This week instead of my usual Year 2 class who were away on an excursion, I worked with Kindergarten. This was a very interesting change as I could identify a large shift in the learning and teaching strategies implemented by my supervisor in comparison to the older students. The younger students required more organisation and constant behavioural conditioning with more immediate consequences. For example, when I saw a group of boys fighting in the playground I immediately stepped in and told them to pick up papers for two minutes. My supervisor and I watched them begin to pick up papers as I had instructed, then the consequence quickly disintegrated and the students began playing again. My supervisor laughed and said “they barely know where they are or what day it is let alone how long 2 minutes is” and we agreed that because the consequence of their behaviour was immediate and they initially began performing the punishment as requested that any further punishment would be misunderstood.
The school seems to have a fairly relaxed ‘no touching’ policy, however, I wanted to make sure that I was not breaching any code of conduct. This became particularly difficult with kindergarten as they often grabbed at my clothing, searched for your hand to hold, asked for hugs or hugged you and asked for help blowing their nose etc. My supervisor talked about sensory learning, identifying one student that had been abandoned by their family and often changes foster homes, suggesting that at such a young age some people believe that this could be a way to build relationships with students and teachers.
Throughout the day we also switched between multiple classes of students in the same year group, repeating the same lesson with each. This allowed me to see the differences in successful learning and identify the issues that may be contributing to these differences. Often, classes with students that presented a higher rate of behavioural disorders seemed to affect the ability of the entire class, and had less success in acheiving learner outcomes.
Keeping the students focused and engaged was often difficult, with group work being hard to acheive. Discussing this issue with other staff members they agreed that autonomous learning creates a feeling of personal success, allowing studentd to make their own decisions.