My name is Malefu Alice Moreki. My country is Lesotho. I am a primary teacher in the rural district called Thaba-Tseka. My school is Loti Community Primary School with 10 teachers and 369 learners.
I am here with funding from Dolen-Cymru Wales Lesotho Link under the Wales Teacher Training Programme, my placement is at Ysgol Tudno Primary School in Llandudno, North Wales. The Head Teacher is Mrs. Iona Hughes. The number of pupils is 218. The school is one of the Lead Creative Schools which aims to promote new ways of working with innovative and bespoke programme of learning which is designed to improve the quality of learning and teaching, that’s promoting creative people, skills and resources that are needed to help to address the challenges. The younger children in the Foundation Phase age 3-4 are in the Nursery Class called Sali Mali where they attend mornings only. They then start full time education when they are 4-5 years old in the reception class which is called Jac Do. Yr Wyddfa class is for pupils aged 5-6 and Pen Morfa for pupils aged 6-7. They then go and study at Key Stage 2 level which are known as Juniors, which entail Year 3, Year4, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils. In each class there is a teacher and a classroom assistant.
My mentor during this time at Ysgol Tudno was Mr. Derfel Thomas, he was the Year 5 teacher and also the Lead Creative School co-ordinator. My main purpose of my placement at Ysgol Tudno was to share teaching and learning experiences, exchange ideas in order to improve and develop new skills.
The placement was for 6 weeks.
On the first day at Ysgol Tudno Miss Catrin Hughes my colleaque from Lesotho, and I were taken around the school where I was introduced to teachers in the classes. Finally I was taken to my mentor Mr. D. Thomas the Year 5 teacher.
As I walked around the school I initially noticed the learning environment was child friendly. I observed the wall were full of different art displays as the school is one of the Lead Creative Schools. The classrooms had displays for children to learn which I find quite fantastic in creating a pleasant learning atmosphere because children like drawings which I also like. I hope to persuade teachers at home to display learners work as a reflection of their learning.
On my second day I was invited to attend the Year 1 school trip to Greenacres Animal Park where we saw different creatures such as reptiles, mammals, birds and amphibians. The trip was meaningful to children’s learning. They stroked some animals, listened to the sounds they made which included manipulation using various senses. I was fascinated to see parent volunteering to help on the trip which I think I will encourage my school to involve parents participation in the learning of their children.
I have visited Year 1 which is taught by Mrs Jones and Miss Kelly the teaching assistant. Learners were writing about the trip to Greenacres. The teacher discussed the trip with them and guided them how to write using phonics they had previously learned to describe what they saw, heard and enjoyed about their trip. I realised that independent learning is taking place with prior knowledge of phonics and high frequency words taking place. I started learning phonics with them and I believe phonics will help learners in my school and other schools to improve reading and writing skills. Children are split into groups according to their different abilities so every child is catered for. At home I will encourage the practice of different activities for different learners as much as possible and for teachers to create time and be flexible to help individual learners.
I have learned that in children’s learning tasks they are given learning objectives and learning criteria, which measure and guide what needs to be done and how to implement it. This, I believe will assist learners in my school to find learning not to difficult as they previously did, I also realised that Success Criteria enables marking for teachers to know what they are looking for and learners to keep on referring as a guide to a task. For example;
In the Nursery class the children coloured in the flag of Lesotho. The success criteria was repeated orally in order for children to complete the task successfully. Colouring criteria was “Fast in the middle and slowly around the edges”.
The school also has outside agencies involvement in assisting certain pupils, an Occupational Therapist came to observe a child whilst colouring in class due to poor fine motor skills.
On the first day of week 2, I was shown an example lesson plan, whereby I found that it was not different from my lesson plan in Lesotho here and there e.g skills in my lesson plans are excluded and I may hink that every activity I plan that to have a look at how it will benefit a child in real life situation. I observed low ability learners in different class doing mathematics. The one group used counters to make for example a chair then count how many counters he has used to make a chair. In that I recognised thinking skills being sharpened as what to come up with using counters, they also count. One group coloured shapes e.g. 3 triangles in red and 3 triangles in blue. In the end they counted how many shapes they have coloured altogether. There was integration of art and numeracy. I did work with them and I learned that they need to do little work which suits them. The children have a very low attention span, therefore the had stimulus like energisers to keep them going.
Miss Catrin and I did a presentation about Lesotho items to K.S 2 (juniors). Children was very excited to see the objects. They asked many interesting questions. They were very inquisitive. Year 5 and 6 children created their own seshoeshoe patterns using strings and boards. They painted their patterns in their desired colours. We did a presentation about the Basotho objects to the Foundation Phase. They were very happy to try the blanket and the Basotho hat on.
The juniors had a trip to Gulliver’s World in Warrington where they went on numerous rides. Which I think is for a change is good to take learners to non-educational trips as a reward. Some pupils were excluded from this trip due to poor behaviour in school prior to going.
They had also sports day where different races were run, e.g. running, sack race, egg and spoon race, welly throwing and spider race. Parents were invited to watch and participate. The sports day was fun and the children thoroughly enjoyed it. I will incoporate races such as the egg and spoon ,spider race in my school sports day
On the first day of the week, I visited one of the welsh teaching school Ysgol Morfa Rhiannedd. Learners in that school are taught through the medium of Welsh, although the majority of children are from English speaking homes. Parents want their children to learn Welsh so children know their roots and identity. I agree that every child should know his/her culture e.g language of his/her nation. The learning environment is conducive. The school has many resources like computers and big books. The teacher was reading a story to Year 2 pupils using a big book where children who are able to read can read along. Year 4 children designed their own football attire. I found teaching strategies similar to the ones at Ysgol Tudno. The school also had sports day the day I visited.
I also visited the Special Needs school called Ysgol y Gogarth. The children are of different profound needs e.g physically—in a wheelchair, mentally– Downs Syndrome Autism. Doctors and nurses visit them regularly. In rural Lesotho, schools are not equipped and suitable to accommodate pupils with sever needs. Most teachers are not trained within special educational needs.
At Ysgol Tudno many parents, school governors and members of the community volunteer in a variety of ways. Volunteers listen to children read in English and Welsh. Mathematics is also targeted through maths games. I will encourage parents to volunteer in my school in order to develop their own Sesotho reading skill as well as the children’s reading skills. As we have such large classes it will benefit the children to have 1 to 1 support with their reading. It also creates a close link with parents and the community to raise awareness of the importance of education and to support their children’s learning.
I attended a Global Learning Event at the Imperial Hotel. The aim of the event was to find out if children’s learning in schools include global learning for sustainable development. Ysgol San Sior presented their own projects on bee keeping and poultry. I was made aware the importance of bees and pollination and I will pass the message home.
Teachers practice assessments for learning and active learning whereby they give learners some special tasks which will interpret wellness and where they are going. The active learning leads to provision of learning objectives and success criteria which assist learners to realise where they need to go and how to get there. That permits learners to work on their own, teacher facilitates here and there.
In Year 3, I learned about peer and self assessment whereby children made a leaflet about Llandudno. An example of self assessment I saw was ‘Does my leaflet have a good title?’. They exchange leaflets for peer assessment. I believe it’s a good practice to be developed back home to help learners think deeply about their work and be fair about themselves. It also makes children aware of how to improve heir work.
During the teaching and learning practice of formative assessment it is very important because it provides feedback to teachers and learners to see if they are in line with learning objectives. It also keeps children focused and on task to ensure every child completes the activity to their full potential.
Year 5 pupils were given a research task. They were finding out ways to notify, inform and raise awareness in the community regarding a variety of health issues e.g a poster about washing your hands, a leaflet on health eating. Concerning behaviour and discipline, children are respectful but there are some who are easily distracted and lack concentration. Work is therefore completed in a rush or not completed. Teachers were always there to encourage children to focus and fulfil their potential.
On Monday I attended a meeting whereby Dolen– Cymru was planning Psycho Social Support for schools in Thaba-Tseka. The names of the schools are Loti Community Primary School an Thaba-Tseka L.E.C Primary School. The following day I was observed teaching Year 5 class by Miss Sharon . In preparation, I planned the lesson with Mr Thomas. In the planning I included differentiated tasks to meet 3 abilities. I enjoyed the experience and it was very successful with all the children participating enthusiastically. I then made paper beads with Year 5 learners for them to make bracelets. They even made ear rings for Mrs Hughes the Head Teacher. Back home I am going to encourage my school to recycle papers by making beads. Children can then sell them to make money. There are also many clubs in school as there is in my school.
Pace of learning is faster because teachers are trying as much as possible to have a very smooth linkage of activities to help learners to learn easily e.g Year 2 had a reading comprehension task about Jack and the beanstalk. The following day children were asked to write a letter form the giant to Jack. I will continue using these strategies in my school.
I attended Good Communities into Great Communities [G2G] project at school to see how parents and children can work together. They built castles and other things. At home we will think of a project that will include parents and children to work together.
The Mayor of Llandudno attended morning service and presented a plaque with the coat of arm of Llandudno. I was given a surprise farewell party. All staff contributed to a delicious buffet and Mrs Kingman made me a fantastic farewell cake. I was moved to tears about everybody’s generosity and kindness.
I had a busy afternoon collecting photos for my scrapbook.
On my last morning I was made to sit on the stage. I was given many gifts. My presents being here in Llandudno, North Wales is of very great importance for my professional development, a child and the whole society of Lesotho. I am going home with a variety of skills which can be implemented in my school. The impact will benefit the children academically, socially and into the wider community. The link between Lesotho and Wales is invaluable and should continue to grow in positivity and strength to ensure successful children’s future and therefore ensure Lesotho’s future.
Action plan for Wales Teachers Placement Programme:
Report about journey from Wales to education office
Report to my Principal about my journey
Dissemination of skills , approaches, information to my colleagues
Observation of differentiation in my classroom
Implementation of differentiation in different classes
Workshop with neighbouring schools