Thailand experience TEFL

Sawaddee ka (hello)

During my second year of university I decided to join the camp Thailand experience where I worked with children in schools and summer schools in Thailand. This involved teaching children any topic but in my language, English, to then develop their knowledge and use of the language. From this, I also gained a Teaching English as a foreign language certificate (TEFL)

My first week I was in a summer school with children aged 7 to 10 and 11 to 14. Both groups had limited English and it was difficult for me to teach the planned session. The children understood basic English and some children were further developed than others in English. I quickly understood when working with children who have EAL you need to be extremely patient and also use communication in other forms, such as face expressions and a lot of hand gestures. As well as this it supported my teaching to ensure I was clear in my speech as well as repetitive.
The session we taught in summer school was about bodies. We ensured our activities were fun and active so the children did not become bored. The children in this school spoke little English and the activities needed to be altered for the children’s needs. For example we planned to teacher the children the game of ‘Simon says’.

This was very difficult due to the language barrier so we decided to spend more time on the fun games such as the sticky note game. This involves all children having a sticky note and they had to stick it on the part of the body we said. This was fun for the children and helped us assess which children knew which body part.

In the summer school is was very informal and the teaching consisted of a lot of games to create a bond and create conversation.


During our time at Camp we learn some basic Thai language to help us live in Thailand as well as teach. I learnt how to count to 50 in Thai. I learnt how to say thank you, hello and simple commands for the class room such as make a circle or listen please.
The second week I was in a private Summer school with ages 6 to 9 on one day and ages 4 and 5 the next. The children in this establishment were a lot more advanced with their English. Again we had to teach using a lot of gestures and clear voices but the children understood a lot more. With the first group we used the body activity from the previous week and adapted them to the children’s needs. As their English was better we made the games more complex in terms of English. The children caught on really well and through assessment, of questions at the end, we were able to see they understood body part names in English. The next activity we did was related to animals. The children were shown different animals on cards and then we played guess who, where the children where shown an animal card at random and had to act it out to their group, who guess the animal. The children really enjoyed these activities and it gave me an opportunity to assess their knowledge of animals.

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The final day was the EYFS age. I loved this age as this is my minor specialism so experiencing this age with EAL was a great opportunity. The children’s English was good for their age as they could have a simple conversation with you. The activities we did were all based around colours and we planned to carry out games with the children and adapting them in terms of colours. The children lived twister and this game supported our assessment of their English knowledge. The children also really enjoyed singing English nursery rhythms and all knew them very well.

When visiting the second school it was identified that there were children with SEN . It was nice to see the children being treated equally and seeing that one to one support was there for the children. Their English was not as strong so this was difficult for myself to support them however they were all eager to join in. The SEN ranged from down syndrome to autism.
This experience has gave me a great amount of experience with children who have EAL and also developed my knowledge and pedagogy when teaching children with a similar need. Also the experience gave me many lessons about culture and Thailand.
Of course I learnt parts of the language but I also learnt about the culture. Thai people are very proud and respectful of their religion and their King who sadly passed a year ago. Also I had to ensure I always bowed my head to monks or people older than me, as it was a sign of respect. I learnt that teachers are very respected in Thailand as the first teacher in Thailand was a Monk and now teachers are seen as the same importance as a monk.
When I was in Thailand I visited many Temples. They were all extremely beautiful. I also had fun bamboo rafting and visiting waterfalls.

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I visited an elephant sanctuary which shown me the devastation tourists and trade can do to the beautiful animals. This was one of my favourite days as I was able to look after the animals and support their journey to recovery.


Finally the most heartbreaking moment of the trip was visiting a local orphanage. This night will be one to remember for a long time as it shown me how little some children can have but how happy and thankful they can be when they receive something you or I wouldn’t see as a luxury. We raised over £600 for this orphanage and donated toys and pizza that night as well as love and time spending with the children. Their happy faces when they received colouring pens or a teddy bear was a memorable image in my head for many years to come. I have added the link to their Facebook if anyone would like find out more information.

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From this experience I have set myself a target to work with a child in the UK who has the need of EAL and compare the experiences and use this experience to help me with the child’s learning.

Another target I would like to do it to use my learnt Thai vocabulary on my next placement as a shared experience will benefit the children.
Karb koon ka (Thank you).

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The unexpected life of a teacher… IOM

During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils acrossick kids the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school. 

This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued. 

However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could. 

The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise thmanxe massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred. 

Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!)  Interview

I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours. 

I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unflexibleit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations. 

I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.

The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.

The Curriculum and Assessment in IOM

assessmentSince 2006 IOM schools have had no SATS, in either KS1 or KS2, as well as no OFSTED. This may lead to some questioning if education in IOM is ‘up to scratch’ compared to England. However, it is shown in academic results at the end of Primary and Secondary that children are achieving the same levels and grades.

 

For both Literacy and Mathematics to assess and track children’s learnign teachers use statements which are allocated into levels and are called ‘I can statements’. For example in mathematics an ‘I can’ statement in Level 2A is ‘I can describe and sort 2d shapes’. Schools in the IOM have the freedom to create their own documents and tracking grids to best suit their school and to follow these ‘I can’ statements.

Instead on OFSTED, schools are still inspected by the department for education but they are not graded and teachers are assessed alongside a personal reflection for the teachers themselves. I believe this is an interesting way of assessing schools and teachers because teachers will have to constantly reflect and set targets for their professional development. download

When schools are proving children’s learning and grades in both Literacy and Mathematics, teachers have to have a minimum of 4 pieces of evidence in that area, all with different dates as well as other evidence which is in other curriculum areas. For example, if a teacher is proving a child is a 2A for measure, the teacher will need 4 pieces of evidence from mathematics sessions over the year as well as other evidence in subjects such as Science to show the child can master that skill.

The evidence that is used to prove the child’s abilties does not have to be worksheets done by the children, it can be:

  • teachers notes
  • work books
  • summative tests/quiz’s
  • games
  • pupil comments
  • photographs (whiteboards)
  • models
  • in house moderation

This the builds a bank of support to prove that the child is able in that area.

I believe that this is an ideal way to assess and justify children’s learning, however, teachers need to know their children in more depth and teachers need to constantly be assessing and tracking progress.

As well as this, the Isle of Man have a curriculum which is embedded in many schools that readies children for life. They are called the 6R’s.

It is intended that as a result of experiencing the curriculum and the way it is delivered, young people will develop as individuals with:

  • Readiness
  • Relationships which are positive
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience
  • Remembering Skills
  • Reflectiveness

In the school I am in, they do not follow this exact curriculum due to the freedom schools have on the island. Therefore, my school have ‘Secrets to Success’ which are as follows:

Secrets to success

  • Understand others
  • Imagine
  • Improve
  • Don’t give up
  • Push Yourself
  • Concentrate
  • Try new things
  • Work Hard

Reflection… 

During my first two weeks in an IOM school, I have learn a great deal about the way they assess and track progress of their children. Through first hand experience I have found these tactics easier in some aspects. For example, when tracking progress and identifying next steps for children it is much easier to identify what that is using the tracking/levelling format. On the other hand, I believe it could be seen as more work for teachers however, once this is learnt I believe it is equally as beneficial than England’s assessment and criteria.

Target…

I would like to continue to use the IOM tracking and assessment documents and reflect upon this at the end of the placement.

This information has supported and will continue to support my development in TS 2, 3, 5 and 6. TS2 and 6 because I am learning about assessment and progress in a different area. TS3 because I am learning about someone else’s curriculum and TS5 because I am adapting my teaching to meet the needs of the children who are following this curriculum. 

Isle of Man – First Reflection.

Following my first week in the Isle of Man placement, I have had much to reflect upon in relation to the school environment. 

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I am currently in a Year 1/2 class, which is open planned with the other year 1/2 classes. In the middle of all of the classes there is a open middle area where continuous provision occurs daily.

Even though the children have time to choose their activities there is still structure and guidance given by teachers as they plan interesting and useful challenges weekly. These challenges like to the children previous work such as following interactions to make something which links to their english LO’s of the week or links to the topic for the term of ‘healthy me’.

The following images are the challenges for week 2 of my time at the setting.

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The activities are introduced to the children on a Monday and children have the resources and knowledge to accomplish them. They are called challenges are children put their skills and knowledge learnt in class to the test by carrying out the challenges. This is the teachers meeting Teacher standard 1 and also Teacher Standard 2 by children taking responsibility for their work/learning.

As my placement progresses I would like to take responsibility in creating some of the challenges for the children as I believe it will support my development in structuring continuos provision as well as planning activities to challenge children. 

Another reflection regarding my first week in a Isle of Man school is the attitude the schools have towards children’s learning. After discussing and comparing with fellow trainees, we have all come to realise that the schools are vastly child based and orientated. The majority of the teaching, learning and atmosphere is based around the children’s likes and preferences.

Examples of this are:

  • Learning and work is based around their likes. For instance in Year 2 the children wanted to learn about their body so this was the topic for the next term
  • Children wanted to climb trees and make dens at play times, so rules and equipment were put into place.

As well as the learning, assessment is different in the Isle of man, as they do not fully follow the National Curriculum and use tracking tick grids to assess children. As well as this, levels are still used throughout the years and the grids are in levels when assessing. The children I am working with are at an average level 2C. However, as this is my first week I have not learnt a vast amount about this but assessment is a large area I would like to develop during my time here, so I intend to progress in this area. This will support my development in TS6. 

Due to the children’s learning styles and the difference in the schooling in the Isle of Man to England, I have had to adapt my teaching and responses to cater for the children. This is supporting my development in TS5 and I will continue to develop this throughout my teaching and planing. 

The Isle of Man Schooling allows the children to continue to be children whilst learning in a fun, creative way. This is the main reason I enjoy the school and teaching in the Isle of Man because it encourages the children to be enthusiastic about their learning and also increases enjoyment.

Oral Story telling

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A teacher can hide behind a book and tell a story in an original way.

HOWEVER,

there are ways a teacher can tell a story
through memory and using prompts to engage children in the experience.

Everyone is a story teller and use prior experiences to do this. We tell stories on a daily basis and it will be beneficial for children to experience quality storytelling as it will support them in the future.

Oral story telling can support teachers in adding their own ideas/thoughts regarding characters/plot and also express their emotions about this. This can then lead to children questioning similar aspects which will support their comprehension skills.

The process could use puppets, the children as characters or objects that symbolise themes.

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The teacher can use their voice to alter characteristics of the characters and this will engage the children as the teacher could add humour is necessary, which will engage the children.

Ability to tell a story using their imagination is a skill for children

 

Story telling is about sharing

  • not just a story but opinions, views, emotions and experiences.
  • There needs to be a connection between reader and listener – therefore is a teacher is reading a book directly this may be a barrier to the connection.
  • as well as, if the connection is apparent the children will then be developing listening skills.
  • children can also engage with call and response to engage them fully

Children could practice this with a traditional fairy tale or stories and morals, as well using their experiences or work they have written themselves. instead of children reading their work from their book in a plenary, why not let the children tell the class orally as they could expand their ideas and is a prime opportunity for assessment.

When children are telling a story from a book they need to make it their own, this is because it will develop their thoughts about the original and also imagination.

Children need support in how to tell a story from memory and a way to begin this process is good modelling.  Then resources such as story cards or jigsaws could be used to help children with storytelling.

REFLECTION 

I believe this style of teaching supports motivating children (TS1) as well as planning adapted sessions to meet the children’s needs (TS4 and TS5). For instance if a english reading session may begin to be tedious the teacher could alter this to meet the needs and motivate the children.

I would like to use this approach in the future as I believe it is an engaging approach and also interesting and fun. I also believe it can be used throughout the whole of the school as it can be used with a variety of books.

Child Mental Health

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Being kind to others makes us feel good – should be promoted in classrooms – Small acts of kindness 

Aspects from today’s society that could impact children’s mental health:

  • family breakdown
  • pressure to have access to money and perfect lifestyle
  • materialist culture influences young people
  • social networking
  • body image source of distress
  • bulling/cyber bullying
  • sexual pressures
  • violence in many countries
  • exams

Mental health impacts many areas of children’s development – good mental health could support: enjoyment, deal with stress, learn better, navigate the online world and create new friendships/experiences

1/10 children in a classroom will have negative mental health – therefore teachers need to be aware of this so can support the child

Risk Factors (Public health England, 2016:5) mental-health-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many factors that could impact children’s mental health and a vital area for teachers to focus their attention to is the school category 

Only 25% of children are treated for mental health are, 60% of children who are looked after have a form of emotional or mental health issues therefore early intervention and plans are needed to support the children. 

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There are many ways that teachers can impact children mental health and the main aspect is resilience and the adjoining image shows ways which could support

DfE 2014 – Guidance relating to children mental health – because there are broad areas of need to support children

Currently a large influence via the Government to support mental health at a younger age – increase funding and focus. BBC

Early Intervention is key to support mental health so then people can act accordingly.

Everton – TacklingBlues :

A community based approach which supports children with Mental health and incorporates sports and also focused groups – based in schools 6-16yrs

One method used by blues is ’emoji bingo’ – opens discussion based around the chosen emoji’s – can be used as a form of assessment to identify what children are feeling over periods of time and to see improvements/areas for concern

Another way is asking children to identify what makes them feel certain ways (inside the Pepsi bottle) the bottle is then shaken and the children identify what emotions come from the areas inside – then the bottle is opened and the children identify the link between what is inside the bottle and what stems from this

Worry boxes are an ideal approach to support children in decreasing emotional and mental health illnesses as it will support children in speaking about their problems so support can then be put into place.

Following this information, in a seminar, we discussed specific areas where mental health occurs in children and how this could impact children’s education. The group I engaged with discovered the following:

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On some occasions it is difficult to identify how to help children, in particular when children are facing bereavements or moving home/school.

  • Small acts of kindness could make a difference within children from peers or adults.
  • Schools have an important role when supporting children in this area.

REFLECTION 

I believe that mental health in children should be an aspect that is thought off vastly in schools because if it is ignored the implications could affect children’s development in many areas. Based on my professional development I would like to develop some ideas/practices that could support children with mental health illnesses.

 

 

 

 

 

EAL

It is an opportunity to expand and improve your teaching

  • Immersion-  put children in a classroom that has full English speakers 
  • Bilingualism – the child is taught in their home language and withdrawn from a classroom.

Learn how much children know in their home language to assess and plan to teach in another language. 

Encourage children to become multi-lingual – do not learn English to only then speak this, learn so children can speak their home language AND English 

NUMBER OF USEFUL TERMS FOR UNDERSTANDING BILINGUALISM 

  • Simultaneous bilingualism – two or more languages are acquired before the age of three
  • Successive of sequential bilingualism – one language is established, a second is learned later
  • Additive bilingualism – the first language and culture associated with it continue to be developed and valued
  • Subtractive bilingualism – the second language is added at the expense of the first

Assess the child to identify what way they should/need be taught – immersion or scaffold their learning (bilingualism) – support them or presuming they are to be taught in an only english speaking environment  (immersion) 

  • Vocab is a key aspect which supports reading and english learning
  •  EAL children may have less vocab  
  • collocations ( words which are used in different ways to their meaning – dead body/ dead heavy ) may cause confusion in children. 

What stages are children at in their home language and new one and can they access the curriculum – questions to ask yourself when have EAL children.

Need to understand children’s background to ensure other needs (emotional + relationships) – to identify if need extra help – if children are refugees/migrants – be mindful of this 

Need to take into account a child’s background – refugees/migrants/all children in your environment – INCLUSION 

  • Teaching and learning about how to teach EAL will support other children in the same environment 
  • EAL children should not be put into low ability as their abilities may be different in their home language – middle ability to support all of their needs 
  • EAL is NOT problematic 
  • Not SEN it is additional needs 

Resources are beneficial when teaching EAL children – for example dual language book/schemes. 

EAL classroom video

Through the video I identified : Practical strategies that teacher usereasoning why practice is beneficial 

  • speech activities
  • mixed ability learningother children can support and share knowledge with EAL children
  • talk partners – similar to above reasoning 
  • one to one support 
  • drama – role play/hot seating 
  • talk for writingcan express their ideas through language and practice this
  • vocab, connective openers, punctuation 
  • gamesfun for children so may not identify they are not learning 
  • music 
  • timetabled time for this areaensuring development in this area is not forgotten. 
  • Modellingideal practice so children have a source to follow and see first hand how language used

Ways to support EAL linking school and home

  • Translate policies to parents so they still benefit from this documentation
  • invite to family groups and events so they can meet other who speak the same language
  • teachers practice the home language of these children 
  • Parents evenings with children present and provide longer time slots for this as communication may take longer 
  • celebrate the cultures of the children and religions – share experiences to show interest 

Many Key documents and legislation that relates to EAL 

All schools should have an EAL policy – these are generic and customised by schools – these policies should set out strategies for assessment/teaching/staff/resources

Following this I have reflected on the information obtained and I would like to set myself a target regarding this area. I would like to work alongside a child with EAL and observe the strategies that are used to support this child. I would also like to analyse and EAL policy to identify how schools write these and implement them.