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Designing Teaching Learning

Planning is an essential skill for the profession of teaching. Whilst the role requires flexibility
of thought, effective teaching is enhanced through planning, however planning for effective
teaching needs to take into consideration many factors such as the various needs of students,
the school, and professional standard guidelines. When considering these factors there are
four key areas of interest that impact upon the planning and decision making process and will
be discussed within this essay. The first area is The Board of Studies Teaching & Educational
Standards NSW (BOSTES, 2016) who is responsible for controlling state education in NSW
and act as the ruling body for the implementation and foresight for syllabi construction. The
syllabus provided by BOSTES enables teachers to hone in on stage specific development for
students and measure their current educational needs. This allows teachers to effectively plan
towards outcomes and criterion so that students have mastered these objectives prior to
commencement of the next stage. The second area discussed will be the diverse needs of
students. The Australian classroom has become far more diverse, and the need to plan for
inclusive teaching should not be disregarded as an essential task for the successful teacher.
Planning will play a critical role in how to effectively teach for students of varying abilities
and needs, with planning leading to the difference between a good to great lesson. The third
area to be discussed involves previous data. Within the role of a teacher, recording student
performance and developmental levels are crucial. Previous assessment data will help with
future plans and give a frame of reference for what students may be lacking, or what can be
changed within a lesson plan to make up for a gap in development. The fourth area is the
National Professional Standards for teachers set by the Australian Institute for Teaching and
School Leadership (AITSL, 2014). These national standards are utilised by teachers to uphold

a level of excellence in their professional career. These guidelines also impact upon planning
and decision making throughout their career. They also play an important role in how to
approach planning and tasks and what criteria the teachers themselves need to achieve while
dealing with the other key areas. These four key areas will be discussed with reference to a
stage 5 Science syllabus lesson plan provided by BOSTES to determine the level of planning
and the role played.
BOSTES create syllabi for NSW teachers and for certain key learning areas (KLAs) have
developed a national curriculum (BOSTES, 2016). The syllabus is the content which is
required to be taught in a course or unit as defined by Marsh, Clarke & Pittaway (2014). The
syllabi that are created for each subject outline course content and timeframe, student
outcomes, objectives, and life skills that are designed to be completed in stages (BOSTES,
2016). The syllabus being seen as a contract is discussed by Fornaciari and Dean (2014) this
metaphor portrays the syllabus as law. With the weight this metaphor carries, there can be a
binding situation in which classroom freedom vs. authoritative structure poses a risk to the
learning environment, and this is where planning is crucial. While the syllabus plays an
influential role in lesson planning, it is very important that teachers are able to use the
syllabus structure provided as a framework. This means that the syllabus provides ideas
towards the lesson plan, but does not dictate how to teach it and allow for change. The
difficulty of this concept is the nature of the syllabus that it still decides what is required to be
taught and that there is a timeframe on content and outcomes. The key to running an effective
class while juggling with the syllabus and how, what, when and where to teach is planning.

Diverse Student Needs

Diversity has become increasingly complex in the global context and in schools (Truong,
2015), with this increased complexity there are increased factors that influence the role of
how and what to teach. Mills & Keddie (2012) refer to diversity being undervalued and
often treated as invisible, this idea is further discussed by Ferfolja, Diaz & Ullman (2015)
as the unseen half, the underpinning concept of marginalisation that is insufficiently being
catered for by the education system, policy, teacher pedagogies and classroom practice.
Teachers must understand that the classroom has become diverse and the student base has
changed into one that provides different backgrounds and experiences that come from
different religious, racial, ethnic, language, gender and socioeconomic factors (Theoharis &
Scanlan, 2015). Tomlinson (2014) raises the need for students to achieve syllabus
requirements and that students are unique and learn in individualistic ways. The teacher must
be aware of the classroom environment, and with this awareness be sensitive of learner needs.
Inclusive teachers acknowledge diversity, encourage the learner to be challenged, and take
into consideration the need for flexibility in how to deliver content for varying students, with
varying complexities of their own while still providing an engaging lesson (Tomlinson 2014).
Teaching for diverse learner needs must take into consideration students with learning
disabilities. Stephenson & Carter (2015) outline the need for the planning process to identify
functional goals that are age appropriate, objectives from assessment that are measurable, and
depending on the disability individual planning for learner needs may be required. The
diverse needs of the learner plays an influential role in both how and what to teach,
understanding classroom dynamics and individual students will be critical in how to plan
effectively for this diversity.
Assessment Data
Data that has been collected while teaching a lesson can be very useful for further
considerations with future lesson plans, student performance, their understanding of content,

current skills, and skill development (Marsh et al 2014). Previous assessment data is
undertaken for several reasons; to measure teacher effectiveness, gauge future achievements,
monitoring student learning and progress, motivation, and ultimately grading students (Marsh
et al 2014). The criticism for teaching for grading has provided negative implications for the
teacher pedagogies, in which teaching for assessment grades are encouraged to improve
school standard scores. Though negative aspects are related to teaching purely for results,
teaching without assessments can limit student growth and lead to students that may not have
benefitted or gleaned any content from the lesson (Jones, Jones & Vermette, 2011). With this
lack of assessment data there will be no student information to base future lesson plans and
create content appropriate to learner levels. Teachers must collect data as it is an essential role
to effectively plan for what and how to teach. Performance data demonstrates the
responsibility of the learner, teacher and school (Wayman, 2009).
National Professional Standards for Teachers
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers created by AITSL are split into three
domains, Professional Knowledge, Practice and Engagement. These standards provide a code
of conduct that shapes the profession of teaching, and how teachers practice, which in turn
influences how students are themselves shaped (Cavanagh & Prescott, 2015). These standards
shape and influence how and what to teach, and will also influence the lesson plan, however
the standards themselves are written in a broad and generalised manner, as an example under
the domain:
Professional Knowledge Standard 1 Know students and how they learn. Focus Area- 1.1
Physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students. 1.2 Understand
how students learn. 1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic
backgrounds. - AITSL (2014)

There are three more focus areas under standard 1 however it can be seen with these
examples that the language provided with these standards is broad, and does not give a
complete directive however does provide a foundation of codes. Gannon (2012) criticises the
standards that are implemented in Australia, as they introduce economies of performance
and that they measure quality of teachers. This critique highlights the push toward
performance based culture of education. The need to understand the Australian Professional
Standards for teachers is mandatory for success in the profession. Understanding the context
and how to apply standards to lesson plans will be critical for the how and what to teach in
Stage 5 Science Lesson Plan: Living World
The sample lesson plan for Year 9 (BOSTES, 2016) directly links with the syllabus; the
content is derived from the Living World and refers to LW2
Conserving and maintaining the quality and sustainability of the environment
requires scientific understanding of interactions within, the cycling of matter and the
flow of energy through ecosystems. BOSTES
This lesson framework engages students with concepts of biological systems and addresses
two sub points from LW2 - (a) recall that ecosystems consist of communities of
interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment and (c) describe how
energy flows through ecosystems, including input and output through food webs directly
taken from the syllabus (BOSTES, 2016). The student outcomes SC5-14LW- analyses
interactions between components and processes within biological systems (BOSTES 2016).
Through understanding this lesson plan there are direct links incorporated from the syllabus
which students undertake through the activities outlined within. Upon lesson completion

students should have an understanding of interactions within biological systems. This

provides evidence that planning is directly influenced by the syllabus.
This science sample lesson plan does not include factors that influence teaching for diversity.
To use indigenous students as an example, Lewthwaite et al (2015) analyses the need for
visual imagery, teaching through narrative and through nature as important factors to benefit
indigenous students. With this lesson plans activities being about the biological systems yet
the main timeframe spent on class work being about reading from the text and note taking
from the text, changes that may be beneficial to this specific lesson plan would be to utilise
an outdoor example, of the flow of energy which will provide all students a way of
connecting concepts with real life examples. The lesson plan also does not allow for
difference in learning levels. High achieving students may complete these tasks at a faster
rate and some students that have learning disabilities or are lower-performing in assessment
tasks may not finish the tasks set out. The need to understand the classrooms diversity has not
been applied to this sample, and as such can be adapted to suit specific classroom needs to
cater for varying diversity.
The lesson plan outlines what students should currently understand as background
knowledge: from previous learning. This provides the teacher with a frame of reference as to
what content students will be able to understand and what may be too difficult. The use of
stages mentioned throughout the lesson, and the gradient of activity difficulty increase as the
lesson continues. This style of lesson construction provides a similar idea to Vygotskys
theory Zone of Proximal Development which provide students with a scaffold approach to
learning in which tasks are set to be difficult but within reach conceptually (Marsh, Clarke &
Pittaway, 2014). There is a lack of summary at the end of this lesson, and a lack of future
assessment to identify if students have gained knowledge throughout the lesson. With

reference to assessment data and this specific lesson plan it has been mentioned that the tasks
scale throughout the lesson, without understanding the assessment data of specific classroom
scenarios. This plan serves as a framework that can be adapted accordingly rather than an all
encompassing plan that contains everything.
Within the National Standards (AITSL, 2014) there are many that are included within this
lesson plan, to highlight several:
2.2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area
3.3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs
3.3.4 Select and use resources
4.4.1 Support student participation
4.4.2 Manage classroom activities
Understanding that these points are fundamental to the profession of teaching as
acknowledged previously, the lesson plan incorporates the above standards in broad terms.
There are activities that are created as part of the teaching strategies which are created in
stages that promote a structured sequence for the lesson. Oxford Big Ideas text highlighted as
the resource that will be utilised throughout the lesson with students to perform a joint
construction which may be split into groups. The standards are linked to lesson planning in a
broad way; however standards relating to diverse learner needs are not incorporated within
this lesson plan such as:
1.1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds
1.1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

1.1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability

While there are definite ties between standards and lesson plans, these terms remain very
broad in some respects and are quite acute in reference to diversity. These result in lesson
plans that have not taken into account varying factors that may influence the classroom.
There is a need for student based learning that is inclusive and when this approach is taken,
the dependency on teacher dominated class discussion needs to be removed to allow critical
peer development through feedback (Phyalto, Soini & Pietarinen, 2010).
The ongoing need for effective planning should never be disregarded in the teaching
profession. This includes reflecting on syllabus material, understanding the depth of
classroom diversity, collating data for student growth not solely in assessment tasks, and
through understanding how to apply the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The
four areas although discussed separately, there are clear connections that associate these areas
and while planning for the lesson will have great influence in effective teaching. It should be
noted that truly understanding these foundations will make for the variation in teacher ability.
Through the utilisation of modern resources the ability to collect and collaborate data with
regards to the success of effective planning, teaching, environment and educator factors are
able to be improved through further analysis. This will help to progress the teaching
profession and ensures that teachers stay current and consistent through effective planning,
with effective information. Through analysing the stage 5 Science lesson plan there are clear
examples of these concepts linking together while also containing a deficit in the area of
diversity for this specific lesson plan which may not relate to all. The core foundations that
shape how we teach, and what we teach is constantly informing the nature of the classroom.
Understanding that these key areas discussed need to be balanced with the other varying

factors attributed to the teaching profession will be critical in effective teaching, and only
through rigorous planning will they be made clear.