A theory that is often used within a classroom setting is Ivan Pavlov’s theory of Classical Conditioning, where a student is rewarded for good work and are conditioned to be able to work to a certain ability, often there is a stimulus for the student to be rewarded but in many ways, this can cause for a negative long-term effect for the student as they many do the work primarily for the reward aspect (Churchill, et al., 2015). Within schools, I have witnessed this theory be used in a positive aspect as the students become highly engaged in the content to ensure that they are given a reward. But one of the first negative experiences that I had as a teacher was at a special needs school which had a wide range of disabilities. The school did cater to the needs of the students but due to range of behaviorisms at the school, it did cause for some of the students to become unstable and violent. On one of the days, a student was able to complete a task but due to not getting a reward star, the student became violent which ending becoming very violent and hurt themselves extremely bad. Because of this experience, it caused me to reflect on the on the teaching methods that are used within schools; in this particular case, it portrayed Pavlov’s theory of Classical Conditioning. In this situation, Pavlov’s theory of Classical Conditioning was used negatively as this resulted in the wellbeing of the students being put at risk due to this student becoming violent towards the academic environment (Churchill, et al., 2015). As per the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), the wellbeing and safety of students are the top priority within a school (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). This meaning that this theory of Classical Conditioning does have negative connotations as it does not ensure that the students will only react in a positive manner. With this being stated, due to the school being a school that caters for special needs the teachers would need to adapt their own teaching abilities to ensure that all the students would be able to grow and evolve in a learning environment (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).


One of the most important ideologies of teaching that I believe in is Bandura’s Social Cognitive theory as it attempts to aid the student’s self-belief and worth within an educational setting. As it reflects on observation and imitation, it supports students who are visual learners as they mimic the appropriate responses from the teacher and allows for a deeper understanding. In the classroom, I have experienced this in a positive manner in a special needs school. The intention of the class was to support students that have issues with conveying and identifying emotions. In this particular class, the main emotion that was focused on was anxious. As the teacher, support teacher and I acted out the emotion by portraying it with our body language and facial expressions, the students were able to mimic our actions and gain an insight into what anxiety was. Initially, we played a video that explained what feeling anxious was like both mentally and physically and then having the students reenact this emotion, it allowed for the students to understand what feeling anxious looked like as well as recognize what it felt like. After portraying this emotion as a dramatization, one of the students came up to the support teacher and I to explain that she felt this emotion when she had to sing or dance in class; with expressing this emotion it allowed for us to gain a deeper insight into psyche of this student who struggled with conveying her own emotions (Churchill, et al., 2015). In this circumstance, the APST were met as the students were given a lesson to help develop their emotions and how they behave can convey certain notions for others. (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012) With this class, the teachers were ensuring that the safety of the students were met as well as help create a secure learning environment as these students learnt how to convey this emotion rather than having a breakdown nor panic attack which would affect the entire classroom environment both socially and physically (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).

Anxious Video Below:


On the other hand, in a mainstream school in which I taught at use other techniques and theories to aid in the classroom setting. Within a junior year of high school, the teachers were using more a stimulating class by asking student rhetorical questions and making them create their own ideals and arguments. At this school, I was teaching English to junior classes and I was informed by the head of department that the way that English was run at this school was based off the students’ ideas and thoughts that are guided by the teacher rather than being instructed what was the main themes and arguments; this making the students create and develop their own higher order of thinking. In this aspect, notions of Jean Piaget’s theory of Cognitive development was displayed in this particular setting (Churchill, et al., 2015). As Piaget’s theory of Cognitive development challenges the notion that some children have intelligence than others as learning is a process that every child undertakes; it just depends on how well the child has been able to understand the content. Therefore in this school, the use of the Cognitive development theory was implemented very well but does have its limitations as the chosen text for this class was quite difficult and many of the students required the audio book version so that they would be able to understand the context. Although with these classes being student centered, it allows for the teacher to gain an understanding of how well they have comprehended the unit or text overall but miscommunication from the students can cause the wrong notions to be brought up (Churchill, et al., 2015). Even though this is effective short term, it can portray the teacher as being lazy or neglectful as they are not being as dutiful towards the students as they should be; this ultimately means that the teacher is disregarding the APST as both the academic growth and wellbeing of the students may be affected negatively (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).


Classrooms in the present day tend to be more diverse than in the last century due to immigration over the last fifty years; this means that for teachers there will be multiple cultures, religions and beliefs in any given school. In some schools, there will be more diverse schools because of socio-economic backgrounds but regardless a teacher must ensure that they do not offend, disrespect or alienate any student (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012). One of my experiences with educating students with diversity was with the biography “The Happiest Refugee” written by Anh Do. With studying this novel, many of the students had a few revelations due to the direct and in-direct issues of racism that has affect the author. This impact of understanding the causes and effects of racism on the students forced them to have a deeper understanding of the peers and the society as it may change the way that they act or think about different cultures. This class reminded me more so Jane Elliot’s social experiment “Blue eyes- Brown eyes” rather than pedagogical approaches as it forces students to understand the impact of their actions and opinions (Churchill, et al., 2015). I believe this fundamental for teaching as students should not be neglected or alienated due to their race or religion; which relates directly back to the APST as racism or prejudices cannot be held accountable within a classroom (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2012).  This experience of watching the students react the consequences of racism was one of the most fulfilling as many of students had diverse backgrounds and realized how societies can be divided due to differing beliefs. With studying this biography, the students had studied “To Kill a Mockingbird” but to put it into a modern content and local, I believe and a greater impact on the students.

Blue Eye Brown Eye experiment below:


Teaching Philosophy

In the 21st century, teachers are now expected to more than just an individual in classroom. They are to be a mentor, innovator and role model for their students which I believe is this to be true. As a teacher, I believe we should not only be giving the content the students the content that they need to pass their education but also be giving students life advice and introducing and being a student’s self-standards and ideals that they will be able to achieve their goals. Teachers need to aid students not only academically but also emotionally, physiologically and spiritually as the relationship between a student and teacher is critical to the way that a student will learn (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016). Whether a student learns visually or orally, a teacher must ensure that all students are accommodated as many of the lessons should vary to ensure that all learning styles are being attended to.


Students learn in multiple ways which may cause for a teacher to change the way that they conduct a classroom. As a teacher, I tend to lean towards more of a collaborative teaching with the students. When participating in collaborative learning in subjects such as English and history, as a teacher you need to ensure that you do not offend or put on a students’ ideas or thinking as it often does reflect on their cultural and social upbringing (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016). This ultimately incorporates Lev Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory as it separates the academic levels of students which a teacher must accommodate for (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016). As a teacher, I believe this is one of the most important foundations of a classroom as a student’s culture and religious beliefs should not affect the way in which a teacher communicates with a student otherwise, it will often lead to a student being alienated which can cause physiological distress on a student, this theory works in relationship to Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive theory as it aids in achieving a student’s motivation and self-efficacy (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016). As there will be students that are uninterested in education, a teacher needs to attempt to obtain attention and engagement with these students but that will not occur if the student’s wellbeing is not highlighted as a priority. Likewise, implementing other theories such as Erik Erikson’s personal development theory will aid in the way that a student does function within a classroom as well as grow as an individual (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016).


With these social theories, Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism reflects on the manner of education and learning being either a positive or negative an experience within a classroom setting (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2016). As a teacher, I do rely on this theory to improve my own teaching ability as my intention is to ensure that the students I teach do have a positive experience in my class and are able to grow and learn from the lessons that I have created. As this is a process, it means as a teacher that all the classes must be engaging and intellectually stimulative for the students.

Professional Profile

My name is Riley and I’ve been studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Secondary Education through the Australian Catholic University. I am a third-year student that has been placed on two different practicums; one being at a special needs school and the other being a public co-ed high school. I have worked in retail for the last 4 years which has helped me as a teacher understand the ways to deal with range of  diverse people. Alongside these settings, I have been a coach for netball for the last five years and mentor for children learning how to umpire as I am a National C badged umpire. This has helped understand the way that teenagers act and behave in different types of environments.

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Summative Blog

The human and artistic concerns of both the Romantic and Victorian Ages are similar to our own concerns; the response to those concerns- given by poets, novelists, dramatists and artists- can help us live fuller, more meaningful and creative lives in our own times.


Concerns surrounding how society has become so “machine-like” and materialistic has not only been expressed in modern day society but since the Romantic and Victorian Ages. Many artists, poets and authors have been warning their audience of the results of these issues by expressing their ideas of the purpose and meaning of life. For the audience, they can gain a deeper understanding of why having meaningful and creative life ensures that an individual has lived their life as fulfilling as possible. Though Romantic and Victorian novels and works are based off differencing motions and ideals, they both look into the issues that are at hand within their societies such as materialism and ignorance.


In the Romantic era, authors and artists drew their main focus onto their surrounding environments and how they have neglected their sense of nature and how individuals have become selfish. Poets such as William Wordsworth and William Blake delve into the ideals of nature and how we should stay connected with our heritage rather than become absorbed by society’s new morals and structure. Particularly, Wordsworth’s poem “Resolution and Independence” written in 1800, explores how society’s illusions and expectations society have had an impact on the way that an individual views the world from their own perspective. With the word choices of “fears” and “fancies” in the fifth stanza of the poem, Wordsworth intends to show the audience the distress that can be caused by an individual’s imagination as well as the joy. He continues to discuss the struggle of surviving in this environment.

“Far from the world I walk, and from all care; But there may come another day to me – Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty”


This poem also relates to the artwork John Seymour Lucas’ “The Gordon Riots 1780” as Lucas portrays the issues of the 19th century, depicting the fight for peace and a meaningful life style for all social classes. This shows that the issues that the authors were expressing were the same as the artists as they both want their audiences to live more meaningful and creative lives regardless of the time period.


With the despair of the writers of the 19th century, Charles Dicken’s Hard Times and George Eliot’s Silas Marner both focus the social structure of society and how materialism is controlling their ideologies. Dicken’s main protagonist Sissy comes from an outcast sub-group within her society, the gyspies and is portrayed as different throughout the whole novel; but she has the ability to grow and develop her own spiritual wisdom unlike those who have confronted to society. The juxtaposition between Sissy and Gradgrind emphasises the concerns that Dickens does have for the obsession of materialism. Dickens does express his concerns for society through the    use of his character as he portrays his ideas of the purpose and meaning of life; this allowing the audience to gain an understanding of what Dickens wanted to convey. Similarly, Eliot expresses the same issues through the comparison of characters such as Godfrey, Silas Marner and Eppie as they had all under gone different upbringings but how their outlook of life was completely different to one another. Eliot and Dickens both use the symbolic image of a child in their works to show the innocence of the human essence before it becomes consumed by the beliefs and morals of their society.

Therefore, authors and artists from the 19th century wish to express their concerns for humanity through their works and hope that their intended audience can live more meaningful and creative lives and not be consumed by materialistic ideals.

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Placement 7

This week, due to complications, I had to be look after my class with one other teacher. When usually we have four people looking after, this was difficult but I realised that this week that I can control and teach a classroom.

The class that the teacher and I had to discuss was emotions. It was interesting because we had delved into the ideas of the emotion “Excited”. One thing that stood out for me in this was that these students, even though they have different learner needs and environments, were engaged by how to show and react to emotions. This to me, showed that some contents that teachers have to educate can be universal regardless of the the leader needs and communities. There was some issues with two of the students but I was told to look after one in particular who wanted to leave the class and continually tried to escape the room.

For me, it showed that I was able to convince the student to go back and engage in the class but also stand my ground as the student did throw a tantrum over not getting her way. Personally, this placement has been the most interesting and educational for me.

Peer Review 7

Hi Victoria,
Wonderful blog this week, you really captured the essence of Silas Marner and how the working class does have a more clear insight into the purpose and meaning of life. I did the same question as you this week; but I chose to write to Nancy. One thing in particular I enjoyed about your post was the ironic use of gold in the way you describe Eppie as the gold that Godfrey gave to the poor. This image reminds me of Robin Hood as he takes from the rich and gives to the poor. The false idea of Godfrey’s “fatherhood” is an interesting concept that show portray in your blog. Your structure is precise and clear making your work easy to follow. Like stated before from Annaliese, an image would be nice but apart from that, your blog this week was a joy to read.
Keep up the good work.

Blog 8, Week 10

What can you find out about Tolstoy’s belief in the value of the working class?


Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy’s belief of the working class is that they have more of a realistic and wholesome life when compared to the upper class. In his short story Master and Man, he delves into the psychology of both the upper class and the working lower class. Similar to Charles Dicken’s novel Hard Times, where it is portrayed that Sissy has something over the Gradgrind family as she does not act for the benefit of herself but for others. Showing that Sissy is the living example of the essence of human nature, this is comparable to Tolstoy’s Master and Man as Nikita is portrayed in a similar way that he can live his life to the fullest, unlike Vasili until the end of the story. As Vasili can understand the purpose of human existence is to act and aid others unlike acting for one’s own desires and wishes. This meaning that Tolstoy uses the idea and imagery of the working class to express that acting for the integrity of others is fundamental to the human essence rather than acting and benefiting one’s self.

One theme that was also portrayed in Tolstoy short story, the death of Ivan Ilyich, explores the materialism and self-centeredness of the upper class. Through the juxtaposition between Praskovya being portrayed as self-absorbed and high demanding while Ivan is portrayed as a mundane person but being decent. This again is similar to Dickens’ Hard Times as Mrs Gradgrind is presented as a high demanding individual that acts purely for her own needs and wants, unlike Sissy who attempts to aid Mrs Gradgrind and Louisa.

Both Tolstoy and Dickens write about the working class having a type of virtue that the upper class is unable to require. With this, both authors write from different contexts and issues that were happening during the 19th century but write about the importance of the human essence and how society has become greedy and materialistic.


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Placement 6

This week was different to the previous placements that I had done. This week, I had to go with some of the students and take them to Coles, so that they gain a realistic experience of going to the shops and being independent. I found this really insightful as many of the students did this with ease while others did struggle. I was allocated two students, so that I directed them through the shop while being there to help them just in case they felt overwhelmed or stressed. The two girls I was with were able to go shopping very well but only got confused when it came down to what brand of the products they were meant to buy.

I found that this experience opened my eyes as it showed me what the wider society thought of these students. Some were very open and gentle towards the children while others were ignoring them. I think that this experience will help me in my teaching practice as it made me realise the impact that opinions and prejudices have on the students as some felt very exposed and unwelcome by the others in the shops.

Peer Review 6

Hi Louisa,

I felt that in your blog this week captured the essence of the Romantic period. The imagery that you created within your work was beautiful and reminded me of my childhood of being in the country. I quite enjoyed how you related yourself to be a kelpie; this type of dog being primarily used as a working animal and that was very similar to what Wordsworth was trying to expose within his works. I don’t have anything negative to say about your post but I wish to congratulate you in recreating the Romantic period of literature within an Australian context. Look forward to more of your posts.


Blog 7, Week 9

Write a letter to any one of the following four characters telling them what you think of their choices in chapter 19 of the novel: Godfrey, Silas, Nancy and Eppie.


To my dearest Nancy,

I wish to discuss with you a matter that has risen. The issue of whom little Eppie’s father is or should be has come about in the town. I heard that you wished for this girl to be your own and that you and your husband reached out to Silas Marner. Why would you want this child, of all the children in the world, why Silas’ treasure?

I understand that you feel the need do have a motherly duty for a child but what I wish to understand is your behaviour in this situation. I’ve heard through the streets that the opium addict was once engaged or married to your Godfrey! And as a result, Eppie came into this world. I understand that you wish to stay and be loyal by your husband’s side but I think that is dreadful. You understand that your husband left that child alone and in the dark but now that she is almost a woman; he seeks to have this child returned to him? He has missed his chance of fatherhood, as he has neglected his duty as a father long ago yet you stay by his side when he wants to have Eppie returned to him after she is grown. Silas, even though he is from a working background, has been the father to this girl and raised to be his own. Unlike Godfrey who believes he can leave the child with a man to raise like his own and later snatch it away from a loving father; to turn him into a despondent man.

From what the town is saying, Eppie rejected your proposal of being welcomed into the Cass family. The word is that Godfrey stormed away from Silas and Eppie’s home, I hope you did not act in such a foolish way. What else was he to expect, that the girl would move into a house full of strangers? To lose the only person who loved her? Eppie’s duty, like yours, is to stay by the most important man in her life as we all know that Silas is not in the best condition. That she would desert Silas after everything, he has done. Abandon her father for a false loving one?

I hope you have listened to what I have stated today; I say this out of the utmost respect that I have for you. I do wish the best for you in the future.

Kind Regards,



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