Reflecting in public
I have long been trained in my previous role to that to reflect openly and publicly is one of the best ways to learn (@ajcann has a lot to answer for). However, this blog has probably had very few truly reflective posts on it, being more a place to record and share my work rather than think much about the impact it might have on me or others. I can feel that the posts are beginning to change and know that I need to take the reflections I’ve made in my PGCE PDP file and give them life here. I realise that it may change the way I write them, but know that I can never have too much feedback if I’m going to learn how to become a good teacher.
The first couple of weeks of the PGCE have been heavy going, increasing my ‘working’ hours, taking on board lots of new concepts, meeting new people. Thinking about how we are being taught as well as what we are being taught is hard work, and I’ve felt like my head might explode at times, it was all just a bit too ‘meta’!! It has been scary at times but enjoyable too. So here goes – week 3 reflection as it happened….[anything in square brackets is just me trying to clarify things!]
This week has been a little different. We started the week with two days focussed on the connected curriculum [i.e. pretty much everything that is not science, English, or maths!]. I am not confident in my musical or sporting abilities and was not looking forward to the music and PE sessions that were on the timetable. However, the sessions were so well taught that I found I overcame my initial reluctance, thoroughly enjoyed them and began to feel that these were both subjects I could learn to teach.
The teaching styles of the tutors for music and PE were different but had several important elements in common.
1. Enthusiasm and passion
Both tutors had a passionate belief in the importance of their subject and the effect it could have upon children in the school environment, their enthusiasm was infectious.
2. Effective group work
They both used techniques to engage us in group work that was non-threatening and empowered us to make discoveries about their subjects and connections to other areas of the curriculum. We were organised quickly into groups in PE by asking us to form a group of a certain number before the tutor counted down to zero from five.
3. Effective communication
They both used their voices and language very effectively, making sure that we understood each step before moving on. We worked in large halls for both sessions, yet I had no difficulty hearing the tutors when they were speaking to the group. The music tutor raised her hand to get our attention, and bring the group work to a close.
4. Accessible ideas
Both tutors linked their element of the curriculum to other key areas such as literacy and numeracy. Looking at rhyme and rhythm in music, counting and language in PE, made me realise how easy it is to incorporate these keys elements into any lesson. They provided resources and showed us how to differentiate them for a wide range of abilities. This was particularly valuable in PE, which I had never considered could be differentiated in one lesson before.
[what I didn’t add here, but perhaps should have, was the effect of working without taking notes for two days. The PE tutor said that she used an active curriculum one day a week where her children didn’t write or record anything on paper for a whole day. As students we all appreciated the change in style and still learned lots. Made me think seriously about how structure lessons to make sure every child can do something they are good at]