Primary Education Cycle 1

The pedagogical focus(es) of the case study and its/their rationale(s):

  • The area of interest for the observee during cycle 1 was the relationship between a learner and the curriculum and how this relationship was able to foster an accountability for learning. The observee was particularly interested in how his delivery of content encouraged the learner to engage with the session and to contribute through asking and answering questions in order to drive their own learning.
  • The observee was interested in ‘emotional intelligence’ of his learners, and questions how managing the behaviour for learning expected of an undergraduate student is approached. As teacher educators there is a tension between modelling school based practices and the practices that one would use when working with adults who should be responsible for their own development. When using ‘role modelling’ for school based practices there is a ‘fine line’ between modelling best practices successfully and patronising adult learners. We recognise that we must set high expectations of our students however should we be ‘managing their behaviour’ using similar strategies e.g. scaffolding to those adopted in a school based landscape? Do our HE students expect this from us as they are studying education as a subject?

Observation cycle 1 details:

Staff observation notes from Leanne

CR cycle 1 observation notes 1 CR cycle 1 observation notes 2 CR cycle 1 observation notes 3

Student observation notes from Charlotte (click to enlarge the images)

Student observation notes from Emily

Implications of cycle 1 experience on learning and teaching for staff members:

  • Supporting students to work with ‘like minded’ peers may provide them with opportunities to work with peers that they would not usually choose to collaborate with as they work towards a shared goal. Staff members have developed a better appreciation to the barriers that exist on collaboration and why students may at once feel they want to collaborate in their learning and understand that they should collaborate more but also why they may be resistant to doing so. An appreciation of the role of empathy in shaping professional reflection and reflection on learner identity emerged from conversations between staff and students. Staff members now recognise the need to take more notice of the emotional context of the learner and perhaps explore this more explicitly with students.Planning sessions in future to allow for this could be beneficial. An example may be choosing collaborative groups based on answers to the Science audit. It ensure the audit is passed student teachers would need to focus on a specific aspect of their subject knowledge. This is individual and would make it difficult for the student to make the most progress if they choose working in a friendship group over the activity that is most purposeful for their development.
  • The student observers discussed their reservations when asked to work within collaborative groups with their peers. They felt comfortable in their learning environment when they could choose who they were in collaboration with but felt reluctant to engage in discussions with peers who they did not know well. It is questionable if the lack of confidence is partly due to a student needing assurance in their subject knowledge. Science is a subject that the majority of the cohort has studied to GCSE level only, and adults hold many scientific misconceptions. The student cohort identify that they have not observed much Science teaching during their school placements and that they have a lack of experience with the subject which leaves them vulnerable. This has implications for the lecturer who wants to develop a socially constructive approach to learning and teaching in their sessions and to the encouragement of independent accountable learners.
  • In discussion with our student observers it became apparent that our student teachers do want their learning structured similarly to how we would structure school based lessons. Student teachers were not confident collaborating in the session about the video shown. This is because they were not ‘told when to talk’, and therefore were worried about coming across rude. We need to consider for our Y1 student teachers that they are in the transition from college, where their learning would still be pedagogically structured by the teacher. I personally conclude that I would need to consider the pedagogy to andragogy transition to provide opportunity for our student teachers to begin to self-direct their own learning. Our learners are not yet confident in their own ability or knowledge to self-direct their own learning and therefore we as staff need to develop their confidence and ability. As a result of feedback from student observers it is considered that they recognise the benefits that group collaboration has for learning and they suggest that they would promote collaborative learning as teachers with their young students, however they display a vulnerability when asked to collaborate outside of their comfort zone themselves. An implication for future teaching is to explore how trainee teachers can develop their confidence with the subject and the curriculum beyond subject content knowledge. What are the skills of scientific enquiry? Additionally, asking the student teachers to suggest how they would set up a collaborative activity from a teachers viewpoint may help to break down barriers in university sessions. If the students recognise themselves that they need to collaborate with more than their friendship group it may give them confidence to do so during university sessions.

Student researcher Charlotte Ralph reflection

Student researcher Emily Gay reflection

Primary Education participants’ talk on their case study and their Cycle 1 experience at C-SPACE 2017 conference:

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