Naiman - tpd - secondary final reflection
Secondary final thoughts
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Naiman - tpd - secondary final reflection
LENGUAS VIVAS DE BARILOCHE
Taller de Práctica Docente
The school where I did the secondary practicum experiences was Colegio
Provincial Kloketén. This school is located in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and it offers
public integrated secondary education.
When I began looking for a secondary where to teach my practicum I found
myself without options. I asked four private and public institutions before starting and
there were no positive answers. When I finally got to Kloketen school it was already
November and classes were finishing. In addition, the city was in a complete chaos.
The teacher’s union, state workers union and the metallurgist unions were protesting
because the state government was taking legal actions against the teacher`s and
metallurgist unions as they were involved in a violent protest that took place two
years ago when the state government decided not to raise teachers’ salaries. During
that public protest the members of the unions broke in the government’s house and
destroyed everything they had on their way, they also hurt other workers and police
officers. The event was recorded by several cameras. Nevertheless, the trial was
unfair as the judges speeded up the trial so as to finish before December; to be able
to do that they jumped several steps and the unions reacted against the judges
maneuvers. The unions made as many strikes as they could, and they even took
control over the city cutting off all main entrances. The trial hasn´t finished yet, today,
, there will be another strike as the trial is getting to an end and
workers are being prosecuted.
When I started the practicum period at Kloketen school I was told that the school
has been making strikes during the whole year. Besides that, this year we had a long
tough winter that took almost six months and the school building was not ready to
bear the harsh weather. Therefore, there were no heating services and no water
services throughout the whole winter so students didn`t have lessons during that
At Kloketen school lessons begin at 7:45 in the morning but nobody controls the
entry; so students arrive late at school. I started observing one lesson of 40 minutes
at the first hour, so the lesson took around 25 minutes. I think it wasn´t enough time
to observe the group and the teacher’s dynamics in the classroom; however, I had a
glimpse ahead about how the English lessons were delivered.
I presented a schedule that had to be modified because of the strikes, I lost three
80 minutes lessons at once. I didn´t know what to do so I asked the teacher and the
tutor if I could work with other groups the teacher had. I was authorized to do so, and
I ended up working with three different groups. I had to observe the other two groups
that were added so that to be able to give my lessons. As a result, I observed three
lessons, gave eight lessons and lost four lessons; as I couldn’t give the last 40
minutes lesson because of a new strike. It`s been a really hard period and working
against state decisions was really exhausting.
This school presents specific characteristics as it receives students from different
contexts. The students that attend the school come from other schools, from other
provinces or work hand in hand with other schools to integrate the curricula. The
community of students present several features too, they got to this school as it was
their last option to continue with their secondary education.
The school works daily with different social difficulties as drug consumption,
desertion, family abuse, violence, among others. Even though these aspects belong
to every teenage reality, the head teacher and the pedagogy department assistants
made clear emphasis on that specific aspect of the school context.
The original aim of the project was to get familiar with a group of students and to
be able to present lessons that differentiate from their usual English lessons. The
group teacher used to work basically with the book; although she used some games,
crosswords or puzzles and followed the course book lines which was a book that
includes communication sections in all its units, the lessons I observed didn´t show
me that students were working with the language communicatively. I did observe
some aspects of the communicative approach in the lessons, but at the end students
only worked with book exercises and that was all.
The lessons I wanted to deliver were based on the Communicative approach.
Based on that approach I focused the lessons on communication rather than on
grammar or vocabulary. The activities that I included in the lessons varied, I used
games, oral questions and answers, group and pair work, among others. The
resources I included were videos, digital presentations, flashcards and word cards,
wall papers, and the use of the course book website which were meaningful input for
students and helped with the creation of a context that enabled students’
understanding of the topics we were dealing with.
I believe that the lessons were useful for students as they could have another
opportunity to experience the use of the language in a different way. In some
occasions, I noticed that students were speaking for their first time as they even
made jokes among themselves because of that; they were also eager to participate
in the activities I presented. Sometimes I noticed that some students were not
interested in working during the lessons, but I gained confidence lesson after lesson
and felt able to approach those students and tried to convince them to continue
working without chatting and without disturbing the lesson.
Some of the skills that were necessary to work with these lessons were to be able
to manage the groups, to be able to adjust the time so that to work during lessons
that lasted less than expected, and to be able to adjust the lesson to student´s
It wasn´t the first time I worked with adolescents, but it was my first time working
at a public secondary school and timetables, school organization and group
management were really poor at this institution. Students almost did what they
wanted to do no matter who they had in front of them. Therefore, I think or at least I
hope it was like this, that I caught their attention with the variety of material I used as
the group teacher wasn´t used to working like that. I also tried to be as sure as
possible of what I was doing as losing one second was enough for students to start
chatting or disturbing.
I learned many things from this period regarding several aspects of the practicum
and about myself. The need to speed up the practicum and to find other groups to
work with because of external factors that I couldn´t take control of was really
surprising and exhausting at the same time. Although strikes happened at all levels,
this school added to all the strikes as some of the teachers involved in the trial
worked at this institution. So, I had to be as resourceful as possible so that to
organize new practicum schedules, my own schedules and to be able to stand in
front of other groups of students who I observed one lesson and gave one or two
lessons. They were like fast visits to the extra groups.
The secondary practicum was a difficult experience but a rewarding one. Leaving
all the difficulties aside, I felt I gave the best lessons I could give, I even did better at
lesson planning and that helped me gain confidence regarding what I was offering
students to do.
The groups were different but they gathered the same features. Students weren´t
used to working with visuals or with concrete material, they almost didn´t practice
speaking in the lessons, they were all talkative teenagers and they only wanted to let
the lesson go by without any effort. So, it was hard work preparing lessons for these
groups but they had good results.
I also enjoyed working with teenagers, it wasn´t a nightmare but it was hard work
to do. Regarding all the drawbacks I found myself with during the period I think that
maybe they were necessary so that I could make the best of myself.
If I had the chance to give the secondary practicum again I would choose a
private institution as they have classes throughout the whole year. However, I found
myself being able to solve problems that I´ve never encountered before and that was
a positive side of myself working under pressure. Moreover, I really got interested in
the way the school works, I think that there are a myriad of possibilities to change
and improve the institutions´ functioning. I also felt worried about students´ realities
and also thought of different ways to help them. I think that this experience left me
thinking about how to help those students as I couldn´t create a stronger or at least
deeper relationship with them. Even less state institutions have constrained
possibilities to give students the necessary tools so that they get profit from
secondary education, I still believe there is something else that each of the teachers
that work in that school could do for them. It is unfair to leave these students aside of