Southampton University PGCE Students Primary EFA

The EFA Team have just started delivering Primary EFA to a group of PGCE Students from Southampton University who will become Newly Qualified Primary School Teachers at the end of June.
At the beginning of session 2, the 12 students were split into two reflection groups and each week we have asked a student from each group to take responsibility for collating the key points from each reflection group and we will post them here as a blog. We hope you will enjoy reading their comments as we progress through the course.

Reflections from Week 1:
Group One: Clarity Jacobs. Primary PGCE Student.
We all found Session 1 really interesting, especially as you start to make links between the behaviours and children that you work with. I think the course is going to make us better teachers and we all think we will finish the course feeling more confident that we are prepared to support the wellbeing of the children in our classes, as this is something that is incredibly important. As PGCE students, we are taught about specific subjects and behaviour management, but we lack information on how we can care for the wellbeing of the children in our class and this is an integral part of teaching. We are all glad we have opted for additional support from the course on the emotional issues that may be faced by the children in our classes as this is something most new teachers may feel least confident in addressing.

The reflective nature of the course is very valuable, thinking about applying ideas and how, it is useful and helps you to develop your own approach. Not only reflecting on the issues raised in class but reflecting on your own experiences as a child helps you to approach the children from their perspective rather than your own, seeing the importance of the little things and being empathetic to the child’s perspective. We all discussed that the reflection is something we would like to take into our own classrooms, perhaps in the form of a day diary where you note any particular behaviours or discussions of importance to enable you to reflect and look at the bigger picture for individual children rather than looking at behaviours in isolation.

Group Two: Simon Emerton. Primary PGCE Student.
One of the most important messages taken from last weeks session was that behaviour should be seen as a form of communication whether intentional or not. The importance of empathy was discussed as it is difficult to figure out where a child is coming from and why if you can’t remember what it was like being that child’s age and so put yourself in their position.

Emotional distress and how to recognise it was covered and how it can often be indicated by a collection of behaviours or change of behaviour. Then trying/finding/identifying ‘solutions’, and sometimes even when those don’t work, still persisting with them i.e. the issue of ‘emotional stuckness’.
The zones of comfort diagram was recalled with the ‘comfort zone’ in the middle, the ‘stretch’ zone outside that, and the ‘panic’ zone around that. It had served to stress the Importance of early intervention to prevent things becoming more serious and so more difficult to deal with later on.

A key thing throughout all these discussions was trying to find out the reasons behind the behaviours i.e. what is motivating the child to do this, rather than just seeing and dealing with the resultant behaviour, so that the situation can be more intelligently managed and hopefully resolved.

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