I thoroughly enjoyed my experience on placement and it was brilliant to be back in the classroom. The school I was placed in was relatively small with just over 200 pupils. Everyone in the school, both staff and pupils, could not have been more welcoming. I worked in P3 and P7 classes and, although different, I loved my experience in both!
I enjoyed interacting with and getting to know both pupils and staff. I attended two staff meetings throughout my time on placement and these, alongside general conversations with staff, gave me a different insight into school life. I also supported learning in classes and gave an exposition for a maths lesson regarding mental maths strategies in a P3 class. It was great to have a chance to assess my own communication skills and get the opinions of others, i.e. peers and teachers. Placement also gave me the opportunity to observe and apply the knowledge and techniques I had gained at university in the classroom.
One of the primary self-observations made during placement was in relation to communication behaviours. I have identified one primary strengths and one area of development.
One of my biggest communication strengths, noted by myself, my peer and teachers, was the use of my voice to showcase my enthusiasm. It is extremely important to engage pupils in lessons and one of the best tools that teachers have to achieve this is their voice. Very few pupils will engage with a lesson if the teacher appears disengaged and disinterested.
Area of Most Progress
I understand the importance of building confidence and showing children that they and their opinions are valid and valued. A large part of building this self-confidence is ensuring that children are included and have the opportunity to share their views.
During group/class discussions, there are often a few pupils who are very confident and who may dominate conversations. Previously, I have always been hesitant to prevent pupils from dominating discussions as I did not want them to feel that their opinions were not valued and/or discourage them from answering in the future. However, I also knew that it is important to draw non-participating pupils into conversations and activities. Teachers need to strike the balance between ensuring all pupils are included and making sure confident pupils can still voice their opinions, without dominating activities. This is something I was conscious of and improved upon during placement. This was noted by my peer during my observed lesson.
Area Requiring Progress
I make a conscious effort to use accurate spoken English when in school, avoiding the use of slang. However, I have a bad habit of using colloquialisms like ‘kinna’, ‘gonna’ and ‘wanna’. This is something I am now aware of and will make a conscious effort to improve upon in everyday conversations before next placement.
Thanks to my self-assessment, peer assessment and teachers’ assessment, I am aware of the areas I need to improve upon with regards to communication. This now means that I will be conscious of them when talking to people or presenting.
The way individuals communicate changes depending on the situation and the feelings individuals have about communicating will impact on how effect they are at it. For example, I would feel far more comfortable teaching a class full of children than I would presenting something at a staff meeting and thus, my communication skills would be more effective in the first context. I have noticed that most of my communication errors occur when I am nervous. Overcoming nerves is something that I am going to work on before my placement in BA2 in the hopes that this will help with my communication skills in general.
Overall, I adored my time on placement and cannot wait until I am back in the classroom again!