Monthly Archives: December 2006

2006
12/22

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Teaching

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1 down 2 to go

So here it is, “Merry Christmas”… and that’s one term down and two to go. I’m shattered, but in a good way trust me.

The school production took up the great majority of the final few weeks – lessons were fit around rehearsals, although the sequence on “The Charge of the Light Brigade” that I’d been working on was squeezed in a fair bit (along with a few maths lessons on negative numbers to be sure that the children had met their targets for the term) with the odd ICT lesson on posters and presentations.

It’s so hard to know what to say, here. The situation has changed so much since I started, that I’m not totally sure which way is up any more. I’m petrified at the thought of qualifying, yet desperately concerned that I’ll never be ready and so won’t pass muster when it comes to assessment time. (This was mitigated to some extent when my mentor assured me that he still wasn’t convinced he’d ever be ready by the half-term in the summer term of his PGCE training).

This has been a wonderful first term – the school is excellent, the staff supportive and helpful and the children… well, most of the time they’re lovely, too.

Now, next term, I just have to get my head around all of the paperwork hoops through which I need to jump in order to qualify! Wish me luck… eep.

The force is strong in this one…

Just a quick post (by way of a slight brag) as I had a cracking literacy lesson today… we’re in the midst of a sequence on “The Charge of the Light Brigade” as an example of narrative poetry and I’m taking the class through creating a summary of the poem, so that they get a feel for what the story behind the poem actually is.

We got to the point where “theirs not to make reply/theirs not to reason why/theirs but to do and die” and I was trying to explain the whole “do or die” concept… and struggling a little… when I was struck by a rather odd thought… taking a deep breath I tentatively asked “who remembers that part in the second Star Wars film (episode 5) on Dagoba in the swamp with Luke and Yoda” and went on to talk about when Yoda basically says “don’t try… do or do not” – and it worked! Pretty much everybody knew what I was talking about (with the exception, perhaps of my class teacher, who was rapidly reconsidering all the nice things she’d ever written about me) and we moved on.

But I finished the day on a complete high – not only had I managed to explain the poem to them, but I’d done it using Yoda! I even threw in a (lame) Yoda impression (always one to push my luck) when getting them to put their books away at the end… it was also well received.

*sigh*

2006
12/01

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Teaching

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Book Review – How Children Learn

As a kind of sequel to “How Children Learn“, John Holt’s “How Children Learn” is another wonderful reminder of how children are, by nature, learning machines. They want to learn. They live to learn. All we have to do is be careful not to drum it out of them in school.

Again, an annotated collection of memos and journal entries, this takes us through a later period of Holt’s life – after he’s had much more experience running a scheme to assist parents in home-schooling their children – but no less fascinating. Again, Holt reminds us that children do wasnt to learn but that the worst we can do is to try and force that education on them – letting them elect to learn is the best way. Admittedly, this doesn’t always fit in a school setting (I’m reminded of a pupil of mine who keeps wanting to read her book during lessons in which she thinks she’s already suitably qualified) but nevertheless it’s a wonderful read and inspirational, to boot.

Again, read it.