Having been out of the school for two days I was ready to get back into teaching. I was looking forward to teaching the topic of colours to the various CP classes within the school. Seeing how enthusiastic they were about English on Tuesday allowed me to feel very optimistic about the lesson. My CM2 teacher gave me so great tips and ideas regarding how to teach colours to the children. She gave me flashcards as well as English books to read to the children. I believe that using these various resources will engage the children and allow them to develop their English vocabulary.
As my CM2 class were still out of school on their sports week I had the morning to sit in the classroom and plan my lessons for the day. It is good to have planning time throughout the course of the school day, so I know exactly what I am doing with each class. Planning was simple on this day as I was teaching the three CP classes. This meant that I would be teaching the same lesson three times. I wanted to make sure my lesson was engaging as well as interactive and fun. Having taught one lesson previously to these classes I was aware of the various ways in which the children learn best. Speaking is the most important aspect of learning a foreign language and therefore I must ensure that all of my lessons focus on this skill. The teachers like English lessons to be taught completely in the language, only using French is the children are very stuck. For my lesson on colour I made sure that there was lots of opportunity for speaking.
I felt confident going into my first class of the day because I was well prepared and knew exactly what I was going to teach the children. Having three different resources meant that the children would not get bored and that there were various tasks for them to complete throughout the lesson. I had flashcards with various colours on them, a book that had different coloured animals and a game that involved the children recognising different colours in front of them. As I only have thirty-minute teaching slots I divided the lesson into three sections all ten minutes long. I believe that having a well-structured lesson ensures success.
I was warmly welcomed into my first CP class of the day, they were all very excited to see me. This made me feel confident and happy as I knew there was nothing to be nervous about. One thing I did notice however, was that when I begin speaking in English the children tend to laugh. I think this is because they are not used to hearing someone speak English with my accent. With the CP class I have to make sure that I hook them into the lesson quickly as they can become irritable and restless. This means that lesson have to be engaging and interactive in order to hold their attention.
The children in CP were very excited to find out the topic was going to be colours. This is because colour is something they were already familiar with. This meant that I could build on their vocabulary whilst improving their pronunciation of the words. I found that during the lesson two colours that they seemed to mix up were grey and green. These words do sound similar, so I am not surprised they found this difficult. With the words that were clearly more challenging I got the children to repeat after me several times. Each time the found it easier to pronounce the word. As I have mentioned in previous reflections, the children adopt a Scottish accent when pronouncing various words that they haven’t come across before. I find this amusing as it makes me realise how strong my accent really is.
I found the same pattern in all three classes. It was the same colours that the children found difficult to remember or pronounce. Green, grey and brown are the hardest colours for the children to recall. I believe this is because they find it difficult to pronounce words that have a br or gr sound. Think me be because in French these sounds are pronounced differently. Learning a foreign language is a difficult thing, however, I believe that the youngest classes in the school are the most excited about learning English and find it easier to pick up new vocabulary. The emphasises the need for languages to be taught from an early age. I wish I had had the opportunity to learn French was a was a mere six-year-old. I believe that is this has been the way I was taught in school I would have come to France with the ability to converse easily with natives. However, this is not the case because in Scotland we don’t begin learning until we are nearing the end of primary education.
I believe that this was one of the most successful days I have had thus far during the learning from life placement. I was very confident when teaching and believed I conducted the lesson in a manner which the children enjoyed. They were very excited and always eager to answer my questions. I really enjoyed being with the young children in the school. I also believe that working in the CP classes is giving me a taster of what my early years placement will be like next year. I have gotten to know the different teaching styles needed when moving between the lower and upper school. I believe that moving forward I understand how to make lesson interactive and exciting for the early years. The children have come out of their shells with me and therefore it is important that I continuously build upon these relationships.
Over the past week I have started teaching in the various classes throughout the school and it has been the best week yet. Although observing was very interesting and helpful, I am in the school to teach English. I have been given many opportunities throughout the course of the week to teach English to three CP classes as well as CM1. I feel that actually teaching the children has allowed me to get to know them better and build successful relationships.