Digital Competence and Music: evolving our programmes for new opportunities and challenges.

With the recent refresh of technology in the specialist music rooms at Cardiff Met, the BA Secondary Music team reworked the programme to allow student teachers to explore the subject in ways which make use of the existing digital skills of pupils as well as developing new ones. Here are some examples of changes we made, and what happened. The subject of music has been associated with the use of technology for a long time.

The most relevant sections of the new Digital Competence Framework for this subject are:

  • select and use a variety of appropriate software, tools and techniques to create, modify and combine multimedia components in one or more languages
  • use software tools to create, enhance and combine text, images, sound and video and animation for a range of audiences and purposes

It’s really important for student music teachers to understand that, while ‘music technology’ was once seen as a separate and specialist subject, it should now be embedded in general music teaching practice.

We can use widely available consumer devices nowadays, rather than assuming at we need expensive specialist studio equipment. Technology & The Music Teacher (year 1) The first year module Technology & the Music Teacher was historically one which dealt with music technology as a ‘specialist’ subject. Content in the module included principles of sound generation and recording, MIDI protocol, the polar pickup patterns of different kinds of microphone – all important and interesting, but more technical than a musical when taken in isolation.

Gradually, student teachers found that technology was becoming more seamlessly embedded and accessible in their subject on placement. We shifted the delivery of the module to become more representative of this. More emphasis was given to encouraging different sorts of assignment submissions, with less focus on high-level technical skills and more on creating resources that encourage pupils to bring their existing digital skills into the music classroom. We also visited Willows High School to see the work of Gareth Ritter, an outstanding practitioner of digital technologies in music and a Microsoft Innovative Teacher.

Continue reading “Digital Competence and Music: evolving our programmes for new opportunities and challenges.”

Eleri David reflects on her first term as a GTP trainee in school

Penderfynais i wneud y GTP ar ôl gweithio fel cynorthwyydd am nifer o flynyddoedd. Dysgu oedd wastad rhywbeth roeddwn i am wneud ond ar ôl cwympo mewn i rôl cynorthwyydd roedd e’n anodd ffeindio’r hyder i fynd yn ôl i’r brifysgol a gwneud cwrs dysgu. Mae’r GTP, felly, yn ffordd wych o ddod yn athrawes ac yn berffaith i fi achos doedd dim angen gadael gwaith llawn amser er mwyn hyfforddi.

Saith wythnos yn ôl ffeindiais i fy hunan yn eistedd o flaen dau ddeg naw o blant pedair oed yn meddwl mai fi oedd yn gyfrifol drostynt yn yr ysgol a fi oedd gorfod sicrhau eu bod nhw’n dysgu popeth y gallent cyn gadael dosbarth derbyn. Her yw dysgu, ac un sydd yn fy nghyffro i’n fawr iawn.

Mae’r hanner tymor cyntaf wedi pasio’n gyflym iawn ac mae wedi bod yn gyfnod llawn hwyl a sbri. Rydw i wedi delio â llawer o bethau, ond dw i dal wedi gwenu a chwerthin pob dydd. Dydy e ddim wedi bod yn hawdd a dw i wedi cwestiynu fy hunan ond, ar y cyfan, mae’r profiad wedi bod yn bositif iawn.

Dw i’n meddwl mai mantais oedd gweithio fel cynorthwyydd yn yr ysgol cyn dechrau’r GTP. Roeddwn i’n ymwybodol o ddisgwyliadau rôl athrawes ac roedd gen i ddealltwriaeth dda o beth i ddisgwyl. Yn ogystal, roeddwn i’n gyfarwydd â’r ysgol ac wedi adeiladu perthnasau cadarnhaol gyda fy nghyd-weithwyr. Mae pawb gwastad ar gael gyda chyngor, cymorth ac atebion i’n cwestiynau ac maen nhw wedi bod yn gefnogol iawn sydd wedi gwneud y pontio yn haws. Mae llawer o gyfrifoldeb ychwanegol i fi’r flwyddyn yma ond oherwydd cefnogaeth yr ysgol a staff yr ysgol dw i’n hyderus ac yn edrych ymlaen at weddill y flwyddyn.

Roeddwn i’n ymwybodol y byddai’r flwyddyn hon yn un brysur a flinedig. Rydw i’n dibynnu ar fy mentor sydd wastad yna i roi cyngor i fi neu jyst ar gyfer chat am sut mae pethau’n mynd. Mae hi’n adnabod fy nghryfderau a hefyd yn fy helpu i wella. Mae’r brifysgol yn gallu teimlo’n bell ond mai dim ond e-bost i ffwrdd yw cyngor ac atebion i unrhyw gwestiynau. Hefyd, mae diwrnodau darlithoedd yn cyrraedd yn weddol gyflym gyda’r cyfle i siarad gyda phobl yn yr un sefyllfa. Mae’r darlithoedd eu hunain yn ddefnyddiol dros ben i adeiladu ar wybodaeth sylfaenol o agweddau penodol addysg. Mae llawer o jargon yn cael ei defnyddio yn yr ysgol ond oherwydd sesiynau yn y brifysgol mae gen i ddealltwriaeth llawer gwell.

Dw i weithiau yn teimlo fel fy mod i’n boddi mewn papur. Mae gwir angen cadw ar ben yr holl waith, sydd wedi rhoi esgus if y fynd allan a phrynu llwyth o ffeiliau pert! Mae’n help mawr i edrych at hen ffeiliau cyn-fyfyrwyr er mwyn deal beth sy’n mynd ble yn lle ceisio gweithio popeth allan eich hunain ac yn bendant mae’n haws taclo’r gwaith yn aml cyn ei fod yn tyfu fel mynydd.

Mae’n rhaid i fi atgoffa fy hunan nad oes rhaid i fi fod yn berffaith ac er oedd gen i’r fantais o weithio fel cynorthwyydd, mae dal llawer i ddysgu wrth i fi ddod i’r afael â’r rôl newydd. Dw i wedi cael fy nhaflu mewn i’r swydd ond mae wedi gweithio yn iawn i fi achos dyna sut fydd hi yn y dyfodol a dw i ddim ar fy mhen fy hun. Mae llawer o bobl o’n nghwmpas i, diolch i’r ysgol a phrifysgol ac mae gen i’r hyder i daro’r nod.

Mae nawr saith wythnos tan wyliau Nadolig. Maen nhw’n mynd i fod yn hynod o brysur gyda sut gymaint yn digwydd, ond dw i’n edrych ymlaen!

I decided to take the plunge and apply for the Graduate Teacher Programme after working as a teaching assistant for several years. I had always wanted to be a teacher but fell into work and put it on the backburner for a while. Working as a teaching assistant gave me the confidence and the eventual push I needed to go for it and so it was that I found myself sitting in front of a class of twenty nine four-year-olds contemplating what I had let myself in for!

Continue reading “Eleri David reflects on her first term as a GTP trainee in school”

Spain calling……. British College La Cañada, Valencia! Scott Darnell, PGCE Secondary Senior Mentor in our partner school in Spain highlights a ‘special’ partnership

Greetings from Spain……British College La Cañada,

SUPER Teacher Training: Internationalising the Welsh Curriculum

scott

When I took on the role of Secondary Coordinator at British College La Cañada, departing the gloomy urban climes of Cardiff for the sumptuous Mediterranean lures of Valencia, Spain, I always knew that my long-term strategic vision to enhance pupil outcomes was to maintain the close-knit ties with Wales and her re-shaping of the curriculum. Being an ex UWIC / Cardiff Met PGCE student, there was no doubt that injecting talented, enthusiastic fresh blood into my school dynamics would impact hugely on raising standards in terms of my curriculum needs and in forging a strong partnership with Cardiff Met.

In 2015/16, we hosted our first tribe of ready and willing, keen-as-mustard PGCE students, taking them under my wing as Senior Mentor with a team of experienced subject mentors. Albeit small in numbers, the PGCE students that we took on left a legacy and benchmark for future student teachers; still our pupils ask after them!

Continue reading “Spain calling……. British College La Cañada, Valencia! Scott Darnell, PGCE Secondary Senior Mentor in our partner school in Spain highlights a ‘special’ partnership”

ITE students sum up their first week in school – in five emojis!

 Our ITE students have been on placement for a substantial period of time, and most of them feel like an established part of their department and school. Relationships have been created with pupils and colleagues, and hopefully the first-week nerves are a distant memory. As we approach the end of placement one, we thought it would be fun to remind our students that they were asked to sum up their first week on placement. The twist was that they were only allowed to do it using five emojis! They then found their way out into the world via our Twitter feed @ITECardiffMet with the hashtag #1stWeekin5Emojis.

Let’s take a look back and see what they made of school in those early days.

emoji

Guest Writer – Professor Dan Davies

Dan Davies, Sally Bethell, Sue Challenger, Sian Davies-Barnes, Susan Davis, Paul Herrington, Gina Morgan and Sharne Watkins are involved in a research project called ‘Routes into Teaching’. The project is led by Prof Peter Davies at the University of Birmingham, and also involves colleagues at Universities of Newcastle and South Wales. We are trying to find out about how student teachers on different types of programmes learn to teach, and how they understand the process of learning to teach. We interviewed twelve student teachers in February 2016, a mixture of primary and secondary on undergraduate and postgraduate routes.SONY DSCNine of these we followed up with second interviews in June to see whether their views about learning to teach had changed following their second school experience. The wider sample of 31 student teachers also included some on ‘school direct’ routes in England. From these interviews we identified six aspects of learning to teach: reflection, self-determination, gestation of learning, view of knowledge for teaching, contexts for learning and view of learning. Each aspect has two or more variations held by the student teachers in the sample, enabling us to produce ‘pen-portraits’ of typical categories of learner. This was explored in greater depth in our paper for the British Education Research Association (BERA) conference in Leeds last month and will be published next year. Our priority for 2016-17 is to design intervention activities for our student teachers that help them to understand their learning better and become better teachers as a result!

Now teaching maths at Radyr Comprehensive School, former PGCE Secondary maths trainee Alice Walker reflects on her amazing eight week European placement at Aiglon College, Switzerland (April-June 2016)

As I set off on my journey to Aiglon, I was filled with two emotions: nerves and excitement! I had just met the two other students that I would be sharing this experience with and we really did not know what to expect.
In my mind, Aiglon was a scary prospect: the third most expensive school in the world, highly academically esteemed pupils, and pupils from a background I had almost no insight into.
However, in a short time all of my expectations were surpassed. I absolutely loved my time at Aiglon and here is why:

1) Welcoming Staff
Walking into Aiglon, the big thing that washed over me was how calm the staff were. This helped me as, prior to this experience, I often found myself in a whirlwind. Here, staff gave me all the time in the world to discuss ideas and talk about improving my teaching. Alongside this, we were made to feel very welcome. We were invited to BBQs, school events, for dinner at staff houses, out on trips and to do other leisure activities with staff.
2) Pupil Respect
Another overwhelming feeling from the school was the pupils’ respect for staff. Being a student, I never felt truly confident about feeling like the class teacher in charge. This began to change as here, I was empowered to take responsibility for my class, decisions were mine and pupils accepted me as their teacher, fully.
3) Freedom to Experiment
Alongside staff support and pupil respect came the freedom to experiment. Small class sizes of respectful pupils meant going outside to teach, using a lot of different IT in the classroom, and, generally, trying anything outside the box was very well accepted. This supported my teaching as it motivated me to push my teaching outside my comfort zone, while also trying out more student led activities and also trying out new technology (goformative and Google Classroom to name a few).

Continue reading “Now teaching maths at Radyr Comprehensive School, former PGCE Secondary maths trainee Alice Walker reflects on her amazing eight week European placement at Aiglon College, Switzerland (April-June 2016)”

Why I still practise my subject – and why you should too!

PGCE Secondary Music programme leader Tom Breeze still works professionally as a musician. In this opinion piece he explains why he thinks it’s so important to keep living and breathing your subject, no matter how hectic life in the classroom can be.
tom1When I was training as a secondary music teacher here at Cardiff Met, I quickly made the same discovery that all student teachers do: namely that teaching is an all-encompassing job that can very easily take over your life! After having a very active life as a professional musician, doing concerts, recordings and broadcasts all over the place, I quickly found I had a new existence that involved planning, evaluating and preparing lessons whenever I was not in school. The few concerts that I did agree to do during my PGCE year were fairly hair-raising experiences as I was woefully underprepared. I clearly remember cracking open one piece of music for the first time four hours before I was due to perform it – not a happy feeling!

The PGCE year is a very intense one, and I was prepared to accept that I needed to throw myself into it fully in order to do the best I could for my pupils. When I reached the end of the course, I had a moment to reflect on the longer journey – my career as a teacher. I felt I had no regrets about my ‘sabbatical’ from performing, but I knew I had to reach a compromise in the longer term.
Continue reading “Why I still practise my subject – and why you should too!”