Sunday, 17 October 2010

Week 5

In lectures we learned about English as a second language, health and safety, and student voice. I found most of these lectures really good. As the leader of the EAL task within my virtual school, I had already done some research into EAL policies etc. Dr Raymonde Sneddon provided valuable feedback regarding each virtual schools work on the task to date. From her feedback, I feel we can now improve on the task, and I feel a little more understanding of what EAL students go through, and the ways in which they can be helped within individual lessons. During the lecture on health and safety, I felt as though for me personally, I did not learn anything new. This is because at my previous job, we dealt with CLEAPS all the time, and I am very familiar with CLEAPS software and hazcards. Regarding the COSHH, again I feel competent as I was the COSHH co-ordinator at the school I had worked in. The lecture in student voice made me think more about student’s opinions, and the fact that sometimes it’s the little things that they need to keep focused (such as blinds to stop the sun getting in their eyes). I think that this lecture has helped me to remember not to ignore students’ opinions. It is easier as a teacher to assume that everything is ok, and that you are doing well, but by gaining student feedback, I will be able to improve myself, and my quality of teaching.
This week, I had the opportunity to perform a demo in front of my peers. This was recorded, and I was able to view this afterwards. This was excellent! I really did find it useful as in my own mind, I thought that my voice was high pitched, and I was really worried that people could see that I was nervous and shaky. When watching the video back, I realised that I need to worry less about those things, as they are not visible. My voice was clearer than I had thought and the pitch was not too high. In general I believe I looked more relaxed than I had actually felt.  This has given me a lot more confidence in myself.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Week 4

Learning about behaviour management was very useful. Being unable to control a class is big worry, which is why I found the lecture very useful. I also have read the book “getting the buggers to behave”. Knowing about some of the techniques available to help control a situation and prevent conflict from occurring will be very useful, and I believe that this knowledge will enable me to develop good behaviour management skill. ICT, numeracy and literacy in science are all essential , as these cross-curricular areas of the national curriculum are essential science. Although I have used data-loggers before, and I understand the pros and cons associated with their use, I did not find this lecture useful at all. Each data logger is different, I may never use this type of data logger again and it is completely different operating each type of data logger. Again I had more practice in planning assessments during the lectures this week. Working from a scheme of work I had the opportunity to plan activities with emphasis on the plenary for each activity.
I also had my placement induction visit this week. I enjoyed it a lot as I had the opportunity to meet the staff and pupils who I will be working within a few weeks. The school was nice, and the pupils seem to be well behaved.  I think that the students will be a bit challenging in the sense that they seem to be quite cheeky, but other than that they seem very bright, and genuinely work quite well.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Week 3

This week’s lectures were mostly focused on the theories of learning, writing assignments, developing thinking skills in Science, critical thinking, progression, starters and plenaries.  All of these lectures were great, we have already began to learn about the theories of learning, and I have done some reading into the behaviourist and cognitive families. This was great because when the lecture began, I already felt fairly comfortable with the lecture as I already had a basic understanding of the concepts, and had read about some of the key theorists e.g. Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner. I find this topic extremely interesting as you can relate the theories to different teaching techniques and to the ways in which I learn/learned. The writing assignments lecture also was surprisingly useful. As I have already completed a degree, I was a bit unsure of why we were being told how to write essays considering the amount of essays I have written throughout my education. My sceptisms however, was quite unjustified, as I feel more capable of planning and structuring not only an essay, but any piece of research or work. I also believe that now that I feel more able to organise my own work, I will be able to help students to organise their work more effectively. The lecture on starters and plenaries was excellent. Starters and plenaries are essential in every lesson, and there are many possible approaches to each. Essentially each have a very specific and different goal, however the same activity may be used as either a starter or a plenary. During the lecture I had the opportunity to devise both appropriate starters and plenaries for each lesson on a scheme of work. This was fantastic practice, because each activity differs and what may seem appropriate for one lesson might not be for another. As well as the information I have obtained from the lecture, I also have a book with ideas for starters, which I look forward to reading, as this will give me a good range of activities at my disposal.
In addition to the standard lectures, I also took part in official CEOP training on the 29th September. This training was an amazing opportunity. While working with children, unfortunately throughout the course of your career, there will be children you work with who will suffer some form of abuse. Considering this, it is important for the child to know how both that how to report abuse, and understand that they can do it. By undergoing this CEOP training, I am aware of child protection issues, advice children on making online activities safe and reporting abuse.
My virtual school had a meeting this week, we discussed many aspects of the wiki, agreed on content and design issues. We also watched the EAL task video together as a group, and discussed which direction to take on the task. This week we also decided to assign 3-4 task leaders for each task, the role of these leaders was to direct the discussions on these topics/tasks. I am in the EAL leadership team, and therefore have put together some ideas on integrating one of the EAL students into our school.
Within our virtual school, we also visited our assigned school. Once again the school did a fantastic job of arranging people for us to talk to, and also allowed us to ‘roam’ the school to get a feel for the environment, check out any areas of interest, and experience the average noise levels of lessons (which was virtually non-existent!).

Monday, 27 September 2010

Week 2

This week, I made the decision to experiment with blogging, and bring my reflective log to the world wide web!
This week was mainly focused on primary education and the KS2 National Curriculum. The lecture delivered by our guest lecturer was excellent in making me aware of the aims of KS2 and got me thinking about how a child’s KS2 education will affect their transition into KS3. As well as lectures about KS2, I also visited a primary school for two days in order to observe. This was an amazing experience as I was able to shadow a teacher and her class. It was interesting to see how different the structure of a school day is within a primary school setting. Although I was unable to gain a better understanding of the KS2-KS3 transition, I still learned so much from the experience, and I will research the KS2-KS3 transition independently.
This week, I also completed a subject audit. This was the most eye opening work I have completed so far during this course. From the completion of this audit, I have been able to identify my weaknesses and complete an action plan so that I may now increase my subject knowledge in these areas. This will help me to improve myself in regards to my subject knowledge, as it is essential to have excellent subject knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics up to KS4.
The lectures which were provided about lesson planning were extremely useful and interesting. Lesson planning is going to be major part of my role as a teacher, it is vital that a teacher can effectively plan a lesson which challenges, engages and inspires pupils. The lectures did not only cover lesson planning, but also mid-long term planning. This was useful because I now understand that although a specification will set out what is to be covered, this must be condensed into a set amount of lessons, e.g. a topic being covered in 8 lessons. As well as these lectures, I also plan to learn more about lesson planning independently, I have purchased a book about lesson planning to read, and to help me when I will be on placements.
The lecture about Every Child Matters was also very interesting. During these lectures we were made aware of the role of a teacher in regards to child protection. Examples of cases where there were communication breakdowns, or lack of identification resulted in the unfortunate death of a child. These lectures were very important to me, and helped me not only to recognise what constitutes referring to child protection officers, but also the procedures involved. This has made me much more comfortable now that I know how to report any suspicions/findings, as it had been an issue that had concerned me. I also learned that even something that seems small and of only minor concern could play out to be part of a bigger picture and by reporting it, it may be added to the pupil’s file if there are already prior concerns.

Week 1

This week has been an intense week. Firstly there has been a large focus on our virtual schools project. I am part of Apple school. At first, I was a bit sceptical regarding the group assigned, as it is a large group containing quite contrasting personalities. However, my scepticism was unnecessary as the group is working well together, and have made good progress on the virtual workspace. During the course of the week, I developed my ICT skills further by working on the apple school workspace, using features that I had never before used. I also believe that I have developed my leadership skills, as our virtual school consists of three members of PGCE Science. I decided to start the ball rolling and create the framework of our ‘science page’ mocking up a draft of the information that will go into our page. This was uploaded onto the workspace for review by the rest of the members of the science team. As a group we also have visited a secondary school in the London Borough of Redbridge. This was a fantastic experience, as we were able to talk to teachers, students, admin and various support staff. This experience gave me a good insight into the role of a teacher and the education system from many different viewpoints. I believe this is very useful, because as a student we again have a different view of these roles, and gaining insight into others’ opinions provided me with new attitudes and opinions etc. Also speaking to members of support staff increased my understanding of their roles within the daily proceedings at a school, e.g. ICT support, special educational needs support, administrative, finances etc.
Through the delivering of the lectures, I have learned a lot about the qualities involved in becoming a good teacher, the national curriculum for science, teaching in east London, the educational system, teaching and learning skills, how children learn, teaching and learning in science, and misconceptions. These lectures have all been very interesting, and will without a shadow of a doubt be vital to my development as a trainee teacher. I now understand in much more depth the effect of different teaching/learning styles, and how to incorporate each of these styles into a lesson. The ways in which children learn, and bloom’s taxonomy has helped me to understand the ways in which a student will learn, understand and fully accept what they are taught. This has also helped me to understand why and how teachers must determine what stage their pupils understanding is at, as well as the sequence in which the process of learning will occur.