Friday, 12 February 2016

PGCE - January

My final month on first placement! Time went fairly quickly by this point as I'd managed to establish some kind of routine and for the most part the overall experience was a little easier to deal with. I feel like I was able to develop my teaching skills considerably further at this point in the first placement, I did have my ups and downs but overall I finished with much better knowledge than I thought I would. By the end of my first placement I was looking back on what/how I was teaching in the beginning and already thinking 'oh god why did I do it like that?' and all the rest. 
When it came to the final week, I have to say, the thought of leaving my placement school was a bit weird. You do find that you get quite attached and comfortable at your first school...or at least I did. Packing up my stuff on the final evening was a bit depressing :(
Anyhow that just proved I must have enjoyed myself! I really liked being able to teach lessons where the students were able to produce more refined work, particularly in Year 7 where we were working with the African Masks scheme of work I had written:
The masks turned out great! For weeks we have been creating lots of designs through collage and drawing, and I wasn't sure how the 3D versions would turn out. The students were really looking forward to making the masks for real and put in alot of effort when we came to building them. The masks they went on to produce really impressed me and I hope they go on display within the art department.
With my year 8 class we were studying Gargoyles which involved several lessons of drawing in charcoal. I really enjoyed teaching this class as there were some great characters and the kids worked pretty hard. Towards the end we got working on clay gargoyles and again the results were awesome. I think the class particularly enjoyed this part as the classroom went near silent when they were allowed to work with the clay independently - alot of their individuality came out in their designs too.
In the final four weeks of my placement I also took over Year 10 lessons. During my placement I had spent alot of time getting to know this class and I wouldd say that overall this class was the most memorable. Although as much as I liked them, looking back on it I think this made them the most difficult to teach as I took things they did and said quite personally! Lesson learned. 
Anyway - I had to introduce them to 3d work, so I started off by getting them to create paper maquettes based on the work of Alexander Calder. I created templates for the class to work on which helped alot, but a few were confident enough to produce their own designs.
After the paper maquettes we moved on to working with wire, as it was part of the scheme of work set by the art department. The class were better at this than they thought, and despite their low morale they produced some amazing wire self portraits. These 2D portraits led on to create 3D heads which they are likely continuing now that I have finished my placement at the school.
Apart from teaching, the placement saw the completion of the School Based Study which was a project set up by the PCM (assistant head of the school in most cases) and my university. I conducted research with another PGCE student at the school who was lovely which made things easier. The study proposed that we conduct an investigation within the school context, so we looked into the aspirations of the sixth formers. We started off by conducting a survey on my year 12 form group and found that many of them had little or no interest in going to university and felt they were not supported enough. From this we produced a presentation of our findings and a booklet for the sixth formers to support them in alternative graduation options. We had to present all of this to the Head of the school and the sixth form leader, who then used our findings to adjust their own approach to sixth form. It went surprisingly well despite being nervous during the presentation! I also found that the research was very useful in my job interview....but thats for next time!


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