What was this workshop for?
During the summer holidays (2016), an opportunity arose to help out one of my tutors with an extraordinary Design and technology workshop!
This seemed like a brilliant opportunity to widen my knowledge and fulfil wider responsibilities outside of the classroom environment (TS8)! The workshop involved an engaging Design and Technology lesson. This included virtual reality, a variety of resources and a chance for me to see an effective way of delivering a D&T lesson, that could potentially inspire and motivate pupils!
How did I get Involved?
Before the workshop took place, I found preparation and effective communication with my tutor very useful, this allowed me to prepare questions that I may ask the children. Resources were sent which gave me a guideline on how the workshop was going to be delivered. Presentation found here. Through the use of Twitter, I was also able to communicate with two other peers who were also helping volunteer! This allowed me to develop aspects of TS8 through developing effective professional relationships with colleagues and knowing were to ask for support.
On the day I assisted children with different resources, such as: ActivExpression devices and virtual reality equipment. From this I was able to hear different ideas and opinions given from children. This taught me how diverse children can be in every aspect. It was good to hear how some people found ActivExpression devices very useful, whilst others preferred working in partners when using them! This gave me an insight of how it is important to listen to the children in order for them to have the most enjoyable experience!
During the main activity, children had to work together and think about the most effective way in which they could build a roller coaster, using the equipment provided! I worked closely with children and achieved aspects of TS1 by further challenging them and motivating them. This was from developing their ideas through questioning and scaffolding their creative ideas. For example, one children came up with an idea of curving the equipment, I asked them “imagine a carriage going now this curve, do you think it will make the carriage speed up or slow down”, it was evident from responses that this developed their initiative and designing skills. I also motivated quieter children in the group from working on a more 1:1 basis and encouraging them to share their wonderful ideas, I used strategies of asking children to sit in a circle and mind mapping their individual ideas then discuss through taking turns. Taking turns and a brief explanation of respecting each others ideas and developing them as a team appeared effective and was able to get all children involved!
Throughout, I felt confident asking teachers about abilities, special educational needs and previous D&T work. I also asked for general advice they may have for a trainee teacher! It was pleasant and insightful to just have a conversation with them, especially on a more informal basis as it was a workshop, rather than a structured lesson inside a classroom. I also felt confident asking questions to my fellow peers, for example a student who was in the year above at the time, I gained advice on what to expect in my second year, I also gained advice about Pi and Google certified teaching from another one of my peers, I felt as though this was developing professional relationships (TS8). It also taught me that communication is key in learning and that to find out what you want to know, sometimes you just have to ask and be genuinely interested in others experiences!
During this workshop I also had the opportunity to work 1:1 who had hearing difficulties, it was interesting to observe how she communicated with her classroom peers. I noticed strategies were in place, as some children and support staff used signing. It was evident the sense of equality towards this child amongst the class and how they have adapted to their special need. This taught me the importance of having adapted strategies in place to create respect amongst the classroom and to ensure that inclusive practice is taking place. I noticed this child particularly enjoyed the use of ActivExpression devices, I asked the classroom teachers if there may have been any specific reason for this and they stated that she tended to favour activities that allowed her to communicate in alternative ways! I found this very useful and interesting!
Summary of own learning:
- Preparation and communication with other colleagues is key for a successful workshop.
- Important to listen to the different ideas of the children and review the different ways the children may benefit from the topic or workshop.
- Scaffolding children with the use of equipment can give insight on the children’s experience.
- Questioning can further expand the childs original idea or motive.
- Having a system that allows children to take turns, are able to get even the more quieter children involved!
- Sharing experiences with colleagues and peers can further knowledge and information on the successes y in a variety of aspects. For example, placement or google certified teaching.
- Effective strategies for children with special educational needs can create mutual respect amongst the class and expand communication.
- Look for more opportunities to volunteer, get involved with as much as I can.
- Research on the benefits of workshops and learning outside the classroom environments.
- Continue to use resources such as Twitter for professional development and to develop professional relationships with peers and colleagues.