During my recent placement, I spent one week with a Primary 4 class and the second with a composite Primary 5/4 class. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with this age group although I did have a few challenges it was very rewarding to see the children achieve and improve on their learning.
A strength I felt I portrayed within my placement would be maintaining eye contact with both the pupils and the staff as well as displaying positive body language. I felt that this is an important strength to have as when working one on one or in a small group of children who needed extra support it was beneficial for them to see that I was fully listening and was interested in what they had to say. Within and outwith the classroom environment I would display good body language as I would bend down to the children’s level which ensured they could see I was giving them my full attention and was not seen as standing over them which can come across as intimidating for some pupils.
One area I feel I need to develop on would be the language I use when communicating with the pupils. During my placement I noticed myself saying words such as “like” or “um” a lot to fill silent gaps. For example when I was working with some of the pupils in the class, one child asked me for a suggestion of what she could write in her poem however I responded with “um” before giving an answer. I would try and improve this by asking the pupil what she/he thought and encourage them to think on their own which would therefore allow me some time to think of an answer if they were still stuck.
When I begin my next placement I will try to keep up my good eye contact and body language as well as trying to improve my weaknesses. I plan on doing this by filling the silence with a question which would give me more time. This would be better for the children to hear as I would not be saying “like” and “um” as much.
During our lesson on situated communication we were assigned a task to build a den using some materials that were provided as well as any materials we could find in the natural environment. Within this task we did not strictly appoint a leader of the group as we all had different ideas of how and where we could build our den. Naturally some of the group went to collect resources we could use to build our den and the other half of us found an area to start building. I feel like everyone had a role to play during this task even though no one was actually assigned specific roles this ensured that nobody was excluded. I personally believe the most challenging aspect of working in this group of 7 was that it was quite hard to communicate ideas once we had started building as we were never all in the same place due to finding more resources and trying to complete our negotiation challenge.
When the other group came over to explain their thoughts on how they were going to do the task I believe they explained their view very clearly. They explained in detail how they had to adapt their original idea and how easy they found it to change. When the group were speaking they all took turns to explain their ideas loudly and clearly.
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