During my time on placement, I spent the two weeks within a composite Primary5/6 class. I found that working with this age group was challenging yet very rewarding as you could visually see them making progress with their learning.
A strength that I felt I displayed was maintaining eye contact and body language when talking, or when someone was talking to me. I felt that this was an important thing to do, especially when working with a child in the class who has autism. Through maintaining eye contact, I showed him that I was listening and interested in what he was saying. When appropriate, I would crouch down to meet the eye level of the pupil to show that I was engaged in what they were saying. I feel that this was a positive thing to do as it showed that what they were saying was important and that my full attention was on them. By doing this, I wasn’t towering above them and coming across as being intimidating and instead attempted to be viewed as approachable.
A development weakness that I need to work on is my use of language. I found myself often using ‘Scottish’ words without even thinking about it, assuming the children would understand. However, in the class there were 3 pupils whose first language was Polish and therefore, they were unaware of these words. An example of this is using the word blether. In order to improve this, I should engage with the level of English within the class and spend more time in thinking if the language I am using is understood by all members of the class.
When next on placement, I plan on gaging my audience in order to decide if using Scots words is appropriate for all pupils. This will be beneficial as it will allow all pupils to understand and be involved in conversation as much as possible.
As part of our workshop for Situated Communication this week, we ventured outside with the task of ‘building a den’. This task was done in groups, meaning communication was crucial.
Group and leadership
- Within my group, there wasn’t really a set leader throughout the task. I feel that we all took turns at being the ‘leader’ at different stages.
- One positive trait that everyone showed was determination and were ready to give it our best shot. The verbal communication within our group was good and clear meaning everyone was on the same page and no one was isolated and not knowing what to do.
- I often found that we would discuss ideas in smaller groups of the team and then feedback to everyone once we had a solid plan of action.
- The most challenging thing that I found working within the group was the amount of people for the task, especially to begin with. Everyone had ideas and wanted to share them with each other but looking back, I think if we had discussed this within smaller parts of the group and then did some feedback to the full group with possible ideas and contributions then this could have been more successful and less time consuming.
- I think that our groups explaining and overall communication was effective. I always knew what was going on, who was doing what and what our end goal was due to clear discussion. This was shown as everyone was constantly \doing something and nobody was standing around with nothing to do, everyone was helping and supporting one another.
- If we were to improve on one thing it would be the preparation behind who was discussing what part of the process. Although our presentation and explanation to the other group was fine, we could have put more thought into who was saying what in order for everyone to have a chance at explaining.
- The environment impacted our groups decision making. Due to being in such an open space, we became very indecisive as to where to build the den. It was a bit of a distraction to begin with as we were in a different environment than what we were used to.
- I think that if the weather had been different (eg. windy, rain etc.) then we may have struggled more with the volume of our voices, however the weather was dry and not too windy so it didn’t affect us too much. If this had been the case then a louder voice would be necessary in order to get information across to all members of the group to prevent miscommunication or confusion. By using a louder voice, this doesn’t necessarily mean shouting but instead articulating your voice and speaking clearly, this would be effective so everyone can hear and understand whats happening.
- Our negotiations were successful. We bargained with another group and explained why we needed the item and what they could use as a replacement to it. Therefore, we offered an alternative solution in order to benefit ourselves and them.
- This was challenging as it meant speaking and negotiating with different people that I might not have yet spoken to properly, however I found this beneficial as it created conversation that might not have happened otherwise.
Starting University, I had no idea what to expect. The weeks leading up to my first week was a mix of emotions. On the one hand I was really excited to get thrown into uni life- meeting new people, being in a new surrounding, taking on the responsibilities of being a student and starting a new adventure. On the other hand, I was nervous- of making new friends, of travelling such a distance away from home everyday, of generally stepping right out of my comfort zone.
One of the things that I’m looking forward most to about being a student teacher is getting the chance to go on placement, especially so early on. Due to having previous (positive) experience within a classroom, this left me with feelings of hope yet fear for further classroom experience. One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that not every class will be easy and amazing. There will be stress and challenges to overcome. It won’t all be a walk in the park.