I recently had a lecture all about modern language in the primary school. This got me thinking about my experience of modern languages. I started learning modern languages in upper years in primary. I don’t really associate good memories with modern languages. I wasn’t given any choice in which language I learnt. It was quite simple; I was learning French and that was that. Most of my memories include a lot of book work, which wasn’t very exciting. I had a quite old fashioned teacher who I had throughout primary school right up to senior one. After that I had two French teachers. The first although she was nice, was quite strict. She only allowed us to speak French in the classroom, no word English was allowed. Since I already wasn’t very confident in my ability this meant I spoke very little in the classroom. It wasn’t until I got my third and last French teacher that I started to enjoy myself. It’s interesting because out of the three teachers she wasn’t French, she was British. Maybe this is why I liked her. She took things slow; explain things in an easy manner; which allowed me to build my confidence. She also played a lot of games which captured my imagination. So I think if I teach a language I would like to take this fun aspect, which should hold the children’s imagination. I will also not speak solely in the language I am teaching. I do think children need to hear the language but they also need to understand. If they do not understand they might switch off and not participate in that lesson. Overall I hope to make my lesson fun and enjoyable so that children have good memories of learning a modern language.
I have just finished my first placement. I spent six weeks in an upper year’s class. Overall I have enjoyed my placement. However there were days when I found it very difficult. It was a real learning curve. But saying that I am glad I did it and overall I’m sure it has improved my teaching skills. I feel I developed a good relationship with the children. My knowledge of the curriculum has improved and I no longer feel nervous when teaching a lesson. This links to two of my goals: confidence/staying calm and lesson planning. I had to think on my feet and to do that I needed to stay calm. This can be difficult sometime when children are involved.
Being in the classroom and planning lessons has made me realise how hard teachers work. Teachers start early in the morning before the children arrive and leave late at night, using the time later in the afternoon to plan future lessons. Seeing so many dedicated teachers inspired me to plan in advance and link lessons to the children’s needs.
Something which I felt I initially struggled with on placement was behaviour management. To begin with, I could see that some of the children were testing me. My school used the restorative approach. So I used this method when talking to the children about their behaviour. By doing this I felt as the weeks went by that the children responded to me very well. Also to begin with when teaching lessons there was a lot of chatting on the carpet. So to help keep the children’s attention I would; use positive praise, move children or clap to get the children’s attention. I found by using these techniques the children paid a lot more attention on the carpet. By the end of the placement I felt my behaviour management skills have improved, they are not perfect but I’m definitely better at it.
A strength I saw grow on placement was the development of my classroom presence. Also as my behaviour management improved I felt the children treated me like their teacher. They would come to me for help. They would also tell me about their interests and hobbies. In doing so I feel I developed a strong relationship with the children. I was not just their teacher; I was somebody there to help them if they needed it.
I have learned so much over my six weeks on placement. I have developed my confidence and skills and now I am more excited than ever to become a teacher and have my own class.
I recently watch a video all about body language. It was very interesting to see how the teachers conducted their selves. The teachers used a lot of eye contact, looking at all the children. Most of all the teachers used their bodies but most importantly their hands. They used sweeping gestures and jabs to invite the learning in and captivate them. When using their hand, their palms were up in a non-threatening way. Facial expression – all the teachers smiled showing they appreciated the pupils participation.
The teachers did not stay static at the front of the classroom. They moved around to engage the pupils with their teaching. To show approval the teachers would: smile, nod and show enthusiasm. The teachers looked very relaxed; they put weight on one leg or put their hands in their pockets. Looking relaxed helped to make the children feel more comfortable in the class. Whereas folding your arms is creating boundaries suggesting to the children that you don’t want any contact.
Something that I thought was an interesting technique and one I would like to try; it the thinking gesture. This is where the teacher places their hand on the bottom of their chin – to look thoughtful. This then encourages the children to think deeply before answering.
So I have learnt that your body and the way you use it can have a big effect. It can encourage learning and create an atmosphere.
You can watch this video here
We recently had a dance workshop. Something I was quite excited about as I enjoy dancing, although I’m no expert! As a child I took some dance classes and performed in a show. But now I only dance for fun. I really enjoyed the dance workshop. We mostly looked at different types of movement and levels of dance. So this is what inspired me to create a dance lesson for primary five.
Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance.
EXA 0-09a / EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a
By the end of the lesson I will have in a small group come up with a dance based on an emotion using different movement and expression.
To be able to come up with a short dance sequence using: music, different types of movement, rhythm and levels while focusing on the theme.
To assess if the children have achieved the success criteria I will watch their performance and use peer evaluation.
To start off with I will include a few different warm up games for the children. This will also take away their nerves. I will then include actives that show different types movement and how to travel across the room. I will explain to the children that they need to use all these different form of movement to make up a performance that only last a couple of minutes. Then at the end of the lesson we will all watch the performances. At the end of each performance I will ask the children what the liked about each performance and something that could be improved on.
I would like to keep dancing fun and enjoyable for the children. Dancing can improve your confidence and improve your knowledge about dance and your own body. I look back at dance with a positive attitude and that is something I want to impart onto the children.
Today I’ve come up with a SMART target that relates to science. A SMART target is a good way to accomplish targets and to get the done in time.
SMART stands for:
In our science lecture we were talking about famous scientists. We got asked if we have a favourite scientist and if not we should have one. That made me think that I children should have a broad understanding of famous scientist and maybe have a favourite one. So that is what my SMART target will be based upon.
Specific – we will research famous scientists in class. By the end of the lesion the children should choose their favourite and explain why.
Measurable – I will develop a lesson plan
Achievable – I will beforehand research into famous scientists. This will help my knowledge and understanding and it will also help me to choose the resources for the children to use.
Relevant – I will link this to the Curriculum for excellence: experience and outcomes.
Timed – By the end of semester one I will have planned my lesson
I have recently been reading through other people’s blog posts. They are all very informative and interesting to read. I realize this is because they all posting on relevant information they have come across. Even if it’s from their day to day life, e.g. a conversation or a video from Facebook. Looking back at my own work I now know there are many more things I could have posted. I think I just never realized that what kind of things I could post. These blog posts also stand out because there is a depth of knowledge. Either people have had previous experience with children or they have read a lot. Even though I have reflected on my own work, I think I could have down more. I could have spent more time reflecting and this would have enabled me to reflect more deeply. If I am truthful I haven’t posted lots because I did think I had enough knowledge to. But I realize now I could draw on relevant experience from my HNC last year.You would benefit from reading these posts as it give you more insight into: teaching, the author and professional reflection.So now saying all this I hope to write a lot more blog posts in the future.
These are links to good blog posts:
We recently had a maths lecture pointing out everybody’s feelings towards maths. What became clear was that there was a theme. Everybody had at some point had a bad experience about maths; that therefore affected their confidence. There is the overall view that a lot of people were ‘bad at maths’ and that was ‘ok’ because everybody is. It makes you wonder where we get this view point from.
In the lecture we pointed out that this opinion started when we were taught maths. So this anxiety from maths came because of the way we were taught. Our lecturer said if we are anxious about something we often teach it the way we were taught; and so the cycle continues.
From further reading (Haylock 2014) I found out even teachers have anxiety about teaching maths. They had the same worries that I have. For example:
- They were frightened of maths
- Often found it frustrating
- Only thought there was one correct answer
- Was told they were bad a maths
- Only remembered things by rote
This made be relived to realize that I was not the only one. So I feel we need to change the way we teach maths. Allow children to understand that its ok it get an answer wrong. What matters most is that you understand the process and not the end result. Overall we should try and make maths fun, so that children look back with happiness and not fear.
Haylock, D. (2014) Mathematics explained for primary teachers. 5th edn. London: Sage Publications
When I first thought about reflection I thought it was about looking back and thinking what you could do better. I thought it was a good way to assess what you have done. However after reading about it there is a lot more to it; you have to look back at your feelings, look at it from a different perspective and also reflection on how you reflected. I never realized how your looking into your emotions could help you to assess yourself. You have to think deeper and go into a lot of detail. Something that reflecting can make you do is thinking from a different perspective. You might think that an activity has gone horribly wrong. But upon reflection you realize that other people did get something from it and your intentions were there, you might just have to improve. You can sometimes get caught up in your own emotion. So stepping back and looking at from a different angle can help you understand.
To reflect you first must understand why you are reflecting. What is it that you are going to reflect on? Then as you recall the event you must think about your thoughts and feelings during the event. Then you should evaluate; think what areas were good and what areas were bad and what to improve on. Be critical. It is important to analyse. Can you comprehend what happened and what is the importance of it? Look at past experience, can that help you reflect? Then in conclusion you must look at what you might do differently next time and what are your next steps.
So as you can see reflection is a lot more than just what you could do better. Go deeper into the situation.
To begin with when we were told to give feedback I was nervous. I didn’t want to receive bad feedback and I also didn’t want to offend anybody. But overall I feel I can look back on the experience in a positive light.
The feedback I received was very helpful. There was some constructive criticism. But the comments weren’t too mean. They in fact really helped me, they made me think how I can improve. They brought up points that I never thought of and made me question myself. Which is good, it means that I’m always learning. I also received some lovely comments, which really boosted my confidence. Overall I am now not so worried to receive feedback!
I was also a bit nervous to give feedback, as I did not want hurt anybody’s feelings. But after reading the ‘Guidelines for giving and receiving feedback’ I realized you need to be critical to give good feedback. But being critical does not mean being mean. It means giving the person something to work or improve on. But it also reminded me you have to say what you liked about the piece of work. But you have to pick out why, so don’t just generalize.
So overall I feel the experience was very useful as learnt to give useful feedback. I also have learnt to receive feedback positively. To take criticism on board and use it to improve my work.
Student teachers should reflect all the time and being an enquiring practitioner will help to do this. So what is an enquiring practitioner?
It is about investigating a rational approach that can be explained or defended. This is normally done within the practitioners own practice or in a group with others. Being an enquiring practitioner’s means that you are constantly evaluating and reflecting on your teaching, which is fundamental for teachers. This should become an integral aspect of our day-to-day practise. Enquiring is about knowing deeply. We should be questioning ourselves all the time. Doing all of this means that teachers should have a better understanding of their practise and ways in which to improve it.
There are numerous benefits to being and enquiring practitioner. For example it helps to empower teachers and it encourages them to challenge and transform education. It is a good way to provide teachers to monitor and develop their own practise. It allows people to investigate new strategies and initiatives. Overall it increases teacher’s knowledge of learning, which enables them to be more professional and to have higher confidence in their self and their professional identity.
However it does come with some challenges. For example it can be uncomfortable to challenge people. So we need to be sensitive and supportive. It does challenge the traditional way of being a teacher which means people might need to learn a new set of skills. It can sometime be lonely sometimes. For some people this whole process can be a little overwhelming.
For me as a student teacher I feel this all means that I should be constantly questioning myself. I should listen to others and constructively criticise them. I should be learning all the time and to not be afraid to challenge myself and others.