Building bridges: Dramatic dialogue in early childhood classes

Annette Harden

When Astrid Lindgren’s famous character, Pippi Longstocking, attended her first day of school, she was in for a culture shock. The teacher decided to do some benchmark testing:

“You’re quite a big girl, so you probably know a great deal already. Let’s begin with arithmetic. Now, Pippi, can you tell me how much does seven and five make?” Pippi looked rather surprised and cross. Then she said, “Well, if you don’t know, don’t think I’m going to work it out for you!”

All the children stared in horror at Pippi. The teacher explained to her that she wasn’t to answer in that way at school. She wasn’t to call the teacher just ‘you’ either; she was to call the teacher ‘ma’am’.

“I’m awful sorry,” said Pippi apologetically. “I didn’t know that. I won’t do it again.”

“No, I should hope not,” said the teacher. “And now I’ll tell you that seven and five make twelve.”

“You see!” said Pippi. “You knew it all the time, so why did you ask, then? Oh what a blockhead I am. Now I called you just ‘you’ again. ‘Scuse me,” she said, giving her ear a powerful pinch.

Lindgren, 2012, page 46


This PETAA Paper describes an approach to pedagogy in early childhood classrooms that introduces children to literacy through engaging them with guided drama and puppetry experiences. Using examples and drama lesson plans from her own research and experience Dr Harden demonstrates how drama supports engagement, active interactions and reciprocal relationships.

Assuming the ‘mantle of the expert’ empowers children to solve dilemmas, read and write important messages, and grow in their understanding of written genres. In their shared play worlds they carry on their new expertise, and apply it to further explorations of language and literacy. A balanced approach to learning is advocated, with skills and explicit instruction alongside active, exploratory learning.

Children entering the preparatory classroom for the first time encounter a discourse that may be very different from their home and even childcare experience. They must attend to a teacher voice directed at a group, not the familiar one-to-one eye contact. They must take turns to speak. They may be required to respond, as Pippi was, to questions where the interrogator already knows the answer. They may be expected to follow a flow of didactic explanation. They will be exposed to storybooks using past tense narrative supported by images that may have little to do with familiar contexts. And before very long they will be expected to convert spoken, connected utterances into written sentences made up of discrete words that have themselves been constructed from carefully selected symbols. All of these tasks represent aspects of the common discourse of the classroom, but not necessarily that of the home. Young children may take some time to connect with the new subculture, and much valuable learning time can be lost.

Dramatic pedagogies can support students in understanding the new discourse, and engage students with the voice and purposes of the teacher. Dramatic pedagogies can also achieve other goals for learning: they can support students in developing a dialogic language for discovery and discussion; and they can introduce settings in which purposes and practices of literacy are modelled and explored in ways that are memorable and motivating. The aim of this article is threefold:

  • to demonstrate how dramatic pedagogies can support young children in bridging the gap between the language of home and that of the school
  • to explore an approach that encourages active participation in authentic literacy events
  • to show how dialogic talk can be integral to such an approach.

‘Dialogic talk attempts to engage students in a genuine dialogue in order to engage in the process of inquiry’ (Edward-Groves, Anstey & Bull, 2014, page 12). This dialogue gives children voice and agency as capable learners.

Review of the research on classroom talk and dramatic pedagogies

‘Teacher talk’, the language of the classroom, has been explored by researchers such as Christie (2002, 2005) and Coulthard (1985). The features of classroom discourse have been identified as explanation, frequent directives and closed questions in the model of ‘interrogation–response– evaluation’ (IRE) (Coulthard, 1985, Coulthard & Montgomery, 1981). In fact the IRE has been described as the ‘default position’ (Cazden, 1988). Teachers ask questions to understand what their students already know. They can then connect with student knowledge and expand cognition (Rose, 2016). This is labelled the ‘magistral’ style of teaching by Cheyne and Terulli (1999), with direction from the front and passive acquiescence from the student body. Yet this approach does not engage young children, who may be rather affronted at questioning, or simply unfamiliar with the mode, as Pippi Longstocking was from her years of freedom as a pirate’s daughter!

The mode of early childhood discourse is very different from this IRE style as Christie (2005) found, when she compared an early childhood ‘show and tell’ session with a science lesson in a high school context. The early childhood teacher gave few direct instructional cues to the students, rather she extended and reworded their statements and praised appropriate behaviours and comments. Christie claimed that early childhood teachers ‘weakly frame learning’ because they do not provide students with clear instruction models. She identified, in the ‘show and tell’ transcription, and more broadly in other contexts, implicit, oblique forms of speech, with little explanation, and the use of the inclusive ‘we’ to soften directions and to position children as participants with the teacher’s purposes. She did find one similarity with the mode of formal schooling: the dominance of the adult’s themes in dialogue, and the passive, submissive responses of students.

The mode of discourse in a dramatic improvisation is different from both the magistral approach of direct, explicit instruction, and the early childhood one of oblique, implicit forms, that Christie observed. Dramatic situations employ what Cheyne and Terulli (1999) call ‘Socratic’ forms of dialogue, in which a more active and empowered voice for the student is possible. Certainly open-ended questioning, wondering and speculating are features of such talk from the participating teacher and students. This active and purposeful interaction is what Alexander (2010) advocates — a dialogic style of talk, characterised by reciprocity, collective and supportive activity, cumulative discovery and open-ended exploratory questioning. Within dramatic situations crafted by the teacher, students may become comfortable enough to speak, to respond and initiate ideas, to argue or be tentative and reflective. They may become empowered to attempt social tasks that involve writing, with confidence bestowed upon them through the ‘mantle of the expert’ (Heathcote, 1980, Heathcote & Bolton, 1995).

The mantle of the expert is a technique devised by Heathcote to encourage children participating in her dramas to believe that, in role, they were capable citizens with knowledge and skills to achieve the solution of contrived dramatic dilemmas. Her technique has been extensively used in drama education, and is as effective with young children as it is with older students, though their community may be no broader than their own classroom or family.

Within dramatic discourse children’s emotions are aroused, assisting their learning (Dunn & Stinson, 2012). The findings from research in my own Preparatory classroom during 2007, (Harden, 2010, 2013) substantiated by practice in early childhood classrooms in the years since, were that dramatic pedagogies, including guided drama, song, movement, and puppetry, thoroughly engaged children across a broad span of age, ability, culture and interest. Once engaged, children were ready to learn.

Building the bridges: Engaging children with classroom discourse, including a literacy link

To illustrate how this was and can be achieved, vignettes from the drama events used in my Preparatory classrooms, as well as examples of the daily drama plans used in the pedagogy, are included here along with a description of the practice. Each day began with a guided drama event with a deliberate literacy model inserted in the unfolding activity of the drama. After the drama event, students had time and space (the ‘practice architecture’ devised by the teacher for consolidating learning, described by Edwards-Groves et al., 2014, page 19) during which they could copy and embellish the modelled genre in their dramatic play, using the props and tools from the drama event. The first drama event of the year, on the first day of schooling, was about an absent-minded wombat that bumbled into a platypus burrow and collapsed it, upsetting the occupants considerably. My instructional goals were: to engage the children, to call on their expertise to solve the problem for Wombat, and to embed a literacy link, ‘names as meaningful signs’, in the solution of the problem. The use of names as a window into students’ early literacy understanding is supported in the research of Welsch, Sullivan, and Justice (2003).

Each drama event, as in dance workshops, began with a warm up. Table 1 sets out the format.


Stage
 
Activities/strategies

Rationale

1 Warm-up Movement/music/drama game
To focus students on teacher voice, get bodies moving, engage interest through action
2 Pretext An object, picture book, puppet character, props, construction materials
To focus attention around the theme, setting and characters and the unfolding drama
3 Dramatic improvisation The plot with a problem or dilemma that requires the expertise of this group of responsible citizens to be solved
To employ the ‘mantle of the expert’ and develop dialogue exploring solutions to the problem, building tension and provoking emotions to support learning
4 Literacy link An authentic literacy activity occurring in the social context required for the drama event, that moves the plot toward its resolution, or with older students (Year 1), writing after the event as a way to reflect on or respond to the dramatic event To encourage the expertise evoked in the drama to include expertise as writers or readers
Follow-up Dramatic play with the setting, props, writing and reading materials, contingent on the drama
Immediate flow into dramatic play assists the students to transfer their skills and practices immediately while the memory of them is strong.
As students’ confidence with literacy increases, a debriefing time with reflection and guided written response becomes part of the follow-up

Table 1: Generic drama plan

In Wombat’s adventure, the warm-up was to sing songs about each animal as it was introduced, and to create, with the assistance of the students, habitats for the animals from the play materials close at hand. This introduced the play equipment to the children (it was their first day at school apart from a visit the previous November), as well as encouraging their active involvement in setting the scene, which they would then have at their disposal for further dramatic play. So Cocky Emu, Wombat and the shy platypus were introduced. Already, dialogue, modelled in conversations I had with the puppets (see Vignette 1), was developing among the group of children. (Pseudonyms are used for the children’s names.)

Vignette 1

Self, (calling down into his burrow): Is that all right Wombat, if I cover it with a dress?
Self as Wombat: No!
(I stand up, looking toward home corner.)
Lucy: A blanket.
Self: A blanket? Okay. (I collect one from the home corner)
Self: Now I’m going to put Platypus’s pond out here in the middle. Right over here. Do you think we better put a shelter round it? Make it a bit secret?
Edward: Yes we should.
Lucy: Secret lab. They could even make a secret lab.
Then to Cocky:
Self: Do you want a tree or something?
Self as Cocky: Yes.
(I put another block on top.)
Michael in peremptory tone: High.
Self as Cocky: Want a nest!
Self, slowly and thoughtfully: A nest …
(I look around again as if finding something to represent a nest, and Edward puts his arms out and shrugs dramatically.)
Self: Like this nest, Cocky?
(I hold up a hat.)
Self as Cocky, falsetto: Yes.
(There are chuckles at my choice. I put the hat inside the block and put the puppet in it.)
Michael: What! You’re supposed to put the nest up really high, up there.
He indicates the top of the block.
Self: Up there? Self to Cocky: Do you want to live up there?
Self as Cocky: Yes.

Several students had offered suggestions, and humour had been aroused. Most had joined in the action of singing and moving with the animals and all had offered food for Cocky when she complained about being hungry. The literacy intervention came when Wombat knocked over Platypus’s home. Edward immediately suggested the characters make friends again, and then I added the idea that we make signs for their homes so Wombat wouldn’t get mixed up in future. I asked for experts to write the name sign for Wombat, and another for Platypus, making discoveries about children’s letter knowledge from this discussion.

The puppets were left in their setting for follow-up play. Nobody wrote signs that day. There was too much other new equipment to explore, but the puppets became immediate playfellows, and every student was fully engaged. Engagement was supported by action and emotion, the dramatic tension of surprise, and the connections made with prior knowledge and experience. A great deal had been uncovered about their literacy and Australian animal knowledge without any direct questioning (this knowledge is a descriptor in the ‘life and living’ unit, in ACSSU002).

Students were now ‘tuned in’ to the teacher voice but had also found voices of their own. Moreover, we had ‘played together’ as co-contributors in a developing dramatic dilemma.

Importantly, our dialogue had dealt with the personal and particular, not general needs of animals in the Australian bush, and all talk was supported with action that illuminated the meaning of the words, making the content accessible to all. These are features of dramatic dialogue that support students’ access to the language of the classroom.

Before young children can generalise and follow instructions and explanations, they will understand conversations between particular characters. So often teachers initiate lessons with an IRE such as ‘Where do cockatoos live?’, which may be confronting to a young child. Instead the question ‘Where would my cocky like to live?’ is much more particular, emotionally charged and personal.

Such language within dramatic exchanges may look like ‘weakly framing learning’ but the teacher in-role takes up leads from the students and moves the dialogue forward, so that students’ exploratory thinking aloud moves toward deeper understanding, including classification and generalisation. Vygotsky (1978) describes the zone of proximal development, or ZPD, as the zone in which children’s language and thinking can be scaffolded until their cognition reaches a new level of independent functioning. Gredler and Shields (2008) develop the discourse of the ZPD and show how teachers may focus on and support this gradual shift in cognition and language. A drama situation creates a shared zone of proximal development, in which dialogue among participants occurs and exploratory language builds cognition (Lindqvist, 1995, Edward-Groves, et al, 2014).

Building bridges toward dialogue and literacy

The first drama of the year opened up students’ confidence to speak and their engagement with teacher purposes. A description of two drama events in May with the transcripts, show the emerging contributions of the children, in dialogue and in themes for character and action. One was focused around reading and the other around writing as one aspect of the discourse and activity of palaeontologists. The first was the rescue of a trapped friend of Ollie the octopus (during a week focused on students learning to shape and use the letter ‘o’ in their word building).

Again, friendship issues close to students’ interest and understanding provided the theme. Where students at the beginning of the year were grappling with ‘names’ as chunks of meaningful text, by May they were decoding and encoding words to begin to read and write sentences. So, Ollie the octopus found a message in a bottle in the sea (at my feet). Students read and discussed the message, initiated the action of becoming rescuers, took on roles as divers and mermaids, and found the trapped fish. I had noted that several students were lagging in reading compared to their confidence with writing words, because the drama events to date had had an emphasis on writing. Hence the focus this time was on reading a message.

Along the way I coached knowledge of messages in bottles, sea-life and diver needs. Vignette 2 that follows occurred when we had just found the bottle.

Vignette 2

Michael: It must be a map.
Edward: Must be a map... (inaudible) something ...
Self as Ollie: It looks like a message of some kind, doesn’t it?
(I pull the message out of the bottle.)
Annie, very excited: Yes!
Self as Ollie: You know what, I often find messages in bottles floating in the sea.
Sailors often send the messages.
(I open it.)
Mary, immediately: I am in the ...
Others, mimicking her: I am in the …
Laurence, correcting: A …
Self, out of role, pointing with Ollie’s tentacle as they came to a big word: T-r-a-p …
Unidentified voice: Trap!
Self as Ollie: Oh, no! He’s in a trap. And what’s this other word with big capital letters?
Mary: H-i-l-p.
Self, out of role, obliquely correcting the vowel: H-e-l-p.
A little later:
Self as Ollie: So if it’s a trap we …
Peter: Have to save him! We have to save him!

You might have noticed that much of the teacher language in this vignette was very typical of the early childhood teacher mode, with reciprocity of dialogue in supporting children’s play and investigations, and the coaching from the side for difficult encoding of sounds. The difference was the shared empowerment of the reading and rescuing, stimulated by the ‘super-dramatists’ in the group the students who intuitively take up the themes offered in the drama (Dunn, 1996), who built the play world expression of their capabilities so that it flowed on into the real world.

The drama plan, (Table 2), followed the same format of warm up, pretext or provocation for the action, improvisation with literacy activity inserted, and flow into dramatic play.


Stage
 
Activities/strategies

Rationale

Warm-up Game of opposites
To focus energy and listening to teacher voice, and connect with sound of the week ‘o’
Pretext Meeting with Ollie the Octopus and discovering his dilemma
To introduce a character, make links with letter ‘o’ and present his distress and a dilemma to be solved
Dramatic improvisation Uncover the clue, enlist a team of experts to assist the hapless character, and seek and find the trapped friend
To apply the ‘mantle of the expert’ and empower students as capable rescuers and capable readers.
Literacy link Reading of the message before the rescue mission
To include literacy as an authentic aspect of their activity as powerful rescuers.
Follow-up Present extra bottles for messages for flow-on to dramatic play
To provide a time and space for extension of the activity including the literacy while students had voice and agency as literate rescuers.

Table 2: Drama plan 1

A great deal of message writing and reading resulted from this activity, especially noteworthy for one reluctant reader, Edward, who went on to read out of role, with courage and enthusiasm, breaking the block he had had about reading. (His eureka moment is described further in his case study, Harden, 2013). Here as in the previous drama event described, children had voice and agency, reciprocity of dialogue and the mediation of connections with literacy that were accessible and easy to emulate or embellish. They were emotionally stirred and remembered the plot and the message easily.

The other drama event illustrates the connection with the language of scientific inquiry so important in the current science curriculum (ACARA, 2015, Science Inquiry Skills — ‘Scientists explore and observe the world using the senses’ ACSHE013; ‘Scientists engage in discussion about observations and use methods such as drawing to represent ideas’ (ACSIS233 ); ‘They share observations and ideas’ (ACSIS012 ). As Warner (2013, pages 264–265), notes ‘Today’s science teachers want students to understand by doing so they can construct their knowledge using logical processes, rather than simply memorising a collection of facts’. Science teachers using dramatic pedagogies construct frames for their role-play to engage in the act of inquiry. They also make use of Heathcote’s mantle of the expert. As experts they take on expertise, ‘but also the need to work with a team of peers to develop the particular skills to solve a particular problem’. In the drama plan in Table 3, the expertise is in palaeontology, enhanced by exploring such narratives as Hans Wilhelm’s Tyrone the Horrible (1988) and Michael Salmon’s There’s a Dinosaur in the garden! (1984) alongside informative texts such as a Pop-up Facts: Dinosaurs (Dungworth, 2006) and Dinosaur bones (Thompson, 1993).

With this background, Drama plan 2, in Table 3, is again illustrated with vignettes from its enactment by the Preparatory students of 2007. By May these students were eager listeners to a variety of text forms. Understanding and accessing texts of different styles is a goal of the Australian Curriculum: English for the Foundation Year (ACELY1648). Access to this denser written language was enhanced by active involvement in-role, and the immersion in the language of scientists observing, uncovering, commenting, tentatively hypothesizing, drawing and making notes.


Stage
 
Activities/strategies

Rationale

Warm-up Songs about dinosaurs that children could move to
To support entry into roles and behaviour of different types of dinosaurs
Pretext Reading Dinosaur bones
To focus on and build understanding of one activity of the ‘expert’ palaeontologists
Dramatic improvisation Dress and equip them with clipboards, pencils and brushes while the other half take up position as fossils.
Explore dinosaur fossil positions and limbs, commenting on and drawing discoveries, using think-aloud strategies modelling scientific processes.
To help children discover and practise the processes of observing, uncovering, drawing, hypothesizing, and writing in role as competent palaeontologists.
  Repeat the process for the children, reversing roles. To reinforce the processes through re-enacting them and repeating the language.
Follow-up Discuss sending the fossils off to the museum for further identification and labelling, and suggest constructing a museum (if the children don’t think of it first).
Bury fossils in the sandpit for more outdoor discovery
To extend opportunities to practice and develop writing of labels and signs.
To explore further the roles of scientists in related institutions such as the museum.
To explore other situations of discovery and interpretation and recording.

Table 3: Drama plan 2 — ‘The Fossil Find’

All these processes are within the Foundation level descriptors for science as human endeavour and scientific inquiry (‘Students pose and respond to questions about familiar objects’ ACSIS014 ), and ‘Science involves observing, asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events’ (ACSHE013 ). The choice of labelling drawings of their discoveries, as the genre of literacy embedded in the drama, relates to the stage of development of the children’s writing: combining sounds to make words (ACELA1819 ) but not yet building sentences with known words and beginning writing knowledge (ACELY1651). (Note: These children were just turning five; they were not the twelve-month cohorts that would be a part of the classes of 2008 and beyond. Their birth dates were January to June because they were in the change-over year for Queensland from preschool to Preparatory entry.)

A vignette from the dialogue illustrates the ‘think-aloud’ process of the teacher as well as the assertive comments of scientists in role and the gradual adoption of a more tentative mode.

Vignette 3

Self: So big, long wings … It had teeth, didn’t it? Draw some teeth.
Peter: It didn’t.
Self: And it had legs.
Michael, with conviction: It did have teeth.
Self: I found teeth on this one.
Peter: No, it didn’t.
Both Michael and Peter felt comfortable enough in the dramatic setting to make assertions and to argue. Then came the teachable moment to extend ideas and to turn them into writing opportunities, what Cremin, Goouch, Blakemore, Goff, and Macdonald (2006) call ‘seizing the moment’ to write: Michael, assertively: It must be killed by a volcano. It must be killed by a volcano.
Self: Uhu. Why, did you see some ash down there?
Michael: Yes.
Self: Okay. So write that down, scientist. Michael found ash, so write that down, ash, ‘a-sh’, from a volcano.
Michael watches me as I write it on my clipboard.
Peter: A-sh. (He writes it as he speaks.)
Michael’s tone changes.
Michael, speculatively: It must be killed by one another one of the other dinosaurs, do you think?
And a little further on:
Someone is slowly sounding out ‘T –r-e-x.’
Michael, slowly, scratching his head: I think he hasn’t got teeth.
Self, still writing: No teeth. Must be a pteranadon.
Writing samples included ‘ash’, ‘TRex’ and ‘tran’ for ‘pteranadon’. James a few days later (3 June) composed a whole sentence: ‘Here is a Coelphisi’ (Figure 1 below).

Thi sis a colephisi

Figure 1: James’ computer writing with illustrations

The dramatic frame, as Warner suggested (2013), provided a setting in which students could construct their understanding of scientific processes of inquiry and develop meaningful dialogue with one another and their teacher. The mantle of the expert gave them a voice and agency as literate scientist.

Implications for Early years’ teachers

Access to classroom talk — Using dramatic pedagogies will assist children in accessing the language of the classroom. Through dialogue with questioning and explanation judiciously embedded in drama children will move toward understanding and using the IRE (Interrogate–Response–Evaluate) and the explanations of the teacher in other contexts.

Framing the dialogue of inquiry and authenticity of literate activity — The scientific drama explored in Vignette 3 led Preparatory children to writing labels on their drawings, a legitimate feature of scientific activity. With slightly older children, a drama event can again frame inquiry, modelling and encouraging hypothesising, and reporting, giving children technical vocabulary and modes of sentence structure appropriate for written procedures. It can frame the modelling of the very difficult cognitive activity of asking good questions.

Conclusion: Towards a balanced approach

Dramatic pedagogy assists learning across many fields (Dunn & Anderson, 2013, page xviii). It allows for that balance in teaching that we all strive for, between our contribution of knowledge and skill as teachers, and the students’ construction of their own learning, in the constructivist tradition of Vygotsky (1978), Heathcote (1980) and Bruner (1962). Dramatic pedagogy does not stand alone. Children all need practice of skills and explicit instruction alongside lived experience with literate social contexts (Xue, & Meisels, 2004). But it is a powerful pedagogical tool for every teacher of young students in the pursuit of effective literacy learning.

About the author

Annette Harden is currently an early years’ teacher at St Bernard State School in South East Queensland. She co-ordinates the Gifted and Talented program for the school involving enrichment activities for all year levels, P to Year 6. She completed her PhD in early years’ drama and literacy in 2013 and has presented research and practice at several venues in Australia, and also in Ireland.

Annette uses drama and puppetry at all levels of primary schooling, including preschool, and also runs a community project at the local library to encourage reading.

References

How this content relates to AITSL teacher standards

Standard 1: Know students and how they learn

  • 1.1.3 Highly Accomplished Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students. Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
  • 1.2.3 Highly Accomplished Understand how students learn. Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Questioning for student generated learning

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Scaffolding thinking skills

Standard 2: Know the content and how to teach it

  • 2.1.2 Proficient Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area. Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Using a Dictagloss to support EAL/D students

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Building the field in science to assist students to make connections

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Developing social media profiles to build and represent content knowledge in geography

  • 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

  • 2.5.3 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

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.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Digital professional learning on the ethical use of information

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Professional learning in action — Ethical use of information

  • 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 4: Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

  • 4.1.3 Highly Accomplished Support student participation. Model effective practice and support colleagues in implementing inclusive strategies that engage and support all students.

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Experiential learning through excursions and hands on experiences

AITSL Illustration of Practice: Supporting gifted students and their teachers

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.