Monthly Archives: April 2018

Teaching and Learning a Foreign Language

Going into the learning from life placement I had no previous experience of teaching a foreign language in the primary school. Teaching English as a foreign language was something that I found very daunting as I did not know how children in other countries learned the language. All I knew was how I was taught French as a foreign language at the end of primary school and throughout high school.

English is a language that most children learn in France. The begin learning English in CP which is the equivalent to primary one in Scotland.  Learning a foreign language from an early age allows the children to become more competent in the language as the younger you begin a language the easier it is. This is why I believe the 1 +2 language approach is Scotland should be well implemented. Children in Scotland should be afforded the opportunity to learn a foreign language form the start of primary school. This would allow them to have a greater understanding of the language and have an advantage going to high school.

Speaking is the main focus when learning a foreign language in France. This is something I learned when teaching English in a French primary school. The teacher informed me that I was not to write words on the board or ask the children to write in their jotters when beginning a new English topic. Speaking and repetition of vocabulary is the best way for children to learn a new language. From my experience of learning French in both primary school and high school we do a lot of reading and writing. Speaking and listening is not the main focus (Maxom, 2010). However, from being in France and having the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language I believe that I will take what I have learned and utilise this knowledge as a teacher. I think that Scotland needs to adopt this approach as speaking and listening are the most important aspects of learning a language. When a baby is born it learns how to speak through listening to others and repeating. Teaching a second language should be no different.

I came to France having no previous experience of teaching English as a foreign language, therefore, I had to learn quickly the various methods used in the various years. This was daunting at the beginning, however, after a few lessons I believe my confidence grew and I was able to make lessons engaging as well as see results week on week with my various class. Teaching English was so rewarding as I could see how much the children enjoyed learning and how happy they were when they mastered new vocabulary. The enthusiasm in relation to learning English was unbelievable. I never realised prior to coming here how much the children enjoyed learning another language. This also emphasises the need to adopt this method in Scotland. I believe that children in the early years would love the opportunity to start learning a foreign language. Learning simple things such as colours and animals and building up vocabulary over a child’s primary school journey will allow them to go to high school with a greater understanding of the language.

This experience has given me a greater passion for languages and I only wish I was given the opportunity to learn French from a young age. By the time I started learning French I was nearly twelve years old and learning consisted of a lot of reading and writing. I believe that when I become a teacher I will encourage the learning of languages within the school. I would prioritise language as a curricular area as I believe just now it is something that is often forgotten about. Some teachers do need feel confident enough to teach, therefore, don’t bother to include it. Becoming more confident in French I believe that I would be able to use this to my advantage offering to teaching the language throughout the school years when I qualify.

Half-day Wednesdays

In France children only attend school four and a half days a week. In some areas of Scotland schools have a half day on a Friday, however, in most places children attend school for five full days a week. However, this is only something that has been implemented over recent years. Children in France used to have a day off on Wednesdays, only attending school four days a week. It was the disruptive behaviour after holidays that made the French government change the structure of the school week. he ministry of education confirmed on Tuesday that a third of French primary schools, or 31.8 percent to be exact, teaching 28.7 percent of the country’s young children, will return to the four-day week based on a decision made by their local authorities (Taylor, 2017) .

Despite the school week changing to four and a half days only in recent years, President Emmanuel Macron is changing the week back to four days commencing after the summer holidays. This is taking the French education system back to the way in which it used to be. France’s new president Emmanuel Macron announced his intentions to change the primary school timetable early on in his presidency, saying that he would give authorities the option of returning to the four-day week in place of the four and a half-day week put in place by the previous government.

The day off will only apply to primary schools. Middle and high school pupils will still have to attend school for half a day on a Wednesday. The children in my CM2 class, being the oldest in the school and about to move on to middle school were disappointed at this news.

I don’t know how I feel about having an entire day off, but I do believe that having a half day on a Wednesday is a very good thing. In Scottish schools that have a half day, this day is commonly on a Friday, the last day of the week. However, having lived in France and experienced many half day Wednesdays. I believe that Wednesday is the perfect day of the week to have a half day. It is the middle of the week therefore, it gives both pupils and teachers the chance to finish school at 11:30 am and have the opportunity to recharge before finishing the week. I have found that it works very well, and I always feel more energised going into Thursday and Friday having finished early on the Wednesday. I believe that if Scottish schools wanted to implement the half-day this day should be considered as I believe it makes more logical sense than a Friday.

Having discussed the differences between France and Scotland regarding the half day I have found that it makes a lot of sense to have a half day. My teacher expressed that finishing school early allows teachers to have the chance to spend time marking and planning. As school begins at 8:30 and finishes at 3:40 on full days, teachers don’t have a lot of spare time to plan and mark. This is something I had never thought about before, but I can imagine it must be a great help having that extra half day. This made me think back to placement in first year. I was in school all day, every day, going in early and leaving late. By the time I arrived home in the evenings I did not have a lot of time to plan lessons and well as complete various sections of my folder before it was time to go to sleep. This meant that the experience was very stressful, and I did not stop doing work for four weeks straight. My learning from life experience has not been like this as I have had Wednesdays to get extra work done.

Parents will be happy about the law changing b back to the way it used to be. At the time that Wednesdays were set to become a school day, some parents were outraged as this was not the way that things were in France. Before the change in law under the government of Francois Hollande children were off school mid-week. This is the way the school week traditionally worked in France. Parents complained when the new president at the time wanted to change this, it was said that people couldn’t go about their usual Tuesday routine as they now had to consider school on Wednesdays (Chu, 2013). I found this bizarre as I thought a day off during the week would cause more hardship than anything for parents that have to work.

This is an aspect of the French Education system that I believe really works. Evidence shows that it is beneficial for both children and teachers.

Placement Reflection

Learning from Life has been a truly amazing experience. I have loved every aspect of my placement and would not change a thing. I am so happy that I decided to come to France and did something I have never done before. Working in a French primary school allowed me to see how the Education System differs to Scotland as well as gain skills in relation to teaching English as a foreign language.

From a personal perspective this has been one of the best experiences of my life. I was apprehensive going into the placement as I had no idea what to expect. However, from the first day arriving in France I knew I had made the right decision. Being submerged in a new culture and environment was daunting but also very exciting. I wanted to make sure that I took advantage of every opportunity afforded to me during my time in France.

This placement not only allowed me to live in the beautiful city of Orléans but also travel on the weekends to Paris, a city I have fallen in love with. This experience has also brought me closer with people on the education course that I had never spent much time with before. This made the experience even better as I was able to share it with friends. Having the opportunity to travel around the country and try local delicacies has all added to the learning from life placement.

My role throughout the course of the placement has been to teach English as a foreign language. This is something I have never done before so was nervous in the beginning. However, I soon got to know the children and became more confident the more I taught. Having a native English speaker in the school was very exciting for the children. I was able to talk about what it is like going to school in Scotland, discussing the similarities and differences. I taught in CP (primary 1) and CM2 (primary 6/7). This was very fun as I had the chance the work with the youngest and the oldest children in the school. I was able to develop my teaching skills as well as gain experience of working in the early years.

My next university placement with be working with early years, therefore, I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with this age group whilst in France. I now believe I have a good understanding of how to teach young children. I have found that lessons work best in the early years when they are interactive and involve an aspect of creativity. I have built great relationships with the children over the past six weeks and it was very sad to say goodbye.

I believe I have achieved a lot throughout this process. I have challenged myself and taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to me. I have been able to develop my French linguistic skills as well as gain knowledge and understanding regarding teaching English as a foreign language. I have grown as a person and believe that learning from life has allowed me to do things I might never get the chance to do again. Living in France for two months and teaching in a French primary school has been one of the best things I have ever done. I will take with me everything I have learned and the connections I have made. I will be able to use the tools and skills gained here throughout the course of my teaching career.

Having the chance to see how the French education system works has given me many ideas for future teaching and learning. There are aspects of the French education system, with particular reference to learning a new language that I want to adopt when I qualify as a teaching professional. My passion for languages has grown throughout this experience and I want the children I teach in the future to have the best opportunities for learning a foreign language.

Overall, the learning from life experience has been the perfect end to my second year at university. I am proud that I challenged myself and did something that I will never have the chance to do again. I formed a great relationship with the teacher as well as the pupils and created French resources to take back with me to Scotland. I have arranged to stay in contact, so I always have a connection to France.

Week 6: Thursday

On Thursday morning two boys from the college came in to talk to the CM2 class about the transition from primary school to college. This was very interesting as in Scotland, children move from primary school to high school. We don’t have middle school in between. This was also a great chance for me to assess my level of French listening. They children were obviously talking in French; however, I was able to understand a lot of what was being said. That just shows how being submerged in the French culture and language helps develop language skills. I have found during my six weeks of placement that I have definitely improved my French speaking and listening as these were the two areas I was not confident in before coming to France. I still don’t think I could have a conversation with a French person, however, I believe I have a greater understanding of the language and could form sentences more easily and understand when others speak.

The children in CM2 were very excited to be having a talk about the college as it is only a few short months until they will be leaving primary school. This is a big change in their lives and CM2 has been preparing them from the transition. When children are in CM2 they begin going to different teachers for a couple of lessons a week. This is to ensure when they go to college they have had experiences of moving classes and teachers. This is something I believe if very beneficial. I believe this is something that would be good to do in Scotland. Children in primary seven should be given the opportunity to experience what high school is going to be like so the move isn’t such a shock to the system.

I was very excited to have the opportunity to talk about Scotland once again. After break the CM1 class swapped with CM2 for an English lesson. The teacher thought this was the perfect chance to do my Scotland presentation once again as it had been such a success with the CM2 classes. I really enjoyed talking about Scotland again and the CM1 class were just as enthusiastic as the CM2 classes. I have found that each time I have done this lesson they are most interested about school uniform as this is something they do not have in France. Showing the children pictures of me in my school uniform was very interesting for them. One child asked me during the lesson if haggis was halal. I was very conscious that nothing relating to religion should be spoken about within French classrooms, therefore the teacher told the child that he could not ask that question. I am glad the teacher was there to step in as I wouldn’t have known whether it was ok to answer that question or not.

In the afternoon, I went through to the other CM2 class to do lesson two of going shopping. I did this lesson on Tuesday with my CM2 class, therefore, I was confident going into this lesson. The children in the other CM2 class are always a lot more restless and find it difficult to sit and listen. Therefore, during this lesson I had to stop and start whilst constantly asking the children to look and listen when they were getting restless. Despite this the lesson was still a success as the children were able to recall all of the vocabulary learned in the previous lesson. I was very impressed that they were so enthusiastic about containing with this topic. I played more games with the flashcards as a warm up for the lesson before giving them pictures of shops to cut and stick in their English jotters.

This was one of the hottest days since coming to France, therefore, the heat caused a bit of an issue for both staff and pupils. There is no air conditioning in the school and the classroom faces the sun meaning that the heat was penetrating through the windows. It was twenty-six degrees, this is hotter than any day I have had in Scotland. I found it difficult teaching my afternoon lesson as the classroom was so hot. This is not something I am used to living in Scotland. It made me wonder how the teachers and students cope in this weather. I found it very tiring and had to seek shade when possible.

Week 6: Tuesday

I always enjoy Tuesdays because it is a da that I do a lot of teaching. I have my three CP classes as well as my CM2 class. I was looking forward to this day as it I was teaching the follow up lesson of the going shopping topic. My lesson last week went very well, therefore, I had high hopes for this lesson.

When the children found out that I was going to be teaching the next going shopping lesson today they were very excited. Having only had the chance to teach them once before, I didn’t know how enthusiastic they were going be. It was very rewarding knowing that the obviously enjoyed my lesson and were keen to involve themselves in this lesson. I began the lesson by going over the vocabulary that they had learned last week. I used the flashcards to remind them of the various shop types before moving on to playing games. I split the class into two teams and play a game where the aim was to see who could recognise the shop first. They had to hit the flashcard with a fly swatter. The children were very keen to involve themselves in this aspect of the lesson as they were competing against their fellow classmates. This also proved a successful way of revising the vocabulary form the previous week. I was very impressed that most of the class were able to recall the various shop types with ease meaning that we could move on to the next stage of the lesson.

I had sheets with pictures of the different types of shop, they had to cut out each individual shop to play games with before sticking them in their English jotters. After they had completed this I said the name of a particular type of shop and they had to hold up the corresponding picture. They were very good at this and were able to recognise from the pictures the different shops. Since the children showed a sound understanding I was able to move on from this vocabulary and ask them what may be found in the different shops. I had flashcards of food, toys, clothes etc. and they had to stick them on the board under the correct shop that you would buy them in. This went very well and has allowed me to have a good idea of the next steps to take. In the next lesson I plan to introduce writing, the children will have to be able to write and spell the shop names they have learned thus far.

I also taught my CP classes the topic of fruit, this lesson was a continuation from last Friday. Last week I realised that this was a topic that the children found difficult and therefore were only able to recall five different fruits. This week my aim was to teach five more fruits so that the children were able to recall ten. The first CP class really impressed me this week as they had struggled a lot on Friday. To my surprise they were able to recall a lot more than last week meaning that we were able to move on to the game aspect of the lesson. I did the same game that I did with my CM2’s. They children used the fly swatters, competing against each other to hit the correct photo. The children really enjoyed this, and it was a successful way of introducing new vocabulary.

The second CP class were able to recall of the fruits they had learned in the previous lesson on Friday. They really had a good grasp on the concept of fruits therefore I thought it would be easy introducing five more fruits. However, I found that teaching the next five was more difficult as there were more difficult words to pronounce. Things like apple and orange were simple for the children, however, raspberries and watermelon were not so simple. I had to spend more time going over the vocabulary with this class so that they understood how to pronounce each word. By the end of the lesson they had a better understanding of the words and were able to play the flashcard games with the new fruits learned. They were all very enthusiastic throughout the lesson and involved themselves at every opportunity.

My final CP class of the day usually find English very easy and they pick up new vocabulary with ease. Going into this class I was hopeful that they would find this lesson as simple as they have found every other lesson. However, I found that they found it a bit more difficult than normal. Introducing five new fruits was complicated as they had to learn the new vocabulary whilst also remembering the five fruits they had learned the week before. They were able to recall all ten by the end of the lesson however, it took longer than usual to learn. Playing the games with the flashcards really helped the children remember the new vocab. Moving forward I believe in my final lesson I will just revise the ten fruits with all CP classes so that they are confident on ten rather than unsure of fifteen.


Learning from life has been a truly incredible experience. I have literally learned from life during my time in France. I was aware of the separation of religion and state before coming to the country. However, my eyes were opened after being submerged in the culture of my school. The French Education system is considered to be ‘Laique’ which translates to Secularism. Children are not allowed to wear religious dress or symbols, and neither are the teachers (Le Pen, 2015). This is a big difference between France and Scotland, as Religious and Moral Education is a subject that is compulsory in Primary school, up until fourth year of high school.

By definition a secular state is neutral, supporting neither religion or irreligion. However, over the past decade we have seen in certain countries that claim to support secularism extreme measures have been taken in order to minimize their association with specific religions.

France a so called ‘secular’ state, has over recent years, introduced many laws and bans concerning faith with particular emphasis on the outlawing or restriction of religious clothing and symbols. On the one hand this shows that France is not actually Secular through the actions taken. However, they deem this acceptable as they want to hold on to tradition. In this day and age, we are teaching people the importance of living in a multi-cultural society and creating a kind equality within the subject of religion. How open are we to the idea of religion and the beliefs people entail? Many religions are targeted in France regarding the way in which they promote their beliefs through dress however it is the Muslim community that most greatly affected. This is an important issue as this kind of discrimination could be the answer as to why over recent years there have been so many problems in the world over the debate of religion.

France has one of the biggest Muslim communities in Europe. Due to their beliefs many Islamic women chose to wear their traditional headdress most commonly known as the Burqa. However, in 2010 a law was passed in France claiming that women were prohibited from wearing these headscarves in public places as they covered their face to almost its entirety. This motion was known at the time as ‘Ban the Burqa’ (Willsher, 2014). This in effect was a way of taking away a woman’s identity. We can see that through this non-secular act that the relationship between themselves and their religion was compromised due to the ban. This caused outcry amongst the Muslim community as the country many Muslims knew as their home was questioning the ethics of their belief system. This was an extremely controversial law to pass however the French merely said that the ban was put in place to maintain the tradition of the country in strictly separating state and religion. This evidence shows that this so called secular state were imposing such a law that could in theory cause the Muslim community to turn against their country causing disruption, something in which France was seemingly trying to avoid.

I was placed in a school that happens to be situated beside a mosque. This meant that most of the children in my school were in fact Muslim. This is information I was told by the teacher as the children are obviously unable to express their religion in the classroom. I was very interested to find out more about the French Education system and the concept of ‘Laique’. Having studied higher Religious, Moral and Philosophical Education at secondary school I have a lot of prior knowledge regarding the separation of religion and state, however, I had never studied this in relation to the education system. It was very interesting for me to be submerged in such an ethnic school, where I was able to witness the concept of Laique.

I was very surprised at the way I felt when walking through the school neighbourhood in the morning and after school. I felt people in the street looking at me in wonderment. Each day I would think to myself, what are other people thinking, am I dressed appropriately, why are they looking at me? This was the first time I had ever been seen as a minority. I was aware that I looked different from everyone else around me and I had never experienced that before coming to France. Scotland is a Christian country, therefore, growing up in a society that is predominately white, and Christian meant that I was never exposed to many other ethnicities throughout my time at school. I had never walked down the street and stood out in the crowd.

This experience has allowed me to consider the way in which various ethnicities face discrimination on a daily basis, in particular, the Muslim community. Over recent years, the religion of Islam has been heavily targeted. They are branded terrorists, unhuman. This issue is something I have always been passionate about and furthermore after my experience in a French primary school. The other students in France were not in the same school setting as myself and I am so grateful that my French school experience was so different from that in Scotland.  Discrimination against ethnicities can be seen every day. I have heard people speak of the families in my school’s neighbourhood in a derogatory manor and it makes me so angry. What gives anyone the right to judge another person based on their religion? People who associate terrorist atrocities with a particular religion are ignorant and uneducated. It is evil people who do these terrible things and try to use religion as an excuse.

Because of the stereotype that has developed over recent years, the Muslim community have been targeted more than any religion and face constant discrimination for their beliefs. Over the past six weeks I have had the opportunity to get to know my CM2 and CP classes, whom all belong to the Muslim community. And it’s true, a child is a child, no matter their religion, race, upbringing. They enjoy the same things as the children anywhere. It makes me sick to think that these children and their families have to deal with any kind of discrimination. I have met some of the kindest, most genuine children during my time at the school.

France, as a republican country is seen to welcome ‘immigrants’ equals, only if they become like the French natives. They must adopt the French language, culture and values. Religions is seen as a private matter and is something that should be practiced in your own time, not expressed publically. Over recent years, there have been protests from women belonging to the Muslim community. Many girls have faced expulsion in schools due to them insisting on wearing their religious headdress in school (King, 2004). This shows that to concept of Laicité has caused many problems within the Education system. Although a lot of people accept the laws, there are still people that believe it is their right to express their beliefs, just as we do in Britain.

This experience has allowed to see first-hand the importance of living in an accepting and multi-cultural society.  I am now more educated about the way in which the French education system incorporates the concept of Laique in school of such concentrated ethnicity. Being placed in such an ethnic area has allowed me to see that the republican laws do not seem to have a negative impact on my school personally. The children, although all belonging to the same religious group do not voice this whilst in school. They accept that school is not the place where religions is discussed.

Week 6: Monday

I can’t believe that that this was my final Monday of placement. Going into my last week I was overcome by different emotions. I was sad to be leaving the school, however, I was also very happy about completing my learning from life placement having had such an amazing experience. I truly believe that this experience has made me grow as a person and look at the world in a different way. I have had to overcome various challenges along the way. Despite this, I have taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to me and involved myself in every aspect of the placement.

Knowing that on Mondays I don’t have any classes to teach I like to make sure that I take full advantage of the time I have to observe French lessons. I also thought it would be a good idea to reflect upon the cultures and values of the school. Over the past six weeks I have gotten to grips with the way in which the French Education system is implemented as how this specifically works in Romain Rolland. Having time on the Monday to read and research was very helpful in gaining a greater insight into the values of the school. Having spent a lot of time observing as well as teaching I have been able to see how the school days run as well as the various subjects that are taught each day. I have had the chance to see how the children work as well as see how the teachers tackle things such as classroom management and behaviours.

The children had an English lesson on Monday with Asif the English assistant. It is always very interesting watching how someone else teaches English as a foreign language. The children were revising the concept of time, they had been working on this last Monday. Each week it is clear to see progression. The teacher used interactive clocks, allowing the children to see the physical time and change it. This reinforces the importance of making lessons as interactive as possible. This is something I have tried to do in each lesson that I teach. I make sure that there is an aspect of the lesson where the children are very involved, most of the time I use games. It has also proven to be a successful way of getting the children to repeat the vocabulary, allowing them to remember it.

This was my last day with Madame Pasquer. Over the weeks i had hoped that the language barrier would lessen and I would be able to converse with this teacher. However, this didn’t really happen. I just went into Monday’s knowing that I would not have any involvement in the school day. As much as I tried to speak French, it was too difficult when someone cannot speak any English.

Week 5: Friday

I can’t believe that I have reached the end of my penultimate week in the French primary school. Time has gone so quickly, and it is surreal that I only have one week left with my classes. I was looking forward to this day as I knew I would be kept very busy teaching various classes. I usually only have my three CP classes on a Friday, however, due to the disruptions yesterday, I had two extra lessons to teach today.

First thing this morning I went into the other CM2 class to teach them the topic of going shopping. I was very happy to see how enthusiastic they were about learning English. This was the first time I had ever taught this class, so I wasn’t sure how the lesson was going to go. There were a few members of the class that were not as engaged, however, on the whole the class listen and participated a lot within the lesson. I kept the lesson very much the same as I had done it before with my CM2 class because it seemed to work very well. I added one game in that I had tried before and I’m glad that I did because it was a success.

I started the lesson by going over the vocabulary using my flashcards. As I have mentioned in previous reflections, I have realised that using flashcards is very useful when teaching a foreign language. It is an aid that is easy to find and use in any level of the primary school. I would say that it took a little bit longer for the children in the second CM2 class to grasp the vocab, however, I ensured that I did not move on to the next part of the lesson until they were completely accurate with their vocab and pronunciation. After this I played various game using the flashcards, two of which I had already played with my CM2 class. They seemed to really enjoy the games and were very competitive which resulted in further development of vocabulary. They were very focused on learning the various types of shop in order to win against myself and their peers.

Before morning break I had the chance to talk about Scotland and share my PowerPoint presentation with my CM2 class. I was very excited about this lesson as it was a chance for me to share with the children where I come from and talk to them about what school is like in Scotland compared to France. There were very interested and asked lots of questions throughout. One thing that they were very surprised at was that in Scotland we only go to two schools as we do not have middle school. The way in which the Scottish education system works is very different from France. There were also very excited to find out where about in Scotland I come from, they asked many questions about the capital city Edinburgh and about various Scottish traditions. I discussed topics such as clothes, food and drink and school. I presented this lesson in French with a little help from the teacher. This was a great opportunity to show what I have learned over the past few weeks whilst being in the school. It was great to see that the children had so many questions to ask me and were genuinely interested in finding out about Scotland.

After break I was teaching my first CP class of the day. The class that I teach in the morning is always a lot more difficult than the other two classes. This is something I had previously mentioned to my class teacher. I found out after entering the CP class that my teacher had discussed this with the class teacher. The CP teacher spoke to the boys and girls and told them that the other classes listen and work very hard. I have noticed that a few of the children in that class misbehave and often have to be disciplined by standing outside of the classroom. I have no seen this type of discipline in the other CP classes are the children are always very well behaved when I am in the classroom.

I was moving onto a different topic in CP today as the children were now very confident with colours. Some of the CP teacher had expressed that fruits and vegetables would be a good topic to teach. I decided to focus purely on fruit today as I believe that add vegetables into the mix would be confusing for the children. I am glad that I did this as the children in the first CP class found it difficult remembering a few basic fruits. I started off the lesson optimistic that the children would be able to recall ten different fruits by the end of the lesson, however, I realised early on that this would not be the case. I decided to cut it down to five fruits to make it easier for the children to remember. I picked five of the most common fruits so that they were able to recognise the pictures on the flashcards. I am very glad that I had flashcard to do the lesson as I don’t believe that the children would have been able to learn this topic without using flashcards. The entire lesson consisted of the children repeating after me and then trying it on their own. I was not able to move on to the flashcard games that I had planned due to how difficult they were finding the vocabulary. As that class is usually the most difficult class of the day I was hopeful that the other CP classes would find the lesson less difficult.

I found out after lunch that the other CM2 teacher wanted me to go back into her class in the afternoon to do my Scotland presentation for her class. I was informed that the children had been so enthusiastic about my going shopping lesson that they wanted me to go back into their class to teach. This made my day as it is so rewarding finding out that the children enjoy your lessons. Having had the chance to practice my Scotland presentation in the morning I felt prepared going into the second CM2 class. However, the teacher does not speak English and therefore I was unsure if she would be able to translate my English into French for the children as I was unable to say absolutely everything in French. Despite the language barrier the lesson went very well and myself and the teacher were able to translate small amount of the lesson from English to French and vice versa. Again, it was great to see how interested the children were in learning about Scotland.

My last two CP classes of the day went a lot better than the class I had taught in the morning. They grasped the vocabulary very quickly which allowed me to move onto the flashcard games. I wish I had had the opportunity to do this with the first class, however, it wouldn’t have worked if the children weren’t able to recall the vocab. I played a memory game as well as a team game that involved the children going against each other in pairs to see who could point to the various fruits first. The children had a great time and were engaged throughout. They were clapping and cheering for each other whilst playing as well as learning new words. Overall, it was a very successful day of teaching and it felt very good to have accomplished so much in just one day.

Week 5: Thursday

I went into school today prepared to teach a lesson on Scotland as well as the going shopping topic with the other CM2 class. I was very excited to have the opportunity to have the chance to tell the children all about Scotland and Scottish culture. Having been in France for nearly five weeks now I am starting to miss home a bit. This is the longest I have ever been away from home for. This is another reason I was really looking forward to talking about Scotland. Having the opportunity to tell the children about my hometown and various Scottish traditions was very exciting.

The teacher had expressed to me that she wanted me to teach the lesson in French meaning that I required an English and French translation. I spent the morning adding the finishing touches to my PowerPoint presentation in preparation for the afternoons lesson. I didn’t realise how long it would take me to translate everything I wanted to say into French. For most of the presentation I was able to translate without having to search for the translation. However, when explaining very aspects of Scottish culture I had to use my iTranslate app to ensure I had the correct translation. I then showed the teacher to make sure I had used the correct French. I was very happy to find out that there was only a couple of minor mistakes. However, in the morning there was a power cut which meant that the school would be without electricity for the remainder of the day. As I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation I would be unable to project it onto the board for the children to see. I was very disappointed as I was looking forward to talking about Scotland. I am hoping that the electricity will be up and running by tomorrow, so I will be able to present.

I was looking forward to teaching the going shopping lesson to the second CM2 class. Since my lesson went well the other day and received a good response from the children, I was interested to see how the other class would engage. I really enjoy repeating lessons for other classes because it allows me to improve each time, taking the positives and negatives from the lesson and further developing my teaching strategies. Luckily the power cut did not affect my plan for this lesson as all I required was flashcards.

I was interested to see how the children in the other CM2 class would behave. Having observed their class teacher teaching geography to my CM2 class I have noticed that she is very strict She doesn’t stand for any misbehaviour and is also very hands on with the children. I don’t know if this is because her class is challenging or that is just her preferred teaching style. Unfortunately, when it came to the time that I was supposed to be teaching the CM2 class I was informed that because of the construction noise no teaching would be taking place. I was disappointed as that was the second lesson of the day that I was unable to teach. This meant that I didn’t have the chance to teach at all throughout the course of the day. I understand that sometimes things cannot be helped but it was a bit annoying having spent so much time planning each lesson.

I did not have the day I had expected; however, I am hoping that tomorrow will be better as the power should be back on and I will get to teach the lessons I missed today, over and above my usual Friday routine.

Week 5: Wednesday

I didn’t have any teaching planned for this day as it was the half day. I don’t usually do much on this day because school finishes so early. Most of my teaching takes place in the afternoon, therefore I don’t have the opportunity to do much. However, when I went into school I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the teacher wanted me to help out with a maths lesson. This lesson was in French; however, numbers are the same in every country, therefore, I had a good understanding of the topic. The children were working on decimals and the teacher had set up a task in the corridor that she wanted completed. I was in charge of this station and had to ensure that the children were successful. My purpose was not to tell them the answer but guide them in the right direction. I always find maths lessons so interesting to watch as it is one of the lessons that I can really follow and understand.

During this lesson one thing I noticed that differs to the way in which we teach maths in Scotland is their use of the decimal place. They use a comma instead of a point which I found strange. At the beginning of the lesson I had to ask the teacher if it was decimals they were learning because of the point being expressed as a comma. She confirmed that this was the way in which decimals are written in France. I found this very interesting as over the past five weeks I have noticed small but significant differences between the two curriculums. During the lesson I tried my best to pick up and understand the French terminology in relation to this topic, however, it was very hard to follow. I just had to use my knowledge in English to help the children complete their task.

The task involved a number line that the teacher had created in the corridor outside the classroom. It went from zero to five. The children were given cards with various decimal numbers on them and their goal was to stick them on the correct place in the number line. Most of the children found this very simple, however, the numbers that seemed to catch everyone out was numbers such as 2.06 and 4.05. The children weren’t registering that zero has to come before one, therefore, were placing the cards at 2.6 and 4.5. I tried my best to explain to the children why this was incorrect, so they could change their answers.

I also used my time today to record myself reading two books. Both of these books were on the topic of colours and I had used them to teach this area of English to the CP classes. My teacher suggested that it would be a nice idea for me to record myself reading the books so that they would be able to use this in the school in the future. She also suggested that it would be a good idea for her to record herself reading the books in French, so I can take the recording back to Scotland with me and use it when I am teaching French as a qualified teacher. I had the best time doing this as it is something special that I will be able to keep forever. It is things like this that are allowing me to make the most of my learning from life experience. Making resources for my future teaching whilst in France is something that not many people will be able to say they have done.

Having this experience and understanding the difficulty of teaching a foreign language to children is equipping me with skills that will be essential in the future. It has allowed me to become more passionate about learning languages and I would love to have the opportunity to improve my French and return one day. This experience has showed me the importance of language and how learning language from a young age benefits each child.