For the first time ever, Virtual School Victoria (VSV) hosted a pre-service teacher as part of their teaching rounds.
Eileen Xie, who is in her final year of a Master of Teaching (Primary) degree at Monash University, recently completed an eight-day placement with VSV.
Mentored by Anthea Barrett, VSV’s Primary School Leader, Eileen spent most of her time in the Year 5 and 6 teaching team.
Eileen described the experience as “invaluable” and was particularly impressed with how VSV modifies programs to support students.
‘While I have learnt about this in theory, it was very helpful to see how it works in practice,’ said Eileen.
‘I was amazed by all the time and effort that teaching and support teams put into adjusting and tailoring lesson plans for individual students to maximise learning.’
The amount of one-on-one communication between teachers and students challenged Eileen’s assumptions about virtual learning.
‘Before my experience with VSV, I assumed that teachers would lose a certain degree of communication with students when teaching online. Teachers might not get to know students as much because they do not get to see the students every day. However, my time with VSV showed me that this is not the case,’ she said.
‘VSV teachers conduct weekly catch-ups with the students to check how they are progressing, in the way each student feels most comfortable, whether it be over the phone or through a video call.’
Eileen also enjoyed seeing students share ideas and interact through a range of drawing and annotating tools on Webex and Padlet.
During her placement, Eileen was involved in a variety of activities including:
• observing online classes, a literacy support session, and one-on-one Webex meetings with students
• attending a range of meetings with teaching and wellbeing/inclusion staff
• marking samples of students’ work and then receiving professional feedback from her mentor
• planning and delivering two online classes with the support of the Year 5 and 6 teaching team
• reviewing and discussing documents on how to modify a learning program or a subject for eligible students.
Virtual School Victoria Principal, Fiona Webster, said she was delighted to offer a pre-service teacher the opportunity of better understanding virtual learning and teaching.
‘The pandemic has highlighted the importance of teachers understanding key concepts of virtual learning and teaching.
‘As the leading F-12 school specialising in virtual and blended learning, we are looking forward to being part of the educational journeys of more pre-service teachers and sharing our extensive knowledge of best-practice virtual learning and teaching,’ she said.
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