quite a mixed week this week, some great learning and fun, some mindyawning boringness. inclusive education, emas, maths, behaviour management, music, ict, pe, science.
one of the girls who was at my next school last term told us this little gem in behaviour management. an eight year old girl in her class came up to her bawling her eyes out so she took her to one side and asked what the problem was. the girl explained her grandfather had died over the weekend and she was really upset, so was allowed to sit out of class and asked to draw some pictures. the girl drew nice pictures of her with her granddad, little hearts around them and seemed to be cheering up. an hour or so later at home time my classmate noticed the grandfather standing outside waiting to pick the little girl up. the girl turned to her, gave her a knowing look and said something along the lines of “and you fell for it” and walked out. an eight year old.
this was with an educational psychologist and was quite interesting about understanding the reasons behind behaviour, why a child might be acting out, struggling with work etc. the main focus was learning what ‘special educational needs’ are. we were given handouts at the start of the lesson as per normal and i repeated the pattern by flicking ahead to see what we would be asked to do later. i came across this slide:
definitions of s.e.n.
catergorisation 1: the legislative history
1567 – fools
1779 – cretins
1846 – idiots
1889 – imbeciles
1896 – feebleminded
1942 – retarded
that was pretty much it for me, i was just waiting for that slide. i even got out of doing the work because the lecturer came over and talked to me the entire time she assigned the task. it was weird. i didn’t ask her anything, she came over and started talking about one of the points i made (about retarded being accepted at the time, sen might be as ‘offensive’ in fifty years). i can’t even remember what we talked about but maintained the conversation with my standard tool kit of nods and mmmm’s. all i could think was ‘why are you squatting right next to me?’. it was an interesting lesson though.
this is english as a second language stuff. we went to the special unit and it was really useful. this awesome bangladeshi woman came in and spoke in bangla about objects and we had to work out what she was saying. the rest of the lesson was talking about arrangements if you have a child that doesn’t speak any english. we went off into groups and ours was looking at how we would teach the tudors. after about 10min the woman came back and i asked something like “do we have to do a lesson plan?”. the next thing i know she tells every other group that we’re doing a lesson plan so they should too. i wasn’t too popular that afternoon, but we did an awesome presentation.
luckily this was with vicky and she understands the need to do things, rather than sitting for eight hours and listening to her talk (that’s adrian). i learnt a lot and spent ages having fun working out areas of circles/triangles and perimeters of rooms etc. she gave us loads of resources and we got to play a couple of games.
this was a strange lesson that i’ve been thinking about for a few days. shit sandwich again, but not. it was all about techniques, what we can do if x happens. perhaps subconsciously i wanted to make a bit of effort after the ar&r folder ‘talk’ so i chimed in a few times. most of the lesson i was actually doing my maths homework hidden under her handouts and got quite a lot done (after maths with vicky, i was cooking). not long into the morning i noticed that i could just pop my hand up half way, once, when she was looking around and she immediately asked for my opinion. she kept reminding the class of what i had said throughout e.g. “going back to what james said” “this relates to what james said” etc. i had a couple of good points, but i was concentrating on other things. she asked for experiences we’d had and what it is to have ‘presence’ in the classroom so i said that i was really bad at the beginning, lessons were more like lectures, but got better with mentor and teacher support/feedback. at the end of the lesson she walked past and said something about thanking me for my comments. okay, i thought. she then came back again a few minutes later and said that she just wanted to thank me for being honest about saying that i was a bad teacher to start with. okaaaay, i thought. she came back again and asked me to help her fix her phone. hmmm, i thought.
i was complaining that i hoped it wasn’t another singfest when it was pointed out to me that the corridor outside our classroom was filled with african drums. it was pretty much the same as last time, clear the desks away, stand in a cirle, make stupid noises, do stupid actions, crazily swap seats with people, sing songs (but this time we had to dance) and generally “join in”. i feel i have done my fair share so would like a lesson where i can actually make some notes, get some resources and find out how to teach a music class based on the qca schemes of work. instead we got to go into small groups and come up with a composition on drums. it was lame. i spent quite a lot of time laughing though, it was really bad and lots of people were mucking around.
fuck no. it was one of the worst lessons i have ever seen. laura had nothing prepared. we were supposed to do databases but she didn’t know how the software worked, she didn’t check to see if we could run it, she didn’t have a lesson plan or notes for us, she didn’t have a powerpoint (so made one it in front of us, while we sat and waited). she spent the first few minutes talking about how we should read a book about ict in schools that she’ll leave at the front of class for us. she then read the book to us for an hour, mostly saying “i think that’s what it means” or “i don’t know” when somebody asked a question. i, along with the people on my table, bit tongues and shot glances at each other every few minutes astonished that she’s allowed to talk to people, let alone was a teacher and is a lecturer on this course. i got my laptop out and started catching up on my feeds. when we got to the task part of the lesson she gave us demo copies of software that had, oh, 90% of the features removed so we couldn’t make a database with more than one field – and couldn’t save our work (as part of our final ict portfolio). it was a total tardathon.
it was three hours long. we watched a video for an hour and a half. i doodled my first full page, another girl did two pages of patterns and someone else wrote a story (on my table alone). its a fat old woman talking about the importance of teaching children about fitness. i learnt nothing.
it was fantastic. the lesson was “ice balloons”. ron was at his best. we did experiments all morning and it was the best fun we’ve all had in ages. at the end he let us smash them up outside. good times. we predict, we test. we had the afternoon off too. there are photos, i’ll post them eventually.
back to school
since we had some free time and i needed to do some work i didn’t do on practice so arranged to pop in for the afternoon. i got there about 2pm in the middle of the current student teachers lesson and tried to be as discrete as possible. while i was sorting through some papers to copy i heard “i think you should all stop looking at mr scutt and get on with your work” which was nice. the class teacher gave me a chance to sit down with them for a few minutes and the first thing i asked was ‘who got the best xmas present?’. of course, every hand in the place went up and the class teacher made a comment about that being a stupid question and i agreed. it was nice to see the class again and because it was golden time after that (ie free play) i got to spend a bit of time chatting to them. i had to do a miscue analysis with my child study children (they read to me, i mark on a sheet everything they get wrong, hesitate, self correct, etc) and sorted some things out on the website.
i should also mention that one morning last week we were given back our school experience folders and assessment folders where all our highly organised notes are kept. about half way through my practice i got sick of writing fucking lesson evaluations (i could have done x better, my timing was x, the resources were y) so on the advice of a teacher i know, started copying the text from old lessons and filling in the forms. i got away with it and my link tutor signed them off. gambling that she wouldn’t read every single one i spent the night before changing around sentences of the 20 or so i had to make it up to 35. i also made up a couple of interviews i didn’t have time to do and some other filler. we got them back and we all got stickers, mine was ‘good effort’. her notes were something like move this section, focus on x next time. so that was pretty fucking ninja.