Placement Diary

During my time at placement I have been involved in several activities with the children. I have aimed to improve the children’s self-reliance by encouraging and motivating them to be able to get themselves changed i.e. changing into P.E kits, nativity costumes and putting on their coats and outdoor wear such as, scarfs, hats and gloves.

Many of the children struggled doing up their top buttons, tying their ties and shoelaces, doing up their zips and Velcro on shoes. All children have different capabilities and work at different paces, whilst some of the children were more than capable of doing these activities others found it very difficult and often got upset and frustrated knowing they couldn’t do these themselves.

In order to improve the children’s self-esteem, I took photographs of each child’s face and asked them to paint a picture of themselves doing an activity they like and enjoy. By taking the photographs of the children’s faces they instinctively knew to smile which helped boost their self-esteem and put them in a happier mood. Before the children started the painting they had to think of an activity they enjoy, many children said they enjoyed spending time and doing activities with their classmates, therefore I decided to let the children work with a person of their choice, this also helped their self-esteem as they were doing an activity with their friend.

During the activity the children shared ideas and some children spoke to other classmates who they normally don’t talk too much and work with, this also helped to develop their social skills. I then applied the photograph of the children’s faces to their painting and asked them to write in a speech bubble what they were doing in their picture. Their work was later applied to the display board in their cloakroom, therefore the children see themselves doing something they enjoy at the start of everyday and every time they enter the cloakroom i.e. to go to the toilet and out to lunch and playtime. When the children see themselves on the display board they smile therefore the activity boosts their self-esteem.

In order to promote the children’s physical development I choreographed a dance routine to their nativity plays music and songs. The children all felt valued and I asked for their opinions on how they would like the dance to look and all of their opinions were listened to and expanded by myself. They worked together in time to the music; therefore the idea behind the activity was teamwork.

All the activities were planned through myself, the class teacher and teaching assistants along with the national curriculum. In the class all the children belong to different tables which are all based on their academic ability i.e. group 1 are the highest achievers whilst group 6 are the poorest achievers. Therefore each child’s ability was considered for each activity and myself and other staff decided the children were all capable of doing the same activities as often in class the children are given different activities to complete.

I encouraged and motivated the children throughout all the activities. I did this by changing the pitch of my voice to a higher pitch so the children recognised and were aware I was happy with them. I showed positive facial expressions e.g. smiling. I also encouraged the children by offering rewards such as, stickers and house points so they children have an incentive to work to. I used hand gestures such as thumbs up and clapping. When the struggled with the self-reliance activities, and said they couldn’t do them I encouraged and motivated them telling them that they could.

At the time in class the children were working on instructive writing in Literacy therefore I decided to link it with the self-reliance activities. I therefore broke down into stages and shown the children how they should; turn their clothes the right way, pull their sleeves out their clothes, tie their laces and ties, do their zips and apply their outdoor wear. The skill required for these activities was hand-eye coordination. I encouraged and supported the children during the painting activity by telling them how good their work looked and also by asking them questions to support their work.

I feel that the dance routine activity made the children stronger as a team. It reflected both their individualities and personalities. They enjoyed participating and found it very exciting and enjoyable but also very tiring. During this exercise which took place in the morning, made the children feel happy in themselves and more alert ready for the school day ahead. This activity was very popular with pupils and has led to an after-school dance club for all years to attend if they wish to.

The painting activity had a positive effect on the children and boosted their self-esteem dramatically. It helped the children to remember previous experiences they enjoyed. They learnt more about their personalities. Every child was happy throughout the activity and some found it very relaxing i.e. one pupil who has learning difficulties and finds it very difficult to stay focused.

Teaching the children the self-reliance activities proved very rewarding for them. It made them realise they were capable of doing things they thought they couldn’t do. Once they achieved this they were very excited to show off their new skills they had acquired.

Managing children’s behaviour is a very difficult skill to master; one approach may work for one child but not for another. When I child behaved I would acknowledge them in a positive manner and reward them using communication e.g. ‘well done’, I would also reward them via house points and stickers.

When I disciplined a child I would remain calm as it is important not to lose my temper and the children may think it’s ok to lose their temper, it’s unprofessional and may also scare and upset the child.

As the children are young I would often not shout at them and instead discipline then in a more sensitive way i.e. say I am very disappointed in you and the way you are behaving and discipline them whether it was by taking away their luxuries i.e. their class jobs or break/lunch times or ‘golden time’ when the children are allowed to do any activity they like on a Friday afternoon, I mainly dealt with minor misbehaviour because if a child’s misbehaviour was major then I would have to send them to either the Head teacher of deputy to be disciplined by them.

One boy who has several behaviour issues due to having learning difficulties, would often show negative behaviour in class and to other children, would be disciplined a little differently to other children as if you disciplined him using the techniques you used with other children then he would show aggression towards you and get very upset with himself and go into depression and say he couldn’t do something’s i.e. tasks you set him and others.

Therefore, instead of disciplining him I would use motivation and encouragement which therefore changed his behaviour to be much more positive, if I did discipline him I would simply say ‘STOP’ and he would or tell him to stand up for two minutes as normally the reason I would discipline him would be because he was talking when he shouldn’t be, not listening, distracting others or throwing things and if he had to stand up he could no longer do these things.

When I started my placement the class teacher was absent due to an operation, she initially planned to be away for three days however, due to complications she was absent for over two months.

Therefore, I had the experience of working with four other teachers, one being an ex-head teacher of a very tough school, because I worked with four other teachers I learnt a lot more than I would off just one teacher, all the teachers were very supportive towards me and shared with me their teaching skills which some had built up from over 30 years of experience in the education sector.

I have learnt how to manage children’s behaviour using several techniques, one boy in my class has very poor behaviour and myself and other teachers used many techniques to discipline and manage his behaviour however, many of them had very little effect and he wasn’t phased in the slightest, he often misbehaved for female staff but they noticed when he was with me his behaviour was a lot better and he responded to me in a much more positive way due to me being a man.

Teachers have said the males in the class benefit from me because I too am male. I often work with the boy on a daily basis and work with a group of eight children in the class who are of the poorest ability in the class, now the boy behaves a lot better whenever I am around and I have learnt that some disciplinary strategies work for some children but don’t for other children. I believe this is because all children are different so respond to different things.

I have noticed when parents drop off and collect their children that some of them also misbehave for their parents but their parents don’t discipline them, therefore the children arrive to class thinking they can misbehave and get away with it because they do with their parents. On occasions when I have confronted negative behaviour children have said ‘but my mom and dad let me’ or ‘my mom and don’t tell me off’ so I start by reminding the children that they are in school now, not home and with me not their parents and then followed on by disciplining them, now the children are aware that in the school behaviour they can’t do some of the things they do at home.

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