Right now I would be attending my usual Sunday Church service. However, my son has been throwing up all night – whilst trying to be affectionate and convey his appreciation I think, being only 19 months old bless him – so his Mummy has gone to the service as she missed it a couple of weeks ago due to her feeling unwell so here I am, on the sofa, with a sleeping, poorly toddler. Spare moment – let’s get a blog post done!!
This week has been very productive. I have managed to write up my 2000 word assignment. Considering there is another 8000 words in for early May this has been very useful! A new job has opened up fairly near in an excellent school so hard at work at trying to open up dialogue there. Organised a social activity for the adult group I’m responsible at Church. Presented a mock INSET session in a University session on using and enhancing blogs for teaching and learning. Attended a few classes at University. Bought gifts for Mothers Day and 2 birthdays in the next week. When at home, been keeping a very active 19 month old happy and learning when possible…feeling good!
My assignment has been a focus on reflexive thought and how this led me to uncover the assumptions behind my practice. I’ll share one of the learning journal entries I analysed here:
“So, today the children started planning their own version of the Rama and Sita story. I had given them a planning proforma with prompts on where the next step in their story should be and ideas on what they could change.
There was one child, who was considered of higher ability, who was taking this task very slowly. As I was circulating the class, I noticed that he was far behind his peers around him after a while. I went over and asked if he understood the task and he replied he was so I encouraged him to speed up a little, giving him praise for what he had done already, and ensuring him I knew he had the ability to be further ahead.
After about ten minutes I had been distracted with other children finishing their plan and giving them extension work to take their planning further. I went back over to the child I had spoken to before and he was not much further along. Inside I was extremely frustrated with this, thinking that if the whole class could be at the point of nearly finishing or even finished their plan then he should be as well and therefore must not be engaged with the learning. I went beside him and asked him to give me a very good explanation as to why he was so far behind everyone else in the class in his plan. He said ‘I’ve just got loads of ideas in my head and I’m trying to pick the best ones I like.’ That threw me. How could I be disappointed with this child’s work when he was putting so much thought into it? This was a very well behaved child so I didn’t feel like he was just saying that to get me off his case. I praised him for thinking so hard about what he was going to do in his learning and encouraged him to start getting his ideas onto paper so he could show me just how well he really did understand the learning.”
Was an eye opener for a couple of points. One, why was the child reluctant to write? I suggested it may have been because he wanted to meet the expectations I had on him as a ‘higher ability’ child, the expectation from his high ability peers around him, and on himself. To be honest, this is why in my own classroom I’d probably consider mixed ability grouping. Two, why did I feel the need to have a written record of the child’s plan? Could I have not had him record it verbally if he would feel more comfortable with that?
There is a lot more points that could be made here. So I see the value of doing this kind of thing when possible when I’m teaching full time. Will people read it? Maybe not :P. However, my practice will improve so that’s my goal!
By the way, I will try to add to the lesson ideas and experiences more – just need to root through what I’ve done so far and upload those ideas!!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/5421517469/”>Kalexanderson</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>