This section of the site will include some personal evaluations of the course and content being covered as well as reflection on various tasks and exercises.Week 1
The first three days of the course were spent at Denmead Junior School. I was assigned to a 3rd year group within the school to help me discover the methods of teaching associated with numeracy and literacy. It was a fantastic experience and I learned so much. The teachers who I worked with offered encouragement and support as well as an opportunity to practice within the classroom setting. A more detailed activity journal is available on request, please email: email@example.com for a complete review of this valuable experience.
It was great meeting the rest of the cohort this week, some really nice people to work with. We made the effort to exchange some contact details and spoke about our individual specialisms. Most of the early sessions have been dominated with admin and other essential paperwork exercises.
In the afternoon I had to give my first lesson to the group. I spoke about encryption and gave a number of examples to the class. In order to prepare for this I did a little revision then produced a document with the content of the lesson. Once I was satisfied with this I designed a simple webpage which included some hidden images. The hidden images were used to reveal the answers to some whole class questions. The lesson seemed to go very well and I managed to introduce it develop the theme and close with a plenary at the end within the time frame of 15 minutes. This allowed me to meet the criteria set for the task.
Most of this week was spent reviewing the new teaching standards and the requirements for the course. A number of other trainees were given the chance to give a demo to the class of a variety of topics, including cross curriculum subjects and the impact of IT within the school. The rest of the week was spent covering professional themes and a health day. While most of the sessions were useful, the majority of trainees I spoke to felt that it was information overload without actually giving us the tools to deal with the situations being discussed. Scenarios were presented, but the actual method of coping and dealing with them was not covered.
Friday of this week was assigned as an online training day. The entire cohort made the effort to meet online and prepared some collaborative pieces as evidence of online group work. Another exercise was set which involved the use of Second Life. Here we were supposed to meet other trainees and carry out a number of tasks. Unfortunately this was technically challenging and a number of us didn't complete the exercises. It was however useful to discover the difficulties involved with online teaching and training.
More admin and a review of the STAR document with John Woollard preceded a lengthy discussion on Computing in school which reviewed recent changes by the Government in respect of Computer Science. This lead in to further discussions between some of the school mentors assigned to various trainees. This was an interesting experience and a number of group work exercises were carried out.
Professional themes and Diversity day were the focus of this week; with a further day dedicated to Professional themes on Friday. Again generally a good experience with a number of the trainees commenting that some of the information and themes covered were not relevant at this stage of the training as they didn't offer solutions to be used within the classroom or school. It was felt that morning session concentrating on additional curriculum content would have been better and afternoon sessions covering professional themes.
On Monday we spent the whole day working in the IT department of Mountbatten School, Romsey. This was an amazing experience to see a really competent team demonstrating effective teaching methods. As part of the experience we delivered a 30 minute micro lesson to small groups on any computing topic related to S.E.E.M (Social, ethical, economic and moral issues). At the end of the session the teachers in the department gathered feedback from the class pupils; this was given back to us in a whole group session before lunch. Some really positive comments were received by the whole group. The rest of the day was spent working in the classrooms in support roles, assisting with pc rebuild and other curriculum activities.
The rest of the week was spent getting accustomed to our first placement school. I have been assigned to Bay House School in Gosport. This school is one of the largest in Hampshire with 2500 pupils and a sixth form on site.
This week I went to work in my placement school from Wednesday to Friday. Bay House in Gosport is one of the largest schools in the area. The IT department has 8 separate IT suites and there are over 800 computers on site. Most of Wednesday consisted of professional themes based within the school. The content was interesting and engaging, with good discussion between the other 6 PGCE students on placement here. Thursday and Friday I spent time trailing a number of teachers from the IT and Business department. It was great to observe some teaching practice and compare the different levels pupils are working at within the school.
Week 2 in my placement school after and all day session in University on the Monday. This week my focus was on increased observation within the classroom setting. I managed to record a lot of observations and produced a large number of notes to assist with my development portfolio. It was interesting to observe a variety of teaching techniques.
First full week working at Bay House School, Gosport. On Monday I was introduced to a number of new classes, this consisted of a mix of year groups including students from the Sixth Form College which is part of Bay House School. On Monday afternoon I attended a PAD session run by Jim Wood who is the deputy head of the school. It was an interesting session covering behaviour management and compliments the professional development theories we have been covering at University. On Wednesday afternoon I was invited to attend a session run by one of the Business Studies teachers where he is supporting a number of students from the Sixth Form with an Entrepreneur Group workshop. The rest of the week was spent building relationships with various classes which I will be engaged with until Christmas. It is useful to get to know the pupils in this way and also observe the methods and techniques used by their core teaching staff.
On Wednesday part of the day was given over to Professional themes, where we followed Teaching Assistants around various classes to understand how they support learning within the class. It was a good experience and showed how different pupils require different levels and types of support. The most basic, such as being helped to keep on task was a common theme throughout the day. In the afternoon we had a session on "Making learning meaningful" conducted by Annie Bainbridge. During the session we had the opportunity to work in groups and discuss important aspects of creating the right environment for learning coupled with the best approach. Annie was kind enough to give out a number of posters, an example of one is shown below.
Continued to carry out lesson observations this week, the high-light was another session for professional themes with Annie Bainbridge. In this session she introduced us to Sir Ken Robinson, someone she refers to as an edutainer. The core theme was creativity and how some academics believe that schools remove the creative abilities of pupils by stigmatizing mistakes. Therefore consider your feedback when marking work in order to encourage creativity. As a group we carried out an activity to imagine how many uses we could find for a paper clip. It was interesting to see how many different uses we found.
Friday saw me deliver my first full lesson to a year 9 group. The idea is to introduce them to different aspects of 3 different course routes available in this department. Over the next six weeks year 9 groups are introduced to GCSE ICT, GCSE Business Studies and GCSE Computing in the form of taster sessions. The course materials have been prepared to challenge the pupils and help them make choices for their year 10 subjects. On the whole it was a good session and the class achieved the learning objectives.
This week is was the start of my first full teaching week and also preparing for my first moderation visit. Effectively my moderation was only my third full lesson and I had not really done anything with this group other than observe them. The moderation went as expected, which was a relief. A short meeting after the lesson with my course tutor and curriculum mentor helped identify a few areas for improvement, which I will work on over the coming weeks. It was good to find out that I was working towards some of the standards as well as having complete paperwork.
I had a great lesson with a group of year 7 pupils today who got really involved in creating a database in MS Access. The goal of the session was to introduce pupils to Primary Keys and to help them understand fieldnames and records. The majority of the class achieved the objectives of the lesson and produced an initial table to hold their data. I did encounter a small technical issue in the room, where a table created in access could not be created. I solved this issue by distributing an example to the class via the Sync tool for the PC's in this room.
At the end of the session when all the pupils had saved and uploaded a copy of their database we played a game of bingo as part of the plenary. Each pupil was issued with a bingo card which had keywords on it from the session. I used a calling card to describe the keywords and when the pupil recognised the word on their card they had to use a pen or pencil to cross it out. To make it interesting I suggested that the person who won would leave first for the lunch break.
This activity seemed to work really well and other teachers in the department have also used this method this week. On the whole a really encouraging lesson with good feedback from the class teacher who suggested I should place time limits on the activities when I issue them.
University admin day. It was good to catch up with the rest of the cohort and share experiences.
Another good lesson with a year 7 class who are a week behind the previous group. This class were asked to create a list of questions in order to produce a questionnaire. The purpose of the questionnaire is to support the local police in identifying a murderer.
Pupils were asked to work in pairs to assess the quality of their questions and reword them if they were not suitable. This activity worked well and the majority of the class managed to rewrite a number of questions. A PowerPoint slide was displayed suggesting the information required by the police. The pupils were asked to include additional questions when creating their questionnaires.I gave a demonstration of how either Word or Excel could be used to produce a questionnaire. In Word I demonstrated how a table could be inserted into a document. The whole class were left to choose the method that suited them best.
On the whole a successful lesson with no negative comments from their class teacher who was present for the whole lesson.
Taught 3 lessons today and observed 1 year 10 group who are studying GCSE Computing, following the OCR specification. I received positive feedback from one of the teachers in a year 8 class who conducted an informal observation. She was able to suggest some additional ways of differentiating the learning to reach the whole class and particularly extend the more able.
Thursday and Friday
Only one lesson taught Thursday and repeated Friday with year 9 classes where I had to introduce business studies as a GCSE option. We discussed the use of GPS systems in a business context and the advantages and disadvantages. In order to follow the specification set by the business department the lesson came across as activity based which was a comment received from the class teacher who was present for the Friday session.
On Friday afternoon I attended another PAD session (Preventative approaches to disruption). This was the last in a series given by Jim Wood and challenged some ideas on how to deal with the unexpected in the classroom. The scenarios tested the thinking of all the staff present and revealed that there is actually no right or wrong way of dealing with some situations. You just have to improvise and do the best you can do to minimize the disruption in the class.
This week one of my targets was to create a set of classroom rules with one class. This list was then used covertly with a second class in order to test the rules and identify what improvements were needed to enforce them. I found it necessary to enforce the rules explicitly rather than in a covert manner in order to make them effective.
The majority of my lessons this week were a continuation of last week. The KS4 taster sessions being given to year 9 pupils introduce market mapping and the various groups were challenged with creating a presentation to give to the rest of the class. The presentation involved creating a breakfast bar and developing the marketing strategies and materials to support the launch of the product. The classes were asked to identify an audience and produce posters and leaflets to use to promote their product. Peer assessment was conducted in the form of a vote for the best product in each class. Copies of the various presentations have been kept as evidence of work carried out during my teacher training.
Content shown here as it it written
Content shown here as it it written