Having been asked to design a classroom for a class of 28 pupils- 22 boys and 6 girls, my initial reaction was excitement. I then developed a sense of nerves- how will I set up a classroom with that amount of boys? What if this was the case in reality? How can I make it an appealing place to learn? I thought about my design for a long period of time wondering how I should set out the tables and what I felt was essential to have within the classroom setting. I came to the conclusion that a horseshoe design would be appropriate because no child has their back to the teacher at any point. Having a horseshoe design also allows the teacher to wander around the front of the children’s desks and present work from the board without people not being able to see. I feel that the way I have designed my classroom is practical because it promotes a positive environment for class talk and allows all children to be part of discussions. I struggled with how I was going to seat the children due to the amount of boys within the class. However, I believe the way in which I have seated the children would be effective because the girls are split equally around the room therefore creating a fair environment for everyone. Within the horseshoe design I have incorporated two resource tables, I would use these for storage of pencils, rulers and rubbers enough for one for each child.
I have incorporated four windows into my classroom design because I believe that sunlight is extremely important for children as it boosts their energy levels and increases mood. I also strongly believe that using daylight is more efficient as the lighting can sometimes create problems for children. Having a table with plants gives the children a form of responsibility and a sense of taking care of something as a class so that they all understand they are part of a network that is there to support and care for them.
I have designed the classroom to have interactive wall displays this is to encourage the children to complete tasks on what they have learnt which is reinforcing their learning making it more achievable to retain information. As a teacher I would change these wall displays and the interactions on a regular basis to ensure that the children did not become disengaged with the idea.
Having a bookcase in a classroom is an essential part of learning because this promotes the children to read and share their ideas and views on books. As a teacher I would ensure that it was not just novels that were available because having magazines, picture books or comics shows the children that reading in various forms is acceptable and is something we should enjoy doing. I also believe that this area of the classroom should be comfortable because this gives the children of feeling relaxed.
Having watched the video on body language it became apparent to me that there are various ways in which you can use your body to convey what you mean. The approach that the teacher used at the end of her lesson to get the children organised would be highly effective to use within my placement school. The school has a cloakroom where the children keep their coats and bags, using this technique I would ask the children a question relating to learning from that day/week and upon the response would send them to the cloakroom to get their belongings. By doing this I would be reducing the health and safety risks of having too many children in the cloakroom at one time.
As a teacher moving around the classroom can be effective as it allows you to show the children you are constantly aware of what is happening within the classroom and that you expect all children to be engaged with their learning. This also gives the teacher the opportunity to ask questions to everyone within the class and ensure the children all understand that everyone is important. Using this technique can promote children to be looking towards the teacher at all times keeping them focussed and on task. I believe I will try this technique whilst out on placement as I remember as a child my teachers always being at the front of the classroom and it was easy to drift your attention in and out. I would like the children in the class to feel that I am interested in their learning and that I believe everyone is important.
When out on placement I plan to use body language, facial expressions and tone of voice to my advantage. I believe that this is extremely important as children can read what you mean from these aspects. For example when taking a lesson you must ensure that show the children you are interested and enthusiastic otherwise you will not obtain the results you have hoped for. Even when you are not fully confident within teaching a lesson, ensuring your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice show you are confident then the children will believe that you are confident. I believe that using these 3 aspects when praising a child is essential as it gives the child a sense that you are extremely proud of their achievements and will promote confidence and self-esteem.
Having recently had an ICT input on searching, researching and presenting we had a discussion about how crucial it is to teach children about internet safety. Technology has grown drastically over the years. I remember as a teenager my brother and I would argue about who had been on the internet for the longest or would complain when someone phoned on the house phone as it cut the internet off. It’s incredible to think that children will not experience these things anymore and everyone can be on the internet at the same time. Bearing this in mind many parents may not always know what their children are getting up to online, which can be scary. This is why it is essential as a teacher to know the ins and outs of internet safety to ensure this is passed on to the future generations. I used the website www.animoto.com to create a short video about internet safety. I found it extremely easy to navigate my way around animoto and believe I could use this as a resource in the classroom to allow children to present work.
Throughout the ICT input I learned a lot about searching the internet and how to make my searches more relevant. I am the type of person who just types in the search bar and relies on the top hits, I believe many people are. However, reflecting on this I am going to change my habits and dig deeper into finding the information I need to know. I find it fascinating that people can make websites that are completely untrue however, still make them look real and official. This gave me insight into how my habits need to change and I need to pay more attention into what I am reading. Looking through some of these websites I think it is beneficial for my career choice to show children these websites and allow them to analyse whether or not the information is true.
Having crept away from the thought of writing blog posts over the festive period, I have now taken the advice from my lecturer and looked at some of my fellow student’s blog posts. I have to admit I feel slightly embarrassed with myself in regards to the amount of blog posts others have done compared to myself. The blog posts I have read were extremely good and some lengthy compared to my own. This has given me the opportunity to evaluate my own work and realise I need to produce blog posts to a higher standard considering the profession I want to go into. I believe some of my posts have not had a great deal of thought or effort put into them, which looking back now is disappointing. I believe it is highly important to reflect upon situations whether this is a specific class that has been attended or a book that has been read. Bearing that in mind I am going to set myself the goal of creating a reflective blog post weekly and commenting on at least three fellow student’s blog posts.
Upon reading my fellow student’s blog posts I have established that my blog posts can appear to be quite boring. This is due to the fact that I have never inserted a picture or a video clip into any of my blog posts, the titles of my blog posts are uninspiring and would not appeal to people, the font and colour of the text always remains the same and I rarely use quotes or statements to support my view. My aim is to make my blog posts more appealing by changing all these aspects in order to inspire people to read my blog posts.
I believe that reading my fellow student’s blog posts has inspired me to become more creative with my blog and to engage more thoroughly. I believe that in writing a blog post weekly I can improve my confidence and prepare for assignments through reflecting on my learning.
Menter et al (2001) defined practitioner enquiry as a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended. Practitioner enquiry is most commonly undertaken within the practitioners own practice however, it can also be collaboratively undertaken with peers. Being an enquiring practitioner you must reflect and evaluate all your work, especially lesson plans as this enhances not only your personal development as a teacher but the development of the pupils within your class and potentially your peers. Having the mind-set of an enquiring practitioner will allow you to think critically about your teaching and how to improve your teaching. Being critically reflective is not negative as it allows you to question old assumptions, look at things from new and various perspectives and develop your practice by ensuring you can make reflective decisions. Being an enquiring practitioner you should consistently ask critical questions about your professional development such as why and how am I doing this and who and how will this benefit.
There are many benefits of being an enquiring practitioner:
Allows teachers to challenge and transform education systems which benefits the pupils learning.
Allows teachers to monitor their own personal development and learning.
Allows teachers to work collaboratively on plans to develop pupils learning.
Has a lasting impact on professional development for the practitioner.
Allows teachers to increase their knowledge base and allows for more professional judgements to be made, which gives the practitioner a chance to build on self-esteem and professional identity.
However, there are also challenges of being an enquiring practitioner:
Challenges the traditional way of teaching which some teachers may find difficult if they are stuck in old habits and routines.
Different practices and techniques require different skills which can be challenging.
Some teacher may find it difficult to challenge their own assumptions or be critical.
It can seem like a long slow process with no end goal for some teachers.
It can be an overwhelming process for some teachers.
As a student teacher I feel like learning about how to become and enquiring practitioner is highly beneficial not only for my professional practice but for my journey throughout university. I feel that it is essential to learn how to critically evaluate and reflect on situations, which is a skill I need to work upon. However, I feel that learning this throughout my next for years will allow for me to have a critical approach and question what I do throughout my career. Learning about how to become an enquiring practitioner throughout university will benefit my career as I will have the knowledge base of what is expected of me and how to achieve this. Whilst out on my professional practice this will be highly beneficial as I can have discussions with other members of staff about my progress and how to improve upon my learning. I personally feel that being an enquiring practitioner is a positive development as it is not only about my personal development as a teacher but also the progress of the pupils I am teaching. I am a strong believer in the sense that you never stop learning and you are never too old to learn therefore I will develop myself into an enquiring practitioner who learns throughout my career.
What challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media?
I think in the profession of teaching you need to be extremely careful about how you act in the online world. Teachers are human and are entitled to have a life out with the classroom, which GTC Scotland recognise. However, teachers must also remember that what they post online can affect their career and that anything posted online is there for life even if you delete it from your account. There are various challenges teachers will come across with social media such as students/parents trying to add you as a friend and your own friends becoming unhappy that you are unwilling to let them tag you in a photo or status. I personally believe having just one account for both personal and professional life is much healthier as there is no confusion of which account you should be posting certain aspects of your life on. However, I believe teachers should make all aspects of their social media sites private and explain to friends that you have to protect your career so there are certain things which cannot be broadcasted to the online world. I believe that parents or even colleagues may question your decision to be using social media within the classroom as a teaching aide for children. However, as a teacher you need to be able to explain and justify the reasons why you are using these resources. Although some teachers may become sceptical of using their personal social media sites and expressing their opinions, I believe as long as it is done in a professional manner that is polite then this is acceptable.
How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?
The media has a greater role to play now than it ever has before, it can affect many professionals lives including those of teachers. The media grasp onto aspects of individuals lives and can interpret situations to be more extreme than what they are. There are many cases of teachers having inappropriate relationships with either pupils or colleagues, which all make the news headlines. However, we never see the healthy relationships between teachers and pupils in newspapers or online. This in my opinion shows how cruel the media can be to tear apart an individual’s life, I certainly do not agree with inappropriate relationships between teachers and pupils, but I do believe the media should focus on the healthy aspects of school life and promote a positive view of teachers rather than a negative one.
When I become a qualified teacher I would like to use technology within the classroom as I believe technology has vast amounts to teach children as well as myself. Children are growing up with technology from birth and this needs to be seen as an advantage for them rather than a negative effect that it will affect their learning, when in truth if used properly it can enhance their learning. I believe strongly that if you teach children about how to be safe on the internet then there should be no harm in using it to aide learning.
Although it is a hard task to achieve I believe people need to change their perception of social media and the online world understanding that this could enhance learning for all generations and see the internet as a positive place to learn.