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.