Friday, November 10, 2006


Examination Semester 2 2006 ED4236/1120

Question 1. Qualities I would like to have as an Expert Teacher WHAT REALLY MAKES AN EXPERT TEACHER?

According to Hattie (2003) there are five attributes of an expert teacher :

1. Expert teachers can identify essential representations of their subject.
- Deeper representations about teaching and learning
- Adopt a problem solving stance to their work
- Can anticipate, plan and improvise as required
- Are better decision makers

2. Expert teachers guide learning through classroom interactions
- Create optimal classroom climate for learning
- Have multidimentionally complex perception of classroom situations
- Are more context dependent and have high situation cognition

3. Expert teachers monitor learning and provide feed back
- Are adept at monitoring student problems, levels of understanding and progress and provide relevant, useful feedback
- Develop and test hypotheses about learning difficulties or instructional strategies
- Their cognitive skills become automatic

4. Expert teachers attend to affective attributes
- Have high respect for students
- Are passionate about teaching and learning

5. Expert teachers can influence student outcomes
- Engage students in learning and develop in their students self regulation, involvement in mastery learning, enhanced self efficacy and self esteem
- Provide appropriate challenging tasks and goals for students
- Have positive influences on students achievement
- Enhance surface and deep learning

A few of my own thoughts about the characteristics of an expert teacher

- Display and believe in a positive and loving outlook on the world
- Has a genuine passion for their subject area that flows far beyond the classroom and school schedule
- An awareness of the power of facilitating students not only to think and act but how to feel about all aspects pertaining to the subject matter and more
- Expert teachers are enlivened by interacting with students and others that inturn resonates like ripples in a pond out into the wider world.
- Can self regulate their emotions and provide a sustainable approach to the rigours of the profession
Oct. 1. 2006.

Just a little prayer for us struggling teachers on the road to becoming experts.

May I be brave enough to embrace a new world view as
Espoused by Margaret Wheatley.
May I develop the wisdom of recognising Gardners Nine Intelligences
In my students.
May I gain true insight in teaching Glasser’s six basic needs of Survival;
Power, Love, Belonging, Freedom and Fun.
May I have the strength and courage to incorporate Hatties guide for expert teachers
Into every class, every day.
May I develop awareness of the full scope of the Constructivist approach
To education.
And may I develop the selflessness to recognise that students need to be encouraged to be creative in their approach to their own education and
Empowered in making decisions in relation to their lives.

Fellow teachers,
We have embarked upon a noble quest
We need to be firm in our resolve to work together
To articulate our vision, to dare to love.

There is an urgency in the air
The world is crying out for a new way of seeing
For a new reality on which to base our hopes and dreams.
We have lost our way as a culture and we know this.
The old ways of doing things does not work anymore
We no longer want to be part of a world that preys on our fears
We do not want our children to inherit a world
In which they carry the burden of our lack of courage.

There is much work to be done.
Firstly on a personal level to open our hearts, to be brave, to be authentic
And secondly on a professional level to sow the seeds of higher order learning
in our students so that they can develop the necessary skills
To analyse, evaluate and create empowered lives for themselves
And enable them to flower into strong, confident and creative individuals who will facilitate change through living fulfilling lives.

We can achieve this through providing a safe, secure place
where they feel a sense of belonging and feel loved and valued
And to develop the personal sense of power and to recognise that freedom is the handmaiden of responsibility to refine the attributes of thinking, feeling and willpower with a sense of fun and adventure.
We need to support students to support each other in their endeavours
And to recognize and work with the different intelligences inherent in every one
And to view these as assets both inside and outside the classroom.
We need to offer positive and timely feedback regarding our students work
To provide the very best quality instruction whilst facilitating appropriate challenges
And promote effective classroom interaction.

The road is long and hard. There are no shortcuts
We want to connect with each other in ways that are meaningful
We want to commit to each other in ways that empower all
Not only on a national level
And not only on a personal level
But on a soul level.

So let us begin. Let us embark upon our quest
Let our creativity become our journey and our goal
And enthusiasm and passion the path by which we achieve this
And let love be the map of the heart that will guide us.
Above are some personal characteristics and motivation for embarking upon the quest of becomming a Expert teacher.

Question 2: How do the theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky complement each other to provide the underpinning for the Constructivist Theory of Education?

Essentially the theories of Piaget and Vygotski complement each other in as much as Piaget asserts that the individual is the agent of cognitive development and Vygotski asserts that society is the agent of cognitive development. The theories of both men underpin the Constructivist Theory of Education in the following ways.

"Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice, first on a social level and later on an individual level, first between people / interpsychological, then inside the child / intrapsychological (aspects of Gardners 9 Intelligences Theory) This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory and the formation of concepts. All higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals (Wheatley’s Relationship Theory)" Vygotski (1978)

The second aspect of Vygotski’s theory is the idea that the potential for cognitive development depends on the Zone of Proximal Development, a level of development attained when children engage in social interaction. Full development of Z.P.D. depends on full social interaction. The range of skill that can be developed with adult guidance or peer collaboration exceeds what can be achieved alone (Constructivist education tenet)

(from (italics added by me)

Piaget explained the implications of his theory in all aspects of cognition, intelligence and moral development. His principles where 1. Children will provide different explainations of reality at different stages of cognitive development. 2. Cognitive development is facilitated by providing activities or situations that engage learners and require adaptation. 3. Learning materials and activities should involve the appropriate level of motor or mental operations for a child at a given age . 4. Use teaching methods that actively involve students and present challenges.

These aspects of Piaget's theory suggest the further work of Brunner's Constructivist Theory where learners construct new ideas or concepts based on their current/past knowledge; where the learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses and makes decisions relying on a cognitive structure to do so; and where the cognitive structure provides meaning and organization to experience and allows the individual to go beyond the information given.


Question 3: In the use of Board of Studies syllabuses, explain the use of the following documents at school level: Scope and Sequence, Teaching Programme, Assessment Program. Evaluate the part that each of these documents plays in determining what is taught?

Scope is time allocated to a topic.

Sequence is the order in which topics are taught.

Teaching Programme:

Assessment Program is the activities of a teacher to gain information about knowledge skills and attitudes of the students.

The role of the expert teacher is to take the sylabus as the 'clay' and mold it into excellent outcomes for students.

The expert teacher with relation to the syllabus does the following:

1: Deeper representations about teaching and learning

2: Problem solving

3: Anticipate plan and improvise as required by the situation

4: Identify what decisions are important and which are less important

5: Enhance surface and deep learning over and above syllabus requirements and recommendations.

(from Teachers_Make_a_Difference_Hattie.pdf)

BOS website -> Syllabus -> Local Resources and needs -> Scope and Sequence/Program/Assessment plan.


The scope and sequence of the BOS syallabus offers broad directions in what is taught and in what order. When I teach photography I refer back to the syllabus as terms of reference for covering all relevant and appropriate areas for student learning. It provides effective guidance to new teachers such as myself and a framework for which to build my teaching programme.

The teaching programme that I developed from the syllabus was made easier by using a grid of learning outcomes. I constructed imaginative lesson plans by utilising the recommendations of the syllabus and these have promoted students to explore their capabilities, and evaluate, create and reflect on the tasks.

The assessment program offers information about the knowledge skills and attitudes attained by students. Built into this assessment criteria is the evaluation of the program which determines my effectiveness as a teacher and the program I am presenting in whole or part. This provides insight into areas that work and areas that need further modification in order to promote effective learning outcomes.

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