Experiences with Teaching Practice
This is about a plan I made for my teaching practice to teacher about natural science and history to the students in the school where I am working. My plan was to teach about Climate Change and bird species, how the ancient people measured the time with natural materials like sand or water, interesting things about Universe and Solar System, the activity about learning the flags of Europe’s countries.
During one month I taught about the impact of weather, the fact that global warming is important for the populations of major bird species that have been affected by climate change. Besides my simple PPT presentation and the video that I found (in Danish), I wanted to prepare an activity for the students. I wanted to make a bird feeder together with them. The presentation went very well, I just tried to keep it simple for the students and to be sure that everyone could get the message because even if some of them have similar ages, their capacities are very different. The students became curious and I could feel their compassion for animals in general.
The good thing was that one day before, I presented my idea to the other teachers and I found time to prepare the materials for the practical activity with one student. We went shopping together to buy some birdseeds, wooden spoons, and peanut butter. Then we found the other material in the basement like plastic bottles and pinecones. The night before I prepared everything in the classroom on the table, that next day, immediately after PPT presentation we could start making the bird feeds. We used also recycled materials like carton from toilet paper and plastic. It was a very nice and funny activity. Almost every student participated with a good combination of theory with practice.
This activity was strongly connected with Rousseau’s perspective for education: in life we have three teachers: the first is the nature that we can not control or change (all the environmental problems that we have in nowdays), the second is the circumstances and other people that also we can not control,but they are controlling us (the people like me or the teachers that are part from their life, and we are there to teach them) and the third one is our person, we are the masters of ourselves and this is the only thing that we can control (how do they get the information and how do they wan to use it in their life).
Another activity that I made was about how the ancient people measured time with natural materials like sand or water. I made again a PPT presentation and then I prepared a handmade clepsydra (with 2 bottles and sand) and a water clock then I showed them how it works. The idea of it was also to teach them how to read the clock, so I made some handmade clocks with paper that they could be able to change the hours and minutes how they want. The activity went good, I was happy that at one of the students were very interested about the handmade clocks, and he asked me if he can borrow the clepsydra and how I made it. I know that the theory becomes more interesting when you put in practice the things that you want to learn about. To make this happen, I wanted to use one of the pedagogical principles that we are having in our programme ”The things you learn should be put to use. Now, if possible – so that others may learn from you. Possibly later, as the occasion arises. What you have learned you learn twice as well by teaching it to others’’.
As methods of learning I used the presentation that helped me as an introduction into the topic. It was very interesting to teach them a little bit about how people were living a long time ago because for me, it is very important to have knowledge about the past, in order to understand the meaning of the world that we are living in. I used pictures and I made a timeline.
In another month the main topic in the classroom was The Universe and Solar System. As pedagogical principle I used: ”You have to get close to the thing you want to learn about. The closer you get, the more you learn’’ because in this month, one of the days I made a presentation about stars. I found some interesting and helpful materials (pictures and a video) – as methods- about the topic and I presented to them in a simple way. Also, I tried to make it funny and I found some interesting facts about stars. Later, I wanted to combine theory with the practice. Together with another practice teacher, I made some planets with paper-mache method with one of the students.
One of my favorite activities of this teaching practice was about learning and teaching the flags of European countries. I prepared some materials – I printed the flags of Europe’s countries and some small cards that describe the meaning of the colors, the symbols and the shapes that are used most often. Together with another teacher, we started to talk about the meaning and the history of the Danish flag, then we discussed the colors and the symbols from the flags. It was a very constructive activity, also for us because I believe that we learned a lot of interesting things together with the students. At the end they designed their own flag for the classroom. We discussed what is important about their class and what they think is most essential to represent on their own flag. They chose a beautiful design and 5 colours: green, red, white, blue and orange.
I used Paulo’s Freire theory that students are part of an industrialized and over consuming population, where the education too often means merely socialization, in this case the kids are the result of this society, so I was focused on the ability to deal creatively with the reality. Sometimes it was hard to keep the students interested in the topic but I think that everything went very well and it was a success. Paulo’s Freire’s method proposes a pedagogy with a new relationship between teacher, student, and society. So, I consider this very important because the students learned about a lot of things, like history, geometry or English in a different ways because we used as methods of learning visual theory (the world map), practical (materials that we used to create the their own flag- workshop) and the most important thing the interconnected relation: the teacher – students – me, where the kids were the most important.
About how I was able to communicate with the teachers: During these presentations and activities I consider that I had a good relationship with the teachers, they helped me a lot. When I made the PPT presentations I tried to include mostly words in Danish and try to spell them, even if my pronunciation was not so good. Sometimes the kids also helped me. I was speaking in English but the teacher always translated for the students and I think that this is very nice, they gave me a good mood by showing me their support.
I got some good feedbacks for my activities from the teachers.
About how I was able to do the activities in the classroom for the students:
Well, my idea of this area of pedagogical practice was to teach the students that in this big world are many interesting things to learn about and to make them curious about the things that are happening now or that have happened in the past. The science, for me every time is a vast topic and I believe that the logical intelligence is an ability to understand better the world and develop their curiosity and creative sense. I just wanted to teach in my way and besides the presentations that I had, I tried to do also practical things, because in this way they can learn faster and is the more interesting method of learning: learning by doing.
After all of these activities I realized that sometimes you need to keep it simple, at the end you will encounter many things and thanks to them I was able to work and to share my knowledge that without working there I was never fought to put them in practice.
By Mihaela from Romania