May 31, 2024, by Arts Placements

My placement experience at John Clifford Primary School

By Chen Yao

I embarked on a two-month placement, teaching English as an Additional Language (EAL) at John Clifford Primary School. My teaching skills are deeply increased by the colourful experience and my appreciation for educational endeavours has really grown. My future career aspirations are also more clear after taking part in the placement. In the first week of our placement, me and my partner for the programme did not dive straight into teaching. Instead, she and I spent considerable time observing the original classroom teacher. We listened to them during the session to learn some valuable teaching approaches. This approach allowed us to learn effective teaching strategies first-hand, such as engaging pupils and encouraging active participation. These observations were crucial; they laid the groundwork for our structured teaching plans and helped us integrate seamlessly into the classroom environment.

Active Teaching and Learning

Over the six weeks programme, my partner and I switched roles between leading and assisting. I designed our curriculum to focus on vocabulary and basic grammar structures, essential for building a strong foundation in any language. For instance, we introduced sessions on job-related vocabulary and frequency adverbs.  We followed up with detailed explorations of English tenses—present simple, present continuous, and past simple. I designed this structured approach not only to reinforce the pupils’ understanding but also to offer them new skills in various contexts.  This  enhanced their confidence and proficiency in English.

Teaching EAL pupils must face its challenges. I found it hard to teach in such a diverse environment. However, the rewards were satisfying. Witnessing the pupils’ gradual mastery of the material and their increased willingness to participate was profoundly fulfilling. It was particularly gratifying to see their enhanced confidence in using English, not just in academic settings but also in everyday interactions.

Impact on Career Goals

This placement was transformative for my career trajectory. I feel my passion for education and my desire to pursue a teaching career growing. The hands-on experience enhanced my instructional skills and provided me with invaluable insights into student engagement and curriculum development. Moreover, I gained significant employability boosts, equipping myself with the practical experience and professional confidence necessary to navigate today’s competitive job market.

I highly recommend such placements to fellow students at the University of Nottingham. They are not only a gateway to professional development but also an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. This placement has been a cornerstone of my educational journey, and I am eager to apply these lessons as I advance in my teaching career. The experience gained was invaluable, opening doors to new possibilities and paving the way for future success.

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