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During my time on beginning placement, I closely observed one child in particular with behavioural issues who I will be referring to as ‘Child B’. Mujis and Reynolds (2005) explain how home life, as well as the classroom environment, can impact behaviour. I was fully aware of ongoing issues that were contributing towards the behaviour of Child B at home. My duty as an educator was to ensure his needs were catered for and that his peers understood why he received different treatment.
Child B has a low attainment for his age, particularly in English. I chose to profile this pupil as I was intrigued and amazed at the work he produced and how he was capable of striving further. He found a love of learning through creativity. He didn’t like the idea of sharing his work with the class; he often worked on an individual basis. I felt there was a need to boost his self-esteem and to encourage interaction amongst his peers.
Salend and Sylvestre (2005) indicate how lack of skills such as social may lead to poor behaviour so this is why it was important for me as a practitioner to encourage peer interaction through group activites and this idea of a ‘buddy system’. This intervention was a success as it impacted the students’ self-esteem specifically Child B, as he decided he wanted to show his work to the class.
Lawrence (2017) reveals how behaviour occurs when lessons lack stimulation and enjoyment. I observed how children lost interest in lessons where there weren’t enough opportunities for participation.
My target was to address the needs of the students by using engaging and stimulating activities through the use of an interactive whiteboard. This form of inclusion immediately encourages positive behaviour as the students were motivated to learn and able to share their ideas so this helped raise their achievement. Shelton (2008) tells us that the curriculum should aim at providing activities that are creative so that it will include engagement for the students. My focus was to encourage productive work. Therefore, I aimed to make better use of outdoor learning for some of my lessons so for example; the students completed their ‘nature journal work’ outdoors. This promotes the opportunity to grasp a better representation of nature as they are viewing it for themselves.
Child B has a strategy in place where his aim is to achieve eight smiley faces by the end of the day. The outcome for his good behaviour is a reward. This backs up Holverstott’s (2005) theory on how inappropriate behaviour can be dealt with by initiatives such as strategies, which are monitored each day. Based on my observations, I could see how much he wanted to succeed; he wanted a healthy relationship with his teacher and peers, he wanted new opportunities and responsibilities, he was willing to learn and behave. As a result of his willingness and determination, his learning gradually increased and this made a positive impact towards his overall achievement.
Dix (2010) reveals how positivity, choice and reflection are important to improve behaviour. I put into practice ‘choice’ as my intervention to encourage learning and behaviour. During lesson time, the students were given the opportunity to choose where they wanted to sit. This type of inclusion reflected on their behaviour. I observed how they felt positive so therefore, they had the desire to learn as they were satisfied with the seating arrangement. As a result of this, I monitored their progress weekly to see if this made an impact towards their learning as well as their behaviour. The results prove how my intervention was a success as the whole class achievement was raised.
Reflecting on my placement, I can relate to Kolb’s learning theory. Based on my experiences with Child B, this theory focuses on increasing a student’s self-esteem. I modelled my own behaviour by demonstrating and discussing the lesson with the students so for example, how to create a storyboard. In relation to Kolb’s theory, I used this as a concrete experience observed by Child B in order to help him complete his work. However, he found it difficult to concentrate so my aim was to provide one-to-one support with a TA. He began to focus and believe in himself so this helped him reflect on this experience. I was able to assess the students during lesson time with the help of the class teacher and TA. This provided me with the opportunity to support Child B and together we discussed how he managed to interpret and complete the task. He was able to discuss confidently how he created his storyboard from following my demonstration. This experience enabled him reflect on what he’s done. Based on my discussion with him, he was able to demonstrate how he created his own storyboard. He was aware of the structure that had to be followed. Child B fulfilled the fourth stage of Kolb’s theory by applying previous knowledge to new experiences. An example of this is that he understood the importance of structure and therefore, he was able to apply this confidently to other activities such as problem-solving. “The process of learning is a process based on knowledge that is created through the conversion of experience” (Kolb, 1984).
It’s just as important to reflect on my own learning experience as well as the students. Pollard (2008) states how educators confidently raise their standards of professional practice by reflective teaching. After I completed my lessons, I was able to evaluate and focus on key areas. This method of evaluating my performance helped me to create an action plan that I was able to put into place to ensure my next lesson was much more effective and successful.
Kolb (1984) views the reflective process essential to experiential learning. There is a need to be critically reflective to see your teaching from different aspects. There were times during my lessons when I ignored the opportunity to intervene with behavioural issues, particularly with Child B. This gradually became an area I targeted and addressed as I realised my lessons weren’t flowing smoothly. By reflecting on my choices, I established some interventions to help overcome these issues which often included the use of a TA.
Gaastra et al. (2016) explains how there is no intervention that is effectively suitable for any student with behavioural issues. As educators, we need to create a stable and inclusive learning environment to support the needs of all learners. Based on my experiences, I find that by being a reflective teacher, it can contribute towards raising the achievement of children. Not only does it overcome obstacles, it also helps gain new perspectives. As I have already discussed in my essay, educational interventions work more effectively than behavioural on raising the achievement of children.
I have already discussed the enthusiasm Child B shows towards creativity. Kolb (1984) reveals that those with a diverging style tend to have the most interest in the likes of art, imagination and so forth. I recognised how Child B is a divergent thinker. He learns best when lessons are modelled. Based on this, he’s able to use his imagination to brainstorm ideas. He was able to view these concrete situations from several different aspects. As a result of this, I was able to assist and support learning styles. This helped me to reflect on my teaching methods and to ensure my lessons were suitable for all learning abilities. This is why it’s vitally important to have an inclusive classroom and ensure that teaching styles are also inclusive so that objectives are met. Inclusion is a concept used every day in a learning environment. It builds student confidence as they become more assertive, gain a positive outlook and develop a better attitude towards their learning, which massively impacts their behaviour.
To conclude my essay, I feel that I have gained a better understanding on how to manage behaviour in my classroom in order to raise achievement. Furthermore, I also feel I have grown in knowledge to improve myself as an educator. My research has helped me to think about different concepts and methods that I can use in my classroom. I have grown in confidence to manage behaviour and I am determined to make use of this in my next two placements and the duration of my teaching career. There’s no such thing as a perfect teacher and we won’t always get it right. However, I feel that I can make some impact or contribution to help my students grow and flourish with their learning and achievements.
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