This has been a major change as everything is done so different to secondary school which I expected but at the same time it still took a while to adjust and find my feet. My main role is to make sure that where ever the pupils are that I have made sure it is a safe environment for them to learn in, if not I find whomever is needed to right the situation either right then and there or later on so that it is available for the teacher and class to use next time.
An example of this is the outdoor learning area, this consists of a verity of activities which I chose and set out for the lass so that there would be an activity that covered each and every area of the curriculum that the teacher wished to be covered in that area of the classroom. For this I would have to make sure the area was safe such as simple things like the area was clean and anything that could pose harm was removed or fixed.
This would all be before the school day officially started once class was running I would help monitor and document every pupil’s achievements in relations to the early learning goals I was given by the school. Each achievement of a goal could be evidenced with a piece of work, photo, or a blow by blow of events. This required me to become familiarized with the learning goals so I could identify when a pupil had achieved one in order to document it in their learning Journey books.
To add to this I would run various activities with the children from a topic specific activity such as growing plants to working with them on the mathematics table to support their learning. During my placement a lot of what I was required to do have been similar to that which I have already been doing on previous placements but what I needed to learn was how to apply and adapt what I already knew so that it worked in this new environment I was working in.
The first of these being phonics, as all although we had, had a brief lecture on the basics so that we could use them in school when needed it really wasn’t even close to what I needed to know in order to support the pupils when supporting them during reading time (each pupil is reads with one of the assistant staff at least 3 times a week). Although a lot of what I learnt about phonics was through common sense by breaking down the words in to sounds, as well as recognizing sounds of digraphs and trigrams by finding words that contained them, such as “at” is in rain and tail in order to hear the sound they made.
I learnt a lot of how to apply this by watching and taking my lead from other professionals that I had the chance to work with. This way of learning was invaluable to me as I got to see many different ways in which phonics was used to aid all the different ages and abilities of pupils allowing me to see what worked and what didn’t young and learning what is the right and wrong approach. As you get older though school based learning focuses more on pupils learning through independent learning by investigation, learning from their own mistakes till they find the way that minds the answer or knowledge the teacher was pushing them towards finding.
This idea that through collaborative investigation pupils apply their previously learnt knowledge and each other’s knowledge to find out the solution to a problem or aid them in understanding a new topic not only benefits the pupil’s ability to work independently and as a team to solve thing for themselves but gives them the tools later in life to be able to live a life where they are capable of handling whatever is dealt to them (1992, Shalom & Yale) The second piece of knowledge I needed to learn as that of the Early Learning Goals, and how to assess and evidence whether pupils had met them.
To start with I needed to be able to understand what each Early Learning Goal was about this was simple enough as to reading a document given to me by the class teacher but to use in real context it was an awful lot to remember. My solution to this was to make some laminated tags with all the information I needed to properly reference each early learning goal.
Therefore I soon learnt a strategy to help me and that was to learn the basic headings each learning goal fit onto, then when a pupil did something significant I could simply think of the right heading that it fell into and then look further into it on my tags to see if it could actually evidence one of the many goals.
The second and more useful strategy was to have a look at each task set by the teacher, as each task would be to aid pupils in achieving the learning goals, each task would have a few specific goals which it was aimed at helping them to achieve. So for every task I would find out these goals and look out for any behavior or actions from the pupils that would show they had met these goals.
This to me was relatively similar to when revising in school based learning where you find a strategy to aid you in remembering the vital information you were reading/learning about. In the same way as school based learning looks at the best ways in which pupils retain knowledge being that of actively doing/being involved with something, I found the more I used this my knowledge of the Early Learning Goals increased and in the last week or so I was able to pick up on a random action of a pupil and know that it would evidence a particular goal.
In the same way as school based learning uses the idea that applying knowledge learnt, will elf learners to retain information better (Petty). I found this to be true in work based learning as a lot of what I was learning was by being a part of and performing activities within the working environment.
The only major difference I found between work based learning and school learning is that to start everything off I needed to be told what to do first and a lot of the times the way I was to do something needed to suit others so I felt there was less freedom in my learning to find alternate ways in many areas where as in school based learning during lectures I always felt being rained as teachers we looked at the many different ways to teach in order to suit a verity of pupils such as teaching to the different learning styles.
An example of this is the use of PARK that uses the four suggested areas, that not only pupils learning styles fall into but a teachers teaching style also falls into, which derive from Fleming and Mills, 1992. Over all the main difference between the two is that work based information by doing something rather than hearing about it. Which in my case I feel is true, as the longer I work in this role the more comfortable in my knowledge and ability.
Then when I am asked to do something new although I do feel like I have stepped out of my comfort zone I find myself more and more capable of handling every situation with every day spent putting what I learn in to action. Although this way of learning is used within school based learning it isn’t the only way whereas work based learning seems like it is, school based learning has many strategies to aid a pupil’s learning Journeys so as to fit the individual (2007 NC aims) as best as they can.
Other than this I can find no other major difference except for the actual environment as although it doesn’t really differ for me as I am technically still in a school, for someone whom is in a working environment such as a building site the environment would be completely different but both environment are required to help the person gain the best from their learning.