Author Archives: Melissa McHaffie

Reflections of BA1 Placement

On the 29th October, I began my first student teacher placement for two weeks! I worked with the primary 3 class on week 1 and for week 2 I worked in a composite class of primary 5/6, which allowed me to see a variety of teaching styles and methods. I had the opportunity of going on school trips during my placement and this experience was really interesting to see how both the pupils and teachers act outwith the classroom environment. Throughout both weeks, I worked closely with small groups of pupils who needed more support. This challenged me to think about my oral language to ensure that I used language that they understood, in order to engage the pupils and work effectively with them.


  • Well-Spoken – good pace, clear voice, good pronunciation –
  • Eye Contact and Facial Expressions

When working with small groups, especially for the primary 3 class, I spoke clearly and at a slow pace to ensure that the pupils could understand everything that I was saying. The class teacher pointed out that I was a good role model by pronouncing all my words correctly, because many pupils have poor speech mainly due to the fact that they don’t get corrected at home, in most cases. I made good use of eye contact with children and in doing this I also received good eye contact back from the pupils which showed me they were listening. I was engaging positively with the children through my effective use of facial expressions to show my feelings about their effort when working in the groups.

Areas of Most Progress

  • Enthusiasm
  • Use of Language

During my two weeks on placement, I realised how important enthusiasm is in the school environment. Through discussion with class teachers they explained to me how much of teaching is acting and putting on a show in order to engage the pupils and provide a safe, positive environment for them (which they might not all get at home.) With the primary 3 class, the enthusiasm came quite natural to me and i found it much easier to convey to them than i did to the primary 6. At first, I was unsure how to show enthusiasm with the upper classes because I didn’t want to come across as patronising. Throughout my second week with the primary 5/6 class, I became more comfortable with showing enthusiasm to older pupils and noticed that the main way to do this was to involve them in discussion and show your interest in their thoughts. I also think I coped well at using the correct language for the different levels and stages I worked with. I was challenged to try and find more than one way to explain something  so that another pupil could understand and this is something that came up quite often. The more experienced i had with this, the more comfortable I was which increased my confidence.

Area Requiring Progress

  • Projecting my voice and using a wider range of tones
  • to use more body language e.g) gestures

After discussing with the class teacher, we both agreed on these areas of development. The teacher explained that she found it quite hard to observe this because I was never addressing the whole class and only ever worked with small groups in a quite area so there was no need for me to use a louder voice. I admitted that I found it hard to know where I stood in the classroom, as I have had previous experience working in a school as a helper but this was my first time portraying the teacher role.

Action Plan

I think that my areas of development and confidence will improve with experience and also by receiving and responding to feedback from peers, when doing presentation work so I can see any progress I have made and those areas that I still need to work on! Overall, I really enjoyed my two week placement and I can’t wait for my next placement in BA2 to develop more skills and gain more experience.

Communication in other environments

On Monday the 24th September, we had our situated communication workshop outside! We were put into groups and had to build a den which required everyone to have good communication skills.

Group and leadership

  • Our group didn’t have a set leader, we all had an opportunity to show some leadership skills. This meant that everyone felt included as we all contributed and expressed our ideas with the group. I really enjoy working with other people so i found this task very fun, but a challenging aspect of the task was that sometimes we weren’t taking the time to listen to each other, as they were so many different thoughts and ideas.


  • I think that our group was good at explaining because of our effective communication. We all had very good verbal and non verbal communication and this was shown through everyone speaking clearly and using open body language so that we all felt comfortable with each other when speaking out in the group. We were all aware of our role within the group. One improvement would be to plan more effectively who was explaining what for our presentation so that everyone could explain a part.


  • Presenting and working outdoors had an impact on  all of our communication as we had to block out the surrounding noises such as nature, cars, other groups, in order to be focused and listen to each other. To ensure we were heard by all, we had to project our voices more so than we would in a classroom and show that we were listening by using eye contact with everyone.


  • Our group was fairly successful at  negotiating with the other group. Both groups made compromises and came to a decision we were all happy with.

BA Education Week 1

The first full week of this course went by quite quickly! I  had the chance to get to know and chat to more people on the course which was really fun!

On Monday we had Situated Communication, where we learnt about all the different ways in which we communicate with each other including verbal and non- verbal. We also had the opportunity to work our way round Moodle to become more familiar with it, which was good because i found it really confusing and hard to navigate round. In the performance studio we got to express ourselves by playing some ice breaker games as we still didn’t know peoples names.

On Wednesday, we had mathematics for understanding, which i was really nervous about because maths isn’t my strongest subject. This lesson was focusing on Place Value,