  ACELT1617
CREATING LITERATURE
  Create texts that adapt language features and patterns encountered in literary texts, for example characterisation, rhyme, rhythm, music, sound effects and dialogue. ACELT1791

  Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating texts, for example using imagery, sentence variation, metaphor and word choice.  ACELT1800

The emphasis is not on stylistic forms of poetry (although a few are mentioned, such as shape poems, ballads and limericks), but rather on the devices and techniques used by poets and authors to create particular effects in texts.

Across the primary school years there is a distinct progression of learning about poetry, with each year building on the previous outcomes achieved. For example, imitating and inventing sound patterns in Year 1 (ACELT1585), leads to experimenting with rhythm and word patterns in Year 2 (ACELT1592), which in turn leads to an understanding of the effects of sound devices such as onomatopoeia in Year 3 (ACELT1600). The learning that has taken place across these foundational years also allows Year 3 students to then create their own compositions that adapt language features encountered in poetic literary texts (ACELT1791).

One benefit of the Foundation to year 10 nature of the Australian Curriculum is the ability to track skill development beyond the primary years. The progression of learning under the sub-strand Examining Literature continues, so that by Year 9 students experiment with extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory and symbolism in poetry (ACELT1637), and by Year 10 they are able to evaluate how ‘voice’ as a literary device in poetry can evoke particular emotional responses (ACELT1643).

Under the Australian Curriculum, students continuously develop, refine, and gain mastery over a range of poetic devices and techniques, in order that they might ultimately ‘analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them.’ (ACARA, Australian Curriculum: English, Rationale)

Identify quality poetry

Bush scene with a child looking out from behind a tree at a river ‘Collecting poems for inclusion in The ABC book of Australian Poetry was a stimulating task. I looked for beauty in language, poems that might give a rare insight into the world we live in, poems that included clever use of poetic devices, and even the appearance of the poem on the page. White space and density of text are important aspects to consider when selecting poems for children.

I wanted a balance of male and female poets, and it was important to me to include the voices of Indigenous Australians too. Some poems in the anthology I included simply because they are personal favourites. I loved digging up old, lost poems that still resonate.’ Libby Hathorn

By definition, the Literature strand of the Australian Curriculum: English requires the study of quality literary texts that are recognised for their enduring or artistic qualities. Poems may be chosen because they represent effective and interesting features of form and style, because they have personal, social, cultural or aesthetic value, or because they have potential for enriching students’ scope of experience (ACARA, Australian Curriculum: English).

McDonald (2013, page 145) suggests that quality poems always contain three concepts: imagination, emotion and complexity and this can also provide a useful framework for the selection of texts for classroom use. Weaven and Clark (2009) report a tendency for the same few poems to be chosen repetitively in primary schools in the United Kingdom, and the same could be said of our Australian context. However, quality poetry is not difficult to source.

Picture books are often highly poetic, and sometimes written in rhyme – although it must be said that not all rhyming picture books qualify as literary texts! Picture books listed on each state’s Premier’s Reading Challenge, or shortlisted by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA), are highly recommended, and some states include a specific poetry section. Verse novels are also occasionally shortlisted by the CBCA and provide a unique opportunity to study the extended poetic works of an author. Anthologies can be a rich and convenient source of poetry for classroom use. Halliday (1996, page 22) does point out however that any anthology for children should be evaluated not only for its poetry, but also for the ideologies it constructs about childhood itself. Many Australian children’s poets contribute to publications such as ‘The School Magazine’, and these illustrated, multimodal examples include shape poems at times. Some poets also publish their works online, either on their own websites or on sites such as Australian Children’s Poetry.

Responding to poetry

More than ever we need time for reflection in the busy school day. I think there should be an anthology open on every teacher’s desk, ready for a poem to be read between every lesson.’ Libby Hathorn

Lewis Cobbs (2005) states that poetry is not just an intellectual medium, but also a sensory one where the sounds of words both delight and signify. He argues (page 28) that like music, ‘poetry derives expressive power from the blending of similar sounds and the clash of dissimilar ones, and it exploits our physical response to rhythm, pacing and accent’. Rosemary Ross Johnston (2014) agrees, emphasising the importance of sharing the euphonic language of poetry aloud simply for the joy of it.

However, in order for students to be successful in their attempts to compose poetic texts, they must also be provided with opportunities for analysis and discussion. If, as Chapman (1999, page 473) suggests, genre is active and social, then it is imperative that students participate in a discourse community, allowing for engagement, inquiry, exploration, talk about text, personal connections and meaning making. There are several ways teachers can approach analysis of poetry. Johnston (2014) advocates the formalist theory as a way of helping students to identify devices and deconstruct the unfamiliarity of poetic language. Others such as Theune (2007) and Certo (2015) encourage a focus on structure over form, so that in addition to identifying poetic devices and features, students learn to recognise the different ways poems can turn, move and travel. Regardless of the approach taken, the study of quality poetry undoubtedly impacts the way students in turn compose their own poems.

Teaching poetry writing

‘Kids need poetic skills to write effectively, that is, they need “the tools of the trade”. When they have these skills, there are very easy steps to elicit high quality poetry from even young children.’ Libby Hathorn

There are many ways to approach the teaching of writing (Ljungdahl & March, 2014) that are applicable to poetry. The process approach, as popularised by Donald Graves, is commonly adopted because of its focus on the pre-writing stage, and the facility for teachers and students to edit, revise and improve poetic compositions together through conferencing. Because the Australian Curriculum stresses features over forms, a genre approach to teaching poetry is less likely to be adopted, though there are times when it can be useful such as when teaching the language patterns of limericks (ACELT1617), for example. It is also worth noting that the cycle of deconstruction, joint construction and independent construction implicit in genre theory (Derewianka, 2015) can be applied broadly to poetry, without focusing on a particular form.

Janine Certo (2015, page 57) advocates what she terms a ‘poetic-functional approach’ that emphasises how poetic features and structures might support the subject and mood of students’ compositions. Exposing students to mentor texts forms a vital part of the process, and Wilson (2007) agrees that this allows students to successfully incorporate poetic features they may not have used previously. For example, the group of Year 4 students below read Libby Hathorn’s poem, ‘Tree Australia Tree’.

The influence of this mentor text is clearly evident in Sarah’s autumnal poem titled, ‘Leaf Australia Leaf’ (Figure 1).

Studnet poem on photo of autumn leaves and sky (text version in caption adjacent)Tree Australian Tree

Hey, boa so fat!
with your water in store
Only they share your secret
Who know the bush lore
Hey, scribbly gum. river gum
Ghost gum supreme!
If eucalypt is king here
Then wattle is queen
For you, sumptuous wattle,
Ablaze, yellow bold,
Who cannot delight
In your great gust of gold.

Tree Australian Tree
Tree Australian Tree
Tree Australian Tree

Above: Mentor text by Libby Hathorn; Adjacent Figure 2: Student poem by Sarah inspired structurally by Libby Hathorn’s mentor text. Figure 2 text: ‘Leaf Australian Leaf | Hey, autumn tree you! | When your golden leaves | Come tumbling down | You make a carpet | On the ground. | Leaf Australian Leaf

Certo (2015) makes five recommendations for the teaching of poetry:

  1. Share mentor texts regularly and invite poets into the classroom where possible.
  2. Expose students to different poetic structures (rather than forms).
  3. Provide opportunities for students to read their own compositions orally.
  4. Invest in the professional development of teachers of poetry to ensure adequate pedagogical content knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm.
  5. Encourage students to bring their own language experiences to their compositions.

This is also in keeping with Weaven and Clark’s findings from the UK Poetry in Schools report. It states there that ‘the best teaching of poetry involves firstly allowing students to engage with a wide range of poetry in order to understand the effects created by composers of texts, and secondly followed by providing opportunities for students to apply these techniques to their own compositions’ (Weaven & Clark, 2009, page 56).

The following classroom transcript incorporates a multifaceted approach. In a joint construction, a group of Year 4 students are guided through phases of prewriting and composition, with some editing and revision throughout. The students had previously been exposed to a range of mentor texts, and deconstructed examples of free verse including excerpts from a verse novel by Kathryn Apel. Poetic devices are discussed in terms of the way they support the subject and mood.

Cathrne Oelhman at white boardLesson transcript

Teacher: So as we stood under the tree, listening to the wind and watching the autumn leaves … did any words come into your mind? Call them out and we’ll add them to our word bank.

Students: Tumbling, spinning, turning and twirling, dancing, falling, spiral, letting go, windy, they sound like they are tap dancing on the pavers …

Teacher: There are some wonderful words and phrases here. Are there any ideas that belong together?

Student 1: There are a few things about dance. Like the sound of tap dancing, and twirling like a ballerina.

Student 2: That’s called a pirouette. We should add pirouette to the word bank.

Teacher: OK, so I’ll add pirouette. And then I’m going to change to a different coloured pen to connect ideas. [Draws lines between pirouette, dancing, twirling and tap dancing.] So we’ve connected some ideas. Are there any words that belong together because of the way they sound?

Student 3: I think, like turning and twirling. They’re not exactly rhyming but they kind of sound similar.

Student 2: And tumbling could go with them too, because they all have alliteration with the t at the start.

Teacher: OK, great, so alliteration is a poetic device we’re really familiar with, and we could play with the effect of that repeated t sound in the poem if we wanted to. Are there any other repeated sounds in our word bank?

Student 4: What about spinning and spiral? If we make it into spiralling then spinning and spiralling sound like they sort of go together better.

Teacher: Ssspinning, ssspiralling … what is the effect of that repeated ‘s’ sound for the reader?

Student 4: It’s like it slows you down.

Teacher: Excellent. Remember how we’ve talked about using alliteration for intentional effect? Repeated soft initial sounds can create a completely different effect to harsh final consonants. So if you want to use a trick like alliteration, use it intentionally. Use it to slow your reader down, or to drive home a short, sharp point.

Student 2: So should we start with the s sounds, because you read them slower, and then do the t words? Then it would be like the leaves falling slowly at the start and getting faster as they fall. Teacher I think that sounds brilliant. That’s what I mean about using poetic devices intentionally. The sounds are actually reflecting the content of our poem, and they are also going to affect the way the poem is read. Let’s start with those two lines then. We can move them around later if we want to. So we’ve got [writes]: Spinning and spiralling. Tumbling, turning and twirling. Now let’s go back to our word bank. What else would we like to use? What feels like it might belong with these lines?

Student 1: I think something about ballet could go with spinning and spiralling. And the t line could be about tap dancing.

Student 5: I think the ballet bit should go after the first line. Spinning and spiralling like ballerinas. And then the tap bit after the second line.

Teacher: OK, so let’s edit to squeeze that in. Now we’ve got [writes]: Spinning and spiralling like ballerinas. Tumbling, turning and twirling, like tap dancers. What do we all think about that so far?

Student 2: I liked pirouette. Can we add that in too? Teacher Well let’s try adding that in too and see if we like how it sounds: Spinning and spiralling like ballerinas in pirouettes … Where are they pirouetting?

Student 2: Maybe across the sky?

Student 5: That sounds really good. Teacher I think so too. [Writes]: in pirouettes across the sky. Can we do something similar with the next part of the poem? Who would like to have a go? Tumbling, turning and twirling, like tap dancers …

Student 6: … tapping on the stage?

Teacher: Great. Let’s add that in too. And where is this stage?

Class poem for Autumn Leaf (text in caption below)Student 6: Um, in the playground? Teacher How’s this? [Writes]: Tumbling, turning and twirling, like tap dancers tapping on the stage of our playground. So now let’s read the whole poem aloud and see if it sounds finished. [Reads] What do we think?

Student 7: I think it’s finished. It just needs a title.

Teacher: I think it sounds fantastic! We’ve got some similes in there, some great alliteration. I like how the poem starts slowly and gets faster. You’ve done really well Year 4. Any ideas for a title?

Student 3: It doesn’t actually say anything about leaves, so should we just call it Leaves?

Student 2: Autumn leaves (other students agree)

Teacher: [Writes]: Autumn Leaves

Figure 3: (Adjacent) A class poem by Year 3

‘It is vitally important for teachers to write with students. Constructing poetry in front of students, or alongside them, is the best way to model the creative process.’ Libby Hathorn

Following the lesson, students collected leaves from the playground as further stimulus and independently constructed their own compositions, some of which are included in this paper (Figures 3, 4 and 5). The teacher also composed an additional poem on the whiteboard as students wrote. (See ‘PETAA Paper 194: — Teachers as writers: Implications for identity’ , Cremin & Baker, 2014, for further reading and research on the importance of teachers as writers).

Multimodal possibilities

A multimodal approach to poetry can be an effective way of enhancing student engagement (Xerri, 2012; Callow, 2013). Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006, page 117) define multimodal texts as ‘any text whose meanings are realized through more than one semiotic code’. Each mode may offer a different representation of meaning, and meaning is also created by the interaction between these different modes. In addition to written words, such modes include image, sound, music, movement, video and other interactive elements (Callow, 2013). Xerri states that the integration of print media with visual images is the most popular form of multimodality, and Jon Callow’s The shape of text to come: how image and text work (2013) is an invaluable tool for classroom teachers seeking to explore multimodal texts.

The Australian Curriculum requires students to compose texts using multimedia as well as respond to them. The use of handheld devices such as iPads in the classroom opens a range of possibilities for composing and publishing multimodal poetic texts. For example, students may:

  • compose a poem based on a stimulus in the classroom or outdoors, photograph the stimulus item, then embed the text of their poem in the image (the joint construction ‘Autumn Leaves’ and Sarah’s poem ‘Leaf Australia Leaf’ feature photographs of a tree in the school grounds at St George Christian School)
  • write a poem and record their own voice reading it
  • create a slideshow presentation where each line of the poem has its own slide comprised of words, sounds and images
  • video a performance of their own composition
  • publish the text of their poem in a specific shape to reflect the meaning or content using a shape poetry app or graphics program; (see Figure 4) this is also known as a concrete poem.

Callow conjectures that all texts have some type of visual element present. In poetry, the positioning of text on the page and resulting white space can itself create meaning. See, for example, Nathan’s poem titled ‘That Leaf’ (Figure 5 below). When asked about his publishing choices, he replied, ‘I thought about how Kathryn Apel does her poems, on the left and right of the page. On the left it’s like the leaf belongs to the tree, and on the right it belongs to the girl. And in between, the words fall down like that leaf.’

Leaf outline with poem written/traced around its edge

Figure 4: (Above) Student shape poem by Mathew, created by tracing a leaf. Text ‘I sat there waiting like a possum waiting for the night as the last leaf danced. Bitter cold Autumn silent as death. The last leaf fell form the big tree.’

Figure 5: (Below) Student poem demonstrating thoughtful positioning of text. Text for poem; ‘That Leaf’ | Once upon a time, | There was a leaf, | swinging around, | like all other leaves. | One day, | the grew old | and that leaf fell | and fell | and fell | Until it landed. | And when it landed, | It landed with a girl, | who kept it forever. | By Nathan

Image of poem (text given in caption below)Assessing student poetry

Identifying, gathering and interpreting information relevant to students’ learning through assessment is an imperative part of the teaching learning cycle, and Standard 5 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers  requires that educators assess and provide feedback on all student learning. Although assessment is key to effective teaching in English there is no one correct way to assess learning in English (Cox, 2012).

The subjective nature of poetry sometimes makes teachers hesitant to judge the value of a child’s composition. However, effective and appropriate feedback is vital. While ‘testing’ might not be good for the teaching and promotion of poetry (Weaven & Clark, 2009, page 54), the evaluation, feedback and mentoring provided by teachers as assessment for and of learning, is crucial in the development and mastery of students’ poetic skills.

A writing conference between teacher and student is one of the most effective ways to provide ongoing evaluation and feedback before, during, and after the process of writing (Holliday, 2010) and is well suited to poetic compositions. As with the assessment of any student writing, teachers should refer to the relevant outcomes for that work, and the explicitly stated assessment criteria (Cox, 2012).

Peer feedback should also contribute to assessment as learning, and as Ljungdahl (2014, page 405) poetically states, ‘self-assessment is an essential feature in the armoury of assessment practices’. Finally, students should be involved in the process of creating and applying criteria to their own compositions and the poetry of others.

Concluding thoughts

I believe it is a privilege to ‘teach’ poetry to young people. To share poetry and enhance student poetry writing, to model where we can on the best of what poetry has to offer, and to recognise its often profound effect on young writers. To see young writers responding to poetry more confidently over time is possibly some of the most exciting teaching you can do. The approach I take in sharing poetry can be expressed quite simply: enjoy poetry out on the air first and foremost, empower students’ writing by eliciting for them a richer voice, model poetic devices and poetic structures with well chosen poems, and share their efforts with others through a publication or better still a poetry reading to parents where each poem is presented visually and accompanied by live reading as the poem is displayed. Read poetry randomly and often. Libby Hathorn

For poetry ‘as with any craft, knowledge of the techniques involved heightens appreciation of it’ (McDonald, 2013, page 144). Children should be exposed to quality poetry for the sheer joy, and offered guided opportunities to respond to published poetry.

In response to mentor texts, poetic joint construction equips students with the tools they need in order to experiment with devices in their independent compositions. And students who can confidently and intentionally employ poetic devices and techniques in their texts in order to affect a reader — are powerful writers indeed.

About the authors

Catherine Oehlman is a teacher, writer and consultant who is currently studying for her Masters in Children’s Literature. She has taught all grades across primary school in Queensland and New South Wales, worked as a Project Officer for a national early years literacy program, written for a range of print and online publications, presented at conferences, reviewed countless picture books, and built a strong social media following. Catherine writes the monthly Teachers Guide for The School Magazine and teaches gifted and talented literacy students part time. She is passionate about inspiring students to write creatively and confidently, and advocates for the use of high quality Australian literature in Australian classrooms.

Libby Hathorn is an award-winning author and poet of more than fifty books, many of which have been translated and adapted for stage and screen. Her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland. With a deep interest in literature, poetry continues to inform her life and her writing. Her most recent novel, an Anzac story, is Eventual Poppy Day (Harper Collins, 2015); her most recent picture book is Incredibilia (Little Hare, 2016). Libby is a keen educator, has lectured part-time at Sydney University and is a regular guest at conferences and writers’ festivals. She is a devoted ambassador for poetry anywhere and everywhere and compiled The ABC book of Australian poetry (ABC Books, 2010).

Acknowledgment

A special thanks to the staff and students at St George Christian School, Sydney, who feature in this paper. Catherine Oehlman, July 2016

References

How this content relates to AITSL teacher standards

Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it

  • 2.1.3 Highly Accomplished Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area. Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Strategies for composite language classes

AITSL Certification Evidence: Developing a Cooperative Reading program to address underachievement and disengagement with reading in upper primary

  • 2.2.3 Highly Accomplished Content selection and organisation. Exhibit innovative practice in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using inquiry based Learning to support students' comprehension of informative texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using a feedback centred approach to improve teaching and learning

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Supporting students to develop independent, open ended learning investigations

  • 2.3.3 Highly Accomplished Curriculum, assessment and reporting. Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using images as a summative assessment tool to synthesise learning

  • 2.3.4 Lead Curriculum, assessment and reporting. Lead colleagues to develop learning and teaching programs using comprehensive knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.
  • 2.5.3 Highly Accomplished Literacy and numeracy strategies. Support colleagues to implement effective teaching strategies to improve students’ literacy and numeracy achievement.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using reciprocal teaching to improve reading with Year 3 and 4 students

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using Strategies Reading Action to investigate characters in texts

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Explicit teaching of high frequency words through big books

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Modelling focus group teaching in literacy

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Collegiate discussions to improve teaching in literacy

AITSL Certification Evidence: Developing a Cooperative Reading program to address underachievement and disengagement with reading in upper primary

  • 2.6.2 Proficient Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Use effective teaching strategies to integrate ICT into learning and teaching programs to make selected content relevant and meaningful.

AITSL Illustration of practice: Using ICT to create and present multimodal texts in English

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using ICT to develop social media profiles to develop content knowledge and demonstrate understanding in Geography

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Developing peer assessment through peer evaluation of digital presentations in Science

Standard 3: Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

  • 3.3.3 Highly Accomplished Use teaching strategies. Support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
  • 3.4.3 Highly Accomplished Select and use resources.Assist colleagues to create, select and use a wide range of resources, including ICT, to engage students in their learning.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Working collaboratively with colleagues to select and use a wide variety of resources to support learning

  • 3.5.3 Highly Accomplished Use effective classroom communication. Assist colleagues to select a wide range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support students’ understanding, engagement and achievement.

Standard 5: Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning

  • 5.1.2 Proficient Assess student learning. Develop, select and use informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative assessment strategies to assess student learning.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using formative assessment practices with students in the classroom

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Approaches to ongoing informal assessment

  • 5.2.2 Proficient Provide feedback to students on their learning. Provide timely, effective and appropriate feedback to students about their achievement relative to their learning goals.

Standard 6: Engage in professional learning

  • 6.2.2 Proficient Engage in professional learning and improve practice. Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice, targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities.