Throughout my time on placement, I have learnt a lot about language teaching, specifically teaching a foreign language. Whilst observing lessons, the teachers advocated using only English in their English lessons, which required some degree of self confidence from them in their abilities. I think that self confidence is the key limitation for me when I speak French, as I lack the confidence to practice my speaking skills aloud. Continuing with my own self-study of French using different resources and building on my vocabulary will help me develop more confidence so that I can execute some of the teaching techniques I observed from the teachers on placement. I am also taking part in the Modern Languages module next year, which when partnered with further reading, will help me develop a more academic and theoretical knowledge of the techniques I saw.
From a personal and professional perspective, I also feel as though this placement has helped me to become more communicative, as the language barrier between me and the teachers meant that I received little guidance from them regarding lesson plans, resources, assessment etc and work a lot harder to express myself and my ideas. This was very different from the one on one support I received from my teacher in first year and so I had trust in my own teaching ability a lot more, relying a lot less on constant reassurance. I think this was an important step for me to have taken, as by the end of my placement, I was communicating with all the staff and sharing my ideas with them rather than waiting for them to approach me. I would like to continue to develop, as I think it will make me a more valuable and integrated member of a team when in school. During lectures, I am often a person who lacks the confidence to share their thoughts and ideas with the group, therefore, if I work on being a more contributive member in a group of my peers, it will help me build upon the skills and traits I have began to engage with during this placement.
Organisational skills – Previous experience of teaching placements, where I had to construct a folio of work and prepare lessons and resources in advance, have improved my level of organisation. This will be a useful skill for organising travel arrangements to and from placement in a foreign city.
Communication skills – Previous experience working with different groups of people, such as children, teaching staff, coaches and parents has resulted in a development of my professional and personal communication skills. This development has included an improvement in questioning, explaining and understanding, though this skill will be continually developing in this placement due to the language barrier.
Self-confidence – Previous experience working in a school environment, where I have to be seen and heard has resulted in me becoming more confident. Constant planning and revision of work to be done is a way in which I develop self-confidence and this is something I hope to continually develop and is a development, which I think, will pose the most challenges to me.
Teamwork – This is a skill I think I excel at, as I am very good at determining when to contribute and when to listen. I like working as a team as it gives me the opportunity to practice many roles and work in different dynamics. Teamwork is a skill I have developed from working on many school and university projects that required equal contribution and effort from everyone in order to succeed.
Coaching experience – Working as an Active Fife coach in holiday camps was on of the first opportunities I was partly responsibility for a group of children, both in terms of their learning and their safety. It gave me a preview into the level of planning and organisation goes into facilitating activities and learning as I was given specific sports and equipment to work with, which I would co-plan into the day’s schedule with my fellow coaches.
First Year Placement – This was the first time I took full responsibility for a class of children for several consecutive days. Reflecting on this experience, I learnt a lot more about the responsibilities of a teacher outwith the school day from building up my own folio with important documentation, plans for the day/week and examples of assessment and marking to ensure a child’s progression. Despite this placement being a short period of time, I was able to form quite strong relationships with both the staff I worked with and the children I taught, which helped to enhance the value of the experience. As this placement was a big jump from my previous experience, I had plenty of opportunities to practice different teaching styles and techniques, which resulted in me being able to reflect upon these and refine them as I moved towards my forming my own identity as a teacher.