From my observations, I have realised that, while my knowledge of the English language is good, and my subject knowledge is broad, when it comes to the specifics of the A-Level course I do need to brush up. For instance, I could tell you who Aquinas was and roughly what he believed in, but I couldn’t tell you what his five ways were (I can now!). I wonder if many teachers have a similar experience when they first begin teaching their subject, as the more you progress in a subject the less these basic things seem to matter. I’ve also noticed that it is easy to forget that not all students will grasp concepts as easily from what seems to me like a simple explanation. The concepts are still very new to some students and will take prolonged engagement with the material to truly set in.
Teaching and Learning
There is an awful lot I could comment on in this section so I will try and narrow it down to one specific example.
I noticed that seating arrangements have a direct link to the behaviour of a class. In one of the classrooms, six whiteboards are on the walls of the room. The groups the teacher expects the students to work in are placed near these boards, the worksheets and other educational paraphernalia are all in reach. This means the lesson flows without any pauses or hesitations for the students to get distracted in, or to do anything other than engaging with the lesson. If the lesson keeps moving the students seem to stay focused, and the seating arrangement and position of classroom tools are paramount to this.
It’s been about a year since I’ve had to write academically. For this course, we use Harvard referencing which is new to me, though I look forward to mastering it, as it seems simpler and less time consuming than footnotes. The tasks so far have had small word counts, though this means you must be exact with what you say. The 5000-word case study will be difficult, it will take much forethought on how exactly I plan to structure it and to decide what exactly I want to achieve. I think I’d like to try a fishbowl debate, though it might be hard to persuade the Sixth Form to take up a lesson for it. Perhaps I could do it through the means of a debating club, though this would require volunteers. I don’t think I could count on the fruition of this idea.