Learning from and with PGCE students
I am still processing all that I learned during a ten day marathon tour of some very different sites of learning. And having spoken about some of this –and about the contrasts to various colleagues they all said write about it – so here are some thoughts and questions about some pretty amazing experiences that fell over each other in a journey, over 10x days to Belfast, London, Coventry, Newcastle, London, Coventry ,Cumbria and Oxford. And yes this was end on!
Instalment one - Belfast and a wonderful day working with groups of 40-50 pgce students about to experience their first placement. There is something incredibly exciting about working with emerging teachers; anxiety and fear are self evidently that – very few felt a need to pretend otherwise, none had assembled a carapace of cynicism to cover hopes and aspirations for pupils and their subject. They were ambitious about possibilities even if tentative about first steps. Every single student saw their job as learning and their contribution as both an intellectual and practical one. They set to with a will to make the most of literacy and numeracy learning strategies tested and refined through teachers’ own research and to think about how they might use them in their different subject contexts. Most striking of all for me was their belief in the importance of their ( many different ) subjects and their understanding that the purpose of their subject knowledge in school is to contextualise learning meaningfully for pupils. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Big Picture National Curriculum brought in to KS 3 by QCDA, originated in Northern Ireland? No coincidence either that the theme for the day was embedding literacy and numeracy learning within every subject context. They wrote postcards to themselves for us to send to them in 8-10 weeks, congratulating themselves on having applied and embedded the learning from the day. The courage and ambition reflected in many of these was so inspiring! How about this?
“To self - Congratulations – in just six weeks you:
- Have the respect of others
- Are part of the school furniture
- Can convey meaning to enhance learning – by explaining things well
- Ensured your practical work isn’t just laboratory experiments based, but enquiry based and inspires learning
- Achieved all this by being fair, firm , confident, engaging and creative in your teaching approach
- And are more relaxed. (I want to enjoy this and make a difference!”