Week 3: Tuesday

On Tuesday I had the morning to plan before going into nearly a full day of teaching. This was very daunting as I had to teach various topics to different classes. I used the morning to translate different phrases, so I was able to speak both English and French to the younger children in CP as I was aware that their level of English is not great. I used the morning to make resources such as flashcards and PowerPoints. I was aware that one of the CP classes wanted me to talk to the children about myself and Scotland, so I thought it would be a good idea make a PowerPoint presentation full of various pictures of Scotland. It was important that I prepared a French translation for everything that I planned to say in English as the younger children would not understand what I was talking about.

There are three CP classes in Romain Rolland and I had the chance to teach each class today. I taught the first class about greetings and how to introduce yourself. This was very repetitive as I had to ensure that the children were able to remember, as well as pronounce the words. I taught them how to say, hello, goodbye, my name is, I am ____ years old and I am a boy/girl. This was a lot of information for them to take in. I made sure to use the white board to write and always gave them the French equivalent. I believe that moving forward with this class I could include games. Making the lesson more interactive will allow the children to remember phrases more easily. I am teaching this class again on Friday and I plan to prepare various games/ nursey rhymes. I think this class will enjoy it as they were very enthusiastic about English. They were all very keen to answer my questions and became more confident as the lesson progressed.

Teaching children in this stage of the school was very rewarding as they soaked up all the information like a sponge. This allowed me to reflect on the teaching of foreign languages in Scotland. It has been proven that the younger you begin learning a language the easier it is and the better you will be. Therefore, I think that languages should prioritised in the Scottish primary curriculum. From primary one children should be afforded the opportunity to have at least one or two lessons of language a week. Just doing a little bit every couple of days will allow the children to become more confident when they progress throughout school. Another thing I have noticed is that when I am teaching English, I have been told to speak in English as much as possible and try not to use French unless they really don’t understand. This is something that is not done in Scotland. I studied French to higher level and all of the way through high school we were spoken to in English. I believe this is a contributing factor as to why British people don’t find it easy to pick up a foreign language. I hope that when I become a qualified teacher I have to opportunity to teach a language in the way in which I know children will learn best. I would have jumped at the chance to learn a language from a young age, however, this is something that is not considered a priority within the Scottish education system. I have only been in France for just under three weeks and I have already picked up so much of the language merely from being around native French speakers. This shows that speaking in the language you are trying to learn is essential in developing your skill.

In the afternoon, I did the same lesson on greetings with the second CP class. They were very enthusiastic and responded well. However, this class found it more difficult to remember the words and sentences and needed more prompts than the other class. This shows that although that children are all the same age they are working at different levels. I found it very strange standing at the front of the classroom talking to a room of children who don’t speak my language. Teaching a foreign language is something I don’t have any experience of and I am finding it difficult. Explaining thigs in a way in which the children will understand whilst always using actions is very important, especially with the CP classes. I believe that moving forward I need to ensure that I have a sound I have an activity for the children to do, so that I am not up at the front of the classroom at all times.

I found that by my final class of the day I was a lot more confident teaching. I taught the same lesson three times and each time I believe that I improved and found the best way to engage the children in the lesson. I found that talking very slowly whilst constantly repeating the vocabulary was the most successful way to teach the children. They were very enthusiastic, and it is clear to see that they enjoy English lessons. On Friday I have been asked to teach the topic of colours. I believe that this is a topic will be a good one to teach as I can use flashcards as well as books and games, making the lesson interactive. The children respond very well to interactive lessons; therefore, I must ensure that I am always thinking of new ways to keep the children engaged.

Overall, I had a very successful first full day of teaching. I was very nervous going into this day, however, it has now given me the confidence to be creative and come up with new methods and ideas. I now have a good understand of how the CP classes work and what teaching strategies work well. I am looking forward to getting to know the children throughout the school more over the coming week as well as the other teachers.

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