Module 4 Reflections

Reflection #1: What strategies for teaching later years students appeal to you? Why these ones – is it because of your preferred style of learning?

I am relieved to learn of the nine Marzano Strategies, how to implement them in the classroom and what is considered best practice and things to avoid. Marzano’s strategies and practical advice have given me a clearer understanding of how I can create an environment for learning, develop student understanding and extend and apply the new and existing knowledge of students (Overview Of Marzano’s Model Of Teaching Effectiveness, 2016). Furthermore, the readings (Work sheets don’t grow dendrites: 20 instructional strategies that engage the brain (Tate, 2003) and Instructional strategies that facilitate learning across content areas (Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), n.d.) were both excellent resources and I have been visualizing how I can incorporate the discussed strategies into my lesson plans and classroom.

For example, I feel confident using 5 of the 20 instructional strategies (e.g. discussion, drawing, writing, brainstorming, music (Tate, 2003)) since I have previously used them in group facilitations and presentations. I know I will need to work at reciprocal teaching, incorporating technology, storytelling, role-play and movement. In addition, I can definitely see myself using response notebooks in Psychology as a tool to teach reflection, observation and personal inquiry. I also think other formative assesment strategies that test student knowledge informally will be very useful to add to my repertoire of classroom tools e.g. anticipation guides, chapter tour, visualizing, semantic maps, graphic thinking organisers (CSDE, n.d.) and for critical thinking, analysis and evaluation the Walk this way-talk this way- look this way activity is ideal.

Reflection #2: Make your own notes about these strategies and how you think you would be able to use them in your teaching.

Note taking: Is something I feel I was not taught at school and at times I think I have worked less efficiently as a result. In Psychology there is a lot of reading and note taking. I want to ensure that my students learn how to take notes that make the most sense to them. I think the Cornell system could easily compliment Psychology teaching because of how it organizes information and trains you to reflect on what you’ve learnt straight after the class- writing down cues and a reflection and also gives clear instructions on how to organise notes (Cal Poly, 2016). However, for some students they might prefer the outlines method with its hierarchy of major points and supporting dot points (Frank, 2014). Also, some students find order and sense in mind mapping and flow charts so again it is my responsibility to teach various methods to help each student find what works for them (Frank, 2014)

Strategies for Student Centred Discussion (Teaching Channel, 2012):

  • Establish the learning goal(s)
  • Start with a period of student reflection in notebooks
  • Encourage students to share their thoughts
  • Ask a guiding question
  • Help students use textual evidence to support their opinions/ideas/claims
  • Support respectful speaking and listening (flexible communication and collaboration)
  • Introduce a focus lesson (2/3 way through lesson in the video)
  • Note: prepare as if you’re a participant- write your own responses and questions to the text

Edutopia has another amazing resource listing called ‘Rethinking Whole Class Discussions’ (Finley, 2013) with many different tools for creating successful classroom discussions.

I am very keen to use class discussions from day one in my lessons teaching psychology. Even without academic knowledge of the subject, we all have our own naïve psychological theories as to why people behave the way they do. This means that each student can share and we can discuss what we know, what we want to know and then how what we know is actually similar/different to what the science tell us for example. This makes for exciting, student involved/led learning!

Reflection #3: Read the following articles, noting points of interest and useful ideas you could incorporate in your teaching. 

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), (2016)  outlines three different approaches to learning. Understand which approach your students are using and how to help them move beyond a surface approach or an achieving approach to a deep learning approach. How can this be achieved?

RMIT (2014) recommends:

  • Actively involving students in their learning and assessment.
  • Engaging students in structured activities that are relevant to the course.
  • Engage students in reflective writing that personalizes their learning.
  • Provide a supportive environment.
  • Demonstrate passion for teaching the subject.
  • Design integrated assessments that enable students to connect new knowledge with other subject areas and/or existing personal interests.
  • Design assessments that engage students in problem solving by integrating new content knowledge with existing knowledge.


The Critical Thinking Community 

“Thinking is not driven by answers but by questions” (Critical Thinking Community, 2016) I think this is such an important point that we as teachers and lifelong learners need to remember and practice for the growth of our students and ourselves. How do we ask the right questions of our students, and importantly how do we create a space where our students feel safe enough to put themselves on the line and ask questions, to investigate ideas, to challenge new or existing concepts in their minds? Asking questions at school was something I never felt comfortable with. Maybe because I never felt safe at school before VCE I didn’t have the confidence to speak up or answer questions. But I definitely can see the power of good questioning by teachers and students to take learning from a teacher to student traditional transfer of knowledge to one where all participants in the room can be active learners and experts if you like. That’s exciting!

Reflection #4: Read through the resources below, taking your own notes about each of the approaches as you go.

Strategies for text book readings from Edutopia (Valencia, 2014):

Identify purpose: preview the material and make strategic selections of the material that align with the learning objectives. Give students a specific purpose so they know why they are reading and what they are supposed to learn. Help students prioritize what they need to learn.

Giving good reading homework instructions: Give clear, focused homework instructions for reading. Don’t just say, “Read chapter 12 for tomorrow” instead, you can use three parts to every homework instruction.

  1. The purpose for the reading
  2. How students should approach the reading
  3. And how they will use the information

Here is an example I have come up with for Psychology:

Tonight you will read pp.230-240 and 255-266 in Chapter 12. The purpose of this reading is to understand the causes of aggression. As you are reading, use the T Chart I will give you to keep track of the nature and nurture factors influencing aggression. When we come in tomorrow afternoon, we will divide into two teams, take roles and debate the reason for aggression from a nature perspective and a nurture perspective.

Students should come to class engaged in homework application and ready to use what they read at home.

Engage Students in Literacy and Writing (Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW, 2016)

  1. Prepare for reading

The teacher prepares students to understand a text before reading it.

  1. Detailed reading

The teacher guides and demonstrates to students how to read the text himself or herself, and how to find key information.

  1. Note-making

The students make notes from the information they have read. The teacher may recommend a particular note taking method and model it.

  1. Joint construction

The teacher engages the class in writing a new text through using the notes they have made.

Literacy is all subjects, and all subjects are literacy (Munro, n.d.)

Munro stresses the importance of raising the level of literacy in our schools and reminds us that reading and writing is fundamental across all departments in a school whether it be Science, Mathematic, History or Art.

Marking the text (Avid Weekly, n.d.)

Personally, I love this strategy particularly when I’m learning French and have a reading where there is a lot of new vocabulary and unfamiliar grammar. In a similar way, I could use this approach in readings associated to Psychology. Marking the text is a great way to involve students in active reading particularly if we were to look at an academic journal. What might at first seem overwhelming, with jargon and language we may not understand, can be broken down into achievable processes that lead to deeper learning and understanding.

Mark the Text Strategies (Avid Weekly, n.d.):

  1. Number the paragraphs – this means you can easily refer to them later.
  2. Circle Key Terms, Names of People, Names of Places, and or Dates
  3. Underline the author’s claim(s)
  4. Underline supporting information of relevance such as:

· Evidence
· Definitions
· Explanations
· Descriptions
· Data/Statistics 

Reflection #5: Read the following articles, compiling a list of strategies you could use to encourage active listening in your students.

Active Listening Tips from MindTools (Mindtools, 2016):

  1. Pay attention to the speaker(s)- body language, put aside-distracting thoughts or coming up with a response, face the speaker directly and don’t let other conversations take away from the speaker.
  2. Show that you’re listening– nod, smile, use little verbal comments that encourage the speaker like yes, mmm, uh huh that acknowledge what the speaker is saying.
  3. Provide feedback- paraphrase what the speaker has said, clarify understanding and summarise.
  4. Defer judgment- Allow the speaker to finish each point and refrain from interrupting with counter arguments.
  5. Respond appropriately- be honest, give your opinions respectfully and treat the other person as you’d like to be treated when you’re talking.

Faculty Focus’ Seven Strategies to Help Students Listen (Isis, 2012)

  1. Get to know your students and for them to know you.
  2. Talk less, by making them talk more in structured discussions (e.g. Think, pair, share).
  3. Let others do the talking
  4. Hold them accountable for listening- provide skeletal info on ppt slides so students have to listen and make their own notes
  5. You need to model good listening behaviour.
  6. Encourage your students to help each other listen.
  7. Keep them on their toes- don’t let class become a one-way transference of info from teacher to student. Engage your students with activities and class involvement so that no class is ever the same and no student can sit back and be passive-find ways to involve everyone.

ASC Distance education on empathetic listening (ACS Distance Education, 2016)

I found this website to be particularly useful understanding how listening can enhance relationships in the classroom. Firstly, it reduces tension and hostility between the teacher and student. Empathetic listening also promotes honest communication, building trust and confidence and enhances student self respect and friendliness among peers and teacher. It also keeps communication active, while giving the teacher time to clarify own thinking.

Effective Question- The Six Levels Based on Blooms Taxonomy (Shields, 2014) I found this blog post to useful, I’m literally going to paraphrase the contents. Questions from levels 1 – 3 are considered lower order questions, while those from levels 4-6 are higher order questions for critical thinking and creative problem solving.

Level 1: Remember – Recalling Information

Key words: Recognize, List, Describe, Retrieve, Name, Find, Match, Recall, Select, Label, Define, Tell

Question Starters:

  • What is…?
  • Who was it that…?
  • Can you name…?
  • Describe what happened after…
  • What happened after…?

Level 2: Understand – Demonstrate an understanding of facts, concepts and ideas

Key words: Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Describe, Interpret, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Translate, Summarize, Show, Classify

Question Starters:

  • Can you explain why…?
  • Can you write in your own words?
  • Write a brief outline of…
  • Can you clarify…?
  • Who do you think…?
  • What was the main idea?

Level 3: Apply – Solve problems by applying knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a unique way

Key words: Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Demonstrate, Develop, Draw, Experiment with, Illustrate, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize

Question Starters:

  • Do you know of another instance where…?
  • Demonstrate how certain characters are similar or different?
  • Illustrate how the belief systems and values of the characters are presented in the story.
  • What questions would you ask of…?
  • Can you illustrate…?
  • What choice does … (character) face?

 Level 4: Analyze – Breaking information into parts to explore connections and relationships

Key words: Analyze, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Discover, Divide, Examine, Group, Inspect, Sequence, Simplify, Make Distinctions, Relationships, Function, Assume, Conclusions

Question Starters:

  • Which events could not have happened?
  • If … happened, what might the ending have been?
  • How is… similar to…?
  • Can you distinguish between…?
  • What was the turning point?
  • What was the problem with…?
  • Why did… changes occur?

 Level 5: Evaluate – Justifying or defending a position or course of action

Key words: Award, Choose, Defend, Determine, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Measure, Compare, Mark, Rate, Recommend, Select, Agree, Appraise, Prioritize, Support, Prove, Disprove. Assess, Influence, Value

Question Starters:

  • Judge the value of…
  • Can you defend the character’s position about…?
  • Do you think… is a good or bad thing?
  • Do you believe…?
  • What are the consequences…?
  • Why did the character choose…?
  • How can you determine the character’s motivation when…?

 Level 6: Create – Generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things

Key words: Design, Construct, Produce, Invent, Combine, Compile, Develop, Formulate, Imagine, Modify, Change, Improve, Elaborate, Plan, Propose, Solve

Question Starters:

  • What would happen if…?
  • Can you see a possible solution to…?
  • Do you agree with the actions?…with the outcomes?
  • What is your opinion of…?
  • What do you imagine would have been the outcome if… had made a different choice?
  • Invent a new ending.

What would you cite to defend the actions of…?

I am definitely going to use this resource for when I am planning my classroom discussions for my year 11 Psychology classes.

Reflection #6: Identify the key features of wait time that you could use in your teaching.

Wait time (Fletcher-Wood, 2013)

Wait time is a strategy for delaying the period of time between asking your students a question and getting more thoughtful responses.

Increasing wait time by three seconds has great results:

  • Decreases failed responses
  • Increases number of volunteers
  • More detailed, thoughtful responses
  • Students more able to back up responses with evidence

Kaizen’s 6 ways to implement Time Delay

  1. Ok students, I’m waiting for more hands. I’d like to see at least 15 before I hear any answers.
  2. I’m waiting for someone to connect X with Y (Question prompting).
  3. Ok, I’m seeing people go back to the chapter, this is also a good idea (guidance).
  4. Alright, people are starting to think deeply and some people are jotting down notes, I’ll give everyone a few more seconds to do that (note taking).
  5. I’ll start taking answers in 10 seconds (count down).
  6. I’m starting to see more hands now, four, five, eight people, great. Seems you’re starting to get comfortable taking a risk.

I can definitely use Kaizen’s strategies that are very practical and could be implemented in any classroom setting.

Reflection #7: Identify 3 active learning strategies you can use with later years students in your subject area. An internet search will give many subject specific examples.

I found some amazing active learning strategies that can be used for teaching numerous concepts in psychology. I have included three of them (Association for Psychological Science, APS, 2016).

Personality Theories

Give me a dozen healthy infants…

Rationale: This activity can highlight the tenets and criticisms of radical behaviorism and the nature-nurture debate.


  1. After reviewing operant conditioning or Skinner’s radical behaviorism, present the class with Watson’s (1924/1930) quote as a prompt:

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar man and thief regardless of his (sic) talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities…(p. 104)

  1. Divide the class into small groups and inform the groups that they are about to discover a baby left in a basket on their doorstep.
  2. Distribute handouts to each group that include a picture of the baby along with a set of instructions from the parents informing the group of what they would like their child to become (e.g., “Please raise Samantha to become an anxiety-prone mail carrier who is a good writer”).
  3. Inform students that they are only to use operant conditioning principles in raising the baby. After giving the groups 10-15 minutes to work on this, have each report back to the class as to how they used operant conditioning and manipulated the environment to “engineer” the infant’s personality.
  4. Pose questions to the class regarding the degree to which they think these principles alone can shape personality and what problems they might expect with this approach.

Mixing up “negative” and “positive” personality characteristics provides an opportunity to discuss the notion that Skinner and Watson would say that both are developed in the same way — through reinforcement and modification of the environment.

Child Development

What’s in a game?

Rationale: To get students thinking about the cognitive abilities that characterize various stages of child development.

  1. Bring in an assortment of children’s puzzles and games with the age ranges obscured.
  2. If the game is unfamiliar to the class describe the format and objectives of the game.
  3. Ask the class what the appropriate age-range is for the game and why they think that is the appropriate range.
  4. Additionally, ask them to indicate what skills the game requires of the child (e.g., reading, logical problem solving, cooperation).
  5. To make the activity more fun, you can solicit volunteers to demonstrate some of the games in front of class.

Abnormal Psychology

Imagine you have been diagnosed…

Rationale: To have students reflect on the personal experience of mental illness at the beginning of the unit.

  1. Randomly distribute papers that indicate that each student has just been diagnosed with a particular disorder (e.g., schizophrenia, major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, anorexia, antisocial personality disorder).
  2. Each student responds in writing to a series of questions about what types of symptoms they think they might experience, what they think it would be like to have this disorder, and how friends and family members might react to them once they have been diagnosed.
  3. In the next class, students find the other students “diagnosed” with the same disorder and discuss their answers (with the caveat that they not self-disclose information they are not comfortable sharing).
  4. Groups then report to the class what types of symptoms they think the disorder entails and how this disorder might impact a person’s life.

This can also serve to dispel misconceptions, provide information about disorders, and preview material that will be covered in the course.


Active Listening: Hear What People are Really Saying. (2016). Retrieved 31 March 2016, from

Finley, T. (2013). Rethinking Whole Class DiscussionEdutopia. Retrieved 22 March 2016, from

Fletcher-Wood, H. (2013). Before you say anything – count to three…. Improving Teaching. Retrieved from

Frank, T. (2014). How to Take Notes in Class: The 5 Best Methods – College Info GeekYouTube. Retrieved 23 May 2016, from

I’d Like to Use Active Learning… But What Can I Do? – Association for Psychological Science. (2016). Retrieved 29 March 2016, from

Instructional Strategies That Facilitate Learning Across Content Areas. (n.d.) (1st ed.). Conneticut. Retrieved 31 March 2016 from http://Instructional Strategies That Facilitate Learning Across Content Area 

Isis Artze-Vega, E. (2012). Active Listening: Seven Ways to Help Students Listen, Not Just Hear.Faculty Focus. Retrieved 30 March 2016, from

Listening Skills for Teachers, How to Listen, How to Communicate. (2016). Retrieved 24 April 2016, from

Literacy and numeracy – Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW. (2016) Retrieved 30 March 2016, from

Marking the Text. (2016) (1st ed.). Retrieved 29 March 2016 from

Munro, J. Improving literacy in the secondary school : An information to knowledge innovation(1st ed.). Melbourne: University of Melbourne. Retrieved from

Note Taking Systems – Academic Skills Center: Study Skills Library – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. (2016). Retrieved 29 March 2016, from

Overview Of Marzano’s Model Of Teaching Effectiveness. (2016). Retrieved 1 April 2016, from

Shields, T. (2016). 38 QUESTION STARTERS BASED ON BLOOM’S TAXONOMY. Curriculet. Retrieved from

Strategies for Student-Centered Discussion. (2012). Teaching Channel. Retrieved 23 March 2016, from

Students’ approaches to learning | University of Technology Sydney. (2016). Retrieved 30 March 2016, from

Tate, M. (2003). Worksheets don’t grow dendrites : 20 instructional strategies that engage the brain. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.

Transnational Teaching Quick Guide. (2014) (1st ed.). Melbourne. Retrieved from

Valencia, S. (2014). When High School Students Struggle with Textbook ReadingEdutopia. Retrieved 30 March 2016, from





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