When you qualify as a teacher it’s the best feeling ever: a mixture of achievement, relief that observations are complete, elation that you’ve actually got through quite possibly the most challenging year of your life and pure excitement at the thought of a lie in on a Monday morning (for a while at least).
However, I would argue that nothing can prepare you for that feeling you have walking into your school on your first day as an NQT! All of sudden you’re in charge and however ‘ready’ you feel at the end of your final school experience, it is petrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I was so excited to greet the children on that first day (yep, no training days for me); however, I had NEVER been a class teacher at the beginning of autumn term. Best piece of advice…talk to fellow NQTs. Every one of my PGCE cohort that I spoke to experienced something similar to this.
So what does a typical week look like for an NQT? Hectic! One thing that PGCE certainly prepares you for is workload, but the skill is to manage this workload and I am constantly learning how to do this.
On Monday 17th October 2016, the Cardiff School of Education (CSE) at Cardiff Metropolitan University was delighted to play host to a group of Thai STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) educators. The 18-strong group comprised of teachers and directors of Vocational Colleges, Director and Deputy Secretary General of the Office of Vocational Education commission (OVEC), representatives from the British Council, the British Embassy in Bangkok and ‘Think, Learn, Challenge!’ The visit was organised through British Council and ‘Think, Learn, Challenge!’ who are working in collaboration to develop a new STEM curriculum for Thailand.
On their first full day of a week-long visit to the UK to investigate STEM education, the group had an action-packed day ahead of them! They were warmly welcomed to the University by Julia Longville (Deputy Dean of CSE and Director of Learning and Teaching), Kin Yu (Head of Department for Initial Teacher Education) and Viv John (PGCE Secondary Programme Director). A fascinating insight into Thai Vocational Education followed with our visitors enthusiastically questioning PGCE tutors about education structure and systems in the UK. Our visitors then joined tutors and student teachers for lively debate in group seminars on the tricky issue of Behaviour Management.
Professor Dan Davies, Dean of School of Education and a team of PGCE Secondary tutors hosted a well-deserved lunch for our visitors before they were whisked off to join in subject sessions in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, DT and ICT where they experimented and constructed with gusto! The day was rounded off with a question and answer session with Science tutors and an exchange of gifts.
The primary purpose of the visit was to explore how effective pedagogy is developed through STEM subjects. Our visitors were highly complimentary about the enthusiasm, motivation and engagement shown by our student teachers. Feedback from the group about the teaching approaches used by tutors to model methodology and the design of programmes was overwhelmingly positive. Thanks were given to all for a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking visit.
End of week reflection. Myfyrdodau diwedd yr wythnos
Mae fy wythnos gyntaf o Brofiad Ysgol 1 wedi bod yn ffantastig! Roedd y staff mor groesawgar, a gwnaethon nhw i mi deimlo’n gartrefol ar unwaith. Ar ôl cael taith o gwmpas yr ysgol a arweinir gan fy Uwch Fentor dangosodd hi fy ystafell ddosbarth i mi. Cefais groesawiad mor hyfryd oddi wrth fy Mentor a Blwyddyn 2! Rydw i’n edrych ‘mlaen yn fawr iawn at dreulio’r misoedd nesaf gyda nhw. Treuliais fy wythnos gyntaf yn arsylwi sut mae’r plant yn gweithio ar y cyfan, ond hefyd rwyf wedi dysgu llawer o strategaethau addysgu a fydd yn ddefnyddiol ar gyfer fy amser fel athrawes ddosbarth. Canolbwyntiais ar ymddygiad y plant a sylwais sut mae’r athrawes yn dod i’r afael ag unrhyw faterion. Arsylwais ar rai unigolion yn agos a dechreuais dracio’u symudiadau yn ddyddiol felly gallaf i ddod i’w hadnabod ychydig yn fwy. Ar ôl wythnos, yr wyf yn teimlo’n fwy cyfforddus am y cwrs. Cyn mynd i mewn i Brofiad Ysgol 1, roeddwn i mor nerfus! Roeddwn yn gweld hi’n anodd rhoi popeth mewn i gyd-destun, ond ar ôl eistedd i lawr gyda fy mentor a’r uwch fentor syrthiodd popeth i’w le. Erbyn diwedd y trydydd dydd roeddwn i wedi penderfynu ar ba blant hoffwn dracio a seilio fy aseiniadau arnynt. Mae hwn yn bwysau mawr oddi ar fy ysgwyddau.
Mae’r ffaith bod y tair wythnos gyntaf yn cael eu treulio’n arsylwi’r dosbarth yn wych! Rydw i mor falch bod gennym ni’r cyfle i gymryd sedd ôl am ychydig wythnosau, mae’n golygu fy mod yn cael mwy o amser i arsylwi’r plant a chael gwell dealltwriaeth o’u cymeriadau. Roedd gen i ofn am hyn ar ddechrau’r cwrs, mi oeddwn i’n ofni na fyddai gennyf digon o amser i ddod i adnabod enwau’r plant i gyd. Ond mae’r wythnosau cyntaf o arsylwi yn mynd i helpu gyda dysgu enwau’r plant sydd yn wych wrth ystyried fy nghof ofnadwy! Mae’r llyfryn ‘Dysgu drwy Ymholiad’ wedi bod yn help enfawr i mi yr wythnos hon, yr wyf yn argymell yn gryf eich bod yn cael cymaint â phosibl wedi’i gwblhau o fewn y tair wythnos gyntaf. Rwy’n teimlo’n llawer mwy hyderus yn fy hun ar ôl gwneud y tasgau yn y llyfryn gan ei fod yn ei gwneud yn ofynnol i mi holi am bethau, pethau na fyddwn wedi holi amdanynt os nad oedd hi’n ofynnol i mi wneud. Mae’r llyfryn wedi fy rhoi mewn cysylltiad ag aelodau o’r uwch dim, a chydlynwyr yr ysgol sy’n beth da rhag ofn bod gen i gwestiwn pan mae’r amser yn dod i fi ddechrau cynllunio ac addysgu. Mae fy sgiliau arsylwi wedi gwella gyda phob tasg yr wyf wedi cyflawni yn y llyfryn, mae cymryd cam yn ôl yn dod yn arfer da i mi nawr sydd yn ffordd dda i mi weld sut mae’r tasgau yn cael eu gwahaniaethu ar draws y grŵpiau. Yn gyffredinol ni allwn wedi gofyn am wythnos gyntaf well, rwyf yn teimlo fel fy mod i’n gallu ymlacio rhywfaint nawr gan fod popeth yn dechrau cwympo yn ei le. Alla i ddim aros i gynllunio ac addysgu nawr! Dwi mor gyffrous ond nerfus ar yr un pryd… dydy’r glöynnod byw heb fynd ‘to hyd yn oed ar ôl wythnos!!
Viv John, Secondary PGCE Programme Director, leads the 14 PGCE secondary courses here at Cardiff Met and is also studying for a Doctorate in Education (EdD) at CMU. Her subject and her teaching experience have inspired her research.
A bit of background
At heart, Viv is a performer (flute, piano and voice). She studied music at Goldsmiths, London, and trained to teach at the Institute of Education (IoE), London. The philosophy of active learning that she valued there has stayed with her throughout her teaching career. After an initial teaching foray in Brentford, she was drawn back home to South Wales, first to Whitchurch High and then as head of music at St Joseph’s in Newport. Her next ‘adventure’ was unique – setting up the education programme at the newly opened Wales Millennium Centre, providing educational opportunities across the age range, from toddlers to pensioners.
Viv’s doctoral studies focus on the ‘slippery concept of creativity’, and in particular she challenges the received wisdom that musicians must be creative by virtue of their subject. Her research explores music student teachers’ perceptions of their creativity as musicians, and investigates how their creative capacities can be developed in the classroom. She works with beginning teachers who come from a wide range of musical backgrounds – e.g. classical, jazz, pop – and is unpicking their notions of creativity, exploring how far creative musicians make creative teachers.
Trainee teachers: Francesca Probert and Daniel Williams
Primary School: Ysgol Y Ddraig, Llantwit Major.
September 19th – October 13th 2016
This unique four-week placement gave us the confidence to step into the teaching/learning environment with our first secondary school placements starting shortly.
Armed with two weeks of induction we quickly sampled the real world of planning, teaching and learning. Although we had the introductory theory, teaching your first class is a real step into the unknown!
The AiR theme this year was ‘Telling Tales’ and this wide-open topic worked nicely with Ysgol Y Ddraig’s BFG theme. AiR has allowed us to be experimental and creative with our projects and through the art of ‘creating’ we’ve encouraged our pupils to take risks and experiment.
We’re in a very supportive school and we’re very grateful for the help we’ve received from all the staff. One of the benefits of this residency is the ‘paired placement’, allowing us to bounce ideas off one another, discuss the progress of learners and to evaluate our next steps.
We are delighted to inform you that we have secured Professor Graham Donaldson – author of ‘Successful Futures’ and the visionary behind the new Welsh curriculum – to come and talk to students on 2nd November at 3.00-4.00 in Lecture Theatre 2 – Places are limited, sign up online from 21st October.
Professor Graham Donaldson makes the case for ‘CREATIVITY’ | ‘Developing creativity in learning: the impact of the Donaldson report’ | October 6th, 2016
PGCE Art & Design students, accompanied by tutors Robert Griffin and Paul Herrington participated in the recent Artes Mundi Learning Conference at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Notable keynote speakers in the morning were Professor Graham Donaldson, principal author of ‘Successful Futures’ and Anna Cutler, Director of Learning at the Tate. The afternoon involved delegate participation in a variety of creative ‘learning’ workshops e.g. ‘Linking contemporary artists themes with older traditional art’ and ‘Creative cross-curricular learning’.
In his address, Donaldson launched the case for ‘creativity’ to an audience of art and design teachers and other art ‘education’ professionals. He warmly cited Sir Ken Robinson’s thoughts on ‘creativity’ whilst offering his perception of the term, with one eye on the new curriculum. He argued that creativity could raise self-esteem and enhance all round performance. He explained how creativity has the capacity to prepare learners for employment where flexibility and innovativeness matter. From an experiential perspective Donaldson highlighted that creativity offers the learner personal fulfillment, excitement and wonder. Follow the link below for more conference news:
We all love a good story. They are a significant part of our navigation through life. The Harry Potter stories are a fiction phenomenon – providing a thrilling magical world for millions of people.
Asked in a recent poll which Hogwarts house they would be in, Cardiff Met student teachers showed their true colours. 54% of you voted to be in Gryffindor – Harry Potter’s house. Ravenclaw was runner-up (23%), followed by Hufflepuff (14%) and finally Slytherin (10%).
So what does this reveal about our next generation of teachers? Rather encouragingly, perhaps, by opting for Godric Gryffindor’s house, the majority of students appear to be appreciating the courage and determination of Harry Potter, qualities that you’ll certainly need on school experience!
The Ravenclaw voters are undoubtedly valuing the wit and intellect for which this house is famous, whilst those of you imbued with decency and fair play align yourself with Cedric Diggory’s house, Hufflepuff. Again, these houses stand for attributes that will serve you well in the classroom.
Which leaves those of you who voted for Slytherin – a house with a history of producing dark and dangerous characters! We have no doubt that your cunning, your determination and your keen sense of ambition will take you far in school!
PGCE Primary student teacher, Liam Coupland, outlines his first week of school experience.
Well I’m sat in my car and I’m starting to feel nervous now – not unexpected as I’m going into the unknown. But I’ve done this before and I just need to get on with it. Once I’m in I’ll be fine. I think it’s just the fact I’m going in as a ‘teacher’ not a teaching assistant. It’s more responsibility and it’s that next step up.
Had a really nice introduction to the school. A thorough walk around with 2 mentors and 2 fellow trainees to see the whole school and meet the teachers in every class from nursery to year 6. Everyone seems welcoming, friendly and supportive. My mentor established my authority straight away by reiterating to the class that I’m a ‘teacher’.
I have already noticed the low-level disruption of a couple of students. I have already mentally marked them in for social/behavioural interventions towards my studies.
I was given a lovely pack by my mentor which included everything I needed for my school information, IEPs and, importantly, I was given a full run down of the framework for the Autumn term including week by week plans for literacy, maths and topic. All of this means my planning will be so much more robust.
End of day one and I’m feeling positive, if a bit tired. Lots of Information and an INSET after school. I’ve got some great ideas going forth. I think I have all of my children chosen for all my tasks, and my mentor seemed to agree with my choices. It was all very productive and I’m looking forward to getting back into it tomorrow, starting with PE first thing.
Do you recognise this scenario? You’ve started that important journey to being a teacher. You’ve enrolled; you have the files, your email account, your modules on Moodle, your timetable and a shiny new pencil case; you’ve listened well during induction and you should feel informed and prepared … but you don’t.
It can be overwhelming when you start a new course, particularly in initial teacher education, even if you are a graduate and have been through the ‘new student’ experience before. It may be you have lots of questions and if they relate to your assignments, course content or school placements then your personal tutor is there to help you. For everything else, there’s the i-Zone.
The i-Zone is a “One-Stop-Shop” that is based on both the Cyncoed and Llandaff campuses. Their motto is “Just Ask” and they will answer whatever question you have about accommodation, enrolment, fees or other non-academic matters. If they can’t help you, they will direct you to someone who will. Take a look at some of the main types of enquiries they deal with at the Cyncoed i-Zone.