November 17, 2018
by Jacqueline Milloy
Having just come back from my first two weeks Primary School experience I can honestly say it was informative, motivating, enjoyable, exhausting and an eye opener in respect of what life as a teacher really involves. I had the opportunity to experience a range of classes, from P2-P7, this gave me the chance to learn an enormous amount in respect of the variety of teaching styles, the different levels of learning, as well as see the struggles faced by some children. I tried to take away as much knowledge from this experience as I possibly could.
I have always thought I was a good communicator with a bubbly, enthusiastic personality. This was highlighted as a strength during my peer observation, and from the teachers I worked with during my 2 weeks placement. When engaging with the students I would listen attentively, encourage and provide support where it was needed. I was interested to hear what the pupils had to say no matter their age, I found that P7 pupils appreciated your attention and assistance just as much as the younger pupils. Working with children either 1-2-1 or within small groups gives me a real sense of purpose and seeing them interested and wanting to learn fuels my enthusiasm.
Area for Development
I need to work on my pace and tone, I am aware that I speed up my speech when I’m both nervous and excited. This was highlighted during my peer observation and I when doing my own reflections. I need to be able to control my pace and tone more effectively, to adapt it in different situations and depending on the ages of the pupils I am working with. For example, when talking with younger children I need to slow down to make sure I am fully understood.
I need to develop my knowledge/strategies around varying my pace and tone to find out what will work for me. I feel this will help me to be more focused and aware of when I need to alter my pace/tone. This will help me to manage situations where I am nervous.
September 27, 2018
by Jacqueline Milloy
This week in Sit Comm our task was taken outdoors, we were divided into small groups of six and set the challenge of building a den. The den needed to stand, have at least 3 sides and have room to fit us all underneath. We were taken to a small woodland area within the grounds of UWS and given a few simple materials to help with the structures. Our task was to work together as a team using effective communication to build a den. As a primary teacher communication is essential and therefore a skill that needs to be developed for all environments.
Group and Leadership
Was there a group leader? Within our group there was no leader, we quickly agreed on where we wanted to build the den. I then initially gathered everybody together to read through the brief instructions and to start the process of brain storming ideas, agreeing what we needed to do. There was a large section of material and everybody agreed this could be used as both a wall and roof, from this discussion most people moved away to start building with others looking for supporting material to hold the den up. The group started to merge with a few key people taking control of the build and instructing others to support. This was very natural and achieved with success as everybody was happy to do their part. I felt slightly out of my comfort with this task, everybody in the group was confident and full of ideas. I’m not particularly creative and so was happy to go along with the suggestions but did feel we rushed in and started the build without much forethought or planning. This was a strange position for myself as I am usually the person who takes control and leads in most situations.
How clearly did you think the group explained to you? The other group explained quite clearly where the idea for the design of their den came from, they had clearly assessed the space where they would build and through a process of elimination decided on a “tipi” as this would be the most solid construction. There was an element of planning and pre assessment as they were working out how to use the materials available, we did have to probe a little for this information. I think the final stages of the 5ps might have been missed out.
What was the impact of the environment on your communication? The environment certainly meant I had to work harder on my communication in order to be heard and understood.
What changes did you make when explaining to others that you might not have considered in a typical classroom? I had to use a lot of eye contact and work in closer proximity with others to explain clearly, there was a lot more use of gestures and physically picking up the equipment to demonstrate what I meant and to see if the idea was feasible.
How challenging was it to speak above the sounds in the environment? How can we make this communication easier on both speaker and listener? It was a challenge speaking in this environment, we were in a sheltered area and I still felt our voices carried and the message was lost on occasions. I think at the outset you have to be very clear on your objectives and each individuals role. There were other teams working in a wider area and so members from our team were wondering off and so it was difficult as a lot of the time the full team wasn’t present.
When listening did the environment distract you? How can we overcome this? Yes I did find the environment to be a distraction but would overcome this by making sure I was fully involved, engaging and challenged by the experience. I would make sure others felt an important part of the team and understood how they were contributing to the overall task.
Were your negotiations successful? Why/Why not? Our team negotiation was to get a member from another group to come and help with our build. We were partially successful as somebody did come to help us for a small amount of time. They were however loyal to their own group and so returned to finish the build with them.
What was most challenging about these? I did suggest to our team that we could swap resources and someone from our team could go into the another as a compromise. The others however were quite fixed on gaining additional support without someone from our team going elsewhere. I think this was a little short sighted. The groups were very loyal to each other so it was going to be very difficult to persuade them to leave.
September 25, 2018
by Jacqueline Milloy
I have to start this blog by saying this is a new challenge for me as a newbie to blogging. I am really excited to go out on my first placement but utterly terrified at the same time. I have spent some time volunteering in schools and loved the experience. The staff within the schools were warm, welcoming, enthusiastic to help and share their experiences with me. I thought it had given me a good insight into what takes place within the classroom environment. My first few weeks at UWS have turned these assumptions on there head and I am beginning to appreciate the enormity of my learning journey. I have already started to reflect on where I feel my weaknesses and strengths lay in regards to literacy and mathematics. Coming into the BA Education programme I felt comfortable with my mathematics knowledge but have always doubted my literacy capabilities despite having a passion for reading and enjoying language. I have quickly understood that having a knowledge of subjects is valuable but only the beginning and the real challenge is getting the knowledge and ideas across to our young learners. I have a feeling the next 4 years will be a rollercoaster of emotions with my confidence going up and down.
For my first placement my hopes are to observe and learn as much as I can now that my eyes have been opened to what I am looking for! I want to get as much experience from the two week placement as possible through my interactions with the pupils, teachers and school staff. I’m relieved that I will be sharing this experience with a partner and that we will be working together, it is comforting to know there is someone going through the same emotions and self doubts that I will be having but also that we have each other to support and encourage through the experience.
September 17, 2018
by Jacqueline Milloy
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