Tag Archives: learningfromlife

End of Placement Review


Hinnant, L. (2012). School schedule: Reforming traditions in France. [Website]. The Christian Science Monitor. Available at: https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/2012/1005/School-schedule-Reforming-traditions-in-France [Accessed 21/03/18].

Ditton, H. (2016). Why do the French take such long lunch breaks? [Website]. The Local. Available at: https://www.thelocal.fr/20160428/why-do-the-french-take-such-long-lunch-breaks [Accessed 28/03/18].

n.b. (2018). Laïcité. [Website]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laïcité Accessed [12/03/18].

Frenchentree Staff. (2017). La France : un état Laïque. [Website]. Available at: https://www.frenchentree.com/living-in-france/culture/la-france-un-etat-laique/ Accessed [12/03/18].

Scottish Government. (2011). . [Website]. Scottish Government. Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Equality/Equalities/DataGrid/Ethnicity/EthPopMig [Accessed 13/03/18].

Hyslop, L. (2010). Sit down and shut up – that’s the French school way. [Website]. The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/expateducation/7989939/Sit-down-and-shut-up-thats-the-French-school-way.html [Accessed 05/04/18].

Oppenheimer, M. (2017). The downsides of school uniforms. [Website] The New Yorker. Available at:https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-unquestioned-goodness-of-school-uniforms [Accessed 05/04/18].

Jacobs, E. (2014). Wearing a school uniform doesn’t help us learn. [Website]. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/07/wearing-school-uniform-doesnt-help-us-learn [Accessed 05/04/18].

Mergler, A. (2017). Why do schools want all students to look the same?. [Website]. The Conversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/why-do-schools-want-all-students-to-look-the-same-75611 [Accessed 05/04/18].

Ball, P. (2013). Curse of cursive handwriting. [Website]. Prospect. Available at: www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/cursive-handwriting-philip-ball/ [Accessed 05/04/18].

Bernhard, A. (2017). What your handwriting says about you. [Website]. BBC. Available at: www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170502-what-your-handwriting-says-about-you [Accessed 05/04/18].

Further Learning

I feel that from this placement further learning can be developed. Since my placement was in France and it involved speaking French and English I feel that my French can be further developed. This will be useful for teaching my future pupils.

I aim to address this learning by regularly testing and practising my French by myself and with the other girls who came on this placement with me.

End of Placement Reflection

This placement has been a huge eye opener for me. I have learned and experienced so much while being here in France.

From a professional perspective I have learned about other cultures/backgrounds in terms of ethnicity and nationality. There are a lot more ethnicities in French schools than there are visible in Scottish schools. Along with this they have their laïque principle. This principle made me see they French’s views on religious beliefs in schools. I was able to compare this to Scotland quite a lot when observing the school days.

I observed how the French teach their school curriculum. They teach A LOT of French and Mathematics, because of this they don’t teach as much of other school subjects.

This placement made me appreciate the value of learning another language. As I came to France with limited French language knowledge I quickly learnt how important it is to have a good second language in your knowledge. I had to quickly pick up the basics of the language to help me communicate within the school and around the city of Orleans. Once I got the hang of some French it was very helpful and I enjoyed speaking in the language.

In French schools they start teaching their children a second language right from age 3 (nursery age). This was a big contrast to when I was in primary school as I only started to learn a second language when I was age 10. That’s 7 less years of being taught a language compared to when the French start teaching a second language in 2018.

From my experience with learning French and teaching English to the children in France it made me feel really enthusiastic to teach a second language when I have my own class in Scotland. The reactions I got from teach English were very positive so this boosted this ambition even more. I also bought a few basic French books whilst I was here in Orleans, which I plan to use with my classes. I am really excited to share my knowledge of French with future pupils.

This placement made me think about how to teach a language right from the start where the child has no previous knowledge of this language. I took for granted learning a language and I came to realise how hard it really is to learn one. Through my teaching I discovered how to teach the basics of a language to the children. The French teach languages slightly different to how we teach in Scotland. They are focused on the listening and speaking aspect of learning a language, as they believe this is the best way to learn a language in the first instant. I came to learn that this technique is best way. Children learn through imitation so this technique is proven to work better than showing a child writing and text in the first instance. In Scotland I remember being taught a language with writing and reading as well as speaking and listening, which is too much for a child when first learning a language. One reason being is that the way to pronounce a word and be very different to how you spell it. This can be confusing for a child, therefore it is best to only get the children to speak and listen at first.

From a profession perspective I reflected on the behaviour management strategy similarities and differences between France and Scotland. I observed in France that they are a lot more hands on and in physical contact with the child when giving sanctions, which is a complete contrast to in Scotland. I was quite shocked by the hands on strategies they used, as this would not be allowed in Scotland. It made we reflect on how in Scotland we turn to other techniques from sanctions, for example the way we verbally sanction.

Personally, this placement made me become a more independent teacher, as it was sometimes hard to communicate with the teachers. I took charge of my own lessons and decided on my own what I would include in them, judging what I thought was appropriate and most beneficial for the pupils. I thought this put me in a good position and I enjoyed being responsible for my own teaching.

Week 6: Day 30


Today is my last day at École Louise Michel. I’m very sad to leave as I’ve had such an amazing experience and enjoyed every minute of it. Today was also special as they had a carnival dress up day for my last day. I dressed up at Lilo for Lilo and Stitch and all the teacher and children dressed up too. There were costumes such as scarecrows, Indians and princesses to jedis, clowns and dogs.

I was in Laura’s class today with CE2/CM1 and she Started the day by using a behaviour management technique, she sat at the front of the class, didn’t say anything and waited for silence. The children caught on and they quietened down. One of the children took the register, shouting out their names and asking if they were home or at school for lunch. I thought this was a good thing to do, to allow a child to take charge of the register. The child will feel trusted and respected by the Rachel for getting this role.

Laura then did a dictation lesson. She read out a passage a couple of words at a time and the children wrote them in their jotters. She every so often would go back to the start of the passage in case any child had missed a word. The class then went over the passage to make sure everyone had it correctly.

They then had a maths lesson. They got given a problem solving question which involved money. I helped one of the boys who was struggling with it and also asked a boy who was finished to help explain what he was supposed to do to him.

At break time I got to speak to all the children and see what they were dressed up as. I stood with some girls and I translated all the names of the costumes into English for them.

After break the class got out topic work. They each had a poster they were working on, each about a different animal. The poster contained information on the animals habitat, location, diet and life span. I helped the children cut out their information and then stick it down.

At lunch time I went outside to spend by last lunch time with the children. A few of the girls have a dance club at lunch times so they brought a speaker outside and showed me their choreography. I was very impressed with their dancing. It was a sunny 28 degrees today, which made the day even better. I also played hop scotch with two girls from CE2/CM1 and we counted the numbers in English and French.

Once the bell rang for eating lunch i went inside to eat with the teachers. Near the end of lunch they brought out two cakes for me. I was so surprised! One was a late birthday cake so they sang happy birthday to me in English and i got to blow out the candles, unknown to me that these were tick candles and when you blew them out they relit themselves!! All the teachers and I laughed at that. One of the cakes was a traditional French cake, which is only made in France. I was excited that i got the chance to try it, it was very nice. They then brought me out some thank you/leaving gifts, which was all too nice. I got a few unicorn themed gifts as i had taught the school that the uniform is the Scottish national animal. I was glad that they had remembered this! I then got my thank you card for the teachers and pupils and let them read it out at the lunch table. I wrote half of it in French and half of it in English. I also added my contact details on the card so we could still keep in touch. I also have all the teachers some sweets that i had bought for the school. After lunch i went up to CE2 to receive some leaving cards and then I went back to Laura’s class.

After break time we had the carnival!! This was the most exciting part of the day. All the children lined up in their classes so that they could each me given a bag on confetti. Once everyone had a bag every body spread out across the playground and when one of the teachers rang the school bell everyone chucked a handful of confetti in the air. It was such a joyful moment. I had to help Sylvie throw her confetti as she was dressed as a scarecrow and she couldn’t throw it up with her straw hands. All the children were running round and past me, throwing confetti at me. It was such a laugh and all the children had such a fun time. We then spent the rest of the afternoon outside. I played basketball with a few of the CM2 boys and I scored a point that they were impressed with. I also got some photos with the teachers and a few children to remember my time at the school.

Before the bell rang all the classes went back inside and i got two girls form CE2/CM1 to come round all the classes with me to hand out a sweet to each pupil as a leaving gift.

I have honestly had the bets time on the placement in France. I have learnt so much and enjoyed very minute of it. Missing the school, teachers and children already.


Week 6: Day 29


Today I was with Sylvie Lambert and her class CE2. Today there would be no canteen food so the pupils were supposed to have taken a packed lunch but many of them forgot it. The teacher then had to phone certain pupils parents to ask if they would take a packed lunch in for their children. This reminded me of when I was in school and if you for got your lunch the same thing would have to happen. Sylvie started off the day with a dictation lesson. She spoke out the paragraph a couple of words at a time so that the children could write it down accurately. After she had finished the paragraph she picked a few children to repeat back what they had wrote down.

After break I taught an English lesson. Sylvie had a meeting at the start of class so I took the class by myself, without her there, for the first time. I enjoyed this more as I felt no pressure from her being there. I started by sitting the children down and then asking them to take out their English books. I then asked what the date was today in English and I got the children to tell me each part of the date as I wrote it on the blackboard.

The lesson was a carrying on lesson from the previous weeks one in this class. This time the biography I gave them didn’t have my personal parts in it but rather blank spaces for them to fill in with their own details. We practiced speaking all the sentences in the biography and went over them quite a few times so that they would memorise it better. Then I asked the children to fill in the blanks in English. Sentence by sentence I wrote them on the blackboard and showed them what they would put in the blank spaces. I gave multiple examples of what to put in each space. The children also put their hands up to ask me how to spell certain words in English, especially for the animal and sport sentences. I really enjoyed doing this on the board as I got to practice my French handwriting, as it is difficult for them to read my English style handwriting. Once they had filled in their biography sheets I asked a few children to read out their whole biography to me. I thought this pulled this part of the lesson together well as they could hear and see how the biography flowed,

They then stuck a class picture underneath and circled their face and along side that they stuck a picture of the map of France and circled Orleans. This whole piece of work that they had then done of this page would be for me so that I would remember my time here with the children. I thought this was a very thoughtful gift. My lesson carried on until after lunch.

At lunchtime I went outside with the children. I played a card game with one of the girls, which involved me using my numbers and colours in French. This was fun as I got to interact with the pupils and using my French too. I also used my French during lunchtime to count down races and to count the numbers for hopscotch.

Once the children came back in from lunch we started the lesson again. On the page beside their personal biography page, I gave them the same handout as last week with my personal biography on it to stick onto this page. I then went over my biography on the blackboard, in French cursive writing, and told them to highlight each word that was personal to me. Underneath this they then each got a picture of me and stuck it along side a map of Scotland, which had a circle round Aberdeen. This would be for them to keep as a memory of me.

In the afternoon I went to Françoise Monclere’s class, CP, to help her with an art lesson. We went to the art room in the school and carried on the topic of kitchen utensils. All the children were given a sheet, which had a plate, fork, spoon, knife and chequered table mat drawn out on it. They used coloured pens and pencils to fill in and decorate their own one. While the children did this I pulled out a child at a time to help we with the hot glue gun. We were using the glue gun to stick down big polystyrene kitchen utensils onto an A2 chequered background.

During this part of the lesson I had to explain and brief the children on the safety aspect of using the hot glue gun. I told them not to touch the nozzle of the gun as it is very hot an to keep their fingers away from the glue as its drizzled onto the polystyrene as it would burn their fingers. I felt this was an important direction to give children before doing any activity that has a risk of injury.

I demonstrated how to use the hot glue gun and then gave it to the child, they then traced the glue around the shape and then I placed the shape onto the background for them to press down into place.

After break I went back to Sylvie’s class to play maths games with them. I played the same maths game as last week but with different children. This time I knew how to play the dominos game better, therefore this time round the games went much smoother. Again every time a child had the answer domino and placed it down I asked them to show me that time on the interactive clock and then listen and repeat back to me what the time is in English as well as French. I enjoy playing the maths games with the children as I get the Practice by French at the same time as teaching the children English in maths and I get to work with a smaller group of children, which is easier for communication and checking for understanding.

Week 6: Day 28


Today we were not in our French school but rather we had an end of placement meeting with Nina Huss at the ESPE centre. At the meeting we discussed; how we felt our placement went, what we had noticed that was similar and different from schools in Scotland, if we felt we had integrated well into the school team, the different lessons we got the chance to teach, how our French had progressed, what we would take form this placement back to Scotland with us, how this placement has changed our thoughts on teaching and if we had any quires about the placement.

Nina was very supportive and we thanked her at the end for organising the placement and helping us along the way, She suggested that we keep in contact with our schools for future reference and that we could even keep a close relationship by writing letters and even create pen pals when I have a class of my own.

We then went into the centre of Orléans to go to a children bookshop that Nina had recommended. We spent hours in there as the shop was full of useful French children books. They had books for basic French; numbers, colours, shapes, etc. and they even had English classics; Elmer, The Hungary Caterpillar, Fairytales, etc. I bought 4 books, which I thought would be handy to use in my classroom when teaching French once I graduate and I also thought they would be a nice memory of my placement here in France.

Week 6: Day 27


Today I was with Axelle Holef in CE1. Axelle started the day by asking the children the day of the week and what day comes before and after today’s day. She then spoke about the weather and asked the children to describe it to her.

She then started a mathematics lesson linked to a money goal of the classes. The class has a change piggy bank and each morning the children put any loose change into it and today they had reached 131€. They wrote on the blackboard as many ways as they could make the number 131 by adding and then how many ways of making 131€ using notes and coins. Axelle used hundreds, tens and unit squares to also give a visual representation of 131.

She then moved onto dictation. She wrote the sentence on the board and then discussed with the children what words in the sentence were the; preposition, adjective, noun, verb, feminine, masculine, singular or plural and the ‘determine’ word. She then read a passage and picked certain phrases out of it to analyse. The children analysed them and told Axelle whether they were feminine, masculine, singular or plural and what language rule makes them this way.

During break time a few of the pupils had to stay in for a few minutes since they had to correct their dictation. I think this is a good consequence as it teaches the children that if they do not correct themselves during class they then have to stay in during break.

After break she continued teaching about singular and plural words. She wrote lots of nouns on the board with a ‘determine’ word in front of each. The children then identified the singular and plural words.

CE1 then had a mathematics lesson. They were again adding and taking away using different sized squares that represented hundreds, tens and units. These squares had magnets on the back of them so that they could be stuck to the blackboard and moved around depending on the equation. They also looked at partitioning tens into tens and units. She used a number line above the blackboard to help explain the jumping up in tens and then units.

After lunch I taught my English lesson. This was my final class to teach my Scottish lesson to. I started of my lesson at the front of the class while Axelle set up the projector. I tested the children to see how many English phrases they already knew. I asked; how they were feeling today, how old they were, what their name was, what the full date was, what the season was and what the weather was like today. They all managed to respond to most of the questions I asked in English well.

I then started my lesson on Scotland. I did this lesson the same as all the others I had taught, getting the children to repeat each word a couple of times before moving on. When I got to the slide on tartan a few of the children told me that they owned items of clothing with the tartan pattern on them. One child even asked me where they could by tartan!

I felt this lesson went very well for my last teaching of my Scottish lesson. They were very engaged and interested about Scotland and they asked lots of questions at the end.

Week 6: Day 26


Today I was in Benjamine Duplouy’s class, CP/CE1. They started off the day by assigning the classroom helper roles. Benjamine went down the list of roles and asked who would like to do them for this week. The children put up their hands if they wanted to do the job and Benjamine picked a child to take on the role.

I think this is an important thing to do right at the start of the week so that all classroom jobs are covered before starting lessons and activities that involve using them. Assigning roles to children boosts their self-esteem, as they feel valued by the teacher as they have been picked and trusted to take on an important role for their classmates.

Since this is a composite class, whilst the CP got taught a lesson and CE1’s were given a word search to start off their day. Benjamine read out a passage to CP and then she got a few of the children to come up, one by one, and also read the passage she had just read. I thought this was a good way of testing the children reading and presentation skills.

CP then had a French lesson whereby they were discussing the sound of ‘c’ and ‘ç’ . Benjamine didn’t tell the children what specific letter/sound they were learning about at first, the children had t figure it out. ‘c’ and ‘ç’ in French can sound like a ‘s’ at times so a lot of the children were shouting out words which had a ‘s’ rather than a ‘c’ and ‘ç’. It was only once a child said a word with a ‘c’ in it that Benjamine wrote it on the board and the other children caught on what the sound for today was. The other children then came up with words that have ‘c’ in them. For example, some included; cinq, François, c’est, police and garçon. Benjamine when got the children to get their mini whiteboards out and put a tick on one side and a cross on the other side, she then shouted out words and the children had to show a tick or a cross depending on if they thought the word had a ‘c’ or ‘ç’ in it.

I went around helping CE1 with their word searches and dictionary work. The children had a list of words and they had to find them in their dictionaries and then write down the page number they found them on.

After break, CP was given a worksheet to do with the sound ‘s’ and letters ‘c’ and ‘ç’. CE1 had a lesson on adjectives and a worksheet to go with it. The compared two pictures of cows and had to match the correct sentences that described the cows using adjectives to the correct picture of the cow. Another part of the lesson involved the children looking at a picture and a connecting sentences that gave the read two options of adjectives describing the pictures, the children had to pick the correct adjective out of the two. After the worksheet, on the blackboard, Benjamine wrote up sentences and got the children to identify which word was the adjective. This gave the children more practice of what they had just done on their worksheet.

Once some of the CP children had finished their work a few of them want to try speak to me in English so wrote me messages in French and I translated them for them into English, I found this quite fun as I liked how interested they were in the language.

After lunch I went with Sylvie Lambert with Laura’s CE2s to help with her science lesson. We went out into the playground where they have a garden. In the CE2 lesson we were planting vegetables and flowers and learning how to use the garden tools and equipment correctly and safely. Before we went outside Sylvie explained on the blackboard with diagrams what we were going to do outside. I followed along so that I knew what they were doing too so that I could help and demonstrate instructions outside. The children helped Sylvie and I take all the garden equipment outside and then we both helped demonstrate how to use the tools. To start we raked the soil to turn it up and flatten it out. We then used bamboo sticks to indicate where we were going to plant each vegetable/flower. The children used metre sticks to space out the bamboo sticks along the garden. Once all the bamboo sticks were positioned in the ground we got rope that had a metal rod at ether end and placed each rod in the ground, right where each bamboo stick was, and ran the cord perpendicular, right across the garden to meet the bamboo stick at the other side. This created a grid to work with. We then started to mark out where we would plant the vegetables/flowers. We used a tool to create an indented line in the soil parallel with the robe and then deepened it with a sharper tool. I particularly helped the children with this bit, as it was trickier as the tool was big and heavy. Once we had created these valleys in the soil we took out the guide ropes and started to plant the seeds.

Firstly we planted the potatoes that they had, had in the classroom for 6 weeks now, to allow them to sprout. We used a tool that created a circular hole in the ground when you pushed it into the ground and pulled soil back up with it. The sprouted potatoes were then placed in the holes that were evenly spaced out along the line and covered over with soil. Next we planted peas. The peas were scattered across the next valley and then covered over with soil. Then we planted beans, which were planted the same as the peas.

Next along we planted lettuce, we used the same tool that was used for the potatoes for this vegetable and it was covered over in soil so that the existing leaves were seen coming out the top of the soil. Beside the lettuce we planted carrots, the seeds were scattered in the valley and then covered over in soil. In the final two valleys we plated two different flower seeds, these were scattered in the valleys and then covered over with soil also. Once all the seeds were planted we got watering cans to water all the seeds. It was a very sunny day so perfect for the seeds to start growing. The children then got lollipop sticks and labelled each one with each of the vegetables/flowers. These were then stuck into the ground at the start of each planted line.

I really enjoyed this lesson and I think the children did too as it got them outside and hands-on during the lesson. Although it was fun it also needed the children to use their mathematical skills when measuring and judging during the lesson.

Week 5: Day 25


Today I was in Françoise Monclere’s class with CP. She started off the day by asking the children what the date was. She wrote it on the board as on of the pupils recited it out. She also had a pupil writing it on the board alongside her so that they could practice writing it. She then picked a few pupils to recite the date out and then tell what day was before and after this date.

I then taught my English lesson. I did the same lesson as I did yesterday to the CP/CE1s. This time I prepared my French script better so that I could do more translating from English to French since the children in CP are so young I wanted to make sure they were understanding and following.

At the start of ‘Spot Can Count’, the book about English numbers and animals, I introduced it in French and English and then I asked the children to count from 1-10 in English for me. I thought this was a good idea so that their brains were refreshed with the numbers before starting the book where they would need to answer with these numbers. After this I taught the lesson with this book the same way as I did yesterday as I thought it worked well for the children and me. I thought this class was more difficult to control regarding behaviour as there was a few pupils during the lesson who weren’t listening as well as others and misbehaving. Because of this difference from yesterdays class, who behaved really well, I had to use the phrase “Levre la main” more, which means “put your hands up” and write a few names on the board for warnings.

I then moved onto the book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’. I also taught this book the same as yesterday but again with more behaviour strategies in place. I felt this class struggled more with the names of animals than yesterdays class but there was a few different children who confidently knew the names for certain animals that I was happy about. After I had finished the books, I told the class an animal in French and then asked them if they could tell me what that is in English. They managed to respond back with most but struggled with ‘bird’.


I felt this lesson didn’t go as well as the lesson the pervious day but I think it was down to the behaviour of today’s class. Because there is a language difference it is difficult for me to give proper sanction to the children, as I am not confident in the language. So I have to try my best but it doesn’t always work and the class teacher has to help and jump in for me.

After break they had singing with CP/CE1 and CE1. They sang a new song, which involved half of the children singing at one time and the other at another time. The children managed to do this well. After singing CP came back to class and they did some maths. The maths was counting involving adding tens and units. I helped a girl when counting sets of beads in tens and units and then adding them together to then figuring out which groups of beads had more altogether than others.

After lunch CP from Benjamine Duplouy’s class came through to our class and we watched and discussed how baby animals are born. I helped set up the projector for the videos. We watched the hatching of a chick and a turtle and then the birth of a horse. The children were very interested in the subject and had previous knowledge on which type of animal is the mother and father of the chick would be (a chicken and a cockerel). During the videos a few children misbehaved and I had to speak to them and give them warnings. At one point Françoise had to give a sanction to one of the boys. I was quite shocked when she proceeded to lift the boy over the table to then push him in the direction of the door. This type of hands-on punishment wouldn’t be seen in a Scottish school.