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Reflection on Teaching Placement

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Teaching
Wordcount: 5269 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Reflect upon and evaluate aspects of your teaching on SE1.

The impetus of this assignment will be demonstrating my reflection of specific aspects towards my teaching on SE1 placement. Furthermore, offering a breadth of practitioner research and how my teaching can transition into SE2. Research highlights the importance of how practitioners use the process of reflection to analyse and improve their work and performance (Schon, 1983; Eraut 1994 cited in Hansen, 2012). Therefore, evaluating and reflecting on my teaching experience in SE1, will enable a holistic representation of my strengths and identify potential areas for improvement, to facilitate my teaching practice on commencement of SE2. My SE1 placement was situated within an affluent area of Doncaster in an academy school with 312 pupils (152 boys and 160 girls). I was allocated to teach in a Year 5 class with 25 pupils (15 girls and 10 boys), with two SEN children who experience sensory issues.

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Reflection has a significant role within personal development and professional identity of becoming a teacher (Ewens, 2014). Furthermore, the pervasiveness of mandatory reflective practice, instilled in the teachers’ standards and philosophy is supported by Killion and Todnem (1991) who share this viewpoint by reiterating that reflection revises our perspective of education and can elevate our work to the status of a skilled teacher. Reflection is widely identified as a tool for ‘deep’ learning, Race (2004) encapsulates the impact reflection has on our learning, by focusing on problems that arose and how they can be avoided in the future. By reflecting on an episode of teaching you can extract where the deep learning took place or where an issue materialised because reflection is ‘active, persistent, and careful consideration’ (Dewey, 1910, pp.298). Consequently, the process of reflection can be transferred to other areas of the curriculum. During a Maths lesson on Regular and Irregular Polygons with a low ability pupil, questioning was implemented to enable the child to critically think and reflect on what they knew about the properties of regular and irregular polygons. The pupil was using Vygotsky’s (1987) inner speech theory, by ‘meditating the individual mental activities of remembering, thinking and reasoning’ (Wells, 1999, pg. 136 cited in Reynolds, W. and Miller G, 2003). Then, by using ‘cognitive talk’ (Hoyles, 1985) with the pupil, they can step aside and reflect on the question to solve the problem (Loughron, 2002) by developing their thinking and knowledge using mathematical language in live discussion. This process of reflection was extremely useful for the child to conscientiously think about the knowledge they absorbed during the lesson before using speech to explain their process of thinking. Furthermore, it allowed me to see how effective this teaching style was.

Reflection is an internal individual process, where teachers make personal judgments and test hypothesis to implement new adaptations (Jones and Ryan, 2014) to use the experience in order to prepare for future reflection because it is an ‘inquiry process’ and ‘active experimentation’ (Osterman and Kottkamp, 2004).

To ensure a successful transition into SE2, lengthy discussions with my mentor were undertaken to reflect my performance on SE1 by extracting the highlights and quality teaching strengths that can be enhanced upon further. Behaviour management (TS7), was achieved to a good standard (appendix 2) demonstrating confidence of managing the class effectively, however with more academic knowledge, techniques and strategies I believe my teaching in this specific aspect of education will be exemplary.

Identifying specific areas of teaching practice allows you to focus your attention with the view of improving these areas (Beach et al 2006), allowing your teaching to be informed and strengthened which is paramount within the developmental role of a student teacher. Therefore, two focus areas have been selected meticulously. The first focus area is behaviour management (TS7), the Training and Development Agency for Schools’ (TDA) unveil the magnitude of children’s behaviour, and to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) there are mandatory requirements to meet through the standards (Adams, 2009). The Department of Education documents the minimum level expected from teachers by ‘taking responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour’ and ‘have high expectations of behaviour and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies’ (DfES, 2011). This indicates the importance of mastering behaviour within the classroom and modelling an effective framework. However, Rodgers, (2000) highlights that behaviour management and discipline is a significant stressor within the teaching profession. The BBC education website confirms from statistical research that one in three teachers question leaving their profession due to pupil misbehaviour (BBC News Education, 2003). Behaviour management is widely acknowledged, through education, to be a momentous issue for newly qualified teachers (NQT) (McNally, et al, 2007). As research indicated behaviour management is an issue for new teachers; therefore, it is paramount I recognise it as a principal area to underpin my teaching practice to ensure the correct techniques and strategies have been utilised and I have the knowledge to implement these within SE2. Through delving deeper into behaviour management theory and reflecting on my teaching, I can increase my awareness to improve my confidence, evidenced in feedback from my mentor. (STASS report appendix 3) to obtain a better understanding of managing behaviour within the classroom.

Behaviour in the classroom is intermittent – (British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (2004, 13 April) Radio ‘5 live’ phone‐in) and as ‘behaviour management is fundamental to good teaching’ (Bennett, 2010, pg.1) analysing on strategies implemented within the classroom when teaching an appraised Maths lesson on translation in SE1 will be reflected upon to ensure further understanding and improvements can be made for SE2. High expectations for behaviour were strongly vocalised before the start of the lesson, which was positively highlighted within an apprisal (appendix 4 high expec) and settling for anything less than your high expectations (Brownhill, 2007) is a tried and trusted method that reduces behavioural issues advocated by Ofsted (2005). Therefore, setting high expectations, pupils will rise to meet them as low expectations promote poor behaviour, which was established in previous lessons, before my mentor proposed the idea of setting high expectations where a big improvement of low-level disruption and engagement in learning occurred.

These clear expectations of pupil behaviour create and maintain an orderly classroom environment (DfES, 2011). This supports the Elton Report (1989) which states children will only learn effectively if they have a peaceful and purposeful classroom environment to work in, furthermore Adams (2009) discusses how behaviour and learning are inextricably linked. Therefore, this highlights the importance of setting high expectations to promote good behaviour ensuring a peaceful environment for children’s learning to progress.

Reflecting further on the Maths lesson I understood the importance of transitioning from activities and using a consistent format of transitioning can alleviate disruptive behaviour (Swick, Kelley and Lindburg, 2005). Therefore, in future teaching on commencement of SE2, a goal for the desired length of each transition will be set (Witt et al., 1999) and using a stagger method where half of the classroom will go back to their tables first as its important children are not to move as a collective (Hemmeter et al, 2008) because this can empower indivisibility. However, regulating pupil behaviour using the school’s traffic light system was a strength I demonstrated well evidenced by my mentor (appendix 4 stass report). By using the traffic light system, it provided an effective method of maintaining behavioural control allowing myself to create a productive learning environment (Barbetta, 2010). During, an English lesson this strategy was utilized due to a child being disruptive, meaning they moved their name onto the amber light. My use of language was critical as it was used to empower the child to recognise and reflect on his behaviour (Miller, 2010) in order to behave sensibly from then on, instead of using it as a threat. This situation worked effectively with the child, who suffered with emotional needs, as ‘effective teachers are preventive and proactive about student behaviour, rather than being reactive to students’ inappropriate behaviours’ (Stronge, 2018, pg.181) understanding their wrongdoing nevertheless was dealt with accordingly to prevent a paroxysm and disengagement from the lesson.

Furthermore, the exploitation of wielding rewards was documented as a strength thorugohut SE1 (appendix 5 on apprasials). Rewards are employed because the behaviour is likely to occur again (Skinner, 1974), furthermore this allows children to become motivated and develop appropriate behaviour by acquiring the skills through rewards. However, although it encourages positive behaviour it is important rewards are given consistently and well-timed (Morgan, 2009) because consistency ensures everybody has received the same message, while being inconsistent with rewards will result in confusion and unease in the classroom. Leading to poor and disruptive behaviour (Shelton and Brownhill, 2008). My use of Dojo’s (the school’s policy reward scheme) was impartial by stating pupil’s who interact and participate within the lesson by answering questions will receive Dojo’s (appendix 6) and by executing my statement fairly it stimulated high levels of engagement and good progression of learning. However, pupil’s who were more disruptive through their eager to learn, it was important to increase the frequency of Dojo’s. But, on reflection, in SE2 my aim is to reduce the level of frequency of rewards for these pupil’s, which will improve their behaviour in the long-term.

Although, Dunn (2005) proposes there is diminutive evidence from extensive research in education that rewards transform behaviour of pupils. However, during SE1 the use of rewards was incredibly beneficial for the pupils, particularly more disruptive pupils, as they became engaged, motivated and displayed an infectious enthusiasm towards learning. Over a small period, their participation through interactive activities in lessons demonstrated they wanted to learn and give their input, instead of gaining Dojo’s

Learning outside the classroom is my second focus area, emphasising a key interest of mine which I will work towards integrating within my teaching in SE2. Despite not teaching a lesson outside the classroom in SE1, the importance of outdoor education offered within a school can positively enhance a child’s cognition and progress throughout their period of education. There is robust evidence supported by authenticated research, the committee advocate that education outside the classroom is beneficial for all children of all ages (House of Commons, 2005). Therefore, the use of academic fieldwork enhances teaching and enriches the curriculum. Waite (2010) found research that children reported classroom lessons were sometimes ‘boring’. This research conducted by Waite is a major indicator for outdoor learning to be a priority within schools, furthermore the opportunity children will yield from the experience. Children relish rich experiential learning which outdoor education offers (Waite and Davis, 2007). Stokes (2017), voices a favourable message of learning outside the classroom sectors working collaboratively and fruitfully in advocating outdoor learning, enabling quality communication and coordination across the organisation. This will portray a ‘clear and collective voice’ to augment progression and continued development (Waite, 2017). Therefore, propelling this initiative can offer the golden opportunity for learning outside the classroom to have a valuable place for practice in schools. However, despite encouraging research evidence, professional bodies have accumulated evidence that enunciate the diminishing opportunities for fieldwork causing major concern that threatens a decline in outdoor learning (House of Commons, 2005). The decline of outdoor education will impact pupils learning, representing an unexploited opportunity for curricular enrichment.

Practitioners have articulated a sense of ‘freedom’ from their experiences outside the classroom (Waite and Davis, 2007) expressing rich and quality gratification from their recollections of learning outdoors. Murray and O’Brien (2005) highlights teachers’ involvement in outdoor learning and engaging in Forest Schools to facilitate a change in attitudes, perceptions and more notably teaching practice. The ‘enthusiasm of teachers involved in the outdoors seemed to improve learning’ (Fielding et al. 2005) enabling a refreshing approach to outside teaching. Consequently, the nature of learning opportunities is dependent on the experience, degree of confidence and attitudes of teachers (OFSTED, 2004). Furthermore, interacting with the environment allows teachers to realise that hands-on outdoor activities are multifaceted and have malleable possibilities, thus positively integrating outdoor teaching into the learning experience (Waite, 2017).

Possessing the knowledge and skill of teaching education outdoors, as previously stated, allows teachers to experience ‘freedom’ and applying a positive attitude can enable quality taught lessons through conscientious planning and creative inventions, giving children a refreshing way of teaching. When teaching a good (appendix 3) maths lesson on regular and irregular polygons, with two TA’s present, Waite (2010) signifies lessons that takes place outdoors in a natural environment is immensely valuable. Therefore, by teaching this lesson outside it would be beneficial as, children respond differently in a positive way, allowing exploration and freedom to ensure engagement in learning. Furthermore, Chrisite (2004 cited in Waite 2011) argued children were more confident to speak out in class more when back in a classroom environment, where their English and grades improved.

The lesson would be a follow up from introducing the topic, as it is imperative children retain the knowledge of the topic through visual and auditory learning, which they received by children reading aloud knowledge from the SmartBoard and through active participation to answer questions. Furthermore, it’s vital for the two SEN children as ‘many sensory kids will do well with visual support’ (Dalgliesh, 2013, pg.43). Therefore, obtaining the knowledge and understanding of polygons will ensure further progression outdoors through active learning activities. Two separate columns would be created differentiating regular and irregular polygons, with large cut out shapes in bright colours, used as a visual aid and tangible tool to assist continued focus and attention of the two SEN pupils. A child would be chosen to stand in the column they think their shape matches and give their reasoning, explored through questioning and ‘encouragement to use mathematical language’ (Cook et al, 1997, pg.43)  as it is critical children use correct terms (Cook et al, 1997) to progress onto questions such as ‘how many faces/vertices/sides has your shape got’ to develop their knowledge and understanding. Questioning was highlighted as a strength by developing their knowledge and use of correct vocabulary, while ironing out misconceptions the children had when reflecting on the lesson with my mentor. However, reflecting on this, it would be more effective if I taught it outdoors as exploration of the environment engaged children considerably and demonstrated high levels of involvement, signalling deep learning is occurring (Pascal and Bertram, 1997). Furthermore, Nundy (1999 cited in Waite 2011) states outdoor learning ushers’ greater cognition and affective learning outcomes than classroom-based activities. This statement indicates that place and pedagogy, is of major significance because the location of the learning gives pupils ‘key memory episodes’ and allows them to readily recall novel events.

On the other hand, during Word War One week at the school I was assigned to plan and teach a week’s English lessons to create a non-chronological report, including the main topics in the war. A research pack was created (APPENDIX 7) including the main topics they would write about, using their literacy skills by extracting the key points to write about. Furthermore, a detailed PowerPoint on context and topics of World War One with pictures to give them an insight, however through questioning evidence was found that some children were confused with which countries represented the powers and allies, what the trenches actually were, and the types of food rationed. Reflecting on this made me think that taking children outside the classroom and visiting a museum that specialised in World War One would be ideal. As children would be less inclined to believe the facts or events, therefore taking children to an outdoor learning environment the real-life contexts will be incredibly valuable because children are offered a breadth of opportunity to learn which can also be used to model sustainable practices (Waite, 2010). Cremin and Arthur (2014) state the importance of first-hand experiences as it makes subjects more vivid and generates interest for pupils, enhancing their understanding. Furthermore, the experiences seem more authentic and grounded as Waite (2010) research stresses children said something is ‘real’ or ‘believable’ through first-hand experience. The Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto explains that direct experience is of prime importance through outdoor learning environments as it builds on engagement which they endorse and encourage to help extend children’s learning.

Therefore, by enhancing children’s knowledge and foci which is not available within the classroom, ‘stimulates curiosity’ (DfES, 2006) and engages them within the topic enabling a genuine understanding of World War One. This will indicate, when they are writing their non-chronological report the pupils are more assured of what they will write as they have developed a connection from being in the museum. Mckenzie (2008), highlights that places are understood with particular social relations and understandings. These experiences are vitally important when considering place and pedagogy. Furthermore, Greenwood, (2008) points out that good education emerges from the place which people know them best and wonder of the opportunities that arise when learning there. This strongly indicates, that experts within museums will generate memorable learning for children as they are highly knowledgeable within the place dispersing the information to the pupils. As, the child has limited knowledge of World War One, through discussion with the practitioner the child moves onto the next level as the content is secured in the child’s mind by internalising the interaction with the practitioner, moving through the Zone of Proximal Development. Vygotsky saw the importance of others in the process of constructing meaning by creating a zone of proximal development to build on their existing knowledge base (Knight, 2016).

In conclusion, learning outside the classroom and behaviour management are amalgamated as children who suffer with behavioural problems benefit being in an open environment because they are freer (Waite, 2010). Furthermore, Moore and Wong (1997) found vital evidence that children involved in outdoor learning have positive lasting behavioural and academic effects. Therefore, utmost dedication will be enforced to integrate learning outside the classroom within my teaching in SE2, because the evidence proposed highlights good behaviour and high-levels of involvement in learning, allowing the curriculum to be seen through a different view. On the other hand, Beames, Higgins and Nicol (2012) suggest highly prescribed outcomes and the limitation of time are insurmountable barriers to learning outside the classroom. However, ‘If the value of working outside the classroom is providing pupils with experience that are different from those inside it, we need a framework and language that allow us to analyse and talk about such experience’ (Waite, 2017, pg.18). Understanding the importance of reflection, methods and strategies will be executed within the classroom to improve transitioning and setting clear expectations for classroom behaviour in SE2, as behaviour management is a vital factor attributed to a successful school (OFSTED, 2006).


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Appendix One

This is a worksheet on Regular and Irregular Polygons of the child in question about his reflection on understanding the concept of a regular and irregular polygon. When the child went to answer the questions it is clear he has got confused. During lessons, I go round focusing on the work of LA children to ensure they are understanding of the topic. When, noticing the pupil was confused I when back to the very start and engaged the pupil in questioning about regular and irregular shapes, allowing the child to reflect and think with great care. The process of scaffolding (to get the child to a stronger understanding and striving towards greater independence) and Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (what the child can do with guidance and assistance).


















Appendix Two

Pictured below is my Summative Report on SE1 with my final grades of each Teaching Standard. The evidence confirms that I was accredited ‘good’ in Behaviour Management (Teaching Standard 7).




Appendix Three

Pictured below is my mentor’s comment explaining that my confidence has increased throughout placement and continued to with more experience.

Appendix Four

Shows from appraisals in more than one lesson that I enforced high expectations which was highlighted as a positive in my teaching. The results of the children’s behaviour reflected my teaching, good.

Appendix Five

Within Teaching Standard seven on my summative report, my mentor’s final comment was I have effectively used their school’s policy traffic light system great, utilizing it to generate good behaviour.

Appendix Six

In my Maths lesson on Translation, mentor comments show I have used Dojo points effectively for positive reinforcement.

Appendix Seven

Evidence in my planning for the Maths lesson translation that Dojo points are given for pupils who participate and answer questions correctly.

Appendix 8

Evidence of requires improvement in my first appraisal on Regular and Irregular Polygons.

Appendix 9

The research pack for World War One the children had access to, including the headings they would speak about: life in the trenches, rationing and the role of women.


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