Introduction The school is a large school compared

Introduction

I
am currently on placement at Smiths Wood Primary Academy in year group 3. The
school is a large school compared to average and has a total amount of 461
children in role. The school changed to an academy in 2014 where they are
aiming to create further opportunities for the everybody involved with the
school. The school has a number of 59 teachers, including assistants and other
important roles such as; Behaviour professional, child and family support
worker, play therapist and a forest school leader. This enables the children on
role to be provided with the support they need and anybody they need to be
referred to. The children within the school are all from the local demographic
area of Smiths Wood. In 2014 Smiths Wood Primary Academy got a good in their
Ofsted Report, however, in their previous inspection (2016) they received an
outstanding! Ofsted acknowledged that the teachers speak with passion and pride
about what they do. In addition, Ofsted noted that the school uses exceptional
support well for disadvantaged pupils who have special educational needs.
Within the school, there are 92 children with special education needs who are
currently being supported by effectiveness.

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Within
my induction, I got given all the school policies to read through which made me
aware of there current policies such as; child protection, equal opportunities,
staff code of conduct, e-safety, SEND Policy, mobile phones and most
importantly safeguarding. Smiths Wood Primary Academy requires you to have a
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and bring it in when you have your
induction which allows them to check that I am legally allowed to work with
children. It is a legal requirement to have a DBS as it can prevent unsuitable
people from working with children (Department of Education, 2013). Once my DBS
had been checked over by a member of staff I was then required to sign in using
their computer where they would print off a pass for me including a current
photo which had to be worn at all times. This was to ensure that all staff and children
around the school knew who I was and to meet their policy needs. This follows
the schools safeguarding policy and meets The Teacher Standards (2012), which
states that the school has the responsibility of providing a safe environment
for the children and ensuring that all staff has had the appropriate measure
carried out to make sure they are eligible to work with children.

 

 

Communication

Within
the classroom, communication is used in many different ways to ensure
everything works efficiently. In particular, I use a lot of body language in
the classroom, this includes using a variety of different voice modulation,
which can enable children to become more focused if I am using different voice
modulation for particular situations. For example, when reading an extract for
guided reading, I used different tones of voices at certain parts of the
stories to enable the children to engage more and understand how the characters
are actually talking in the story. Lundy (2007), agrees that voice modulation is
an essential part of teaching, it can help can the children focus and pay more
attention whether speaking really softly or to emphasize the importance
particular texts where I would use a louder tone of voice. This is making sure
you are helping others understand, this type of communication is known as
assertive communication. Herman and Reinke (2014) describe assertive
communication as a balanced communication style, it gives and takes what both
the speaker and listener express their own opinions and ideas without
interruption which enables assertive listening. A key technique in how Smiths
Wood Primary does this is by writing each child’s name on a stick and picking
it out the “pot of fairness”, this enables each child to say their
own thoughts whilst the whole class and staff listen to their input. This can
encourage children who do not tend to put their hand up to communicate with the
class and tell everybody else their answers and ideas which can further develop
the children’s communication skills (Scrivener, 2014).   

I
noticed that the morning sessions, the children tended to show less enthusiasm
and fewer responses however the afternoon they were much more energetic and the
children were eager to give me more ideas. I found that core subjects such as reading
and mathematics were taught in the morning, whereas lessons such as PE and Art
and Design were taught in the afternoon. Bell (2005), says that many schools
follow this sort of routine because children are perceived to be more alert in
the morning, and find that children are more focused first thing in the morning
so the teachers concentrate more on important on the main core subjects and
teach them in the morning sessions.

Overall,
I feel like my communication skills have progressed from my placement. I
discovered a different range of techniques to communicate with staff and the
children. When working with children with Special Educational Learning Needs, I
had to use different communication skills. For example, taking a group away
from the classroom and to a quieter area where I provided whiteboards for the
children, this enabled the children to be able to look at the certain questions
instead of just listening vocally. Barber and Meeson (2007), express that this
type of approachable strategy helps children with learning difficulties as its
more visible and can help the child interact more with their own ability.
Within placement, I found that I used different types of communication with
different groups of children and feel as if my professional development has
developed and will help me with future placements.

 

British Values

Within
society, British Values plays a big part in cultural diversity. Gouldsboro
(2017), stresses that it is so important for teachers and teaching assistants
to educate young children on understanding identity and promote a positive
sense of identity, and to also effectively celebrate diversity. Further,
Bowlby, examines the importance of secure attachments, referring to emotional
intelligence. This can be achieved by following legislation and ensuring that
every child matters. Smiths Wood Primary Academy are very strong about British
Values, for each year group they provide their own overview of British Values
and what they want each year group to follow and learn about. Focusing on my
year group, the school split the coverage into five groups, this includes;
democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of
different faiths and beliefs. Their aim is that every child has clear
understanding of the coverage and can apply this within school. Department of
Education (2014), express that the idea of British Values is to ensure children
become valuable and treat others of society with respect and tolerance,
regardless of their background. They also want children to have understanding
of other people’s beliefs or faiths. During my experience at Smiths Wood, I
managed to witness a lesson on democracy, where the teacher carried out a
lesson to show children understanding of what Brexit is. Firstly, Mrs Sayer
(class teacher) introduced the history of the European Union and the current
Brexit campaign, the main activity involved the children sorting cards into
pros and cons of Brexit. The children showed lots of interest in this and got
very involved. Kelly (2017), says that children should be encouraged to explore
societies ongoing debates to enable them to give their own approach and
opinions. Kelly furthers this and also adds that it can develop children’s
skills, individual ability and also to give them awareness of how this can
affect education. Most of the children acknowledged this and had lots of input
and decisions on what they agree with and what they think should take place.

However,
research examines that children do not necessarily need to learn about Brexit
as they are too young to have a clear opinion on it, this may give them a
negative view on the government as they will not know enough knowledge to have
full understanding but should be able to have a say if they want too (Brander
et al., 2015), But, this is a positive process for children as not only are
they learning about British Values but they are showing an understanding of how
citizens can influence decision making through the democratic process.
Alongside this, Smiths Wood set up a school council where children can promote
a democratic process by demonstrating how democracy works, this gives children
a good opportunity to discuss new ideas for the school to promote fundamental
British Values. Whilst on placement, I also had the opportunity to listen in to
the children’s school council session, they were focusing on ideas for future
forest school experiences, the leading teacher turned the session into an
election, where they had two team leaders and the remaining school council
committee sided with whoever had the most valid point for them. This gave the
children the opportunity to have there say what they think the school could do
to develop forest schools. Parker and Leithwood (2000), explained that by
allowing children to participate in school councils enables them to have a
positive approach with the school and staff, and also to make an influence on
the school by providing their ideas.

 

Motivation

My
professional motivation within a school setting has always been to; help
children achieve, make a difference to them, provide them with common knowledge
and simply because I love working with the younger generation. Iliya (2015),
expands this by explaining that teachers are the most important factors for the
younger generation, their motivation is influenced by a myriad of factors,
which include; success in the classroom, dedication, and training. My type of
motivation is Intrinsic motivation, Deci (1975), describes this type of
motivation as willing to engage in activities for the sake of skills and
improvement enhancement for others. Furthermore, Deci and Ryan (2013)
discovered that through use of different materials it is likely to enhance the
children’s focus and curiosity. This gives the children more opportunities to
explore and discover, from the children showing interest and furthering their
development through exploration, this type of element intrinsically motivated
my learning attitude. A thrive of motivation comes from the children, research
explains that most motivation comes from wanting the children to do well, reach
their goals and achieve (Flanningan, 2014). On the other hand, some days I
found that if the children didn’t have a positive attitude this could affect my
motivation for the day. However, as teachers can be appointed as role models,
if teachers are happy and motivated then the children will achieve (Seebaluck
and Seegum, 2013). Furthermore, I found that when particular children found a
subject/question difficult, this gave me the motivation to help the child and
discover the answer together, once the child achieved the goal this thrived me
to ensure I make sure that this child achieved their developments and further
more. From this intrinsic motivation, I mused my professionalism to encourage
the child and provide them with lots of praise, Koca (2016) says that by giving
the children praise motivates the child to want to continue to do well and make
the teacher happy, this then enables the teachers to be incredibly more
motivated within the classroom as they can see their class children motivated
and happy because they are achieving their goals.

After
each day, I would reflect on my day and study my own experiences in order to
improve the way I work. Research shows that engaging in reflective practice can
help reflect on my experiences using Johns model for structured reflection.
This includes; reflection, influencing factors, could I have dealt with it
better, learning and description of the experience. From breaking the
situations down this can give you the chance to reflect and think about how
things have been handled and carried out, from reflecting and learning
different ways to do things next time, this gives the motivation you need as it
makes you more determined to get the best our yourself and the children by
using alternative methods (Johns and Burnie, 2013). However, alongside this,
some days where I lacked motivation, reflective practice helped me take a step
back and remind myself the positive aspects of my job, which gave me the
motivation to continue to work hard and achieve (Ryan, 2003).

 

Healthy Eating

The
Nutritional Standards for school lunches and other foods in schools came into
effect in September 2007. Department of Education (2016), set out advice to
help schools when planning to provide food for children. Furthermore, it
stipulates the legal requirements for food provided across the school day.
Smiths Wood Primary Academy recently achieved their healthy school status which
took them two years to achieve. This means the schools provide the children
with a range of different healthy food options including examples such as;
jacket potato, chicken, and vegetables, fish and potatoes along with a healthy
dessert option. Referring to The Requirements for School Food Regulations 2014,
the school follow the guidelines as to what essentials need to be provided
within a school dinner. Continued, following the legislation Smiths Wood also
provide water bottles free of charge for the children with 7 water fountains
around the school so the children can have access to fill their water bottles
up at any time, at break and lunchtime they also provide the children with milk
and juices along with fruit which is a legal requirement (Department for
Education. 2014). Within my placement, I asked the children if they enjoy their
school lunches, with there response being “I love them”. It was
outstanding to see that the children had the confidence and understanding of
making healthy eating choices. Schoenfeld (2017), evaluates that when children
eat healthily and have access to exercise this can help them have faster
reaction time on tasks when doing work and also improves the ability to have
more determination.

Due
to the children being aware of the difference of healthy and unhealthy foods, this
shows that the school is following the United Nations Conventions on the Rights
of a Child Act wherein article 24 it explains that children are given the right
to health and care. On the other hand, according to The School Food Trust,
healthy eating can also have an effect on children’s behavior, they stress the
importance of healthy and eating inside and out of school. Followed by this The
Children Act (2004) guiding principle explains that we need to allow children
to be healthy, so by Smiths Wood allowing the children to have the access to a
range of different healthy meal choices allows them to be healthy. Continued,
Smiths Wood also provide free fruit for children at school for break time along
with a fruit juice of their choice, this is to maintain the children’s healthy
eating lifestyle and encourage them to eat more fruit within school.

The
school also provide strong communication with parents, at the beginning of each
term they provide a list of different healthy foods to include in a child’s lunch
box just so parents are aware of what to include and how to follow a healthy
lifestyle for the children. This offers many advantages to children as it can
decrease obesity and putting children at health risks. Supporting this,
Loughrey (2012) describes that if parents are aware of the benefits from
healthy eating this can result in them wanting to give their children a healthy
diet in order to support their health. Furthermore, Owen (2005), stressed that
parents have a great influence on child and the way they are brought up, so by
providing them with a balanced healthy lifestyle can help their lifestyle
development as they grow up.

 

Conclusion

In
conclusion, I feel like I have learnt a lot of new strategies that I will use
when working with children, along with this placement has taught me that
motivation and enthusiasm play a lead part when working with children, and if
you are not coming to school happy and ready to work then neither will they. My
placement experience has enhanced my professional development and employability
skills, for example, my experience has taught me that it is important to
demonstrate appropriate levels of communication with not only children but also
staff. Barratt et al., (2013) explains that teachers who are skilled in
communication and classroom management create a positive learning environment
for the children and other staff. This can enable me to develop skills over
time through best practices by shared practice with other teachers and
classroom experiences.

Looking
at my feedback, I achieved four excellent and two exceptional. I have taken my
feedback on board and going to use it when I am in the classroom. My staff
supervisor mainly pointed out that I am motivated, flexible and hardworking.
Alongside this, my staff supervisor also added that I show understanding of the
importance of teamwork. Brookhart (2017), says that it’s effective to give
feedback to students as it gives them time to review their experience and help
them achieve their learning goals, interpreting the strengths and the problem
areas. From my experience, this has enabled me to develop my professional
development and helped me with my punctuality and expression in the workplace.
I am grateful for the feedback provided by the staff as this have given me the
opportunity to develop these skills further to my ability. 

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