Reflections on Placement

Strength

As I had previous work experience with children at different schools and clubs, I had some knowledge of how children respond when they are being spoken to rather fast; they can often get confused or not listen to what is being said. Therefore, I ensured that I was enunciating words clearly when talking to the children individually, in groups or as a whole class. This helped them understand what is being said and if they had any tasks they had to complete and that they knew exactly what was expected of them.

Additionally, I also ensured that I faced the children when I was speaking to them, no matter how many of them there were. I feel that if I am talking to the children that I have to look at them as a sign of respect. As if I want them to respect me by looking at me and listening to me then I have to return that by looking at them when talking to them.

Area of most progress

At the beginning of my placement I recognised numerous areas that I felt I had to improve as quickly as possible to allow me to gain the most from my placement. I found myself using fillers such as:“um,” “ah,” “like,” etc.and speaking at an adequate volume. Sometimes I felt that I wasn’t being listened to as I was speaking loud enough. Throughout my two weeks I ensured that I worked on these two areas and by the second week I had reduced the level of filler words I was using and speaking at an adequate volume, so I had some authority over the children.

Area of requiring progress

One of the biggest areas I feel I still need to improve is the use of language appropriate to the age and stage of children in the group. I often found myself using more advance language for the junior years than they could understand. I feel this is something that I can definitely improve currently as well as over the next four years and corresponding future placements.

Action plan

To improve the use of language appropriate to the age and stage of children in the group, I would ask teachers of the junior school as well as research what words and phrases are appropriate. For example, “take-away” instead of “subtraction”. This will help the children I am working with get the most out of their learning and gain a sound understanding of what they are learning. It would also help me feel more confident when addressing different topics and lessons and how I can ensure my class get the most out of my lesson.

 

Overall, I highly enjoyed placement as it put into practice everything I have learned over the past few months and also helped me identify my strengths, areas of most progress, and areas requiring progress. I feel that I met my expectations well as I: interacted with colleagues in the classroom and staffroom, supported learning in classes (including taking groups), demonstrated effective communication, gathered information to complete the eight observation tasks and evaluated my peer and myself. As all the teachers I worked with were all so supportive and helpful with anything including questions, this really enhanced my ability to achieve these expectations and were met without any obstacles. Overall, placement helped motivate me as it showed me what I was working towards.

 

Shared Observation Feedback

When I compared my notes with my partner’s, we had a lot of similar points and agreed on different aspects of the classroom setting. We both agreed that a classroom should be seen as a safe and fun environment as well as hardworking. The use of fun language, positive feedback and phrases to praise the children would help improve a classroom such as “well done”, “good girl” etc.

I was quite surprised and a little confused about why the teacher was talking about trouble that Daniel had got into, in the video ‘Behaving With Cowley – Classroom Routines’ to his class. I felt that this was slightly distracting for the other pupils as it generated gossiping and chatter between other children in the classroom.

I found these tasks fairly easy as it was all related to what I have learned over the past few months in my situated communication class with verbal and non-verbal communication. It was also helpful that my partner’s notes were closely aligned with mine.

I now have a clear view on the difference between feedback and judgement. As feedback can be very helpful and be useful for self-development. On the other hand, judgement can lead to a negative response and can cause more problems.

One idea that I would like to take on to my forthcoming placement is reflective feedback especially positive reflective feedback can help teachers believe in themselves as this can be a real downfall for a lot of teachers. This shows the importance of reflective feedback and I will definitely use this knowledge during my placement for both myself, my peer and the teachers.

Currently, I am feeling rather nervous about placement as it is my first university placement (not just school work experience) and I have a number of tasks that have to be complete. However, I am also extremely excited about beginning placement as I have heard a lot of good things about the school I will be observing in.

 

 

Communication in Other Environments; Reflection

Workshop: Communication in Other Environments

Reflective Questions 

  • Group and leadership 
    • Was there a group leader? And How was this chosen? 

Yes and no, we were put into groups by our lecturer, Louise, and the first person in the group took on the responsibility of collecting the information sheets we needed to complete this task. That person initially took on the role of the leader in the group. However, the further into the task we got the more the role of leader was shared out between a number of people instead of one leader. 

    • If informal, how did you know?  What were the actions that marked them as a leader?

-They collected the information sheets. 

-Took control of the group when assembling the dens. 

-Were there to ask questions if need be. 

    • How did this impact on the rest of the group e.g. was there some underlying resentment/ did anyone feel excluded?

As the role of leader became shared out, it meant that everyone in the group felt that they played an important part in the group and that the project was equally split with everyone having a responsibility in the group.

    • What was most challenging for you about working in this group? (personal reflection)

Personally, I felt that the most challenging thing about working in the group was making sure that everyone’s ideas were listened to and that they were well considered. I tried to take role in this and talk to other people and listen to their ideas whilst weighing up the different ideas and coming to a group consensus. 

  • Explaining
    • How clearly did you think the group explained to you?

I feel that the I was clearly given all the information I needed to complete this task in sufficient time and be done to a good standard. 

    • What made this clear or unclear?

Clear. All the information we needed was on information sheets given to each group-which was good to refer back to and to have in general. If we needed more information we could ask other group members or our lecturer, Louise. 

    • What stage of the 5Ps might have been missed out?

Pre-assessment, Planning, Preparation, Presentation and Postmortem. I feel that our group possibly left out the ‘plan’ as we didn’t make an initial plan, however, we planned it as we went along. I feel that ‘Presentation’ also wasn’t visited as much is the other ‘P’s’ as we didn’t discuss the overall process to all groups only 1 other group and our lecturer, Louise.

  • Environment
    • What was the impact of the environment on your communication?

Members of the group would get distracted by the bugs surrounding our den area as they didn’t like them or had a genuine fear of them. Additionally, the area we selected was slightly sloped so we had ensure we balanced out our den well.

    • What changes did you make when explaining to others that you might not have considered in a typical classroom?

Holding a prop/material which related to what I was talking about (where we could use it in our den) as this helped give a good visual aid and helped incorporate my ideas into the project. This also helped the whole group get their ideas into the den. 

    • How challenging was it so speak above the sounds in the environment?  

Personally, I don’t feel that the sounds of the environment was challenging or distracting in any way as where we were was fairly quiet and hidden. 

The only distraction I found was the bugs including wasps and spiders which distracted a majority of our group. 

    • How can we make this communication easier on both speaker and listener?

I feel that if we met as a group in a classroom or personal space where we would be able to make sure we were well informed and make an initial plan before going out to build the den, would be effective. I feel this would make the communication easier for the speaker and the listener as it means that everyone has an initial plan so that if the listener is unable to hear the speaker for any reason or is distracted they would still be able to continue with the initial plan agreed by the group. 

    • When listening, did the environment distract you? How can we overcome this?

Personally, I don’t feel that the environment was distracting in terms of listening due to the well selected building space. 

  • Negotiation
    • Were your negotiations successful?  Why/Why not? And 
    • What was most challenging about these?

I feel that some of the negotiations were successful. My group was given the task to try and recruit another member from a different group. This was rather hard to do as the other people from other groups wanted to stay and help their own group. However, typically, negotiating items including scissors, tape, string etc. was fairly easy to do. 

Starting BA 1 education

Initially, starting at University seemed very daunting. I felt too young and not ready for the adventure ahead. One week in and I can confidently say that those worries and fears I had before starting are slowly starting to decrease with the more lecturers I meet and the more information I am provided. If I’m being honest I still have a number of fears mainly about the high level of coursework and the number of assignments/assessments and exams that we will have to complete in BA1 education. I now know that I will be well supported and be given the information I need for each task and that I can ask any questions I have. Another worry of mine, before starting, was the early hours and the long travel which I am now slowly getting used to and it is becoming normal routine to me now. A major worry of mine was making friends. Thankfully, I have managed to meet a number of lovely people both in my course and in UWS in general. I feel more confident and happy going into my 4 years studying BA hons education.