Student projects

Talking about reflection

Final year BEd Primary students discuss their professional development as part of the EDUP4079 unit

Nicole Mooney

Nicole Mooney with her poster

As part of a professional experience coursework unit in their final year of study, the BEd Primary students have taken part in a challenging learning process that helped them to reflect on their professional development.

Each student created a poster that synthesised key ideas about graduate teacher standards. The poster had to be designed around a metaphor that represented the students’ individual teaching philosophy. Links needed to be made between research, theories, practice and evidence for the students to meet the criteria of the assessment task. So far this sounds like a standard kind of assessment task but the poster was only step one of the process. In the second part of the process, students also took part in a viva voce interview with their tutor. This step prompted students to reflect on the representation that they had created.

Feedback from the students showed that they found the viva voce to be a challenge but a wonderful opportunity to learn more about themselves. Student comments reveal the outcomes they perceive:

Detail of poster by Aimelyn Aquilino

Detail of poster by Aimelyn Aquilino

"The Viva Voce worked very effectively as a learning mechanism for several reasons. Firstly, it ensured that I had a deep knowledge of the poster I had created.. Secondly, the one-on-one nature of the Viva meant that the process could take on a more personal approach. Often, in group presentations to tutorial groups it easy to feel that you are presenting information purely for the purposes of being assessed. However whilst the Viva was an assessment, it felt much more like a conversation about my individual development as a teacher in relation to the Standards… Finally, the Viva worked effectively as a learning mechanism because it was much more formative than most assessments, in that I received immediate feedback about my poster and about the various points I was discussing, and I had the chance to clarify anything that wasn’t at first made evident. Overall the Viva Voce was a very worthwhile process, and one that I would implement in my own classroom."
Nicole Mooney

"The Viva Voce is typifies ‘assessment for learning’: while assessment is based on what students create, they must delve deeper into what they are presenting to justify what and why they have created specific features."Samantha Finnie