Category Archives: 1.2 Integrity

Week 3: Thursday

On this day the children were back at Charlemagne for sports week. I was very excited about today as the sun was shining and it was the perfect day to be on the water. When we arrived, the teacher informed me that we were also going to be rowing. This scared me a bit as I has never rowed before in my life, however, I was also very excited to be trying something new in France. The children were also excited to see myself and their teacher on the water.

I thought to myself as I was getting onto the small rowing boat that surely rowing would be an easy sport and wouldn’t take long to master. Oh, how I was wrong. I was very confused at the beginning and there was definitely no chance of me ever becoming a successful rower. However, as time went on I got into it and it was a lot of fun. Luckily the teacher was a rower herself and therefore was able to help me along the way. Realising in the middle of the lake that we didn’t have life jackets on was a worry. Although I am a good swimmer I did not fancy falling into that water at any point, even if it was a sunny day. As we rowed we stopped every so often to take photos of the children on the boats. The teacher was taking photos so that they could be sold at the end of the week to make money for their school trip at the end of term.

I have noticed that the school does a lot of fundraising when it comes to trips. Last week they had a bake sale, parents made various cakes and sold them at the end of the day. Hosting various fundraising events throughout the year is a successful way of funding school trips, meaning that the children don’t have to pay for it out of their own pocket. It is also great to see how involved the parents get. They help out at the various events. This is a similarity I have noticed between France and Scotland. In Scottish primary schools we have the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), this allows the parents of the children to get involved with the school and help out at the various events run throughout the course of the year. I think it is important for parents to get involved with school.

In the afternoon on Thursday, myself and the other Scottish students in Orléans had a meeting with our host Nina. This was a half-term meeting to see how we were getting on in our schools thus far. I couldn’t believe that it was already time for a half-term meeting. It seems like yesterday that it was my first day in the school, only having just arrived in France. It is scary how quickly the time is going. I am nearly at the end of my third week and it is hard to believe that there is only three weeks left after this. I expected the time to fly, but not as fast as it has. I am looking forward to the coming weeks and further developing my teaching skills. Teaching English as a foreign is very challenging but it is also rewarding seeing a child learn a new language. Knowing that I only have three more weeks of placement is surreal. Over my final few weeks I must be sure to embrace every opportunity and take on new challenges.

Week 3: Wednesday

The class that I am in most often is CM2, that is my base classroom within the school. I had been observing this class for the first two weeks of my placement and the teacher is considered to be my host within the school. I have gotten to know the children in this class very well and I am beginning to form good relationships with them. Having spent Monday and Tuesday in various other classes within the school I was looking forward to going with the CM2 class to Charlemagne for their sports week. The children have been taking part in various outdoor activities throughout the week, with their main sport being rowing. It was very interesting to see the children thrive outside of the classroom and enjoy their sports week.

As it was half day Wednesday the children were only participating in the morning. Unfortunately for them the weather was not on their side and it was a very rainy, miserable day. Despite this, the children had a great time and the weather didn’t seem to bother them one bit. Each day they progress learning a new skill. On this day, all members of the class were given two ores. On previous days on one child would row whilst the other sat and watched. They would take turnabout. Myself and the teacher walked around the lake taking photos.

One thing I have noticed about French primary schools is that the utilise their surroundings. They do not hesitate to take the children to outdoor recreational facilities and local gym’s or centres. I think this is a very good thing as it allows the children to escape from the four walls of the classroom. Because the curriculum is so structured I believe that having the opportunity to leave the school to take part in activities is very important. It allows the children to enjoy and express themselves as there is not a lot of opportunity for this in the classroom. It is clear to see how enthusiastic the children are when taking part in outdoor activities.

Overall, Wednesday was a great chance for me to see the children enjoy themselves and take part in an activity that they wouldn’t usually do. Being in different surroundings, away from the school was very interesting and I enjoyed the change of scenery. I am looking forward to being with the CM2 class again tomorrow and seeing how they progress within this sport.

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.

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.

Week 5: Tuesday

I was nervous going into this day as it was my first day teaching the CM2 class. This was daunting as CM2 is the oldest class in the school and I have never done a lesson with them before. I have gotten very used to teaching the CP children who are the youngest. Having observed the CM2 class many times of the past four weeks I have gotten to know the children and gain an understanding of how they learn. There are some very big characters within the class, therefore, I was anxious to see how they react to the way in which I teach English.

In the morning I had a chance to get my resources together and make sure that everything was in place for the lesson. The children had maths in the morning before I taught my going shopping lesson. I had to ensure that I was able to recall both the English and French words for the various types of shop as this was a topic they have never done before. I was worried going into the lesson about how easy/ difficult they would find the topic. However, knowing that my teacher would be there to help if I needed it made me feel more at ease.

The lesson was a success and I was so relieved that all went well. As the children in CM2 are the oldest in the school they have a good level of English. This meant that learning new vocabulary was simple for most of them. Vocabulary was the main focus and the children picked this up very quickly. I used flashcards with pictures of various types of shop to teach the vocab before moving on to different games. One of the games involved the children closing their eyes while I removed a flashcard from the board, they then had to look and tell me which shop was missing. This proved to work very well as it required the children to think about the words they had just learned. Being able to recall the vocabulary was the main aim of the lesson and I am very happy that I managed to achieve this. I believe that repetition is the key when introducing new vocabulary. I was also able to test the children’s understanding of the items you would find in various shops. I was surprised that they were able to tell me so many different items that could be found. This allowed me to see that this class are very competent in English, meaning that I can give them more challenging task in the future.

I believe that moving forward with the topic of going shopping, I must begin to introduce more challenging vocabulary. I think I should also begin to ask them questions regarding the topic in English. This way they will be able to further develop their language skills. I will continue to play games with the vocab as I believe this is a good way to make a lesson interactive and keep the children engaged throughout. I already have ideas regarding what I could do for my next lesson on the topic of going shopping.

I continued the topic of colours with the CP classes. I have really enjoyed teaching this topic because the children have been very enthusiastic, and it has been rewarding watching them develop their language skills. As they are becoming more confident with the colours I am able to do more complex activities and games with them. I am really enjoying having the opportunity to work with the younger members of the school and using different teaching strategies.

Since I have now done a few lessons on the topic of colours I thought it would be a fun idea to teach them the song ‘I can sing a rainbow’. This song lists all of the colours in the rainbow. I found that my first CP class of the day found this very difficult. As I have mentioned in previous reflections, this is the case for most lessons I have taught. I have yet to learn why this is however, it meant that I just had to take the lesson slower and use more repetition. By the end of the lesson the children were becoming more confident with the song, however, still needed my input.

I was very excited when I went into my second CP class as they seem to soak up information and are very confident in their English. They picked up the lyrics very quickly and were able to remember them without me singing along every time. This was very rewarding to see as it meant that my teaching style was working for this class. I was so impressed with their singing that I managed to record the class singing and play it back to them. The enthusiasm in the younger classes makes every lesson so much fun and I always look forward to teaching in the CP classes. Because the children are so confident with their colours now, I think it might be a good idea to introduce some new vocabulary and a new topic.

Overall, I had a very successful day of teaching. This was the most I have taught in one day and it was great. I now have a good understanding of how all of he calls learn best. I look forward to further developing my teaching skills over the final two weeks of placement.