General reflections from week one in Slovakia

Security and access
Getting into an English school can be a difficult process, everyone must be CRB checked and show ID on entry to the school. Visitors names would be recorded and badges issued. The Slovakian schools have been easier to get into, neither had separate reception areas as a gateway to the rest of the school. One school did have large metal grills locking off areas of the school from children (the Head’s office for example) but not to prevent people entering from outside.

The discipline and work ethic seems very different from the UK with children generally paying attention even when there is a large amount of teacher talk. Just like in the UK this has varied with the teacher as children respond differently to different staff.

Teacher led
All the teaching we have seen so far, has been very teacher led. Very little talk from the children, or children encouraged to work together. Only in one primary lesson did we see lots of Chilean involvement and activity.

Doesn’t matter about language can still see teaching.
I have been surprised that even in the lessons taught in Slovak, the teaching style, manner and conduct of the teacher and children still reveals a huge amount about the lesson and pedagogy.
Teachers dressed very informally in most lessons.

Reflection on own practice
Sitting in lessons in another language has made me think how confusing it must be to be a child in a school where English is not your first language. it was difficult to follow any of the lessons by listening to the teacher alone, the combination of visual aids, body language, demonstrations are really important to getting an understanding of what is happening in the lesson.

Judging what I think is good teaching has been interesting, and it has occurred to me that I am looking for something similar to good practice that I have seen in the UK. Partly because we having to judge on observation and haven’t been able to discuss method, assessment or planning with the teachers and partly because I guess I look for what I know. I’m going to try and look a fresh today and see what I can pick out that is different form the UK but good practice.

Equally, the huge amount of teacher talk was quite demoralising, but it is very difficult to judge if this due to observing more secondary level lessons.

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