When the author reflects on her experiences in various school settings, it is evident that there has been progression and development from the author’s first partnered placement to the most recent 12-week extended placement. The author has seen progression in not only her teaching but in her favoured strategies and methodologies to use. Similarly, her confidence to attempt something different in her pedagogical approaches in the classroom has also improved.
On reflection of the authors, reflective portfolios from previous school placements her classroom management skills have improved significantly throughout the course of the three professional placements. This has always been an aspect that has been of great importance as from day one of her first placement the author was conscious of its importance. The author is aware of the many components of classroom management and how it differs from class to class. The author has gained confidence in her ability and this has improved her classroom management skill profoundly. It can be remarked that in SP2 that the tutor highlighted the importance of waiting for complete silence before giving instruction. In SP3 both tutors remarked on the author’s present in the classroom and how the management of the class was one of her key strengths. Similarly, the author has always had a keen interest in the development of a positive classroom environment which she has also being remarked that her rapport with the children.
One area of practice in which the author feels they have developed but could still develop further ensuring the conclusion of all lessons. This was important advice from my first inspection in extended teaching placement. This is something the author ensured she worked on over her teaching block one and it was improvement was remarked by the float. However, when the author started teaching block two and until she found her feet in infants the same issue was arising. This is something that the author will continue to work on and as she has definitely understands the importance of the consolidation of the learning and checking if objectives the lesson objectives were achieved.
Personal Philosophy of Education
The Professional Masters of Education program in Mary Immaculate College has given the author the opportunity to engage and contribute in the education of several primary school children. This program has provided experiences that has shaped the motivations and values of the author concerning the purpose of education for all children.
The establishment of a positive classroom environment is a vital motivator and a key element the author values as an educator. The aspect of the classroom environment was explored through many modules in the PME programme. (Education Methodology, Special needs education, and Child pedagogy and development) and observed throughout school placements. A positive classroom environment is the most valuable asset in the formation of a supportive learning environment of all learners. (Kyriacou 2007) Students’ learning is better when they regard their learning environment as positive and supportive. (Aldridge et al. 2006). A supportive environment is one in which the child feel they are accepted, trust others and feel they can ask a question and take on a challenge knowing they might not succeed the first time around. (Bucholz et al. 2009). Equally a supportive environment displays children work and indicates you share in their pride of what they have achieved it also creates a sense of motivation when they are constantly reminded by looking around at the amount they can accomplish. (Kyriacou 2007) This has always been a pivotal goal of the author’s philosophy of education. As the author reflects on different assignments undertaken the incorporation of a positive classroom environment has always been a fundamental component in the authors philosophy which has been influenced by the observation of teachers through placement, through the development of the authors own positive classroom environment on placement and through the modules mentioned above.
Similarly, the promotion of inclusion in the classroom is a key-value the author philosophy of education. During the third semester of the PME programme the author was given the opportunity to study inclusion further through the Special education needs module. This module had a profound impact on the author’s philosophy of teaching. It changed the authors perception of teaching significantly. The author recalls a talk given by Mitchell in which he discussed UDL (Universal design for learning) meaning multiple means of representation (differentiating content), Multiple means of engagement (differentiating process), and Multiple means to express their learning (differentiating product). He discussed the 4 r’s of teaching real relevant realistic rationale. He emphasised the importance of good teaching for all, which means good representation for all. (Michell, 2018) The stuck with the author especially on her extended placement and she ensured she was catering for differentiation in the room. Not just between classes as the author was in a multi-grade setting but giving choice to the pupils in the ways they completed their work, but also ensuring the use of visual, kinaesthetic and audio content to support learning styles.
Finally, one prime value as an educator that the author will bring with her into her own teaching career, is to encourage pupils and provide them with the skills necessary to become active agents of their own learning. As William Butler Yeats wrote ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’ (Yeats n.d) During the SESE modules the author discovered the importance of providing the pupils with opportunities in which they could become actively involved in their own learning rather than passively receiving the information. (Grey) (Olusegun 2015) The ideologies of this teaching philosophy are that pupils can only require new information using the information that they already have required. It is regarded that cognition is the result of ‘mental construction”. (Olusegun 2015) This learning process is active; learners build meaning by joining their new information with existing knowledge. (Naylor et al. 1999) As one of the author key values, the author ensured to implement this teaching philosophy on extended placement. The curricular focus was one of the many ways the author allowed the pupils to become active agents of their own learning. The children were invited to engage in a task in which the finished product would be the creation of their own lighthouses. This was developed over four different sessions. The pupils completed the circuit, designed a plan for their lighthouse, created a working lighthouse and presented their finished working lighthouse. The teacher acted a facilitator and offered support, but the pupils were in full control of their own learning. This was a very positive experience that created a challenge and a great sense of achievement for the pupils.