Classroom Talk

Classroom talk is so much more than just the teacher delivering a lesson to the pupils. It involves so much more. Interaction between pupils and the teacher is key for effective learning and can be done in a variety of different ways, which is extremely beneficial as every child has different learning styles that work for them. For example, an incredibly effective method of communication between pupils and the teacher is through questioning.

Questioning is an amazing way of engaging pupils as it gets them actively involved by participating in thinking of the answers. The teacher can come up with lower order thinking questions to get pupils into the mindset for learning, which are questions that perhaps require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, or they can come up with more advanced higher order thinking questions which really get the child to think deeper about what is being asked. This allows children to extend their knowledge of the subject by digging a little deeper into the analysis of what is being asked, making them think even deeper and giving them an element of challenge to push them that much further in their development. Questioning is an effective way for the teacher to find out the level of knowledge their pupils have in relation to a subject and it helps them to formatively assess who in the class might need more support than others. It is an effective form of communication between pupils and the teacher as it allows the teacher to discover how their pupils are getting on without the children actively telling them as they might be ‘scared’ or ’embarrassed’ to. This way is therefore much more anonymous.

In addition to questioning, another effective method of classroom talk is getting children to work collaboratively in groups which helps them to develop trusting relationships with each other so that they get support from their peers to know that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. It encourages shyer pupils to get their voice heard in the class as well as all the other children. Furthermore, pupils can hear other opinions from their peers that might be different from their own which makes them more open as people to hearing knew ideas which develops their listening skills even further, allowing for even more effective communication. This helps everyone to achieve the best they can.

Finally classroom talk can even be developed through areas of the curriculum such as drama as it allows for pupils to express themselves in a different way than in the classroom. It gets them to focus on body language and facial expressions further which is also an essential part of non-verbal communication.

Teaching Writing

For this weeks Literacy TDT we are focusing on writing and there are some key messages from the reading and video i have read and watched that I will discuss.

Firstly, for children, in order to write, the have to be able to talk first as from Pie Corbett’s video,  children cannot write sentences unless they can say them and they cannot say sentences unless they can hear them. From this video, I felt the key message was that as a teacher it is my job to model good sentences in order for pupils to understand how to form their own sentences and be able to put them down on paper. This is important as some children do not get their parents to read them stories as they might have a lack of books in their households, so it is important that in school teachers immerse children into hearing as many stories as they possibly can in order to build their vocabulary.

In addition, it is important to differentiate in writing lessons as all children have different experiences with language and some might be of a higher level than others. This can be done by providing many different resources such as writing frames, sentence starters and a range of vocabulary. By doing this, it helps create equity in the class as pupils can use these to help if they need to and if they do not need the guidance then that is fine too. It helps fill the gap to bring the pupils to a more similar level. From Medwell, I could see that another key message of this book was that children need to be inspired by understanding the relevance of writing in their lives by engaging in purposeful writing and understanding how it works. If children understand the relevance of a lesson, then they are more inclined to want to engage as they know that what they are learning has a purpose to it which will help them later in life. Furthermore, teachers can make lessons more engaging by using the Interactive White Board (IWB). Through using this, the teacher works with the pupils in a more active way as they work with the whole class to hear everyone’s ideas for planning, writing, exploring and discussing a text. Through active discussion, it allows the pupils to hear their peer’s ideas rather than only the teacher’s. This therefore reinforces the importance of talk in the classroom as discussion is a key way of getting children to develop their thinking more deeply and it gives them a chance to learn from their peers, helping them to build their vocabulary.

On the whole, writing is a key skill in literacy and it is important to develop it in all aspects of the curriculum in order to give pupils as much practice as possible. It is important for the teacher to read as many stories out loud as possible to the children in order for them to build their vocabulary as much as they can to become successful writers so that they can achieve their full potential.

 

References

Medwell et al. (2017). Primary English: Teaching Theory and Practice. (8th End.) London: Sage PublicationsChapter 7

Pie Corbett- Talk for Writing

Restorative Practice in Schools- Why it’s so Important

Restorative practice in schools is a vital part of education in my opinion. It helps to promote positive relationships between both pupils and teachers by dealing with conflict in a mature and empathetic manner which is extremely important in schools for them to be successful.

In the past, the retributive approach was used which was very much focusing on accusation and punishment for actions and used blame. This in turn is not very effective as through this approach no communication between the pupil and teacher occurs on how they could do better, the pupil just gets punished and that is it. The child that does the actions that causes conflict in turn do not understand why what they did was a problem and will not not how to change and become a better person. This approach is therefore not very supportive and it feels like the child and teacher are essentially ‘against’ each other as they are not working together to make things better by just punishing bad behaviour.

Whereas through the restorative approach, a lot more communication is happening and the teacher is much more involved in helping to find a way to resolve the conflict. Communication is key to get to the root of what is going wrong. It is a much more empathetic approach as everyone’s point of view is discussed so the child that caused the conflict can understand how their actions made others feel. This helps them become better people by understanding the harm caused from what they did which motivates them to make a difference and change for the better. It is also effective in the sense that the teacher clearly addresses that it is the behaviour that they do not like and not the pupil themselves, which makes the pupil feel that the teacher is not against them in any way. This approach is therefore fair and helps children to develop positively as individuals as through the discipline of it the teacher keeps the pupil on the right track whereas with punishment the complete focus is on what you did wrong rather than on how you can be better.

The restorative approach therefore builds positive relationships between pupils and teachers as it makes pupils have more trust and respect for the teacher as they are being fair and reasonable when dealing with conflict. The pupils become better people through this as it gives them skills for later in life about dealing with problems and conflict in a mature and empathetic manner. It is important that the restorative approach is encouraged as much as possible and that we move away from assigning blame and dispensing punishment as pupils will not develop from that. The restorative approach will help create a much more empathetic society in the long run.

 

Key Features of a Good Science Lesson

Science is a very important aspect of the Curriculum for Excellence. Our world is forever evolving from developments in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), with many new career paths being introduced in this domain. This means that it is vital that we as teachers positively encourage science as much as possible to make as many children interested in it as possible. There are many ways of doing this.

A teacher can make lessons challenging, engaging and enjoyable for learners by involving stimulating activities. They can also include flexibility and choices in their lessons to help meet the needs of all learners. By doing this, it will help raise all pupils confidence as they won’t feel the lesson is too difficult or easy.

Following this, a way to positively encourage science is to create a positive ethos in teaching the subject. If you as the teacher act inspiring about the subject, it will automatically make pupils feel the same way. Also by creating this positive ethos it encourages pupils to feel at ease answering out and they wouldn’t hesitate to ask questions about the subject which promotes the development of thinking skills. This in turn shows that with pupils asking questions they are more interested in the subject, meaning they will gain more from lessons.

Furthermore, active learning is extremely effective in science. If the pupils are actively involving themselves, they will get out everything that they put in in the lesson. This increases the efficiency of their learning greatly as they are automatically more engaged without even realising than if they were just sitting writing notes in a jotter. Lessons can be made much more active by involving investigations and experiments. By asking pupils a variety of questions throughout investigations it helps them to consolidate their knowledge and increases their curiosity, for example it gets them to make predictions of what could happen at the end of an experiment or think deeper about why certain things are happening. By increasing their curiosity it encourages them to want to find out more and more about the subject, which inspires them to discover more and develop their thinking skills even further. Science is an amazing subject in the way that it can also involve lots of out-door learning and school trips. This helps children become even more inspired as it gives them a change of scene out-side the classroom which increases the active learning the children get to experience as they see the subject in a different environment.

Lessons that involve working collaboratively help to allow pupils to discuss and reflect on ideas through group discussions. Group work builds team working skills and encourages pupils to actively involve themselves by making good contributions to discussions and also by listening to the opinions of their peers which helps them to become more open-minded as individuals. Through discussion, pupils can learn much more than just writing as it gets them to think deeper into what they’re learning and it applies their knowledge much more which makes it easier to consolidate what they’ve learned. From this, a good lesson would involve less use of copying notes, cutting out sections from handouts,  pasting into jotters and colouring in as these tasks don’t really actively engage pupils much at all. Copying notes is not stimulating enough as an exercise in science lessons as it is a much more practical subject. By making the lesson as practical as possible it brings more hands on work for the children which makes them much more inspired by the subject as they enjoy it more through learning actively.

Lastly, adding relevance to lessons has a massive impact. For example by basing the lesson on current environmental, scientific or technical issues it helps children to see a purpose in why they are learning what they are learning. A good example of this would be learning about the water cycle as children see the rain very frequently and already have a background knowledge of it. It means that they can talk about what they have learnt to their parents or carers with passion as they see how what they learnt is connected to their everyday lives, inspiring them to find out even more.

After the science workshops, they have raised awareness to me the importance of teaching science to children as it is important to get as many people to be inspired by it as possible. It is  my job as a teacher to make my science lessons as stimulating and inspiring as possible to allow pupils to figure out if it is the area they wish to have a career in and I will do everything that I can to achieve this.

 

Teaching about Food and Nutrition- My Ideas

The TDT for this week’s Health and Wellbeing input about Food and Nutrition was to plan 3 lessons based on 3 different experiences and outcomes for Health and Wellbeing. Below are some of my ideas:

Lesson 1: First Level Experience and Outcome

I can experience a sense of enjoyment and achievement when preparing simple healthy foods and drinks (HWB1-30b)

Learning Intention: To learn how to make a healthy fruit skewers

Success criteria: Make a fruit skewers safely responsibly and creatively.

Resources: Strawberries, Apples, Grapes, tangerines, bananas, skewers, aprons, food boards, plastic tubs

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Begin with telling the children how fruit is good for you and the importance of including them in your diet. After this explain the task of creating the skewers. Fruit will be pre-cut by the teacher to prevent potential injuries of pupils. Explain the fact that pupils need to be clean and wash their hands before handling food. This could take up to 10 minutes.

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Once all children have an apron on to protect their school uniforms, they will all be at their stations to begin. The teacher will explain to the children that they need to stick the pre-cut fruit  into the skewer nice ad safely to prevent any injury from the pointy top. Children will be encouraged to be as creative as possible by creating different patterns of fruit on the skewer, but still being responsible and fair by letting their peers have equal access of the fruit and that all pupils have the same number of skewers to promote more fairness. Once completed, children will keep their fruit skewers inside a plastic container. Photographs will be taken of the food to document the work, with no pupils in the photos. This could take 20- 30 minutes.

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

All children help to tidy up the equipment and hang up aprons neatly away. Children will wash their hands also to stay clean. They will then return to the class room and evaluate their learning whilst eating their creations. The teacher will ask the class what they learned today, what they enjoyed about the lesson and what their next steps would be. This could take around 15 minutes.

 

Lesson 2: Second Level Experience and Outcome

By applying my knowledge and understanding of current healthy eating advice, I can contribute to a healthy eating plan. (HWB2-30a)

Learning Intention: Create a healthy meal plan for a day

Success Criteria: Make a healthy meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner with a balanced diet including all the 5 main food groups throughout.

Resources: Interactive White Board, Food group wheel, paper plates (3 per pupil) , coloured pencils, normal pencils.

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Begin by going over the 5 main food groups to the whole class. The teacher will explain the types of foods found in each food group. This could take up to 25 minutes. To consolidate this knowledge, playing a match making game as a class that gets the children to match a certain kind of food to the food group it belongs to by projecting an empty food group wheel onto the interactive white board and then handing the children hand outs to stick onto each (there would be one hand out for each child in the class to make the lesson fair). This could take up to 15 minutes.

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

Once the children have a basic knowledge of the different types of food in each group, they will begin their meal plans. They will all receive 3 paper plates for each meal they create. They will draw the meals onto each paper plate and label each group the food is categorised in. Coloured pencils are used to help add a pop of colour to the meals and to encourage children to be creative. This should take around 20-30 minutes.

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

After completing their 3 meals, pupils will go into pairs with their shoulder partners or in groups of 3 depending on numbers and will present their meal plans to their partner. They will go through each meal they created and discuss all the different food groups used in each to consolidate their knowledge. By doing this they will peer assess each other’s meals and this should take approximately 5 minutes. Once everyone has finished, the teacher will ask pupils what they had learned today.

 

Lesson 3: Second Level Experience and Outcome

By investigating food labelling systems, I can begin to understand how to use them to make healthy food choices (HWB2-36a)

Learning Intention: To understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods by understanding their difference in the number of calories they contain.

Success Criteria:

I can understand that healthier foods are significantly lower in calories than more unhealthy foods

I can understand the reasons why unhealthy foods have significantly more calories

I can understand ways in which we can be healthier by making healthier food choices.

I have the knowledge of how many calories I should be eating a day.

Resources: Tin cans, plastic bottles, cereal boxes, unhealthy ready meal boxes, healthy ready meal boxes, healthy food boxes, unhealthy food boxes (all recycled and involving breakfast lunch and dinner foods)

*Before lesson ask children to bring in a recycled food packet if they have any. Teacher will provide as much as possible.

Setting the context/ Beginning the lesson (Introduction)

Begin the class by sitting the children down at the board and explain to them that the lesson is about healthy eating. Ask the class open questions such as: “What makes food healthy?”, “What makes food unhealthy?” (Healthy food gives you the nutrients and energy your body needs whereas unhealthy food gives you too much energy). This should take 5 minutes.

Teaching the learning intentions (Development)

After this explain that this amount of energy can be measured in calories. Get a picture of the calorie area of a food label for both a healthy food and an unhealthy food. Ask the children what they notice about the number of calories in each. This will get them to understand that healthier foods are much lower in calories than unhealthy more fatty foods. Following this, explain to the children the number of calories that they should be eating every day (around 1,600 to 2,200 from age 6-12). This will get the children to understand just how bad the unhealthy foods are for them as the number of calories in them are so high with regards to their daily intakes. This should take approximately 10 minutes.

Split the children into 3 groups and set up a station for breakfast foods, lunch foods and dinner foods- one group will be at each station. Set the children the task of creating a healthier meal option based on the choices of healthier and more unhealthy food/drink recyclables. This should take around 15 minutes.

Ending the lesson (Plenary)

After every group is finished, the teacher will then stop the class and ask the whole class to make a circle firstly around the breakfast station and get feedback from the children in the breakfast group by asking them their reasons for their food choices with the rest of the class listening. Then the same thing will happen with the lunch group and then the dinner group. This  will get all the pupils to understand all the different alternative healthier options that they could make in their diets to help make healthier food choices. This should take around 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Maths- The Importance of Encouragement

When you think of the word ‘maths’, what springs to mind? Often straight away people will say things like “I hated maths at school” or “I wasn’t good at maths!” Other people will also say that they loved maths at school as they felt confident in the subject. Moreover, people have the idea that people are either a “Maths” person or an “English” person. As a teacher, I need to do everything that I can to change these views and positively encourage the subject of maths as much as I possibly can.

When I was at school, I was guilty of having the opinion that I was not very good at maths, and I lacked confidence in the subject. Looking back, from having this attitude it really affected the efficiency of my learning in the subject as by going to the class with a negative mindset, it just made me concentrate on getting through the class rather than actually concentrating more on the work. In retrospect, if I went to the class with a positive attitude, I would have gained so much more from lessons. Therefore from this input, I have learned that as a teacher I will need to help pupils as much as I can to encourage to them that maths is an extremely important subject and to give them positive attitudes in many different ways.

There’s much a teacher can do to help promote a positive attitude to maths. Even something as little as a smile whilst teaching can have the biggest impact, because if the teacher acts inspiring, the children will pick up on that and will feel a sense of inspiration and encouragement also. In addition, the teacher can use many interesting ways to liven up lessons, for example by using Show Me Boards, the Interactive White Board or games. All of these play a part in helping children to see maths as good rather than having the false assumption that it is difficult and boring as it gives them a sense of enjoyment. By feeling this positively about the subject, it will improve children’s confidence without them even realising it because if they are enjoying themselves, they will feel a sense of success and achievement rather than giving up easily if they find they got a question wrong. This positivity will give them more motivation to be resilient and try again if they make a mistake, which in turn can increase the efficiency of their learning.

This workshop was very eye opening because it made me realise just how important it is to encourage positivity in maths as by having even the slightest negative view of maths can really affect how much you get out of the lesson. In short, positivity and optimism really do lead to success, and it is my job as a teacher to promote that in not just maths and all subjects as much as possible.

Reflection- Fundamental to My Development as a Teacher

A key element to a teacher’s career is to reflect on the things that they do. Reflection is vital because you are able to evaluate yourself in all kinds of scenarios which helps you to discover your own strengths and weaknesses. These can be used to think of ways in which you can improve and grow in your career, which helps to make you a better teacher as you progress.

For example, as I reflect from semester 1, I realise that my confidence in speaking out has grown massively throughout the  Working Together module. I remember at the very beginning during group discussions I felt I was very quiet and too shy to speak out my ideas. Thinking back this may have been because at this time our group didn’t have a strong working relationship as we had all just met each other. As the weeks progressed, I began to think to myself, that the way to improve my confidence to express my views and opinions was to try and be brave and speak out gradually. By doing this, I realised that my ideas actually made helpful contributions and as our relationship as a group became stronger, I realised that no idea was a bad one. This in turn encouraged me to speak more and more which made me develop my communication and team working skills by contributing as much as I could.

From this experience, I learned that I should not have been so shy at the beginning as it meant that I could not fully engage in our discussions by being nervous to speak. By reflecting, it helped me to address the situation in my mind and developed my problem solving skills by thinking of ways in which I could improve and resolve the fact that I was lacking in confidence. I learned that I could make useful contributions after I got the confidence to express my thoughts which encouraged me to speak even more. If I didn’t reflect on my feelings, I would never have resolved the issue as I would not have thought of ways in which I could have grown. Therefore, from this I realise just how important it is in my professional development to reflect as it is the only way to realise what I am doing right and what I could be doing differently in order to get better. Reflection will help me in many more scenarios throughout my career as a teacher as I understand that developing as a teacher is a work in progress. There are going to be good days in my career and also many bumps on the road but by reflecting, it will help me resolve potential problems and become much more resilient, which are essential qualities to have in a teacher.

How Drama Brings Life to Lessons

After watching a video about the structure of a drama lesson, it got me to really understand why drama lessons need to be structured a certain way in order for children to learn as much as they possibly can.

In the video, it stated that to begin, an agreement had to be made; these were a set of rules that both the pupils and the teachers needed to follow. For example, the teachers created the ‘three c’s’, which were communication, co-operation and concentration. It is important for pupils to follow these rules in order for the lesson to flow as efficiently as possible. From the lesson flowing well, it means that fewer disruptions should occur and it keeps all the pupils organised, allowing them to have more focus. Next is to allow the pupils to warm up. By warming up, it is extremely beneficial for the pupils as it gets their mind and body ready for all the physical activity that is to come. Following this there has to be a focus to the lesson which helps pupils to develop their ideas more specifically. This is very beneficial as it inspires them to be as creative and imaginative as possible; for example this is done through visualisation and sound and body scapes. Body scapes are beneficial as they allow pupils to improve their team working skills by working together to create a particular scene with their bodies. By involving all these different ways of using their imagination, it allows pupils to use a variety of senses which develops their creative visualisation and listening skills in greater depth. Furthermore, the pupils then perform what they have created and learned to the rest of the class. In the video it states that children see the performance as the ‘purpose’ of the lesson. By performing their work to the class, pupils receive praise from the rest of their peers and the teacher which therefore is beneficial as it reinforces to the pupils that they have achieved and succeeded in something which grows their confidence in their learning massively. Lastly, it is extremely important that an evaluation is carried out at the end of the lesson. This is beneficial as it gets children to think about their learning in a critical way by thinking about what they have done well and what they could have done to improve. It also helps to relax the children after a full on lesson full of physical activity, preparing them to go back to class in a quiet and non disruptive manner so that they can gain full focus and concentration for the next lesson back in the class room.

Drama can be used to enhance lessons for other subjects very effectively. For example, I believe that it can be used in a history lesson by perhaps getting pupils to act in a play that is set in a time period in the past, such as medieval times, world war 2 or the victorian times. This allows pupils to fully engage in learning about their topic as drama brings the lesson to life. It allows them to see for themselves what life was like during a specific time period as they are actively acting these out. It can also be used with regards to literacy by acting out events in a story the class was reading for example, which can consolidate their understanding of the story by reflecting and acting out what occurs.

I really enjoyed the drama workshop. To begin I was a bit nervous for it as I had never done drama in school, so I didn’t know what to expect and I was a bit shy. However, my nerves began to fade as the workshop progressed as I began to realise that there was no reason to feel shy as we were all made to feel like we could express ourselves freely. As a teacher I will make sure all pupils feel confident enough to not be shy and encourage them to enjoy the lesson as much as they can. This will make them gain as much from the lesson as possible to achieve their full potential.

 

 

 

The Health and Wellbeing of the Child is Crucial to Development- Reflection

After watching both Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnocha’s videos about the brain development of children in their early years, it made me understand even more just how important it is that we as practitioners do everything in our power to promote positivity into every child’s life.

It was particularly eye opening for me to understand in better depth from Suzanne Zeedyk’s video just how much the environment a child grows up in can affect the development of their brains in both good ways and bad. If the child grows up in a calm and more predictable environment then they will feel happier themselves which effectively makes them learn more efficiently. However, if a child lived in a more stressful and unpredictable environment, it causes them to feel anxious and uneasy which can negatively impact on their learning as all their energy is focussed on feeling nervous and limited to learning. These factors effect children’s futures as the children living in more calm environments find it easier to succeed in life as they don’t have to focus all their energy on being nervous as they have nothing to be afraid of. Whereas for children living in environments that involve problems such as abuse, it can make it hard for them to connect with others later in life as they come across as anxious as they don’t know who to trust.

John Carnochan’s video reinforced to me the fact that it is also important to be as caring and nurturing to children as possible, especially in the early years of their lives. By doing this, it can make a remarkable difference to the way their brains develop later in life. By adding positivity into their lives at an early age, it makes a huge difference as it allows children to feel happy and safe in ways they maybe cannot at home if they are living in an abusive household. This consequently will increase the productivity of their learning in the future as it helps reduce stress and anxiety by having someone they can trust to help them.

As primary practitioners, it is important for us to make all children feel welcome in the classroom and feel at ease by creating a positive ethos in school. By creating a positive ethos both in school and in the classroom, it effectively encourages to children that school is a safe and enjoyable place to be. It reassures children that they will feel comfortable and wouldn’t need to feel anxious in any way. To create a positive ethos, teachers and all staff in the school need to be happy, open, approachable, and trustworthy to children. By being this way, it means that pupils will not hesitate to speak to teachers if they have any questions or want to talk about problems which develops positive relationships between both the teacher and their pupils. In addition, it is important for the school environment to feel welcoming and friendly, for example by adding lots of colour onto the walls and displaying pupils’ work on the wall. This helps to make all pupils feel like they are included members of the school which helps to boost their confidence. On the whole, by making school a pleasant and positive place to be, it will effectively enhance the learning of all children as they gain positive attitudes and mindsets from this. As primary practitioners, we need to be as caring and nurturing as possible to all children in the school to reinforce this positive ethos.

 

Learning Language- My Experience

Language was an area of the curriculum that I really enjoyed when I was in school. It is an extremely important area of the curriculum as it is a way of expressing ourselves and a key way for us to learn.

There are four areas of language: writing, reading, speaking and listening. When I was younger, I developed my writing skills greatly by writing many different stories. Since this was a very enjoyable part of my childhood, it motivated me to keep developing my writing skills by writing even more stories, helping me to improve more. In school, we also used work sheets to trace letters onto which helped massively with my handwriting.

To develop my reading skills I would always read stories with my parents most nights before going to sleep, which allowed me to hear more frequently how certain words were pronounced which helped greatly. Furthermore, reading out in class at school also developed my confidence massively in reading which helped me progress even further by  making less hesitations and becoming more fluent.

My listening and talking skills were developed by doing both solo and group presentations in school. These successfully helped me gain more confidence in speaking to a larger number of people and also improved my listening skills from watching other presentations.

As a teacher, I would like to encourage the methods I used to help develop my writing, reading, speaking and listening skills as I felt that they really helped me and were very effective for me to make as much progress as possible.