I am Mamotsoane Mary Ranchobe, a teacher from Lesotho at a school called Thaba-TSeka L E C where I was working with standard seven students. Now I am placed in a Welsh school called San Sior. The principal is Mr Jones who inspired me mostly by his activeness and enthusiasm. Mr Daniel Price is a deputy principal, very caring supportive and loving mentor I have got. I was placed in year six and year four where I was working collaboratively with teachers and learners but I worked well with all different classes. Both teachers and learners were highly involved in the teaching and learning in order to be competent learners and teachers.
I had taken a tour to observe the school surrounding with Welsh teacher Helen Pritchard who was my colleague in Lesotho. San Sior School is working hard on the global goals for sustainable development because it conserves life of plants and animals on land and it is a lead global school in Llandudno. There are more projects for poultry, gardening, bees and keeping a lot of lizards and tortoises. After tour I visited year six and four to observe the interaction of the learners and the teachers. Both classes were child friendly; learners are able to interact with teachers and among themselves freely and effectively. Teachers are not too strict but enough to make sure learners get on with their work. I noticed also that the pace of teaching and learning is high but both learners of different abilities are catered, the contribution of teachers and learners is the same because they share the ideas and experience equal.
Pupils with low ability and specials needs are highly helped patiently, strongly and peaceful I realized that my school stopped with project due to lack of finance and support from the parents also the conduciveness and interaction is not much because more activities are done by teachers while learners are passive, therefore I would encourage my school to be involved in projects and find means of raising funds ,to encourage them to create inclusive learning for children and give them opportunity of contributing their ideas in order to make learning easier. Another item is helping actively pupils with special needs and low ability because it makes children from being isolated and participate like other learners so I would also encourage my colleagues to implement it to make learning for all children.
On the following week, I was looking at planning and preparation including differentiation. I noticed that teachers planned together to decide the approaches and materials to be used to stimulate learning objective and they plan in a way that there is integration of numeracy,literacy and other subjects. Planning is done by Information Communications technology (ICT) in their planning; the activities and assessment were done in such a way that all the abilities of different learners are included to influence every learner to enjoy teaching and learning.
The abilities are measured by using three chillies which are red chill for pupils with high ability and the task is tricky and needs more creative and critical thinking, yellow for average learners ,task is in the middle while the last green chilli, the task is easy which is done by pupils of low ability. I have found three chillies very vital because each student is participating in teaching and learning. In my school is rare that we plan together so I have seen that is not good because when teachers plan together is time to share skills knowledge and approaches that can be suitable for different children and the integration of numeracy and literacy is not effective. My school is regarded as poor performing because teachers are just planning without considering all the different abilities of the learners, that is why my school is declining in performance. I would encourage my colleagues at school to have team work in planning to share the skills that will help each child to learn well.l am going to work hand in hand with my colleagues to put three chillies e.g levels of activities for the same learning objective in practise and also the integration of numeracy and literacy.
I was paying attention to the stimulus and conveying the learning objective, teaching strategies including questioning. I have seen learning objectives are written on the board regularly and the learners also write it in their books before they continue with stated task. I found it very beneficial because, it helps learners, to focus on what they are doing and success criteria which are simple ways of guiding learners to achieve the stated objective are always written in order to help a child to work independently and in a focussed manner and help with revision and testing.
The different strategies are used to arouse the interest of the learners often such as visual aids for instance PowerPoint, pictures ,diagrams ,graphs to influence learners to be inquisitive. Discussions in groups, in pairs were highly used. Prerequisite, formative and summative assessment were used in order to help a teacher to see if the learners were still in good flowing with the lesson and help learners who had some difficulties in advance.Teachers were using those strategies to see how far the learners know about the concept to add more to pupils’ knowledge. Pupils were free to ask questions for clarification to make learners part of teaching and learning. I have realized that at my school pupils are not asking questions because most do not understand the task from the beginning up to the end and most teachers do not use questions during the lesson and do not do more activities instead we do it mostly at the end of the lesson which leads to a failure of achieving a stated objective and teachers found it difficult to help most students at the end. Still I would encourage my colleagues at school to ask pupils questions regularly to see how far the learners understand the concept and also to encourage them to use visual materials and touchable materials because other learners learn better by seeing and manipulating.
On that day, I have visited to the special needs school called Gogarth to observe teaching and learning to adapt some skills and approaches to my school. I have found that the format is the same as San Sior except that in that school, there were more specialised teachers with needs of those learners there. I enjoyed that visit because I have learnt that people with special needs were taken as important people who can bring change in their families ,community and country because those learners were taught theory and practical and be engaged in different sports to sharpen their potential talents. In my school ,pupils with special needs are not treated as important people because they are taught like every learner in the classroom, they are always excluded to the activities taking place at school. Others repeat the class several times while others are promoted to others classes without knowledge so I would encourage my colleagues at school to help pupils with special needs to participate in sports and crafts to empower them with the talents they have and I hope they will be interested to teaching and learning and seek skills, approaches and information to the people who are knowledgeable.
I was observing the behaviour and discipline, marking and praise. I have noticed that the behaviour of the learners is manageable because they were abide by the class’s rules they have done by themselves ,those rules are very important because they control discipline in the classroom and once a child misbehaved ,such learner is reminded by class ‘s rules which were displayed against the wall. Pupils usually mark themselves from year two upwards or in pairs to identify mistakes by themselves and practise skills of fairness and honest at the early stage. Pupils were always praised to be motivated and participate fully in teaching and learning. I have noticed that class’s rules are there at my school done by the learners but the learners are not reminded by them when they have done mistakes instead teachers apply punishment which lead to drop outs. Therefore I would encourage my colleagues to remind the learners the rules and help learners with marking to identify the mistakes by themselves and praise the learners frequently to make teaching and learning effective.
On the fifth week .I was looking at independent learning,the learning environment and use of other adults in the classroom. The learning environment is inclusive for every child to learn effectively even children with disability have access in teaching and learning and teachers paid more attention to them regularly. There is enough space for the movement and learners are not overcrowded and teachers are able to rotate to all groups to see to it that learners are doing their work. Pupils learn independently, they researched information from books and the computers and the library books are stationed to every class to make them to be access to every learner and learners were able to find information easily. But at my school, pupils have little time for library books, and then I would encourage my colleagues to engage the learners in use of library books to promote independent learning. In this school the adults took part in helping learners to read and do spelling assessment, the use of phonics are practised highly by the parents to help in reading and writing and learners are able to read and write ,even though ,there are some who are struggling. The parents are also helping in projects as well to support a school with skills and knowledge they have. The learning environment is not effective at my school because learners are overcrowded, parents do not take part in school projects and in learner’s academic and more loads is on the teachers shoulders. I would also encourage my colleague to involve parents in teaching and learning so that they can share skill and knowledge with us, some parents can be used as resource people to make teaching and learning effective.
I find this Wales Teachers Placement Programme very important because it allows teachers between two countries to share skills, knowledge and information in order to provide quality education to the learners. It is also helpful because teachers are able to see in life how other approaches are implemented rather than heard or read about. I find myself very fortunate to come to Wales to experience teaching and learning. From my visit I wish to take back ideas:
- 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
This will hopefully improve my organisation in Lesotho; working collaboratively with my colleagues to develop children’s wellbeing.