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Ainm / Name: Darragh Hammel
Bliain / Year group: Year 1 Group 4
Uimhir mhic léinn / Student number: 16330341
Ábhar / Subject: PPSTL
Léachtóir / Teagascóir: Ruth Forrest, Triona Stokes
Lecturer / Tutor: Siún Ní Dhuinn
Sprioclá / Due date : 06/02/2017
Teideal an tionscadail / Assignment title: My Pivotal Learning Experience & Learning Goals for Year 2
Líon na bhfocal / Word Count:1460
Líon leathanach / Number of pages: 6
Aon ábhar eile sa tionscadal / Any other material in the assignment:
Dearbhaím gur mise amháin / mise mar bhall grúpa (cuir ciorcal timpeall na rogha a bhaineann leis an tionscadal thuas) a rinne an saothar seo. Aithním go soiléir aon chabhair a fuair mé ó aon duine eile, baill fhoirne nó gaol clainne san áireamh. Mo chuid scríbhneoireachta féin atá sa tionscadal seo ach amháin nuair a úsáidtear ábhar ar bith as foinsí eile. Tugtar aitheantas do na foinsí seo sna fo-nótaí nó sna tagairtí.
Dearbhaím go bhfuil treoirlínte an choláiste do thionscadail léite agam agus go dtuigim iad. Tá cóip den tionscadal coinnithe agam dom féin.
I confirm that I alone / I as part of a group (please circle whichever applies in the case of the above assignment) produced this project. I clearly acknowledge any help I received from any other person, staff members or relatives included. This project is my own composition except for material of any kind taken from other sources. These sources are acknowledged in the footnotes or references.
I confirm that I have read and understand the Department assignment guidelines. I have also retained a copy of the assignment for myself.
Síniú / Signature:
Dáta / Date 04/02/17
Pivotal Learning Experience
Education can be described as ‘an important factor in the day-to-day development of the child and in contributing to the personal, social, cultural and economic fulfilment of the future adult’ (Hussey 1999).
I feel this quote alone shows the responsibility we have as primary school teachers. The way we educate the children today, will play a huge part in their life further down the line. Education is not only something that impacts children’s lives inside the classroom but outside it to. The sooner more people become aware of this the better our understanding will be.
There is no doubt in my mind that my pivotal learning experience occurred during my first ever placement in January. It was a great experience for me and the moment I recall the most was actually during one of my inspections. I had already had my first inspection and was in my second week of placement expecting my next visit to be in the third week. I had taken all the feedback from the previous inspection into mind and definitely had improved by this stage. I followed my routine of coming in early and setting up my folder thinking that I had loads of time to organise myself further seeing as my lessons weren’t scheduled till after lunch. It was then my class teacher asked me if my lessons were ready as she had just seen my inspector walking up the path coming into the school. I nearly fainted with the surprise I had got. It was genuinely the last thing I expected.
After a few minutes of stressing out I decided to go down to my inspector and greet her. She then came into class and I hosted my two lessons. It just so happened that it was only then I realised how engaged the children were to my lessons. They were thoroughly enjoying it and so was I. A massive element to my teaching is humour and I am under oath from my inspector not to lose that. Little did I know how ready and prepared I actually was. I enjoy teaching and that’s what makes me good at it. I also feel that I keep one of the aims of the curriculum in mind at all times: ‘to enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual’ (NCCA 1999, 7).
So, as you can see preparation was a huge implication for me at the start. My lessons were finishing 5-7 minutes early. Now we were told to expect this but I of course didn’t think it would happen to me. Those few spare minutes seem like nothing on paper but it feels like hours when you are at the top of the room. It was then I realised that in future lesson plans, I had to be much more descriptive and go in depth. The lesson plans are longer and therefore so is the lesson.
Another implication I feel I had was that I think I expected too much from the children at the start. I was in a multi grade classroom but at times I was trying to teach the Junior Infants work that was really only appropriate for the Senior Infants. This did have implications for the children’s learning as I had some very confused Junior Infant children which was no benefit to me or the class teacher as it would be left to her at the end to clean up the pieces. So, I got my act together. I did this when teaching ‘The role of phonemic awareness’ (Westwood, 2015: 95-96). The night before this lesson I had prepared two different types of worksheets. One for the Juniors and one for the Seniors. These proved to be a great conclusion to my lesson and I knew that all learning objectives were being achieved at different standards which was perfect. After all teaching English is not at all as easy as I thought it would be. You have to take so much into consideration. For example, all four strands, listening, speaking, reading and writing (NCCA 1999, 10) need to be covered either at different times or together. Once I realised that all these elements must come into play I really feel my teaching sharpened as I then knew I had to undergo more responsibility for both the children and my class teacher.
I feel coming into placement I underestimated the power of play. After all, so much can be achieved through just a few minutes play both socially and mentally. The children are not just messing around, they genuinely are working while playing. Play can do more for a child than I could have ever imagined in more aspects than one. Socially, culturally and cognitively. As Froebel himself said, it is ‘the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul’ (Froebel Web, 2008). That is why I feel that another pivotal learning curve for me is not to underestimate the children and what they do. At such a young age, I feel that everything and anything they do is educating them. They are investigating and experimenting on a day to day basis. That is why in my future teaching years I will try to avoid direct teaching. Telling the children exactly what to do and how to do it takes away from their learning in my opinion. It will have its implications. In the future years, the children will always be relying on the teacher to tell them what it is they have to do next instead of thinking for themselves. ‘The structure of direct teaching can be rigid enough to hinder the creativity of the teacher’ (Mayflor Markusic, 2012).
Lastly, I would just like to say that if you are teaching in the classroom and are not passionate towards your teaching, there will be implications not only to your teaching skills but to the children’s education. Devine (2015) reported that the teachers of today ‘prioritised passion for teaching and learning as being the hall mark of a good teacher’. I have to agree here as I believe that without showing passion to the children while you educate them, it is of no benefit to them as the youth of today or yourself as an educator. I would see this as a huge transformation for people to overcome.
Devine, D. (2015). ‘The traits that make a ‘good’ teacher’, The Irish Times, 7 April. Available at:
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/the-traits-that-make-a-good-teacher-1.2156118http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/the-traits-that-make-a-good-teacher-1.2156118 (Accessed 03/02/17).
Froebel Web. (2008). Froebelweb. Available at:
http://www.froebelweb.org/fblquote.htmlhttp://www.froebelweb.org/fblquote.html (Accessed 01/02/2017).
Hussey, C. (1999). Chairperson’s foreward. In: Primary School Curriculum Introduction. 1st ed. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Markusic, M. (01/06/2012). brighthubeducation. Available at:
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/5487-pros-and-cons-of-direct-teaching/http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/5487-pros-and-cons-of-direct-teaching/ (Accessed 03/02/17).
NCCA (1999). Strand Units. In: Pilot Project on Modern Languages in the Primary School. 1st ed. Brunswick Press Ltd.
NCCA (1999). The general aims of primary education. In: Primary School Curriculum Introduction. 1st ed. Dublin: The Stationary Office.
Westwood, P. (2015). The effective teaching of reading. In: COMMONSENSE METHODS FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS. 7th ed. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
My Goals for Year Two
Firstly, I feel I should do a quick recap on placement in first year. It was a great experience, I learned loads and both inspections went very well.
To be quite honest, if second year went the way first did, I would be quite happy. Only I know that next year is going to be much more difficult. Therefore, one of my learning goals for next year is that I take the pressure head on and tackle it. There’s no need to buckle under the pressure. A little bit of stress is good and can be handled. That’s exactly what I hope to do. Handle it.
I went from being one of the strongest in my secondary school at speaking tríd Gaeilge, to being one of the weakest in college. My determination to work hard at it has kept me afloat this year seeing as the language does not come as natural to me as it does for so many others. That is why a massive learning goal for next year in my eyes would be that I improve my fluency to the best that I possibly can.
I learned so much about online resources and IT in general while on placement. I hope that this will continue and that by second year placement, my preparation and organisation will have improved because of it. I am currently doing the IT upskilling in college and even those few lectures had a great impact on placement this year. I know that there are definitely resources for teaching that I am not aware of. And it is for this reason alone that I will make it my mission to educate myself on them and to do my research during second year to bring that extra bit effort to all my lessons.
Last but not least another learning goal of mine is to improve in my visual art classes. I know and understand that I do not have to be a wizard with a paintbrush but still it’s definitely no harm to be able to lead a class by example, and that’s exactly what I hope to be able to do next year in placement. It would be a great achievement for me to teach an art lesson and be able to first demonstrate what I want done with confidence.
Darragh Hammel Year 1 Group 4 16330341
2ead of thinking for themselves. ‘The structure of direct teaching can be rigid enough to hinder the creativity of the teacher’ (Mayflor Markusic, 2012).
Hussey, C. (1999). Chairperson’s foreward. In: Primary School Curriculum Introduction. 1st ed. Dublin: The St