Reflective Journal First Draft + Half term review task

                                                                                                                                                              Reflective Journal

Alexander Clarke

Creating a reflective journal is a requisite for passing a Post-Compulsory PGCE at UCL, though what this exactly a reflective journal is haven’t been wholly prescribed. Before I attempt writing the journal, I have attempted to briefly outline what it is I mean by reflective thought, and thus how I will structure my reflective journal. Firstly, I look at the criteria recommended by the Education and Training Foundation for good practice. Secondly, I look at Brookfield’s Four Lenses and how I will apply them to my writing. Thirdly, I consider what reflective thought meant to John Dewey and how this will influence the purpose of my writing.

The Education and Training Foundation
The Education and Training Foundation advise that teachers are reflective through three categories, personal values and attributes, professional knowledge and understanding and professional skills. The first two categories mentioned contain six skills of which the teacher should consider, whilst the last category has eight. Skills maybe the wrong word as some of them contain several skills, that said each of these skills are marked out of three, three being the most competent. Development of these skills leads the teacher to a transition stage, A being the worst and C being the best. The full breakdown of the criteria is as follows:

Professional values and attributes (6 grading criteria, marked from 1-3)

1: Reflect on what works best in your teaching and learning to meet the diverse needs of learners
2: Evaluate and challenge your practice, values and beliefs
3: Inspire, motivate and raise aspirations of learners through your enthusiasm and knowledge
4: Be creative and innovative in selecting and adapting strategies to help learners to learn
5: Value and promote social and cultural diversity, equality of opportunity and inclusion
6: Build positive and collaborative relationships with colleagues and learners

Professional knowledge and understanding 6 grading criteria -1-3

7: Maintain and update knowledge of your subject and/or vocational area
8: Maintain and update your knowledge of educational research to develop evidence based practice
9: Apply theoretical understanding of effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment drawing on research and other evidence
10: Evaluate your practice with others and assess its impact on learning
11: Manage and promote positive learner behaviour
12: Understand the teaching and professional role and your responsibilities

Professional skills 8 grading criteria 1-3

13: Motivate and inspire learners to promote achievement and develop their skills to enable progression
14: Plan and deliver effective learning programmes for diverse groups or individuals in a safe and inclusive environment
15: Promote the benefits of technology and support learners in its use
16: Address the mathematics and English needs of learners and work creatively to overcome individual barriers to learning
17: Enable learners to share responsibility for their own learning and assessment, setting goals that stretch and challenge
18: Apply appropriate and fair methods of assessment, and provide constructive and timely feedback to support progression and achievement
19: Maintain and update teaching and training expertise and technical skills through collaboration with employers
20: Contribute to organisational development and quality improvement through collaboration with others

By progressing through the three grade the teacher moves through overall transition stages, which consist of A, B and C, A being the lowest. That said, the ETF’s advice on how to master all these skills is vague, writing:

‘Organisations and individuals can interpret the Standards for themselves, but to facilitate a common language of longer-term professional development we have created this framework’.

Now, this may sound a tad cynical, but I would argue that if the standards are to be interpreted by ourselves, then there are no set standards, and thus no fixed language to know that we are all talking about the same thing. Furthermore, ETF write on the Standards:

‘They contain no reference to achievement of qualification, nor set out detailed guidance on how to evidence what is recommended’

As there are over twenty categories it surprising me that they can’t offer any exact advice on how to display what they are suggesting. The number and subjectivity of the categories makes it difficult to incorporate the ETF’s guidelines into my writing. If you’re advising behaviour that can’t be evidenced, then the recommendations can’t be strong enough to provide firm advice. Thus, though I’ll keep the categories here as reference, and I will try to include these in my reflective journal, I won’t incorporate them significantly into the structure of this task. that said, the ETF writes:

‘Some areas of personal practice will develop rapidly, and other areas of how you make use of the Professional Standards may take considerable reflection, learning and/or experience before moving to the next stage of your development.’

Reflection, learning and experience are given as the route to progression by the ETF. Reflection, it itself, is supported by the ETF. I will use these categories in the half term synopsis.

What is reflection?

John Dewey, an educational practitioner and theorist, writes reflective writing is:

‘active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends, constitutes reflective thought’ (Dewey,1910).

Dewey goes on to explain that reflective thought happens in a sequence, though this alone doesn’t define it as reflective. What makes such thought reflective is that the sequence produces a consequence, that the reflective thought produces an answer. We know from experience that when it is cold we should put on a coat. Such behaviour to Dewey exists because we think reflectively. He compares Christopher Columbus figuring out that the world was round for the first time. He says this is because Columbus realised there was a problem in previous modes of thought, reflected on the problem and thus realised the world must be, in fact, round.
Dewey further explains reflective thought through an allegory of a man at a fork in a road. The traveller needs to decide which way to go, so first he climbs a tree and surveys his surroundings. He is looking for facts based on what he can acquire from his situational position to guide his future actions. Thus, through reflection, we can process signifiers, i.e. a problem, to indicates, i.e. an answer. True reflective thinking, to Dewy, concerns a dilemma. To Dewey it is a key to developing good mental habits, but an uncomfortable, uneasy state of mind if properly done.

The Four Lenses

I attended a reflective writing course held by UCL in which Brookfield’s four lenses where given to us as the bases for our future writing. We were told these were self, students, peers and scholarship. In Brookfield’s chapter he actually calls them Student eyes, Colleagues Perceptions, Personal experience and Theory. Though slightly different, an attention to linguistics is paramount in academic writing, and Brookfield’s terms are clearer in the sense that we know it is through the lenses of others that he wishes us to think. It is worth noting that Brookfield includes the following in his most recent edition of his book:

‘When reflective assessment protocols are determined in advance, and teachers are required to show a suitable level of reflectivity to get reappointment, promotion, and tenure, the collaborative and collective dimension of reflection is entirely lost. Measuring reflection becomes a power play, a way for administrators to control employees by specifying the type of reflection that’s permissible or legitimate’ (Brookfield, 2017).

One of the problems Brookfield mentions is addressable which is the collective aspect. Considering this, when possible, I will include the reflections of my mentor and observers of my practice. Though it may not completely satisfy Brookfield, it could at least increase the effectiveness of my reflective progress. What Brookfield fears the most, that I and other trainee teachers will use his advice for our assessment, allowing others can get into our heads and decide if we think ‘correctly’ and as teachers ought to, is the purpose of this assignment. That said, in the words of Dewey, reflective thought should be concerning finding an answer to a dilemma. As I am a flawed human like the rest of the teaching stock, I will certainly have reflections on my conduct that will need evaluating.

Week One

There were two types of lessons and three different teachers that I observed. The two lessons were RP (religion and philosophy) which the school has to teach due to the wishes of the Catholic Church. These lessons focus around making students to become more ethical citizens of society and to encourage each person to have their own opinions and viewpoints. The second lesson, Philosophy and Ethics, is the A level course. The A level classes are very long at two and a half hours each, though they can cover a lot of content and students to practice and embed this knowledge they find it hard to concentrate in the last hour or half an hour. There is a 10 minute break but this is rarely taken exactly half way through, and the human brain can only effectively concentrate for 25 minutes at a time. The class sizes are small which I think helps combat distracted students, but through watching them I think they find it hard to concentrate for the whole time. One thing I particularly liked about the layout of the room was their placements of whiteboards, 6 being placed on the walls. A great starter activity was to get the kids to recap what they know on said boards.

As the RP lessons all use the same PowerPoints and lesson plans, it is the best lesson to compare the different teachers I have observed. Teacher three, when doing the lecturing parts of the lesson, will stand to the side of the PowerPoint. She uses her arms and often tries to relate topics to the lives of her students, such as likening mind maps to BBC’s Sherlock. Teacher one takes more of a central position and has the most assertive of approaches. Teacher two normally sits, breaking the mould, but sits in the middle, holds eye contact and uses his arms. Teacher two speaks the least but is more direct in what he says. I think teacher two teaches sitting down because it makes him more comfortable. It is worth noting none of the teachers read from the PowerPoint, they all have deep enough subject knowledge to explain the content without needing too. This greatly strengthens the delivery of all lessons. Furthermore, all three teachers use questions to elicit answers in ways that are not at first obvious.

There are also a couple of things worth mentioning on dialog. Today I saw my first serious disagreement between a student and a member of staff. A student refused to stop eating when requested, so teacher three told the student to leave her lesson. The response that the student gave was clearly disrespectful, it strikes me that being able to tell the student to leave is particularly useful though isn’t what is best for the student. Yes, the student who was sent out would have disrupted the learning experience of the other students. However, perhaps she could have been sent to isolation or a similar section of the school to make sure work was being produced. Secondly, teacher one when teaching an RP lesson, was told by a student that she believed in science while her parents believed in religion. Teacher one asked if this created conflict in her family. This was a good question to stir up a response, but when I asked Ali at the end of the lesson she agreed with me she should have changed the phrasing in case she elicit any personal and private responses which could embarrassed or cause anxiety within the student. The student seem to notice and was unphased, I imagine for me college, although she didn’t show it, it must have been worrying, especially for someone else watching. Perhaps pressure makes us more likely to make mistakes.

I observed two lessons on the first day. The first lesson was only about an hour long. It was a RP lesson, in which the class focuses almost entirely around debate. The teacher started the lesson with an icebreaker, giving each student a sheet and getting them to engage the other students and ask them a question. Only four students had turned up at the beginning, at the end there were 8. One of the students entering late caused a disturbance which the teacher had to deal with. The vocabulary that she used ‘I’m not having this conversation now’ seemed deliberately angled to show who has in control. Subsequently she said, ‘Am I being unclear in anyway?’. I thought this was an effective question, as it was both assertive and asked the student to think about who was in control. The teacher used a lot of body language when she spoke, using her arms openly, but made sure her position was relatively fixed and at the side of the board. Later she started the second activity in which students had to line up and place themselves on the line in accordance with what they believed. The students engaged willingly, and it seemed to go well.

Lesson two started off with reviewing homework. The lesson was based on Plato’s analogy of the charioteer. The first task was a paired activity, each pair assigned to a different white board. There were two statements on the PowerPoint, the students had to write down which statement they agreed with and why. The pairs would then be assigned to a different white board with the opposing statement and would have to write a reason why they thought it was wrong. The pairs would then revert to their original white boards and answer the problem. The class then engaged with questions led by the teacher. The teacher then read from the reading while the students read along in silence.
Activity three started with a video explaining Plato’s analogy of the charioteer. Halfway through the teacher stopped the video and asked comprehension questions.

Overall, I think the first week went well. I managed to disseminate a variety of tasks from the lessons I observed, witnessed how to deal with behavioural issues and what content was expected from a normal lesson. I feel comfortable in my surroundings and know the layout of the school. Admittedly, I haven’t taught in the setting yet, and teaching students with the same nationality as me will certainly be a leap away from teaching foreign students who can’t fully see who you are. That said, the school have clearly made their best efforts to give me a firm base from which to try.

Brookfield’s Lenses

Student eyes

While trying to think of the how the teachers are perceived by the students the most obvious this I release is it must be completely different to what I see. As the college is 16-19, there is a divide which exists between adults and children. Whilst they are not seen as children, they are certainly not at the same level as the teacher.
I think Teacher two was seen by the students as funny. I heard one of the students say in the corridor that they thought teacher two was funny which strengthens the likelihood of my assumption. The students behave in teacher two’s lesson well. As for the other teachers I am unsure, but what I do know is that the students see the teachers as figures of authority.

Colleagues Perceptions
As, naturally, the teachers have worked there a while they perform the lessons as if they were second nature. They are comfortable in their environments, with their students and their plans. Whilst the teachers are familiar with the students they remain in a position of authority. The RP lessons don’t vary that much from year to year so I’ve been told, so the teachers have had a long time to develop their pacing and skills.

Personal experience
I enjoyed my first week observing at the school. The first thing to get used to is the working environment which I do find strange. I don’t thrive being in a position where the students are my subordinates. I wouldn’t expect it of a student, but this is the relationship that I need to have. I will get used to it, but I do find it awkward and it is something I need to address in my own way. The students look old at first but when they start expressing themselves you realise how young they really are. Most are very shy. I am a bit worried about trying to learn all their names but hopefully this will come with time.

Week 2

I watched one RP lesson and one A Level lesson today. On the one hand, the island tables allow for an easy discussion, though the discussion is in set groups. The horseshoe opens the space so everyone can theoretically talk to everyone else, that said it mostly consists of pair work. At the end of a class the teacher often says ‘finish sentence then you can go’, which works well for motivation. PEAL, an acronym which stands for point, evidence, analyse, and link is used as a basis for marking. Students have to mark each other’s homework through this lens. The groups are set as (4+1). 15 kids are positioned at island tables, the students talk amongst themselves quite a lot probably because they have now completed the task. The teacher walks between the tables and helps when needed, accessibility is key to a good seating plan.
Two students have their heads lying on table once they have done work, this is obviously a behavioural problem, but also communication that something is wrong. Different philosophers are laminated on A4 sheets with an accompanying quote around the room. The next task includes 6 white boards and connective sentences relating to essay writing have been stuck on A3 sheets around the rooms. The students should work with PEAL on the whiteboard.
The next task uses groups or pairs and is focused on going back over previous arguments and developing them. A speaking task is then assigned, one arguing for, one arguing against and other watching has the position of judge. Whist this continues the teacher moves around room and observes. The second task revolves around four quotes on board, one being a monist quote the other dualist. Students must raise their hands for which one is which. The students then write down definitions. The class ends with a class discussion.

The RP lesson starts with folders. Folders! The seating plan is in a semicircle, aimed at promoting discussion. The students look at the picture on the PowerPoint as the teacher tries to elicit a response, the teacher uses further questions to recap the last lesson, eliciting a response from their memory. Instead of asking a question the teacher asks, ‘what questions could we ask?’ After this she says ‘Discuss with person next to you’ what do you remember?’ Not all students talk, perhaps they have not met everybody yet.
The teacher continues to ask the class questions to get more answers, including ‘What colour is a polar bears fur? Why is that colour useful? Why does it have white fur?’ Next the teacher gives a small presentation accompanied with slides, there is a recap of last week’s lesson. After this the next activity students watch a YouTube video which feeds into the next activity. A student asks to go to the toilet but the teacher refuses. Genesis one and two are the bases for the next activity. In pairs the students read through accounts, find differences in accounts and use that information to fill in the sheet. Two sheets, one core text the other answer sheet. The students are working quietly.
After this there is a class feedback, what is the order of 1? What is the order of 2? The teacher asks “What questions could we ask?” “What do we mean by these? Do they mean day and night?
Genesis 1 listed first, while Genesis 2 is listed conversations about the differences naturally occur.
The teacher asks does it matter they agree? Why might they disagree?

After this there is a group discussion. Questions have been written on the board, the teacher says ‘jot down your ideas then feedback your ideas, I want you to work in pairs and discuss what you have jotted down’. The teacher walks around the room and makes sure everyone is working, occasionally asking questions to develop a response. After this they feedback as a class. The teacher end with explaining what will happen next lesson. It is of note that the teacher played lo fi hiphop beats to aid concentration, lyric less music helps with this.

On Friday I attended a staff training day. It was a great way to learn and also meet my other co-workers, some of which are also studying PGCE’s. I will write the notes in a following project.

Student eyes
The students seem comfortable going to the same groups each week. They have positive social dynamics between them and complete the work that is set. Going to the same seats each week will help produce a feeling of comfort which will aid learning. That said, there are disadvantages from not mixing up the grouping, from the students perspective it would be more unsettling but it would get them to mix with varying abilities.

Colleagues Perceptions
The island table set up makes it easy for the teacher to move between the tables and see what is going on. It is easy for the teacher to view what is happening for the duration of the lesson, and the students are content in their fixed groups so behavioural problems are kept to a minimum. It also places the students near the surrounding white boards which helps with the flow of the lesson.

Personal experience
I think Island tables work well for the setting of the classroom and the nature of the content. I would also use a table seating arrangement for the lesson. However, I wouldn’t want them sitting with the same students for the entire year. I would occasionally mix it up so the students benefit from working with a variety of levels.

Week three

The RP lesson begins with filling in folders, the information needed to fill in the folders is on board. The starter activity was to ask set introductory questions to the person next to them. The seating arrangement was in a horseshoe. When the long part of the ‘shoe’ is to long it encourages behavioural problems, in the sense they become disengaged and talkative. When giving the lecture part of the lesson teacher stands next to PowerPoint, uses hands, maintains eye contact and uses lots of arm movements.
After this, students had to complete a task by filling in sheet which included addressing pros and cons of the subject at hand. The teacher tends to stand for a bigger class. One student is sitting at the end of the horseshoe and is listening to music, he is extremely disengaged to the point of ‘rebelling’ through body language. The teacher is not challenging the student, which seems effective. She has given him a pen and is waiting to see if he works. It didn’t work. Maybe he is depressed, I don’t see anyone else interacting with him or supporting his ‘rebellion’.
The students tend to engage with videos if they are kept short. At the end the teacher says ‘When you have finished you can bring your folder to me and leave’. The teacher then checks if work is completed or not, and addresses what will be covered next week.

After a long ‘speech’ in the Al level lesson, the teacher will make sure to ask questions, making them alert and reinforcing comprehension. I noticed that because of the seating arrangements each team was next toe a whiteboard on the wall, which was needed for the next task. In this way the flow of the lesson is partially inherent within the seating plan. The island seating plan places each group near white board on walls.
Teacher asks ‘Are there things we can’t experience?’ the question seems closed elicit answers but leads to open debate about experience, she asks questions about the questions for further eliciting if they are stuck.
IDA? What is this?
Work returned at beginning of lesson, the teachers says the students should ask themselves ‘how do we get more’ NOT ‘what grade you got’. The teacher then says ‘In the back of your books set your own targets’.

The RP lesson begging with the collection of folders, details need to be written down on folders, when I do mine I might have the details printed and stuck on the white board. The starter activity is on the PowerPoint which consists of discussion questions. If there aren’t many people get the chairs to be pulled closer together. Behaviour which displays am unwillingness to discuss topics can be combated by a change in the seating plan, it makes them converse. The teacher seems stressed in their body language, the students don’t respond well to this or being ‘told’ in a harsh manner. Students when questioned individually seem more likely to offer a response. Teacher then played a small video. A PowerPoint is displayed but the teacher talks separately to what is written, the teacher is sat whilst performing the speech.
After this there is a task to fill in a sheet, the sheet makes them consider pros and cons for the future discussion. The teach uses rephrasing questions to help elicit answers. Straight after watching video students ‘slow down’. The students not talking is the biggest problem in the lessons. Perhaps a specific ordering of questioning could have its uses. The teacher gets up and walks around observing.
Complete work and hand it in, the work must be put in the folder before leaving. Finally students are informed what the next lesson will be on.

The RP lesson starts with folders getting individual folders. The first task is to listen to a small talk then fill in sheet, everyone is working, there has been no pause in the lesson to allow for discussion. A small video when played is always focused on. The seating is a loose horseshoe which snakes round the corners of the room, the students could benefit from being closer together. The next topic is introduced briefly with an accompanying PowerPoint. The teacher attempts to involve students who aren’t speaking with personalised questions. To make the subject seem relevant the teacher says ‘You are investigating a modern day ethical problem’.   The teacher also told a personal story concerning an organ donor. This was of note as he was clearly in the realms of acceptable behaviour.

The A level lesson started with an introductory PowerPoint, after which the PowerPoint was only displayed as a reference. The seating plan was separated into island tables, while the students are working the teacher is going from table to table offering feedback. The feedback is obviously important and isn’t given all the time so this is probably a big part of today’s lesson.
The work is divided between what Aristotle observed and what he reasoned, seemly to highlight the distinction. Teacher used an IWB clock to time for 10 minutes, the allocated time set for the students to complete the activity. As the clock is always displayed the students know what is expected of them, and the teacher knows how long the lesson should go on for. When students are too loud if they are called by their names they regain focus.
The next activity consists of a sheet which has three columns. Each column is used for one of Aquinas’s ways, looking at the 1st 3rd and 5th way. They are told to fill in the sheet by using the information on page 53. By doing so the student benefits from academic practice, researching and finding the information for themselves.
The next activity beings by splitting the class into threes. There are 6 boards and 6 groups, the groups go to the boards and then decide who is 1, 2 and 3. A3 paper with information coinciding to the task has been put on the walls to help guide the students. The teacher is standing in the middle of the room so she can observe effectively, each student is an ‘expert’ at either the first, second or third way and they fill in their section on board. They were in separate groups before, each group focused on one of the ways. I was assigned to one group to explain the 2nd way. The teacher says ‘If you have finished you can have a biscuit’, relating to Skinners positive reinforcement.

When behaviour gets hard to manage the teacher begins to clap loudly and says ‘I’m a bit puzzled by this undercurrent of muttering’.
Two videos have been playing through the duration of the class. One of the videos twice as students struggled to understand the concept. Students need to fill in and transcribe information from the video.
Bertrand Russel’s quote about a chicken is explain by the teacher who uses a laminated copy of the quote and a small demonstration. This use of miming helped the students understand and seemed similar to total physical response (TPR) used in teaching English as a Foreign Language. Students write down what they have learnt in their own words, which helps to see how complete the students understanding is.
One student’s head on table, the teacher taps their shoulder and keeps speaking therefore nothing is disturbed. This seems like a good behavioural management technique, however I’m not sure if touching goes against safeguarding or not. The next task was investigating a design argument through a notetaking task. The teacher said ‘you have 5 minutes to read the information, highlight parts and then to put it into your own words’. The following task placed each group at a board, each student in the groups was an ‘expert’ on a separate argument and would fill their section in on the board. They had 5 minutes to read and to discuss the concepts before they got into groups.

After this 1’s explain their reasoning while 2 and 3 take notes. The students cycle through until they have heard all explanations and all taken notes. This does seem to work well but the teacher does need to make sure everyone is working. Finally there is class feedback and the teacher tells students what is happening next week. Students are told to clear up the room before they leave.

The RP lesson begins with giving the students their folders, the teacher saying ‘look for your one and pass it along’. On the white board ‘news’ is written and circled, the teacher says ‘Who has good hand writing who can write for us?’. No one volunteered so teacher wrote. The teacher asks students ‘what is going on in the world’ and the students comment on what they know. Different categories are formed, it works very well.
After types of specific ‘news’ are written on the white board the teacher focuses on defining ‘theology, spirituality and ethics’. Then the students need to link the news categories to the definitions, how they could relate. After asking for the definitions the teacher displays detailed definitions on the PowerPoint but does not read them. The teacher tries to relate them to the student’s lives.
When students are disengaged the teacher asks specific questions to students, the questions are personal but framed to the content of the lesson. Interestingly, one conversation proceeded as following:
T-Do you feel a spiritual connection to East Dunnage
S-Well my mum was talking about moving and I didn’t want to
T-Well there you go that’s a spiritual connection (moves onto next student)
Clearly the teacher had accidently got onto safeguarding territory and moved on.
The next activity consisted of linking definitions and filling them out onto a sheet. After this the teacher goes through the news examples written on the white board but relates it to ethics. The teacher then says ‘Which of these things can we link to religion’. After students have filled in the answers on their sheet the teacher goes round the circle, reads answers and marks. The next task starts with the teacher saying ‘How do our 3 aspects of religion relate to any of these stories?’
After listening to responses the teacher says ‘I’m not really religious’ ……..but…….’Tell me a spiritual connection that you have’. The students show understanding of core vocabulary top by answering.
If someone gives an ‘interment’ answer which close to accidental triggers then the teacher thanks them for sharing. Such a conversation began as: ‘my brother is more like a father to me, when I met my father I didn’t feel that connection’. Finally the teacher does the register and collects the folders.

Brookfield’s four lenses

T-Do you feel a spiritual connection to East Dunnage
S-Well my mum was talking about moving and I didn’t want to
T-Well there you go that’s a spiritual connection (moves onto next student)

Student eyes
During the RP lessons the students enjoy sharing information about themselves. It is also interesting how the students very much do what they are told normally, when asked they normally do. It seems likely that if the student shares then they were happy to do so. The students may not be as aware of the lines between a safeguarding issue and an anecdote. As they are young I wonder if they could have a tendency to exaggerate. It may be impossible to ever tell. At any rate sharing personal information seems to make them more engaged.

Colleagues Perceptions
When students are disengaged personal questions demand attention, so they can be a useful tool. The teacher moved on quite quickly when it seemed that he could stray into a safeguarding issue. This was probably a good idea. I think if there was genuine cause for concern, moving the dialog on and then approaching the student by themselves after class would be the correct response.

Personal experience
I found it interesting that the student was as open to share an intimate experience as they were. It made me consider my role as a teacher and how I would have handled the situation. As what they said wasn’t that serious I wouldn’t address them after the class, but perhaps for the sake of that student reputation with their peers moving the conversation could be the compassionate thing to do, as you don’t know what their reaction would be.


Half term synopsis

Professional values and attributes
As I have only engaged in observation this week I haven’t been able to develop my teaching attributes, though I have been able to reflect upon my values. Before I observed this week I wanted to treat students the same as I would treat a co-worker, however, I have learnt that largely this wouldn’t work with the students but also it wouldn’t be appreciated by the students. The students seem more comfortable in a social dynamic in which they know what is expected of them, rules and regulations help to accommodate this.

Professional knowledge and understanding 6 grading criteria -1-3

I have learnt a huge amount in regards to classroom management. On the Friday in week two I attended a training day on classroom management in which we learnt about counting down to demand attention, how to move and mix groups to subdue moods and how what we choose to wear and how we stand can change out mentalities. I have also learnt from observing different kinds of questioning. I have never considered asking students what questions they can think of. I have also learnt that a seating plan can aid in a lesson not just through behaviour management but also from the flow of the class, in regards to what activities you have planned and what features the classroom includes.

Professional skills 8 grading criteria 1-3
I haven’t had the chance to develop this area of my practice yet, though I have done my initial induction training which includes basic seating plans, rules, how to greet a class and how to finish a class. I have also had the chance to speak to different departments who specialise in learning support and mental health. I can send students who miss behave to a colleague of mind at the LRC (learning resources centre)

Published by Coffee & Alex

Alexander Clarke is a sole trader who writes and teaches. He’s published articles, blog posts, short stories and poems. He’s taught philosophy, theology, ESOL and PSHE.

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