After reading Medwell Primary English Teaching and Practice, It has made me reflect on the key points raised in relation to my MA1 placement last year.
For example, I taught the class progressive lessons in literacy through the context of Harry Potter. I taught lessons on describing characters and got the pupils to really think deeper about each one in detail through gradually building up the skills step by step. A point came across in the book about drafting and redrafting. I used this approach as advised by my teacher through the pupils process in writing and it was very successful as it motivated the pupils to want to produce their best work. I got the pupils to create their own ending of the story to stimulate their imagination and as an extension write their own story from the beginning. The children really got into this and loved thinking up new unique ideas themselves.
In addition, the book mentions the ‘Story Circle’. In my class we participated in ‘Circle time’ activities which was very beneficial to the children as it got them practicing their listening and turn taking skills. This was a very good way to get the pupils practicing their talking and listening skills as it got them to take in their peer’s view points and made themselves feel listened to by the class as well. A ‘Kit bag’ was used with cards that had questions on them such as “what animal would describe me?” which got the pupils to think imaginatively and creatively.
Lastly, we read Harry Potter as a class novel which got the pupils to further develop their listening skills and skills for taking in information. The teacher made sure to ask plenty of open and closed questions to prompt discussion which was very effective for the children as it kept them engaged and focussed on the story.
Overall language was taught very well in my placement school and it was interesting to both observe and actively teach this.
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.
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.