Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Second Day of Placement

Today I was thrown in at the deep end, when the upper KS2 teacher was sent home sick at the very beginning of the school day. I was asked to teach the foundation and Year One class, without prep time or any planning! This really was a sink or swim morning. Luckily I swam. The children are a very difficult group as it comprises of 19 boys and 8 girls. They are very active with emotional and behavioural disabilities, including biting, spitting and screaming. I had two LSA's to manage, and I could not have asked for better help- they automatically let me control, whilst still supporting me through the day.
By the end of the morning the children responded well to me and I was able to successfully manage the class.
When I get back to university I want to research some more techniques to help with behaviour management, they are a tough crowd and need some creative strategies to get them on task. Today I brought in the idea of a happy side to the board as the children only had their names put on the board for bad behaviour. The children responded well to this and I was able to curb some possible bad behaviour as a result. I will definitely use this technique in the future. I did make sure I was in line with their behaviour policy, however I will still check with the class teacher in the morning If it is ok.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

BEES2 Placement

We have just found out our final placements and I am very excited! I have been put with reception/year one which is exactly what I need. I am apprehensive as I do not have as much phonics experience as I would like, but that is exactly why it is the perfect placement for me. My comfort zone is definitely within Key stage 2 at the moment as that is where I have been placed previously, so BEES2 will hopefully mould me into a well-rounded teacher.
In preparation for the placement I have read the Ofsted report and it sounds like an ethos I can relate to. Their belief system is based around the individual needs of a child and their success in this area is evident from the support from the parents. Now that I know where I am placed I am able to do some research about the school and the curriculum that I will be teaching.
It is the subject knowledge that I will be really focussing on before I start the placement as I want to be more secure when I come to plan my lessons. (Q14-Q15). In particular I want to become more acquainted with the EYFS curriculum as I have had limited experience of this in practice.

Safegurding and PHSE

This week in EPGP700 we have been studying Safeguarding in more detail. I found the lecture on Safeguarding to be very informative, and it helped me put my role as a teacher into perspective. It seems apparent to me now that there is a danger of teachers becoming so involved with target setting and inspections that they lose sight of what really matters- the children. If we are focussing too much on our own teaching we may not spot the signs of abuse within our classroom. The guest lecturer spoke a lot about what to do if you spot the signs and taking accountability, however we have not had any training on what the signs are. PHSE was a revelation today as it covered these signs in detail for us, we were shown policies which actually had the signs laid out in black and white for us. I have printed this out and put in my file as I have not come across a safeguarding policy which has done this for me yet.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Appyling for Jobs and EAL

This week I have been writing my personal statement ready to apply to pools in London and the surrounding areas. It has been a reflective exercise in itself as it has made me look at my strengths objectively; a consequence of this is that I have identified gaps in my learning. For example an area that I need to develop my experience in is teaching for EAL. The previous two schools that I have been placed with have had no children that needed additional support. I feel that because I am applying to schools within the London area I need to have a greater experience bank to help me when I get to an area that will have a large proportion of EAL children.
On the subject I have been researching some resources to use within schools from NALDRIC, such as I have read through the Pupil Portraits posted by teachers. In particular I looked at Anna's story, a polish year 2 child who had just come to the UK. What I have learnt is that communication with the child’s family is essential to getting to know the child in your class. In Anna's case there was no documentation sent to her new school about her learning and her ability level or even her confidence level within a class. Communicating with parents in this respect is therefore very important. However in a lot of EAL families, they speak little English at first so communication can be a problem. This was the case for Anna's parents, in the case study the teacher said the parents felt very isolated as they didn’t speak any English. The school combatted this by putting the parents in touch with other polish families in the area, and this then opened up a line of communication to the school about Anna. It seems important to me that all children continue to develop the skills that they learn in school when they get home. I feel it is particularly important that EAL children are supported to practice their English language skills.
Grouping Anna with children within the class, who would set a good model for English language, also seemed very beneficial for her. The case study suggested she had been confident at her polish school but was self-conscious at her new school. The study reported that she learnt well from others and also listened intently to what everyone was saying. So in terms of classroom management, sitting her next to someone who had a good clear speaking voice would help Anna to feel more comfortable and pick things up more quickly.
If I had Anna in my class I would adapt my teaching in a similar way that I have done on BEES1 when I had a hearing impaired child in the class. I would integrate more visual cues and stimulus to make sure that Anna understands what we are doing. I think I would also try to learn a few words in polish to make her feel at ease. I could also get the children to learn some easy words or phrases, such as numbers to ten and saying good morning when I take the register.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

First week back after BEES1.

It is a bizarre feeling being back at university after the intense environment of the school. The most valuable part of the week so far has been catching up with colleagues and sharing experiences with them. This has been a reflective process in itself as I can constantly putting myself in their shoes and thinking about how I would handle that experience myself.
Today’s EPGP700 lecture was about Assessment for Learning (AFL) and APP. This one lecture has answered so many queries that I had on placement and I already feel that I have a deeper understanding of what is required of us. During the lecture I came to the realisation that I was already starting to do some assessment for learning in my planning, I just had not heard of the term before. An example of this is evident in my sequence of lesson plans for literacy (BEES1- Practical Teaching File- Week 3- weekly plan and individual) where I have allocated myself guided groups depending on which children had struggled with the learning objective the day before. I have already set myself a target of gaining a better understanding of Assessment so I am ready for BEES2, and this week is a great opportunity to do so.

After doing some research on Shirley Clarke and watching the above clip, I am getting to grips with how to implement assessment for learning. I have realised that whilst I was starting to assess the children when I was on my last placement, I had not contemplated how the children could start to assess themselves.
For BEES2 I need to have a clear strategy for how I will implement self-assessment within the classroom. From my research on Shirley Clarke I have decided that I will get the children into the habit of writing down their opinions of how they felt during certain lessons, and display these paragraphs into their 'growth mindset' books. I will encourage and reward children who have placed themselves into a growth mindset and who have demonstrated this. Shirley Clarke does this by modelling qualities on a white mouse toy. She asks questions like are you in a growth mindset like the white mouse? Are you showing me you ready to learn? In this respect it is a very similar technique to the 'building learning power' one that I have seen on ASE and BEES1 with the building learning power hat. What I think I may do is to let the mouse (or cuddly toy of my choice) stay with a child who has displayed these qualities.