Category Archives: 2.1 Curriculum

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.

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.

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 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: 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.

Week 4: Friday

Friday is one of my main teaching days of the week, therefore, I always look forward to this day. I love having lots to do and getting to spend time with different classes within the school. I begin each day in my CM2 class then throughout the day go to various areas of the school to teach. I really enjoy being in the CP classes as this has been my first experience of teaching children in the early years. I was anxious going into these classes in the beginning due to my lack of experience. However, I have found that that my confidence has grown each day and I now feel comfortable teaching this age group. I enjoy coming up with new lesson ideas. With the CP classes I have found that interactive lessons work best and allow the children to really engage. I have been teaching the topic of colours now for two weeks and I was looking forward to continuing this with the classes. They are all very enthusiastic about the topic and therefore work very hard when I am teaching.

In my fist CP class of the day I introduced my lesson idea of the colour wheel. The children were each given a circular piece of paper that had the colour names written on in segments. The idea of the lesson was that I put up the various coloured flashcards on the board along with the spelling and they had to colour in the corresponding word. Once this was completed they would get a second piece of paper with one segment cut up, after pinning this to their coloured in sheet they were able to spin the top piece of paper to reveal a colour. Creating the wheel took up most of the lesson, however, with the time we had at the end everyone used their colour wheel as a learning tool. I asked the children to show me various colours and they had to find it on their wheel and hold it up. This was very successful and allowed me to gage their level of understanding of this topic. Having taught all three classes for a few weeks now I have a good idea of the class level. I found that my first class of the day were very confident and did not struggle with the colour wheel. They proved that they were very competent in relation to the topic of colour. All of the children in the class were able to answer my questions and did not struggle to recite the colours.

I found that the other CP classes that I went to see after lunch struggled more than the first class. I don’t know the reason for this, however, this has been a trend over the previous weeks. When colouring in the wheel a lot of the children were getting mixed up with the colours, colouring words the wrong colour. I was very confused as to how this was a challenging task as I provided them with the colour and the name. I am curious as to whether these classes are younger that my first class and are therefore working at a lower level. Reflection on this, I believe that in future lessons I could simplify the lesson for those unable to recall information from previous weeks.

Differentiation is something that is not practiced in France. All children in all classes work on the same textbooks and complete the same tasks. This is something I have found very interesting as in Scotland, differentiation is a major aspect of teaching. We are taught about the importance of ensuring children are working at the level that is right for them. However, if children are forced to complete the same work from primary one level and are given the time and attention from the teacher, who is to say that not having differentiation doesn’t work? I have found that being in a French school for four weeks now has allowed me to see that all children seem to be coping with their work. They are all very capable at the level they are working at. This shows that the sue of differentiation is not essential. If children work at the same level from a young age, they can all work at the same level at the same time.

Overall, I had a successful day and week teaching. I challenged myself and thought of new and creative ideas for lessons. I am looking forward to going into next week as I am teaching even more lessons. I am excited to finally be teaching my CM2 class the topic of going shopping and I hope that I am successful with CM2 as I have been with CP.

Week 4: Thursday

I was happy to find out that my teacher was back from her course and would be teaching the class today. I didn’t have any plans on my timetable to go into any other classes today, therefore I stayed with CM2 all day. I enjoy being with the CM2 class as they are the oldest in the school. It is very interesting watching and observing how they work and the lessons they participate in. As it was Thursday the French student teacher was also in to carry on her lesson that she taught two weeks previous. They children really engaged with her lesson the last time she taught, so I was looking forward to watching the follow up lesson in the afternoon.

I was happy to have the opportunity to speak to Amélie about my experience from teaching the CP classes. It was the first time I had had the chance to discuss what I thought went well as well as asking for advice regarding future lessons. I told her that I was anxious about going into the classes on Friday as I believed that the children had a good understanding of the topic of colour and didn’t want them to get bored of the same thing. She gave me some great advice and suggested that I do a song with them relating to the topic of colour. Throughout my time at Romain Rolland my class teacher has gone above and beyond to make my experience memorable. She has given me some great advice and ideas as well as providing me with various resources to aid my lessons. I know that my experience would not have been the same without her. It has been very helpful having someone who is fluent in English to converse with as there is such a big language barrier between myself and the children.

I used some of the spare time I had today to plan lesson with the teacher. We thought of various lesson plans for both the CP classes and CM2. I was informed that I would begin teaching the topic of ‘going shopping’ on Friday with CM2. I have never taught this stage before even though I am in the class most of the day. I have observed how they work and the level they are working at. However, I have only ever played sound games with them. I am very anxious about standing up in front of the class tomorrow and teaching them. I believe my nerves could be due to their age. CM2 consists of children aged 10 and 11. Being a very young student I am aware that I am only a mere 10 years older than them. I have gotten to know the children in the CM2 class over the weeks, so I am hopeful that I will be able to produce a successful lesson that they engage with.

I have realised over the past couple of weeks that I have been teaching, how important it is to use resources such as flashcards with children. Teaching a foreign language is very difficult, however, children learn best from speaking and repetition. Each lesson that I have taught so far has included the use of flashcards. Children respond very well to this and are able to recall the information when it is presented to them in this form. I plan to continue using flashcards in my lessons as I believe that it is best resource for teaching a foreign language. There are many games that can be played with flashcards, this allows the children to be involved in their learning. Ensuring that lessons are interactive is essential in keeping the children engaged throughout. I hope that in the coming weeks, I further develop my teaching skills, improving lesson by lesson.

The French student teacher was also in today as it was Thursday. She was teaching a science lesson. The children were very enthusiastic and keen to get stuck into the practical activities that accompanied the lesson. The children had to take an artificial product for example a can or mobile phone and turn it into something natural. A lot of the children thought of various ways to grow things in their objects. It was very interesting to see how the children thrived throughout this lesson. Over the weeks I have noticed that practical lessons get the best response from the children. It is clear to see that they love being involved in their own learning. This shows the importance of including interactive lessons in the curriculum. Because of this I feel like I must make sure to make lessons as interactive as possible. I plan to use games and resources to do this successfully.

Week 4: Wednesday

Madame Zech, the class teacher was still on a course this day. Therefore, the children had their normal supply teacher Madame Pasquer. They children are used to having this teacher every Monday and therefore consider her to be their teacher just as much as Amélie. It was very interesting to see the change in behaviour from the previous day. The children were a lot more settled and got on with their work as soon as they entered the classroom. This behaviour was what I had been used to seeing over the four weeks I have been in the school. This allowed me to realise that although the CM2 children are very well-behaved, they are still children and when given the opportunity to have a joke or misbehave they will take it. No matter what country or classroom you are in, children are all the same.

I was prepared going into this day that I would not be teaching as it was a half-day. However, this afforded me the opportunity to plan various lessons for the coming days as well as next week. The topic of going shopping is something that the teacher is really keen for me to teach. I have been planning over the past week various lessons I could do with the class. I have resources such as flashcards that I can use to teach the vocabulary. I am anxious to teach this topic as the vocabulary in French is not something I am familiar with; therefore, I must ensure that I learn both the English and French translation. I spent most of Wednesday morning translating phrases from English to French, so I had a good understanding of the vocabulary myself before teaching.

I don’t enjoy Wednesday as much as other days because I don’t have the opportunity to involve myself. I never teach any lessons, neither do I witness any English taking place. I use the time for planning, but it can get a bit boring as the morning consists for three hours. However, I do get to teach a lot on the other days. I just need to ensure that I come to school on Wednesdays with a plan. I can use this time to work on my blogs as well as plan lessons.

After this week I will only be in Romain Rolland for two more weeks. I can’t believe how quickly the time is going. I am enjoying the learning from life experience and I am so happy that I decided to come to France. This is the one opportunity during university to spread your wings and travel out of your comfort zone. I am so glad that I have taken on the challenge of working in a French primary school instead of staying in Scotland. I have had experiences that I would never had had if I had stayed in Dundee.

Week 4: Tuesday

Monday was the Easter bank holiday; therefore, Tuesday was my first day back in school after the weekend. I was looking forward to this week as I was now used to my weekly timetable.  I was prepared to teach in the various CP classes throughout the day. In the previous week I had begun the topic of colours. The children were vey engaged and enjoyed these lessons, however, there were still aspects of the topic that they struggled with. On Tuesday I decided that it would be a good idea to continue with the topic of colours. This would allow the children to revise what they learned in the week previous, whilst developing their vocabulary and pronunciation. I planned to begin the lesson in the same way as last time, using flashcards to test their knowledge. I also found that using a book relating to the topic was very effective. They children were very enthusiastic and were keen to answer questions. I prepared a different book for this day, still sticking with the theme of colours. I am hoping that this week I see a progression in knowledge before moving onto a different topic.

I began the morning in my CM2 class. I had the morning to sit at the back of the classroom and plan lessons around the topic of ‘going shopping’. I am going to be teaching this topic to the CM2 class later on in the week and the teacher was eager for me to plan various lessons around the topic to show her before I taught them. Having time on Tuesday morning was very helpful as I had the chance to look at the various resources that were available to me. I was able to translate the various phrases I would be using in English into French in case the children had difficulty understanding. CM2 is the oldest class in the school, therefore, they should have the best level of English in the school. Having spent a lot of time in CP now I have a greater understanding of how English is taught throughout the various stages of school. This has allowed me to plan successful as I have had the opportunity to watch other teachers teach the subject.

The CM2 class teacher Amélie was on a course on this day, therefore, the children had a supply teacher. It was interesting to see how the children would behave with a teacher they had never had before. This was not their usual supply teacher. At the start of the day the teacher asked the children to write their names on pieces of paper so that she would be able to call them by name. Most of the children did this, however, there was one child that thought it would be funny to write a different name. He was soon found out, and the class seemed to find it very funny. This showed me that no matter what country, or class you are in children always try to be funny and test boundaries with teachers that did not know them. Since I have been in their class for three weeks now, when I begin to teach them English I know that they will behave for me as they do with their normal teacher as I am aware of the structure of their day.

Watching the children with the supply teacher made me consider the approach that I must take when teaching the class. They are very well-behaved class, however, there are members of the class that like to have a joke from time to time and can be distracting. The school and classroom don’t have specific behaviour management strategies like most Scottish primary schools do. This makes it more difficult to implement them here. On my previous university placement, I adopted various behaviour management strategies from the class teacher as it was a proven way of addressing misbehaviour. This means that it will be very much trial and error with this class, using various strategies (if required) to see what works best. I am hopefully that I will be given the same respect that the give to their class teacher.

My first CP class of the day was very difficult, they were restless and did not listen to instructions well. I found myself getting frustrated as I kept telling them to listen and be quiet, but they did not stop. The teacher had to step in at one point to tell them off because of how restless they were. I also found that this had an effect on their learning. Because they weren’t listening to me as much as they should have been, there were not able to recall the information I was giving them. I read a different book this week and they found it very funny because it was called “What colour are your knickers”. This allowed me to realise that children that of CP age (6 and 7) are not mature enough to read a book like that. The nature of the book distracted from the topic. This meant that the lesson was not as successful as it could have and should have been. I just hoped that the CP classes after lunch would respond well to the lesson and engage without becoming restless and misbehaving.

After lunch I taught the other two CP classes the same lesson. I was worried going into these lessons due to the way in which the first class had acted. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the other CP classes were engaged throughout the course of the lesson. I extended the lesson because I had more teaching time. I allowed the children to become more involved in their lesson. I picked various pupils that were sitting nicely and listening to come and stand at the front of the classroom, while the other children described what colours they were wearing. The children responded very well to this part of the lesson as they felt as though they had an important role to play. I also found that the other CP classes were a lot more confident with their colours than the first class. This shows that the classes that stay engaged and are well behaved find it easier to recall information from previous lessons.

Moving forward I believe it is important to determine what behaviour management strategies are effective in the CP classrooms. Since the teachers don’t implement set strategies it is my responsibility to use my own and see what works for the individual class. This will ensure that the children are getting the most out of the English lessons.