Primary Placement Experience: Reflection

The last two weeks I spent at an amazing Primary school for my placement. Before going into the school I was really nervous about whether or not I would enjoy the experience, if the staff would be welcoming and if I’d even be able to do well. Honestly speaking I have never had a previous primary school […]

The last two weeks I spent at an amazing Primary school for my placement. Before going into the school I was really nervous about whether or not I would enjoy the experience, if the staff would be welcoming and if I’d even be able to do well. Honestly speaking I have never had a previous primary school experience and realising that this could be the placement that shows me whether or not I would enjoy this profession was quite daunting. However, I can happily say that I absolutely loved my experience and this is something I wish to pursue.

My partner and I were paired together to assist P2 where we witnessed a lot of different tasks. Being still in the infant stage a lot of Numeracy and Mathematics was based through songs such as Counting to 100, Counting Robot or 3D shapes I know. These songs not only got all the children involved but allowed the teacher to ask related mathematical questions afterwards. The children then chose which activity to be a part of, for example, playing numeracy games on a chrome book, completing maths question jigsaws, making sums on a white board or with play dough. Since the pupils were still young a “fun factor” was very important in the activities to keep the children engaged.

The subject of Literacy was much more varied as each week the pupils had a list of new words to learn. These words would not only be put into their homework jotters but also sound out loud as a class regularly in preparation for their weekly spelling test on Friday. Activities such as rainbow writing (writing the words three times in three different colours), diamond poems, singing songs, writing words on white boards and using play dough were regularly used. I believe the teacher truly made an enjoyable atmosphere for the pupils while ensuring the learning content was covered and revised.

As I mainly assisted in a P2 class the subject of French was orally done through YouTube songs and recitation of, for example, the months, days of the week and numbers up to 10. Being able to participate and sing a long to encourage all the pupils to participate was something I enjoyed and regularly did.

The class I was primarily in was very well behaved and were lovely to be with. The class consisted of a child with mild autism, a pupil from a different country who was behind in the language and a child with learning difficulties all of whom sometimes did not participate in all tasks as the other pupils. I found that during, for example the spelling test one pupil would instead read a book and the other two would complete a different word sheet. And if the class was using calculators to complete calculation from the white board the pupils would complete another work book with different sums. The children were also regularly taken out of class with different teachers to help their additional needs. Being a part of this environment where I witnessed support for every pupil was very encouraging and something I enjoyed being a part of.

Although I was mainly in P2 I did a assist a P7 trip where they had planned and organised a debate against one another about the importance of bringing in personal devices (I.e. mobile phones, ipads). The trip and watching the pupils present each of their cases was enjoyable to watch but made me realise how different my communication and interaction with P7 is in comparison to P2. When talking to P7 you have to speak to them like adults and give them respect as such, whereas with p2 they are still very much young children where they sometimes still need help to zip up their jackets. I found it interesting how different years require you to change how you act and talk while still maintaining a professional attitude. I won’t lie, I found it hard at first to adjust speaking differently to older children and felt like I had lost my equilibrium. But through time I definitely found my way and realised I could do both well. Although I do personally feel I prefer the infant environment more, it was a good experience none the less.

Finally the staff at the school and in particular the teacher we assisted for the two weeks truly helped make this an enjoyable experience. You hear about students experiencing a bad placement due to unkind staff and that initially made me quite worried before starting. However, the fact that they were all kind and friendly enough to chat to my and my partner and share their own experiences and tell us what the job really entails made us not only very welcomes and comfortable but gave us an idea of how a teachers life really is.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my primary experience and it truly did make me analyse and reflect on my own communication skills and participation, for example in situations when helping individual pupils spell words or singing along with songs or even just having a conversation with staff. I was also very pleased to be surrounded by such kind and supportive staff who made this primary school experience even better and gave me an insight of what it would be like as a teacher.

 

Sustainable Development – Disasters

Middleton (2013, p.467) says “natural hazards should be defined and studied both in terms of the physical processes involved and the human factors affecting the vulnerability of certain groups of people to disasters.” Therefore, natural disasters can be defined as uncontrollable events which have devastating impacts on the lives and environment of the area in … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Disasters

Middleton (2013, p.467) says “natural hazards should be defined and studied both in terms of the physical processes involved and the human factors affecting the vulnerability of certain groups of people to disasters.” Therefore, natural disasters can be defined as uncontrollable events which have devastating impacts on the lives and environment of the area in … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Disasters

SitComm Independent Task: Self- Evaluation – 16th October

Before watching any of the videos I would have said self-evaluation would be critiquing yourself when there is much more to it than that. These videos helped me realise how important it is to look back and reflect on your own performance for example by taking a video or survey from another person. By doing […]

Before watching any of the videos I would have said self-evaluation would be critiquing yourself when there is much more to it than that. These videos helped me realise how important it is to look back and reflect on your own performance for example by taking a video or survey from another person. By doing such methods it helps you see what you might have missed the first time round as you were too engrossed in the task. For example, by taking a video of yourself you can see the key areas where to enforce a good habit that was received well and where to change a format that wasn’t received as well. The video example would allow you to watch yourself critically and help see places of improvement and growth as actually teaching a subject and planning it are two completely different things, “…there is a difference for teachers between the abstract of how we see our practice and the concrete reality of it”. (Ted Talks Education, 2013)

When watching the videos with my partner we both realised the importance of reflecting at your own performance and it surprised us at how beneficial it could really be from an outsider’s point of view. Having a visual reference to return to, whether that be a video or survey or report, that clearly shows what area you are doing well in and where you can improve can ultimately help your performance and growth as a Primary Teacher. My partner and I both agreed that in the second video the teacher displayed a lot of good eye contact while maintaining a positive and enthusiastic attitude with all the children when engaged in an activity. We however did notice that he did not display as positive body language as he could have, by crossing his arms while standing up at the beginning of the day and then sitting down to take the register without any eye contact (Behaviour2Learn, 2011).

The tasks assigned in this Independent task were not difficult, as I found a lot of it quite interesting on how we as people should reflect on our actions, words and performance, something I think applies in general day-to-day life and not just in the classroom as a teacher. I enjoyed watching Bill Gates video as it gave me an insight on how positive feedback with suggestions of improvement and how to go about them is useful for a teacher, as well as how reflection is the key to moving forward.

I believe I do understand the difference between feedback and judgement. Feedback being of a more positive nature, intended to help a person grow and improve in whatever field they are in. Feedback not only consists of suggestions of improvement but also includes a lot of encouraging and positive comments on what that person is excelling at which I think is very important (EDCHAT, 2013). Being told you are good at what you do helps build a person’s confidence and self-esteem, something that adults need as well as children. Whereas judgement is purely based on criticism and negativity and does nothing to help a person grow.

If I could take one idea into my placement it would be the fact of how important it is to give and receive feedback to help yourself and others grow into amazing teachers. Having an encouraging and supportive body that allows you to reflect positively is important for any student, teacher or adult in any given situation so having this kind of environment in schools and placement I believe to be very important.

The coming placement we have I am quite excited for. I am however quite nervous after hearing some people’s experiences at previous schools and how negative some of them were. I can’t help but worry about how my experience will be like and whether I will enjoy it. I also feel like there has been so much talk surrounding the placement that I can’t help but feel pressurised to live up to a certain standard. I generally don’t get too excited about things (slightly superstitious on it not going well if you get too excited, if you get what I mean) but I am trying to think more positively and hopefully everything will work out 🙂

Reference list:

TED Talks Education (2013) BILL GATES: Teachers need real feedback[Online] Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_teachers_need_real_feedback#t-70065

Behaviour2Learn (2011) Behaving With Cowley – Classroom Routines[Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v5UVdyu8Y4&feature=youtu.be

EDCHAT (2013) Relationships for Learning – Effective Feedback [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWBW_cbP86Q&feature=youtu.be

Sustainable Development – Climate Change

Climate change refers to a significant change in the climate over a long period of time. Scientists believe that the climate change which we are currently baring witness to is due to global warming which is being caused by excess greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and creating a ‘greenhouse’ … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Climate Change

Climate change refers to a significant change in the climate over a long period of time. Scientists believe that the climate change which we are currently baring witness to is due to global warming which is being caused by excess greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere and creating a ‘greenhouse’ … Continue reading Sustainable Development – Climate Change

Sustainable Development – The Environment

Over the past 2 sessions in our Sustainable Development lectures and workshops, we have been learning about the environment. In the first week we looked at the natural environment and in the second we looked at urban environments. I have found this theme very interesting as it has allowed me to consider my surroundings in … Continue reading Sustainable Development – The Environment

Over the past 2 sessions in our Sustainable Development lectures and workshops, we have been learning about the environment. In the first week we looked at the natural environment and in the second we looked at urban environments. I have found this theme very interesting as it has allowed me to consider my surroundings in … Continue reading Sustainable Development – The Environment

Reflections on Placement.

On the week beginning the 31st of October I went on my first of many weeks of placement within the BA Education course. I went to a small primary school minutes away from me and learned a lot whilst I was there. I really enjoyed my placement and am looking forward to the next one. … Continue reading “Reflections on Placement.”

On the week beginning the 31st of October I went on my first of many weeks of placement within the BA Education course. I went to a small primary school minutes away from me and learned a lot whilst I was there. I really enjoyed my placement and am looking forward to the next one.

Strengths

I realised that I was more confident at interacting with pupils and staff than I thought I would be. I consistently was able to communicate clearly and loudly enough for pupils to hear and understand what I was saying. In addition to this I also made eye contact with who I was communicating with and used positive body language all week. For example I was not sitting with my arms crossed. As I was in every class in the school throughout the week from nursery all the way to primary 7 I realised that I was able to adapt my language to suit the pupil that I was talking to with ease. The staff within the school were all very welcoming and encouraging which gave me more confidence to push myself outside my comfort zone when communicating and approaching the pupils and other members of staff.

Area of Most Progress

The area that I feel I progressed the most in was simply my confidence. At first I thought that children would rather interact with their own teacher who they are used to rather than me but as the week went on I realised that the pupils also valued my opinion and wanted my help as well. In addition to this I noticed at the beginning of the week that I was not really using hand gestures a lot which may have come across as showing that I was not as enthusiastic as I wanted to show. I worked on this throughout the week and by the Friday I felt as though this had significantly improved, and will continue to improve with the more practice that I get.

Areas Requiring Progress

During the week I had to complete two self evaluations. I found this challenging as it was hard to judge what I had done well and what I had not done well as I can not see myself communicating from an outsiders point of view. However the help of the peer evaluation and advice from teachers assured me I was on the right track with my self evaluation. Furthermore, I had a bad habit of asking pupils a question and not giving them enough time to think of an answer, instead giving them another question to help them answer the initial question. I have learned that it is important to allow children to think and give them time as they can not always come up with an answer straight away.

Action Plan

As my next placement is a long time away I want to work on my communication skills in my everyday life so that when the next placement comes around I am more than prepared to go feeling very confident in my communication skills. In order to do so I think my part-time job will come in very handy as it involves serving customers and also being out on the shop floor welcoming customers and interacting with them. I think this will massively increase my communication skills as I will be able to get a lot of practice with a huge range of people. In addition to this I will also get to practice my communication skills with the upcoming situated communication presentation assignment, which will test my skills in front of an audience, something which I do not have a lot of practice in. The previous points mentioned should help me to strive to be a more effective communicator in the future.