On Tuesday we had our final day of training with the Peninsula Teaching School. We started the day with an inspiring talk from Dan Simons, Director for Teaching and Learning at Trewirgie Junior School. We learnt about the importance of staying true to yourself and your own personal values when teaching, as well as understanding how significant a teacher’s impact is on the lives of the young people that we see every day. This session resonated with a lot of our cohort, and we discussed after Daniel had left how it is sometimes important in teaching to step back and not look at what you could have done better, but what you stand for in teaching and the values and ethics you are instilling in students. Being a teacher has many responsibilities – not only helping students to achieve academically, but helping them to become more well-balanced and morally-grounded young people.
Our next session for the day was from the Peninsula Teaching School Primary & Secondary Programme Lead’s, discussing our NQT Year and what to expect for the year. The session was highly informative and I personally felt much more confident and reassured about the year ahead of me, knowing my responsibilities and what I will be entitled to in order to help support my professional development.
The last session for the day was handed over to us, and we worked on organising what we wanted to do for our enrichment weeks starting on the 29th June. Having two enrichment weeks as part of our training gives us the opportunity to explore new or interesting areas of education that we have not experienced this year. Some of the cohort are planning to visit schools for students with disabilities and special needs and others are planning to spend a week working in forest schools and schools with a vocational focus.
Reflecting on this final training session and the sessions we have had over the year, I cannot express how invaluable they have been in helping our cohort to develop. These sessions, in addition to being a pleasant break from the day-to-day demands of being a classroom teacher, provide a variety of interesting and thought-provoking ideas about the world of education, offering an opportunity unlike any other to help us become better teachers.
Sarah Waller spent a day with our Primary and Secondary trainees on Friday 17th April delivering a Creative Curriculum Dance workshop. English trainee, Rob Phillips talked me through the workshop;
The aim of the day was to explore how Dance can be incorporated into teaching to communicate something about any subject area of the curriculum. Many trainees, it has to be said, were rather sceptical going into the workshop but all were converts by the end and said how much they had enjoyed the day.
Science trainee, Mark, volunteered ‘currents & frequency’ as a topic area and the cohort spent the morning looking at ways in which dance could be used to explore and communicate that part of the Science curriculum. In small groups the trainees developed dances based on ‘currents & frequency’ before working on ways to join the group dances together to make a whole. A new subject area was used for the afternoons explorations into the development of simple ideas and movements and joining those to build to an impressive and dynamic final performance.
“I found it a thoroughly inspiring experience which showed me how Dance might be incorporated into any subject. I intend to include Dance in my own teaching in the future.”
Both the Primary and Secondary cohorts have been taking part in some training sessions focussing upon learning outside of the classroom.
Evidence shows that ‘children engaged in LOtC (Learning Outside the Classroom) achieve higher scores in class tests, have greater levels of physical fitness and motor skill development, increased confidence and self-esteem, show leadership qualities, are socially competent and more environmentally responsible… This evidence-based review supports the argument that Every Experience Matters for children and young people. Experiences outside the formal classroom help provide the blueprint on which young people continue to build throughout their schooling. Evidence now exists that these experiences will have significant impact on the child’s whole development.’ Every Experience Matters Summary
Learning Outside the Classroom presents it’s own challenges as well as rewards and so some recent training sessions have focused upon educational trips, visits and out of classroom experiences.
Trainees have worked through the process of planning and preparing for a visit culminating in a session in which they themselves took part in an out of classroom experience.
The Primary cohort spent a day in the grounds of Probus C. P. School; building fires and cooking over them and taking part in other activities and team challenges – Forest School style.
The Secondary cohort went to Charlestown where they took turns at leading and taking part in cross-curricular activities that they had planned in groups.
Many of the trainees have gone on to take part in or lead trips and visits with their placement school and some will spend a part of their enrichment school experience assisting with residential trips, both within the country and abroad.
Monday 2nd March saw a visit from Dr Ian Frampton who delivered a training session to the Primary and Secondary cohort titled ‘Build a Brain’.
Dr Ian Frampton is consultant in Paediatric Psychology in Cornwall and Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Clinical Neuropsychology Research at the University of Exeter as well as sitting on the governing body of Probus C. P. School. As a paediatric psychologist with a background in clinical neuroscience Dr Frampton came to Penrice to lead a session based on his research into the effects of the environment on brain development and childhood health and well being.
Dr Frampton’s expertise and experience within this subject proved quite thought provoking.
“The aspects of child psychology and brain function explored during the session have impacted both the way that I plan my lessons and interact with students – it’s been of real benefit to my teaching and student outcomes” Ben Thomas, PE Trainee