Category Archives: 3.4 Professional Reflection and Communication

1st year placement experience

I have just finished my first two week placement block during my time in the BA programme at UWS. Having spent most of last year in a Primary 1 class it was amazing to get back into the classroom and working with children again. This year I was in a small multi-composite school with 2 classes, one of Primary 1-4’s and the other with Primary 5-7’s.

Prior to placement I was unsure how I would feel about teaching in a multi-compsite class as I imagined this would be a lot more difficult than having a class all of the same ages however I absolutely loved it. There were varying abilities within the classroom however with there only being 9 children in Class 2 the different abilities in the classroom were able to be so well catered to. In an average class of 20-30 children, they would all be in the same year group, however the range of abilities would be just as vast with a higher pupil to teacher ratio.

Having experienced a small window of time within this village school, the range of activities the children can partake in is incredible and the sense of community and family in the school is amazing. Every member of staff worked so well together and really cared for each child, their wellbeing and their successes. The school had a community kitchen which the children cooked a new recipe in each week, this was so great to see the school introducing a love of cooking to the children and providing them with a life skill.

I have learned so much from my time in placement and it has given me so many great ideas that I hope one day I can carry out in my own classroom. As well as ideas for the future it has also given me an insight into particular areas of strength and areas for improvement in my own practice.

I believe a strength I have is quickly building up a rapport with each child. This is so vital as if children have a good relationship with you the will learn so much more from you and enjoy working and learning alongside you. I really enjoy getting to know each child, their strengths, areas for developments, likes and dislikes and using this to alter my own practice. Some people often forget that children at Primary are still so young an need to be nurtured and form positive relationships with staff within the school.

Although I really enjoyed working with the older children this did make me aware of an area of personal development. As some of the mathematics was at a much higher level I first had to understand this before I could explain it to the children. A few times I found myself getting stuck when trying to explain different maths aspects to the children as I didn’t have a good enough understanding in the first place in order to then simplify this and explain in necessary depth to the children to ensure they understood. I spoke with the class teacher about this and in mathematics at university we spend time each week going through various maths concepts and so I am confident that with putting extra work into my mathematics by the time I am next working with older children I will ensure I have the relevant knowledge to be confident helping every group of children with their mathematics.


The importance of self-evaluation

After watching the videos and completing the observation checklist myself and Emily discussed what we had both taken from the videos. We had both noted similar points in regards to body language, the teacher had mainly open body language, he got down to the children’s level when speaking to them and sat with them at their tables which seemed to provide a more inclusive and accessible learning experience for the children.  We both noted at times he did however appear to close himself for from the children with his body language however we both had a different example of this. I noted that he often put his hand, in a fist, up to his chin which could come across as boredom, Emily noted he sometimes crossed his arms, another sign of closed body language. We both found that he spoke at an adequate volume and pace however at times, as the lady who was assessing him at the end of the video pointed out sometimes standing up in certain situations would gain him more attention form the children so he could start his lesson quicker.


I found the idea of the teacher videoing herself fin the Bill Gates video surprising. However, after listening to her talk about this being her tool of self-reflection I think it is a really great way to self-assess, look at your own body language, voice, tone, every part of your teaching and the engagement of the class in different aspect so you can then reflect and improve on this for future lessons.

I enjoyed this task and as it was a video online I did not find it too difficult however it will be much harder within a classroom setting with children and assessing a peer as everybody wants to give positive feedback however on some occasions constructive feedback is also necessary for your own and your peers own progression in teaching.

I am really looking forward to placement and can’t wait to be back in the school environment and learn from both the children and the teachers/ all the staff in the school. I am a little nervous about all the placement tasks we have to do and ensuring these are all done to a high quality however I am sure there will be plenty of opportunity for observations in all the various areas.