On the 29th of October 2018- I embarked on my first university placement. I was nervous, terrified and excited all at once. This was a new territory for me as I am originally from the East coast; this meant a big change for me. I was placed in a local catholic school from which I had … Continue reading Reflections on Placement →
On the 29th of October 2018- I embarked on my first university placement. I was nervous, terrified and excited all at once. This was a new territory for me as I am originally from the East coast; this meant a big change for me. I was placed in a local catholic school from which I had a short walk each morning. For the first week, I was in with a Primary 4 class and in my second week I was in with a Primary 6 class. I enjoyed my time in my placement and learned many things from this experience that I will use to develop my practice for the future.
A strength that I believe I portrayed well was my facial expressions, each morning I would always smile, welcome the children with a warm “hello”. This really helped me integrate with the class as when I was first introduced, this eased the general class tension. I personally found this to be extremely important as I was guest in the school, therefore, making this a positive experience from the beginning meant that the kids would feel comfortable to ask for my help. Another strength was my body language- I ensured this as from recent learning in our module “situated communication” I am developing my knowledge of good body language. I always tried to seem engaged as this would mirror onto the children.
A developmental weakness I learnt about myself was my lack of confidence especially when working with older years. I felt this stemmed from my height as I am 5’1 ft and I look young, so this made me feel less confident working with the Primary 6’s. I knew this was an irrational fear of mine, yet it did play upon my mind especially one afternoon when there was an elective class with the primary 7’s. Luckily I did have a pair comfy heels I could wear to placement this eased my anxiety a little as I was now the same height as the tallest Primary 6 child. Another developmental weakness I noticed was use of language. I used a lot of filler short words such as ‘erm’, ‘like’ and ‘um’; this is a bad habit of mine especially the word ‘like’ I use this quite a lot. For example in maths, I was explaining to a young girl about when multiplying by then 10 you need to remember to move the decimal place, I found this hard to explain without using these filler words.
My action plan is to take my strengths and develop these even further, but also to work on my weaknesses. To build up my confidence, I spoke to my lecturer and to the teacher I worked with. My lecturer suggested that improving my stance and posture would help me and I would naturally feel more confident. The teacher I worked with also understood my insecurities, and she told me that from her experience, dressing up a little bit more may make someone seem more serious. She stated that when she had taught older years in the past and felt this way, she would buy something like a blazer and she felt she was ‘dressing for business’. To improve my use of conversational filler I could watch my pace and slow down my speaking as I will have more opportunity to think about what I am saying to avoid these habits.
The last 2 weeks have flown by. I didn’t think you could learn so much in such a small amount of time within a school but I certainly did and I enjoyed every minute of it. STRENGTH ORGANISATION… Before going on placement I tried to get prepared (as much as I could) before I went. … Continue reading “Reflections on Placement”
The last 2 weeks have flown by. I didn’t think you could learn so much in such a small amount of time within a school but I certainly did and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Before going on placement I tried to get prepared (as much as I could) before I went. Prior to placement, I only found out my school a week before and so I was very anxious. However, as soon as I knew my school I researched as much as I could on the school website and by phoning the head teacher. I printed out sheets which gave a summary of what each class was doing this term which allowed me to get an insight of what they were going to be up to when placement quickly came around. I then arranged a pre-placement day, which I recommend doing as it made me feel much more relaxed and even more excited to get started. They showed me around the school and met all the class teachers. I had made up a pack for the class teacher that included my 8 placement tasks, observation record sheets and some personal details – this was complimented on on my report. I also tried to be as organised as I could so I would be able to soak as much knowledge and skills in the classroom from the shadowing the teacher without having to stress about all the placement tasks *until I got home*. When I got home, I made time to transfer all my notes I had written that day onto my laptop and started to compile them into more structured answers to complete my placement tasks.
AREA FOR DEVELOPMENT
USING HAND GESTURES…
As the days went on, the teacher began to involve me much more with presenting and communicating with the whole class. This involved taking a small lesson based on firework safety, using the board below to help spark ideas for their writing task (excuse the pun). Also whilst in the Primary 7 class I led a single word spelling test of 25 words. I had to make sure I was clear and precise in my pronunciation. However, something that was picked up on on my report and peer observation (completed by a teacher) was that I should use hand gestures to contribute to my communication more. On reflection I do understand the importance of doing so as I observed the teacher and the classes attention and eyes were drawn in by the teachers movement of hands. After I had been given this feedback, I was offered to lead a class health and wellbeing lesson. I took the advice on board and made conscious awareness of my hand gestures. I noticed that the class began to listen more carefully to instructions and understood the task more.
The way I think I’m going to improve on the area for development is sheerly through practice and growth of confidence. I will also try and add as much in to my oral presentation too and this will hopefully help emphasise points and making and mirror my enthusiasm to the audience.
For the last two weeks I have been on placement in a local Primary School. During this placement I had the pleasure of observing a Primary 3/4 class, I really enjoyed this experience as it gave me a feel for … Continue reading →
For the last two weeks I have been on placement in a local Primary School. During this placement I had the pleasure of observing a Primary 3/4 class, I really enjoyed this experience as it gave me a feel for what it will be like being a Primary School teacher, it also allowed me to reflect on my skills and also consider aspects of my communication I need to work on.
I believe one of my strengths to be how I demonstrated my active listening to the children through kneeling down, nodding my head and asking further questions to the statements they would give me. I believe this is a strength of mine as I had a peer observation where it was highlighted that a strength of mine was kneeling down to pupils when I spoke to them, the teacher I was with also complimented how I would always ask questions after a child told me something hence why I think my demonstration of active listening through forms of verbal and non-verbal communication is a key strength of mine. I took a group of Primary 3s for reading and I would always give them 5 minuets before we started to talk about what the book was about and I would ensure I nodded my head when they were speaking so they knew I was listening to them, once they were done I’d encourage more of a discussion by asking more questions about what they just told me so they knew I’d listened and I’d get more responses.
AREA OF MOST PROGRESS
I would say I have progressed in the amount of times I say words such as ‘um’ and ‘eh’. Doing the story telling task I got helpful feedback from my peers that I would do this a lot and it came off as though I wasn’t as confident and it looked unprofessional. The feedback from that helped me when I was on placement as I noticed I did this a lot less, the first week on placement I was still saying those phrase regularly but the more I noticed it the more I stopped it and by the second week I had said them a lot less. I was reading to the Primary 3s again and I messed up a word, usually I would’ve been like “oh, eh I meant…” but I noticed this and just paused and re-read the word over correctly.
AREA REQUIRING PROGRESS
The area I need to work on the most is my volume. I would say I do talk at an adequate volume most of the time but I can get quiet. When the class volume starts to pick up I can’t match it or talk above it. My peer noticed this as well as I did, I had to take a group to another room to go on the computers and they began to get very noisy and I tried to tell them to quieten down but I didn’t raise my voice enough so they continued to talk, I did go over and tell the nosier 3 pupils to lower the volume and then the class were able to hear me. Volume is a challenge for me as I don’t want to shout so I get too anxious to raise my voice slightly when I know it needs to be raised.
I plan to develop my strength by ensuring I keep on doing this when I am able to. I also plan to read more things aloud to practice hearing my voice aloud and playing around with it so I can hear how loud I can go without shouting, reading things like books aloud will also help me to continue to progress in saying ‘uh’,’eh’ and ’em’ less often.
I did complete and get experience of everything I was expected to do. I managed to achieve these expectations pretty easily without many obstacles, one obstacle would perhaps be with regards to getting information for my sheets as we had 4 maths tasks to complete and due to show rehearsals and mass my class missed a lot of their maths time, I did observe some maths lessons and had enough information to complete them but it was a slight obstacle. Another obstacle for me was the staff room, I spoke to some teachers easily but others I found it harder to talk to, I would try to hold a conversation but a lot of the staff room conversations were about rooms and rehearsals and who is doing what so it was harder to be in the discussion as I didn’t work there and know those things, but generally I would find things to talk to the staff about, however by the second week it got easier as I was beginning to know how the school worked and the different classes. The class teacher I was with introduced me to staff which really helped me fulfill the expectation of talking to staff as more of them had an idea of who I was and why I was there and felt comfortable talking to me.
On the 29th October, I began my first student teacher placement for two weeks! I worked with the primary 3 class on week 1 and for week 2 I worked in a composite class of primary 5/6, which allowed me to see a variety of teaching styles and methods. I had the opportunity of going […]
On the 29th October, I began my first student teacher placement for two weeks! I worked with the primary 3 class on week 1 and for week 2 I worked in a composite class of primary 5/6, which allowed me to see a variety of teaching styles and methods. I had the opportunity of going on school trips during my placement and this experience was really interesting to see how both the pupils and teachers act outwith the classroom environment. Throughout both weeks, I worked closely with small groups of pupils who needed more support. This challenged me to think about my oral language to ensure that I used language that they understood, in order to engage the pupils and work effectively with them.
- Well-Spoken – good pace, clear voice, good pronunciation –
- Eye Contact and Facial Expressions
When working with small groups, especially for the primary 3 class, I spoke clearly and at a slow pace to ensure that the pupils could understand everything that I was saying. The class teacher pointed out that I was a good role model by pronouncing all my words correctly, because many pupils have poor speech mainly due to the fact that they don’t get corrected at home, in most cases. I made good use of eye contact with children and in doing this I also received good eye contact back from the pupils which showed me they were listening. I was engaging positively with the children through my effective use of facial expressions to show my feelings about their effort when working in the groups.
Areas of Most Progress
- Use of Language
During my two weeks on placement, I realised how important enthusiasm is in the school environment. Through discussion with class teachers they explained to me how much of teaching is acting and putting on a show in order to engage the pupils and provide a safe, positive environment for them (which they might not all get at home.) With the primary 3 class, the enthusiasm came quite natural to me and i found it much easier to convey to them than i did to the primary 6. At first, I was unsure how to show enthusiasm with the upper classes because I didn’t want to come across as patronising. Throughout my second week with the primary 5/6 class, I became more comfortable with showing enthusiasm to older pupils and noticed that the main way to do this was to involve them in discussion and show your interest in their thoughts. I also think I coped well at using the correct language for the different levels and stages I worked with. I was challenged to try and find more than one way to explain something so that another pupil could understand and this is something that came up quite often. The more experienced i had with this, the more comfortable I was which increased my confidence.
Area Requiring Progress
- Projecting my voice and using a wider range of tones
- to use more body language e.g) gestures
After discussing with the class teacher, we both agreed on these areas of development. The teacher explained that she found it quite hard to observe this because I was never addressing the whole class and only ever worked with small groups in a quite area so there was no need for me to use a louder voice. I admitted that I found it hard to know where I stood in the classroom, as I have had previous experience working in a school as a helper but this was my first time portraying the teacher role.
I think that my areas of development and confidence will improve with experience and also by receiving and responding to feedback from peers, when doing presentation work so I can see any progress I have made and those areas that I still need to work on! Overall, I really enjoyed my two week placement and I can’t wait for my next placement in BA2 to develop more skills and gain more experience.
Over the last two weeks I have had one of the most rewarding experiences out on placement and it has given me tools and skills to work with as I […]
Over the last two weeks I have had one of the most rewarding experiences out on placement and it has given me tools and skills to work with as I further develop through my time in my course. The school I attended was very warm and welcoming, with teachers that were willing to help me achieve the most out of the short time I was there for. During my time in the school I got to observe a couple of different classes but was mainly based in Primary 7 and Primary 1. This was valuable as it allowed me to see the contrasting teaching methods used at different ages and levels.
Before starting at university, I had previous experience working with children from the age of 3-16. This helped when entering the classroom as I was aware that I had to change my level of vocabulary to suit the child’s level to ensure I was not confusing them by using words they did not recognise or understand. Adding to this some children needed words enunciated more than others for example, in the infant school, so they could recognise their sounds and letters. I furthermore varied the pace I would speak at, for example Primary 1 children need some extra time to process what you are saying so I spoke slower than I usually would to allow them that time.
Area of most progress
One area I believe I progressed most in during the weeks of placement was building the confidence to speak to teachers and in front a whole class. Before starting placement I was nervous about having to speak with the Head Teacher and other teachers in the school. However, once I had settled in after the first day I surprised myself as I became more and more confident in speaking to everyone in the staff room and in front of all the children.
Area requiring progress
When reflecting back on conversations I had during my time in placement I would say I stuttered quite a bit and used words “like” and “um” a lot to fill in gaps. This is something that I must be aware of from now on as it can look unprofessional in a work setting. Also, I noticed that when I was not doing anything with my hands I did not know what to do with them so ended up fidgeting which could convey as a sign of uncertainty in what I am doing or saying.
To tackle my stuttering, I should try and take my time while speaking and be very aware to use other words or use silence instead of “like” and “um”. While tackling this I should also research different ways to stand while presenting or teaching to see if I can discover the most comfortable way to stand whilst not fidgeting.
Overall, I had a great experience at placement and it has allowed me to discover my strengths and weaknesses, allowing me to develop these for future placements.
Strength As I had previous work experience with children at different schools and clubs, I had some knowledge of how children respond when they are being spoken to rather fast; they can often get confused or not listen to what is being said. Therefore, I ensured that I was enunciating words clearly when talking to …
Continue reading “Reflections on Placement”
As I had previous work experience with children at different schools and clubs, I had some knowledge of how children respond when they are being spoken to rather fast; they can often get confused or not listen to what is being said. Therefore, I ensured that I was enunciating words clearly when talking to the children individually, in groups or as a whole class. This helped them understand what is being said and if they had any tasks they had to complete and that they knew exactly what was expected of them.
Additionally, I also ensured that I faced the children when I was speaking to them, no matter how many of them there were. I feel that if I am talking to the children that I have to look at them as a sign of respect. As if I want them to respect me by looking at me and listening to me then I have to return that by looking at them when talking to them.
Area of most progress
At the beginning of my placement I recognised numerous areas that I felt I had to improve as quickly as possible to allow me to gain the most from my placement. I found myself using fillers such as:“um,” “ah,” “like,” etc.and speaking at an adequate volume. Sometimes I felt that I wasn’t being listened to as I was speaking loud enough. Throughout my two weeks I ensured that I worked on these two areas and by the second week I had reduced the level of filler words I was using and speaking at an adequate volume, so I had some authority over the children.
Area of requiring progress
One of the biggest areas I feel I still need to improve is the use of language appropriate to the age and stage of children in the group. I often found myself using more advance language for the junior years than they could understand. I feel this is something that I can definitely improve currently as well as over the next four years and corresponding future placements.
To improve the use of language appropriate to the age and stage of children in the group, I would ask teachers of the junior school as well as research what words and phrases are appropriate. For example, “take-away” instead of “subtraction”. This will help the children I am working with get the most out of their learning and gain a sound understanding of what they are learning. It would also help me feel more confident when addressing different topics and lessons and how I can ensure my class get the most out of my lesson.
Overall, I highly enjoyed placement as it put into practice everything I have learned over the past few months and also helped me identify my strengths, areas of most progress, and areas requiring progress. I feel that I met my expectations well as I: interacted with colleagues in the classroom and staffroom, supported learning in classes (including taking groups), demonstrated effective communication, gathered information to complete the eight observation tasks and evaluated my peer and myself. As all the teachers I worked with were all so supportive and helpful with anything including questions, this really enhanced my ability to achieve these expectations and were met without any obstacles. Overall, placement helped motivate me as it showed me what I was working towards.
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The first full week of this course went by quite quickly! I had the chance to get to know and chat to more people on the course which was really fun! On Monday we had Situated Communication, where we learnt about all the different ways in which we communicate with each other including verbal and […]
The first full week of this course went by quite quickly! I had the chance to get to know and chat to more people on the course which was really fun!
On Monday we had Situated Communication, where we learnt about all the different ways in which we communicate with each other including verbal and non- verbal. We also had the opportunity to work our way round Moodle to become more familiar with it, which was good because i found it really confusing and hard to navigate round. In the performance studio we got to express ourselves by playing some ice breaker games as we still didn’t know peoples names.
On Wednesday, we had mathematics for understanding, which i was really nervous about because maths isn’t my strongest subject. This lesson was focusing on Place Value,