Throughout my two week placement, I was given the opportunity to experience all of the primary classes including some composite classes and the nursery. I enjoyed this as it was a chance for me to gain knowledge of the different levels of teaching.
During placement I realised that one of my strengths is that I am able to change my tone and pitch when talking to different year groups. For example, when talking to primary one I changed my tone to suit their age range to ensure they could understand me and interact with me. I felt more confident when I was working with the younger school as I felt like they interacted with me more. However, in the upper school I had to completely change the way I interacted with the pupils to ensure I wasn’t their ‘friend’ but also wasn’t patronising towards them. Surprisingly, I enjoyed working with all age ranges of pupils as over time I felt more confident when changing my tone.
One area of my communication I need to develop is controlling when I say “eh”, “like” and “em.” Often when answering pupils questions I was inclined to use filler words while thinking of what to say. I also used filler words if I felt I was in an awkward situation or felt slightly uncomfortable with the situation. For example, when talking to a professional I almost felt like if I didn’t know what to say so I used filler words to get myself out of the situation. On my school experience form from the head teacher, It was stated that I am not very confident when talking to members of staff therefore, this is something I need to work on.
Overall, I enjoyed placement and loved the experience. I have acknowledged what I need to work on and have identified strategies that will help me.
Group and Leadership
We were in groups of around 7 and were given the challenge to build a den outdoors. The group was not assigned a leader to allow us to see who the natural leaders were. Within my group nobody stepped up to take over as a leader, we all voiced our ideas in the same way and tried and tested them to see which ones worked out best. Personally, I enjoyed this way of working in a group as I feel like it didn’t apply any pressure to the group. It also allowed everyone to get involved and not feel like their taking over anyones ‘role’.
Within this area the outdoor communication became a slight struggle. However, i think the group explained well to us, they had one person who done all the talking and the rest of the group just stood in the den. This showed that their group had a clear leader who was taking over the bigger roles instead of them working together.
The environment impacted on our explaining due to the distractions around. I noticed when we were explaining to the other group they weren’t actually making eye contact with us as we spoke due to them being distracted by the other groups roundabout. To try and make this communication easier groups could move in closer to each other to ensure they can be heard over the sounds in the environment. They could also stand facing away from other groups to eliminate being distracted by their explanations. When listening to the other group i felt like the environment was a distraction because of dog walkers going past and the noises from the birds it was hard to concentrate on the explanation. To overcome this I could ensure i make eye contact with the speaker which will help me stay focused on the points their making.
The negotiations were challenging because i don’t really know everyone yet it was slightly awkward having to go up to someone you don’t talk to and persuade them to swap materials. However, it was a good opportunity to have a bit of a laugh and joke with each other to get to break down barriers.
Having a think about our 2 week placement, I started to consider classroom organisation and management. During my placement in a primary 3 classroom I noticed all the different ways the teacher went about using communication to get the class attention. There were many verbal methods used such as the teacher saying “macaroni cheese” and the pupils saying back “everybody freeze.” This was a good way to get the pupils attention without shouting and also making it fun for them by letting them get involved. I also noticed that non-verbal communication methods were also used such as clapping sequences. This was effective as the pupils had to listen to repeat back the sequence so it got their attention instantly. I enjoyed this experience as I was able to learn tips from a professional who has experience on what works well and what doesn’t within the classroom.