This morning, I spent time observing in the CE1 class, which was my first time in this classroom. In terms of the layout of the classroom and structure of the timetable on a Monday morning, it is very similar to the other classes in the school; they have the same whiteboard and projector system at the front of the class where the teacher conducts most of her lessons from, they have desk layout of pairs and rows and they have small areas, such as a library and a sink. They also focus a large majority of the morning on French and Maths. However, there was one new activity that I picked up on in the class, which I thought was a nice addition to the day. In the back corner of the room, there is a small table with a box and pieces of coloured card on it. In the box, the pupils can put in any thoughts and ideas they have that they want to be heard by the whole class. The teacher then takes the box to her desk daily and reads out these cards, which are colour coded by content, to the rest of the class for evaluation.
I think that this is a nice addition to the daily routine of the class, and the children have now become accustomed to the protocol and now know that the teacher expects them to share their opinions to then be discussed democratically as a class, rather than shouting out their thoughts when they feel like it. It is important that a teacher sets clear expectations for the children so that they learn to behave in such a manner from the beginning and that they behave in this way consistently. Stronge (2018) points out that effective teachers are those who know how important a role each child plays in the classroom, and therefore involves them in setting the expectations for the classroom. I feel as though this teacher has achieved this through her methods and it is certainly a method of behaviour and classroom management that I will try in the future.
This week, the weather is meant to improve significantly, and so I am curious to see whether the teachers will incorporate the outdoors into any of their lessons. Today, I took part in a sports session, which was outdoors at the local sports centre. I was working with the CE1 class, their teacher and a support teacher on some parachute and ball games. I had heard from the teacher that this class was quite challenging in terms of their behaviour, which is something I did pick up on whilst I was with them as they were very easily distracted from the task, which would quickly escalate to disruptions. This happened more and more as the tasks set by the teacher became increasingly more difficult, which the teacher was also aware of. Though, she had ways of dealing with this, one method was for her to remove a particularly disruptive child from the activity completely for a short period of time, then allowing them to return after they had settled again. When the whole class was beginning to lose focus, the teacher would have them drop everything they were doing, run to one side of the field and back again. This short burst of energy released seemed to refocus many of the children and they were ready to listen again. This session was, therefore, valuable for me pedagogically, as controlling a class in large open space is something that I have been worried about before, and so being able to observe different ways that the teacher was able to command the space was very useful for my professional development.
For the games, the teacher had a booklet that she worked from, many of which were simple games, but some required quite a bit of explaining and demonstration. The teacher had clearly planned these activities in advance, but, because I joined the class for the session today, she quickly adapted the activities to incorporate some English. For example, one of the activities required the children to roll a ball around the edge of the parachute, and then when I said a colour they had to work together to get the ball to stop on that colour. It was nice to see how easy it was to incorporate some English into a sports session, which made me consider some games that I could play in Scotland that incorporate basic French, so that the vocabulary is becoming a part of the children’s daily routine.
Today, I was out of school because we had a group meeting with Nina to mark our placement coming to an end. This was a 45-minute session in her office, where we reflected upon and evaluated our time in our schools over the past six weeks. We mainly discussed what we had learned from our experience, which led to the realisation that school in France is quite different to school in Scotland. One thing we all agreed on was that behaviour management is a lot sterner in France than in Scotland, which seems to have advantages, as the children are very respectful towards the teacher and other staff in the school, including me.
Nina was also keen to hear whether we had enjoyed the experience, which I had, though I did share with her that I was disappointed that I had not had more opportunities to teach the children, as there are some classes that I had not taught in the school and there were a lot of days where I could not participate because the teacher was not teaching English that day. I told her honestly that I felt as though my low level of French had held me back at that particular school because I had struggled to negotiate plans and teaching time with the teachers. She took this feedback from me on board and explained how this surprised her because I was there to teach English and that my expertise as a native English teacher should have been exploited more. However, I cannot argue that I have not learnt a lot about teaching styles, language and pedagogy during my six weeks, all of which is valuable knowledge for my future career that I am delighted to have gained.
Lastly, Nina finished the session by suggesting that in the future, if we ever wanted to make a connection between our current school and a school in France for educational purposes that we shouldn’t hesitate to connect her in the future. Having a connection like this is amazing and will be of great value when I teach in the future, and it would not have been possible if I had not taken this big step out of my comfort zone and come to France for my Learning from Life Placement.
After the meeting had finished, we visited the local bookshop in the centre of town, which had
lots of children’s books in French. After being asked to read, “The Three Bears” in the CP/CE1 class last week, I was inspired to buy a French book that I could use when teaching French in a Scottish school. After spending some time searching the shelves, I found three great books. One of the books was specifically about colour and so could be used in the early years as an introduction to the topic. The other two were classic stories that the children would know in English, which were, “The Gruffalo” and “Little Red Riding Hood”. The language in the last two books is slightly more advanced, but the children will know the stories well and so should be able to follow them, similar to the children in my class last week with the book I read. Plus, I will need to read these books to my class, and so this is a personal goal for me to practice my French so that I am able to read the book aloud in the future.
Today, I did a follow up lesson with CP/CE1 on school uniform and clothes. This was a 30-minute lesson consisting of four main activities. I began the lesson by revisiting the PowerPoint from before, which had all the items of clothing and the name of it in French and English. As I was going through the PowerPoint, I followed the same protocol as before and said the word first then asked them to repeat, with the children showing me that they remembered a lot of the vocabulary as we got nearer the end because they wanted to say it before I said it. Taking on board what the teacher said about extending my time spent on vocabulary, I often asked the children to repeat some of the items of clothing twice or three times, as there are a few words they continually struggle with pronouncing, such as, “trousers” and “shoes”.
Once I was happy that they had recalled the vocabulary from the previous lesson, I moved on to an activity using the flashcards. This activity was, “What is missing?”, where I had each picture flashcard placed on the whiteboard picture-side up, then asked the children to look at the board before closing their eyes, at which point, I would remove one of the flashcards from the board and they had to tell me which one was missing. After a few rounds of this game, I then asked some of the children to come up to the whiteboard and remove a flashcard. After this whole class activity, I had the children work on an individual task using a worksheet I had produced on the school uniform. The worksheet has the outline of the clothes in the school uniform that need coloured in (see Appendix 1).
The aim of this task was for the children to listen to me as I told them what colour to use when colouring in each item of clothing, for example, I would say, “colour in the trousers red”. From this, I was able to see which children had understood what each item was because they would have a sheet filled with clothing items of the correct colours. Equally, the children had the opportunity to practice their knowledge of the colours in English, and some of them even picked up that I had read the colours out in order of the rainbow from the song they had learnt, which was very perceptive. I think that an activity like this was a good assessment method for the class as I received some of the sheets back from the children and they had all managed to follow the instructions. Before doing the lesson, I had considered adding blank captions for each item and then had the children fill these in so that they had a resource sheet with the pictures and the words in their jotter. However, I now realise that this would have been too difficult for this year group as they are just in the earlier stages of writing French and would therefore struggle to spell English words, so I am glad I removed this element and kept the lesson purely focused on listening and talking.
Lastly, I finished the lesson by reading the book the teacher gave me to the class. The book was great because it incorporated all the items of clothing I had previously taught them, as well as including a few extras, which the children could guess from the corresponding pictures. The book was written in short phrases that rhymed, so it was easy for me to read and would have been pleasing for the children to listen to. They also recognised and got excited by the pictures of the animals despite it all being in English, which was great to see.
As a whole, I think the lesson was good, as the children participated in a variety of activities to keep them engaged and occupied for the full lesson. One thing I would criticise is my transitioning between activities as these were quite clumsy and the children became restless. I think this may be partly down to the language barrier, as in Scotland, I would fill the time between handing out sheets with speaking but this is difficult when the children only understand basic English and I do not speak lots of French. As well, the lesson ran slightly longer than I had expected and so if my transitions between activities had been sharper, I would have avoided this issue.
Despite this minor setback, I did think that the lesson was successful and I received good feedback from the teacher regarding my resources and the delivery of the lesson, which I was happy with. Even the children expressed how much they liked my lesson, which was great to hear. I think that this lesson has shown how far I have come over this placement as I was much more confident throughout the lesson and I think this showed in my delivery of the lesson.
It is the final day of my six-week placement at école Bel-Air and I have returned to the CE2 class. Before the day began, I received my completed “End of Placement Review” from my teacher, which she had filled out. She briefly discussed her answers with me, which I mostly agreed with. I was glad that she thought my lessons were interesting and that she expressed how much the children had enjoyed having me around, as I feel I have bonded with quite a few of the pupils over the past few weeks. The learning points the teacher has provided for me are very helpful and I feel as though I have learnt this and more from observing and practicing teaching. It is a shame to hear that she wouldn’t want to take a student next year as the school is a great school with lovely children, but I do agree that they do not have the time to incorporate a student into their timetable as I struggled to obtain opportunities to teach and I feel as though I have not progressed as much as I would have liked to because of this, but I was glad to hear that they were pleased with what I did do and the issue was not my ability.
To finish off my time at the school, I had the opportunity to teach one last lesson to the CE2 class, which was a continuation of the body parts, which I had done with them the previous week. The opportunity was quite spontaneous as the teacher had planed to do the lesson herself but offered it to me, so I had to quickly review the resources and the plan for the lesson. Luckily, I had thought of this idea before for teaching body parts if I was ever asked to do a follow up lesson, which meant I could jump straight into the lesson. The activity was a worksheet with a circle in the centre. From this, the children had to listen to my instructions in order to create a drawing of a monster. For example, I would say, “draw three heads”, and the pupils had to draw these onto the body outline and this continued until I had said each body part.
As part of this activity, the children were practicing both numbers and body parts in English and, because they are nearing cycle 3 in their learning, I wrote the instructions on the board so that they could see the spelling of the word. The children seemed to manage this task quite well, however, they sometimes struggled with understanding the body part as I was saying the plural of the word, which can sometimes be quite different from the singular, such as feet. Apart from this, the children were showing signs that they were solid on body parts. Having the opportunity to finish my time here by teaching was a nice way to end; especially when I could see how engaged the children were with the lesson.
Stronge, J. (2018) Qualities of Effective Teachers. 3rd edn. Alexandria: ASCD.
Appendix 1 – School Uniform Colour Sheet
Today, I am back in the CM1/CM2 class. Since I have been in this class a few times, I am beginning to notice some of their routines. For example, they begin each day practicing their English by answering some basic questions about the date and the weather. This is similar practice to what I saw on placement in a Scottish school last year where the children did the same but in French. I think that warm up activities like these are beneficial for the children as they require the constant revision of basic content, keeping it fresh. I was told by the teacher that the high school wants these children to become more solid in their English writing skills, which is why the teacher gets them to write out their answers on their white boards so that they are practicing spelling and grammar. This is something I will keep in mind when organising lessons for the upper half of the school in the future.
So far in this school, I have not seen a lot of creative work, however, today I observed the children take part in a writing activity entitled, “jogging d’ecriture”. This was a five-minute opportunity for the children to write a story with no guidance regarding the content. The teacher told me that this activity had motivated many reluctant writers from when she first introduced it. She felt that the activity was a great source of enjoyment for the children as it was a time where they could be creative and free from any constraints. When I was on my first year placement, I came across many reluctant writers and I struggled to motivate them, which is why I liked this little activity in particular. Just as important as the writing was the opportunity to share the stories with the class. Sharing a piece of writing is a very big step for many children and the atmosphere created in the classroom was encouraging and filled with enjoyment and praise. This was such a nice activity to observe and one that I will keep in mind for future placements as it serves a great purpose in developing writing and presenting skills.
In light of recent events in France, I saw how current affairs can impact a school and the curriculum. Last Friday, “gunman hijacked a car near the southwestern town of Carcassonne and then shot at a group of four national police officers returning from a morning jog,” before he then, “stormed into a supermarket, opened fire and held employees and customers hostage for several hours” (McAuley, 2018). Today, the teacher spent some time at the start of the day speaking to the children about terrorism. She conducted this in the form of a question and answer session, where the children could ask her questions about either the attack or terrorism in general and she would attempt to answer their questions in a safe and secure environment. This was with the CM1/CM2 class and so it may not have been appropriate further down the school, but I felt it was important for the children to have the opportunity to ask these questions and talk about these very current issues impacting their country. Having an awareness of the world and the issues that affect it is just one of the steps towards these children becoming more active and civic members of their community and society. In a follow up to the session, the upper half of the school gathered in the playground before break for a poignant tribute to the victims of this attack by observing a minute of silence. This was something the children observed and respected well.
After break, I had the opportunity to teach my first English lesson. The teacher had informed me yesterday that she wanted me to teach the children about school in Scotland, including the uniform and the timetable of the school week. I, therefore, produced a PowerPoint presentation (see Appendix 1) that included these elements and also included some of the aspects of Scottish schools that were different to France. Accompanying the PowerPoint was a print out of a mock timetable with the school subjects in English (see Appendix 2) and the children had to fill in the blanks with the equivalent in French.
As this was my first time teaching, I was very nervous and felt as though I rushed though some of the content. Upon reflection, I should have taken more time to consolidate the key vocabulary in the PowerPoint, such as the clothing items of the school uniform, to ensure the children fully understood it. Also, my phrases about the school week were in English and so a lot of the children were struggling to understand. I did not realise this issue and tried to move on too quickly, which prompted the teacher to step in and guide the children in their understanding. This is something I should have been aware of and perhaps I should have learnt more French phrases in preparation for the lesson so that I could check for understanding, such as, “do you understand the first phrase?” or “what does this say in French?”
However, one thing the teacher did seem happy with was the timetable worksheet I had produced as she noted that the children could glue this in their jotter and use it for revision purposes. The worksheet directly corresponded to the timetable I had displayed of the whiteboard and so I could help them with the answers in an accessible way. Though one thing I would have perhaps done differently was ask the children to come up to the board and write the answers, as this is a common technique I have observed the some of the teachers using in the classroom. This, I think, would have made the lesson feel more interactive and may have helped to improve the attentiveness of the children, who were becoming quite restless.
Overall, I think the lesson was ok, I felt that I had good resources to support the children’s learning, however, I was nervous and so my delivery was a little rushed and could certainly be improved.
Today, I did the same lesson with the CE1/CE2 class at the beginning of the day. Before I could start, the teacher received a phone call and had to step out the classroom. The class began to get restless during this period and so I decided to do a small warm-up activity that I had seen them do before with their teacher to try and refocus them. I think this showed good initiative, as I was unsure of how long the teacher would be away and I felt the behaviour of the class needed managed. Doing a warm-up activity also relaxed me much more and consequently, I did not rush this lesson.
This time when I began with discussing the school uniform, I spent a lot longer explaining the vocabulary. During my time here, I have picked up a few key instructional phrases and so I asked the children these instructions in English first then repeated the phrase in French to ensure they had all understood. For example, when I wanted them to practice pronouncing the different articles of clothing in the school uniform, I said, “repeat after me” and then consolidated this by saying, “répéter après moi”. With the older children, the English will usually suffice, but, when I begin teaching in the early stages, short phrases like “régarder moi” and “écouter”, will be very useful for behaviour management.
Another aspect of the lesson I thought was an improvement from yesterday was that it was more interactive. Yesterday, the teacher had the children ask me what some of the subjects on the timetable were, but today, I asked the children the question, “What is…?” for each of the subjects and they answered in French. I then had different children come up and write the French under the English on the whiteboard. This was more interesting for the children and they seemed more engaged than the class before. I also enjoyed this lesson much more because the children were so engaged and willing to participate.
One thing that I would have changed, though, was that I didn’t have the worksheet resource ready for the children. This means that they do not have any concrete work from the session to put in their jotters and use for revision at a later date. This is not an example of good organisational skills, however, I had no prior knowledge of when I would be teaching this lesson. The lack of a structured plan for my day is something I am struggling with, as I do not know what to prepare for when. I am, therefore, learning that it is worth being over prepared and I have begun preparing a bank of English lessons ready to use when I am asked to teach.
Other than this, I felt that the lesson was a vast improvement on yesterday’s lesson as it flowed at a better pace and I took more of an authoritative role in the classroom by relying on the teacher much less. One piece of feedback I did receive was that the teacher would like a revision resource for the school uniform (see Appendix 3), which is something I will produce in preparation for tomorrow, when I teach this lesson again to CM2.
In the afternoon, we had a meeting with Nina to mark the middle of our placement. We all sat in her office for a casual talk about the progress of our placement and how life in France was going. As the four of us were in the same meeting, I had the chance to hear some of the things the others had been doing at their schools. Hearing about some of the challenges they had faced and how they had resolved them was interesting and helpful for me to hear. They have slightly more teaching experience than me and so the things that they shared about these experiences were valuable to me, personally.
I have also began to realise more the value and significance of my extended observational period as I have learnt so much about French schools and the curriculum in France, as well as observing excellent teaching practice which I can now emulate in my lessons. One thing, though, I do wish had improved more is my level of French, as I feel as though I am understanding a lot more when I listen but I am still lacking confidence in my speaking skills. I plan to make improving my French my main goal for the end of placement review with Nina in 3 weeks time.
In the afternoon, I taught my lesson on School in Scotland to the CM2 class. Beforehand, I was able to print both resource sheets for the children and I was much more organised. However, when I begun to teach, I was faced with a technical issue with the PowerPoint because the pictures did not appear on the screen. As a result, I had to deviate from my original plan and improvise by using the worksheet I had produced, which had the pictures on it anyway, to explain the vocabulary. This was not what I had originally wanted, but I think it was an appropriate alternative given the circumstances and I feel as though I handled the issue well so that the lesson could continue.
I presented the lesson in a very similar way to yesterday, as I knew this technique would work well. I also incorporated the new worksheet into the lesson, as well as the timetable worksheet. As a result, the children could work on their timetable at the same pace as we were filling out the timetable on the board and so they were learning it as they wrote it. Now, they have a resource with all the school subjects in English and the correct corresponding word in French to use for revision purpose.
Though, one thing that was slightly different about this lesson was the timing, as they afternoon had provided a longer teaching slot than the others. Therefore, a lesson that had ran long enough on Wednesday and Thursday finished to early today. At that point, the teacher stepped in and asked the children to work in pairs quizzing each other on the new vocabulary they had learnt. This is something I could have thought of prior to the lesson so, in future, I should plan a few extra finishing activities in case the teaching slot is longer than I had anticipated.
Though, despite this, I feel as though the lesson went well. The class had been quite disruptive for their own teacher throughout the day but I managed to keep them engaged and used some the phrases I had been learning and practicing to keep their behaviour under control. I also took the opportunity to move around the classroom when the children were working in pairs to observe and assess their level of understanding. Next week, I hope to have the opportunity to revise this content with the classes I taught so that I can see how well they understood and can remember.
In summary, I have felt a lot happier at the end of this week of placement. I am becoming more familiarised with the children and the teachers, which is helping me to become more involved within the school and the class. My early opportunities to teach went well and I feel more confident about teaching in the future. It is great to teach the children about Scotland and some of the cultural differences between France and Scotland, as I am passionate about this and so I hope these opportunities continue.
McAuley, J. (2018) ‘French police officer who swapped himself for gunman’s hostage dies’, The Washington Post, 24 March. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hostage-situation-in-southern-france-being-investigated-as-terror-attack/2018/03/23/64649f1e-2e93-11e8-8ad6-fbc50284fce8_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ce493ead79fd (Accessed: 28 March 2018).
Appendix 1 – School in Scotland
Appendix 2 – Scottish School Timetable
Appendix 3 – The School Uniform
When I first arrived at my school, école Bel-Air, I was greeted by the “directeur”, who is the equivalent of the Scottish head-teacher. She informed me that for the first week I would be given the opportunity to observe in different classrooms at different levels. The first classroom I visited was “cours préparatoire” or “CP”, which is the equivalent of Primary 1 in Scotland, where the children were 6 years old. The CP classroom was very different from what I expected and very different from an early years classroom in Scotland.
The layout of the classroom was very basic as the children sat in pairs and had their own individual desks that faced the front. I think this is helpful for the children as their desks have a shelf underneath (see images below) containing all their books, jotters and writing materials, which created the sense of an individualised place they are responsible for. Also, the children hardly ever had to leave their desks to retrieve anything as all the resources they needed were in front of them. From an organisational point of view, this is a good set up as it helps to make transitioning periods much smoother. However, as I observed throughout the day, this layout does not facilitate effective paired and group discussions, something which is valued and encouraged in the Scottish classroom, but is lacking here.
Also apparent was the lack of shared spaces in the classroom; the only area present was the library, though this was not set up in a way which encouraged children to go and read, it was merely a display of the books on offer. In Scotland, a lot of emphasis is placed upon play and experience to facilitate learning, but in French classrooms there are no areas for explorative play, no toys present and no carpet area for soft play. The classrooms in this particular school are quite limited for space and I feel as though teachers in Scotland work harder to ensure they are maximising their space and designing their classrooms to fit the contours of the room.
The structure of the school day is very different from the school day in Scotland and this is largely due to the cultural differences between these two countries. For example, the school day is much longer, beginning at half past 8 and ending at half past 4. These longer days mean that the children receive two 15-minute long breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, then lunch, which lasts two hours, beginning at 11:30. In France, Lunch is a very important part of the day, with French sociologist Thibaut de Saint Pol (cited in Ditton, 2016), describing lunch as “an important social time” and “family identity, work teams or friends are built around these moments”. This is a concept that I am struggling to become accustomed to as, in Scotland, lunch is very much viewed as a refuelling step between breakfast and lunch and so, we eat fast and with convenience. As a result, lunch for me feels very long and causes the day to drag. However, one aspect of the French school day I actually prefer is that Wednesdays are a half-day and school finishes at 11:30, the first time I experienced this, which made the lessons that morning more concise. I thought finishing early midweek broke up the week nicely and it was nice to have time after school to be able to do things.
Today was also my first opportunity to talk to the children about themselves and their work. I did find this difficult to do, as my current level of French is quite minimal and vice versa with the children and their level of English. However, I managed to pick out key words and phrases to respond to some of their questions and the children were also very imaginative in their ways of communicating with me, as they drew pictures or pointed at books to express to me what they meant. One thing I loved seeing was the children’s clear curiosity for language, as they were showing me pictures from books and asking me to say what they were in English. By the end of the day, they were attempting to use English to communicate with me. This love of language is something that, as I teacher, I want to foster in my future classroom by introducing foreign languages early on and partnering them with social or picture cues to excite the children.
Today, I observed and aided in an English lesson given to the CM1/CM2 class. At the beginning of the day, the children were given the instruction to ask me questions in English. These questions ranged from “What is your name?” and “How old are you?” to “What is your favourite movie?” and “Where do you live?” I knew that what was important was that the children were hearing how I pronounced specific words, and so I made sure to repeat the stem of their question in my answer, for example, if I was asked, “What is your favourite colour?” I would answer, “My favourite colour is…”. This will also help the children to form sentences rather than one-word answers, which was something that the teacher was keen for them to do.
One thing that is very different about teaching a foreign language in France than in Scotland is that in France, the teacher tries to conduct the whole lesson in that foreign language, i.e. English, therefore the instructions are in English as well as the disciplining. I found this was a good way to teach the children as they were fully immersed in the language and they seemed able to follow and understand what the teacher had said with minimal clarification. As instructions are often common phrases in many lessons, the children are constantly exposed to these phrases and the repetition will continually improve their overall understanding. Another important aspect of learning a language is relying on context, which I have found has improved my French over this week.
Most of their lessons throughout the day were very short sessions of French language/literature and Mathematics. I found out today that a large portion of the timetable consists of French and Maths, as children receive French lessons twice a day, a total of 10 hours per week, and they study Maths at least once a day, totalling of 5 hours a week. Other aspects of the school curriculum include a lot of focus on English and Sports. This particular school provides a variety of opportunities for the children to take part in sports taught by specialised instructors, as I accompanied the CP/CM1 class today to the local swimming pool for a swimming lesson.
Another interesting aspect of observation I did today was looking through the different jotters of the pupils. They had several jotters for different subjects; however, one jotter that peaked my interest was a jotter entitled, “Discovering the World”. The jotter was divided into five sections (see picture below), and seemed to equate with Environmental Studies/Social Subjects, which we teach in Scotland, as well as incorporating elements of Maths and Science. The last section, “vivre ensemble”, presented work done on society and ethics, which was the first example I had seen of Religious Education’s replacement in the French curriculum.
As Friday was St Patrick’s Day, I observed the teacher of the CM1/CM2 class teach a lesson on the day and it’s history. The teacher provided a worksheet for the pupils to read, which had passages of text in both French and English. The teacher asked me to read out the English for the children so that they could listen to my pronunciation. She then picked out some of the key vocabulary from the text to form a list in their jotters for future reference. This teacher informed me that because these children are the stage before high school, the teachers at the high school had requested that the children gain more experience of reading and writing in English. This highlighted to me that the rate of progression expected in children learning a foreign language in France is very fast, as when children first begin school, a lot of emphasis is placed on hearing the words not reading the words.
Before this lesson, I hadn’t really witnessed a lot of learning outside of French and Maths, and so this lesson began to feel more similar to the style of teaching practiced in Scotland, specifically the cross-curricular potential, which the teacher fully exploited. Throughout the lesson, the pupils were receiving an immersive experience regarding St Patrick’s Day; they were looking at pictures and they were watching videos, whilst also reading and listening to text in both French and English.
After lunch, I then visited the CE1/CE2 class. This class has two teachers, one of whom is also the head-teacher of the school. With this class, I visited the local sports centre, where they were learning how to fence. To get to the sports centre, we took a short bus journey, which gave me the opportunity to speak with some of the children, mostly them wanting to practice their English on me.
Overall, I have observed a large majority of the classes in the school during this first week and although I would have liked to have observed a bit more English and have been more involved in the lessons, I am hoping that this is something that will happen over the coming weeks.
Ditton, H. (2016) ‘Why do the French take such long lunch breaks?’, The Local (France edn), 28 April. Available at: https://www.thelocal.fr/20160428/why-do-the-french-take-such-long-lunch-breaks (Accessed: 14 March 2018).