This week marked the beginning of my professional experience. Although I intend to work in Secondary Education, I have begun my experience in a Primary setting; specifically Year Two. The school’s motto is ‘every child, every opportunity’, this really translates in the classroom which has a large range of learner differences. From behavioural disorders and learning disabilities to a large contrast in ages between 6 1/2- 8 and a majority of students who speak English as a second language (ESL), the classroom can become pretty chaotic. Or as my supervisor lovingly describes it: “A party!”
Obtaining the focus of every student, giving instruction and having them understand this information proves to be one of the most difficult tasks in the classroom. From the beginning, my supervisor encouraged me to be very hands on in my role, allowing me to navigate the classroom and directing instructions for the second task. However, after I had finished my explanation, I looked at the students to see if they had begun the task, but none of them had moved an inch and each of them looked up at me bewildered. “You might as well have been speaking Spanish!” my supervisor said, instructing me to use more tone in my voice and exaggerate my body language when speaking. This lack of understanding often led to disinterest, restlessness and bad behaviour, which could quickly spiral out of control. Through the use of classical conditioning, with sound or clapping techniques, the teacher is quickly able to regain the attention of the class (and a moment of peace).