Table of contents
1. Before the Practical Training
2. Lesson Planning
2.1 Introduction of my school
2.2 Subject Knowledge
2.3 Didactical Analysis
2.4 Methodological Analysis
1. Before the Practical Training
Prior educational experiences
The amount of prior educational experiences had a major influence on my practical training. I started collecting experiences on the field of education in my early teens. I used to help my younger brothers with their homework and their exam preparations in the afternoon, when I entered “Realschule”. This soon became a ritual and helped me to learn how to impart knowledge to someone else. I did this until I was around the age of fourteen twice (sometimes more often) a week.
When I turned fourteen, I decided that I want to earn money with my tutoring and got my first two students. I taught these two students English, Math, German and Natural Science. In total, I tutored both two hours a week each until I finished “Realschule” about two years later. In the upcoming three years, I tutored some fellow students from my class. I taught those English, Natural Science and Economics two afternoons a week.
When I entered University, I started working at the ISPA (Institut fiir Strukturforschung und Planung in agrarischen Intensivgebieten) in particular for the “Kompetenzzentmm Regionals Lemen”, where I collected my first experiences in creating lesson plans and teaching units for the subject Erdkunde. Additionally, I got the chance to write a teachers edition of a schoolbook for secondary school in Baden Württemberg in 2015. In 2016,1 did my ASP (allgemeines Schulpraktikum) in XY at the XY Oberschule. There, I was able to make my first attempts to teach a whole class on my own and I also got a first small insight in the teaching profession.
Personal expectations and goals for the practical training
I have high expectations for my practical training and want to move forward on my way to become a professional teacher. My main goal will be to make this an important part in my lifelong learning process. Therefore, I would like to maintain a steady increase of knowledge on all aspects of teaching. By reaching this, I will try to observe as many teachers as possible to get a widespread insight on possibilities to teach. I hope that this will inspire me to generate new ideas for my own teaching attempts and my overall concept of teaching. My intention is to practice and use as many of these new ideas in my internship as possible and to reflect on my usage in order to reduce mistakes and concepts which are not compatible with me at that particular point or at all with my teaching personality. Equally, I would like to transform these new ideas creatively to create my own concepts. Actually, I will also keep my eyes open on my observation for teaching methods etc. I don’t like and I would like to avoid.
The next point is that I would also improve my teaching personality by appropriate social interactions with teachers and students. To make this possible, I will have a close look on other teachers’ behaviour and analyse it in order to transfer some of it to my personal teaching personality. I would like to strengthen my presence in front of the pupils as I teach so that it is easier to manage the classroom without getting too often loud. Therefore, I need to improve my confidence in front of the class because at the moment, I am still quite overwhelmed of the sheer size of the class. A presence which indicates respect and at the same time positivity would be ideal in my eyes. At the end of my practical training, the teachers/ other colleagues and the students accept me as a supporter and as a part of their group and they should see me as a trustful and competent person who is a functional member of the school community. To reach that, my goal is to work as professional as I can by for example being in time, being prepared and friendly and professional under all circumstances.
In regards to my in class skills, I would like to learn how to pass on knowledge to the students in a structured and economical way. Therefore, I want to learn some new techniques to make complicated information understandable for the students by not reducing the overall major information. For this reason, I would like to keep the students attention through all parts of the lesson. To make this possible, I want to use the provided classroom management structures in order to make my teaching to incorporate into the normal flow of the lessons. Furthermore, my plan is to take interest in every student as equally as possible und I want to learn how to handle changes in plans (for example time problems, disturbances etc.) smoothly.
2. Lesson Planning
2.1 Introduction of my school
The is an all- day school which is publicly administered by the city of The school is close to the centre of , next to the main bus station, the train station and the “Gymnasium”. The catchment area is and the surrounding villages. There are 480 students at the school and every grade has three classes (except for the 9th grade which has 4 classes). The students are taught together in the 5th grade, and then they are divided into basic and advanced course in German, Mathematics and English. The students can switch between these courses in the following years if their performance changes. At the end of grade 8, the students are divided into two separate branches, the “Realschule” and the “Hauptschule”. The students can get both a “Realschulabschluss” and a “Hauptschulabschluss” on both branches.
The staff at the is divided into thirty-three teachers, the headmaster, a special needs teacher, a social education worker, a school assistant, a secretary, a volunteer (who is doing a voluntary social year), two educational employees, a janitor, three canteen employees and four cleaner. Many teachers have other positions aside teaching (for example job counsellor or guidance counsellor). A psychologist is available for the students two afternoons a week.
The school buildings are divided into six different parts. The parts A to D are classrooms and specialised rooms. All classrooms from grade six to nine have a whiteboard and the tenth grade classrooms obtain smartboards. The classrooms of grade five will soon get whiteboards as well. Many classrooms have CD- Players; some have Storage space for the pupils as well as for teachers. There are some lockers for the higher grades in the hallways. Two classes own class pets which are living in the classroom (fish and underwater snails). All class members take care of these and take responsibility of these for example during the holidays. Other classes have plants they take care of. The teachers do not interfere in the caretaking of both pets and plants.
In the afternoon, the students can stay in school and eat in the cafeteria. After the lunch break, there are different offers on activities in which the students can take part in. Beside the ordinary offers like homework assistance, there are also unusual offers like a student- organised tutoring in small groups or sport activities like canoe polo on the See initiated by a PE teacher. Some teachers meet once a week after school to play volleyball together. A group of students meet regularly to discuss possible improvements for school life in future.
All in all, one can say that the school is well equipped and modern. The school atmosphere is very warm and welcoming and the extracurricular activities are very varied. The most outstanding feature is the pupils’ participation in the schools development.
2.2 Subject Knowledge
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and located in the northeast on the island of Ireland. Sometimes, Ireland is called Ulster (based on an ancient province). The capital city is Belfast. The official language in Northern Ireland is English and the currency is pound sterling (£). In the year 2011, the population of Ireland was counted with the result of 1,810,863 inhabitants. Northern Ireland is 5457 square miles large. In 1920, Northern Ireland separated officially from Ireland. The majority of the people of Northern Ireland are Protestants but Catholics reached a high percentage as well with two fifth being Catholics in recent years, (cf. Encyclopædia Britannica, Northern
Ireland) The lesson gives an introduction to the main character of this chapter (Sarah Brown), the capital city Belfast, the tourist attraction “Giants Causeway”, the Bed and Breakfast of the main character’s family, the main character’s aunt and her shop as well as Sarah Brown’s connection to the Titanic.
The new words on this page focus on Northern Ireland (Protestant, Catholic, Giants Causeway, murals) as well as on everyday language (to run something, northwest of, free, grandad, every, adult (ticket), to cost, probably). The vocabulary contains some vocabulary which is similar to the German language and therefore easier to learn for the pupils (Protestant, Catholic, northwest, grandad and to cost). These strong similarities to the German Language support students in recognizing the meaning as well as memorizing the new word. Additionally, many words are part of everyday language and therefore also most likely to be remembered.
2.3 Didactical Analysis
The content matter of this lesson is quite widespread. The lesson is the first in the teaching unit of Northern Ireland and therefore introduces the pupils to the country, its history, culture and peoples everyday life. As a result, the main competence to focus on in this lesson is the intercultural competence. The pupils learn about similarities and differences in culture between Germany and Northern Ireland. Beforehand, the pupils already learned about the cultures of England, Wales and Scotland prior. Hence, the pupils are already used to get to know new countries and culture in their English lessons, (cf. Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen Englisch, p.23)
Furthermore, the students improve their functional communicative competence by generating the main information from listening to the text about Northern Ireland. Most students in this class still struggle with understanding texts by simply listening to them. By separating the two listening parts through a break in which the new words are clarified, the students who struggle with listening tasks might get a chance to understand the text trough this activity. The Irish accent might be another difficulty in understanding the text but up until now, the students handled the Scottish accent (in the previous unit) very well. (cf. Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen Englisch, p. 13)
Another aspect is the reading competence. Most students in this group have little to no problems in understanding short texts; therefore I think that some students will put a higher focus on reading the text while they are listening. Especially the students who have difficulties in listening tasks might get their information by reading the text simultaneously to listening to the CD. (cf. Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen Englisch, p. 15)
Finally, one of the first tasks in the lesson is to describe the Pictures in the book and to think about the content of the texts. The competence, which is talking in connected sentences, will be triggered by the task. Many students in this class do not like to talk in front of the class; especially not if they have no preparation time or notes. By supporting the students with questions (which offer them some words they might need for the answers), the intention is to get as many answers and picture descriptions as possible, (cf. Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen Englisch, p. 16)
Reduction of subject knowledge
The text books offer already reduced subject knowledge. To keep the input in a reasonably size, there will be as little background knowledge passed on to the students as possible. Many topics on the front page will be discussed on a later point in the unit, so the students will not lack in the important information at the end of the topic. Additionally, the content will be reduced by using different approaches (listening, reading, and writing). This mixture of presentations on the content of the texts might reduce the barriers of understanding the content. A further reduction, especially for the weaker students in form of a higher differentiation, would be great but there was not the right opportunity for me to do so.
How the lesson is embedded into the teaching unit The teaching units in the grade seven are divided into different counties and the lesson presented is part of the teaching unit Northern Ireland. This lesson is the start of the teaching unit and has therefore a special position. The first lesson of a unit should introduce the new topic to the students. Firstly, the lesson should raise the students’ interest in Northern Ireland and to motivate them to learn more about it. By introducing the county, this lesson gives a first outlook on the cultural aspects of the country, similarities and differences in everyday life and raises the intercultural competences. This lesson is quite teacher centred because there are many new aspects which need to be introduced to the students. In further lessons, the students get more autonomy for the lessons, (cf. Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen Englisch, p. 23)
The aim of the lesson
The main point is to introduce the teaching unit to the students. Another point is that the students should be motivated to learn more about the new topic in the next lessons. Furthermore, the students might build interest in finding out what living in Northern Ireland is like. The first impression should be positive and not all questions they have about the country should be answered in this first lesson in order to create high interest on how the story goes on. “Sarah Brown” is introduced in the texts, a girl in the age of the pupils who should catch the attention of the students by sharing similar interests. The pupils should be able to understand the new texts by listening to the CD and/ or reading the texts. The class is quite strong, there are only a few pupils who need both channels of introduction (listening twice/ reading) in order to understand the texts completely. Finally, the students’ task is to learn new words and the correct pronunciation of these. (Kerncurriculum Niedersachsen, p. 23)
The aim of each activity
One student writes the date down on the Whiteboard. This task is the ritual which starts off every lesson in this class. This ritual marks the beginning of each English lesson to the students. The description of the pictures is a chance for each student to talk freely to pictures full of objects which are partly easy and partly hard to describe. Some quiet students get the chance to talk about some of the more easy pictures. Additionally, the students get some hints for words to use by the questions which are asked about the pictures. Another point is that the pictures are a light introduction to the new topic. The next task, the prediction of the texts through the pictures is especially for the stronger students who can already form connected sentences. Through the time, the students get to talk to a partner about the content provides weaker students to generate their ideas about the text by discussing it with a partner and maybe become confident enough to answer to it.
The listening task provides the students a first impression on the text and an overlook over the new words. Some students are strong listeners and can understand the text immediately. Other students who have a weakness in listening comprehension can practice their listening skills. The clarification of the new words with the whole class together should make sure that every student understands the text. Some students in this class do not look after the new words if they get the option of looking them up themselves. This often leads to a lack of understanding of the text and the tasks. Every student has now the same knowledge about the new words and can understand the text better. The following task of reading the text quietly while the CD is running, provides the shy students an opportunity of reading. Two students in the class are very shy and do not speak English loudly in class as long as they do not have to. The whispering activity is often used in this class and most pupils take part in it. Another important task is the reading task in front of the class. Many students really like to read out loud and feel comfortable by doing so while other students shy away from this task. This task focusses on the pronunciation of the new words (indirectly also on the old ones). The teacher in training can make the students repeat the words which are difficult to pronounce.
In order to solve the first task for text understanding, the students answer to a question and choose the next student. This task is aiming for a high participation because the students want to support each other and every student is allowed to inly give one answer. Therefore, many students (twelve) need to participate on this task. The next task is also for text understanding and the students have to write the solutions down with a partner. This task builds a short summary of the texts when solved correctly so it can be used in the upcoming lesson to remind the students of the texts without having to read it again.
The Quizzmaster game’s purpose is to secure the newly learned words of the lesson. The students work together in two teams in order to win the game, so they have to use their social skills to work as efficient as possible. Furthermore, the game provides fun and excitement for the students and motivates them in taking part in the English lesson (the students knew from the beginning that this game will be played). The homework (learning the new vocabulary and using the new words in sentences) prepares the students for the upcoming lessons.
The learning intentions for the language
Firstly, the students should learn some new words they will need for the process of this unit. Moreover, this vocabulary can be useful for the pupils’ everyday conversations in the future. Secondly, the students get to know the Irish accent by listening to the texts. Sarah Brown, the main character in this unit is from Belfast and talks with a strong Irish accent throughout the stories. Finally, the students learn the correct pronunciation for the new words.
2.4 Methodological Analysis
Why each activity is appropriate in the context of the lesson
Every lesson in English begins with the greetings of students and the teacher. The next step is always the date on the board. This is part of the ritual in English and marks the beginning of the lesson and the start of the English speaking part. This frequently repeated part of the lesson is familiar to the students and is vital for the classroom. The ritual can influence the students’ feelings toward the lesson positively. All students know what is expected by the teacher when there are rituals. This takes stress away from students who might feel uncomfortable in the English lesson, (cf. Allen, p. 79)
The description of the pictures is a light start for the pupils. The open talk about what can be seen improves the students’ participation because it is not too difficult for them. Moreover, the students activate their prior knowledge by describing the pictures. The guessing of the content of the texts is more difficult and appropriate for advanced students but with the one to two minutes of partner time, even lesser advanced pupils get the chance to give an answer. The partner work also trains the students’ cooperative skills. The picture description in a language classroom should improve the communicative skills in contrast to the picture description in other subjects, where the description is limited to content matter. The core of the picture description lies on the interaction with others. Therefore, this task fulfils an important need of the students, to communicate with people and to build a conversation with their classmates. This purpose based task might has a positive effect on the students’ participation as well because it serves a basically need in their life. (cf. Mukalel, p.26)
The audio of the texts is an advantage for the pupils who have high skills in listening and/or are weak at reading. The audio also gives the texts authenticity throughout the Irish accent. Therefore, the students’ receptive skills might increase due to the natural reception of the text. The main goal in teaching English is to provide the students with English skills which they can use in later life and outside the classroom. After school, the students should be able to interact with other persons in real life effectively. The students might not think about whether the task serves a purpose or not and if they really need the skill of listening. The listening part might be a ritual in this particular classroom because every text is played by the CD- Player before the students read it. Moreover, the students learn how to listen to the text structural and filter it for the important information. All students remain quiet for the time of the listening to guarantee a good learning environment for every student. All students work at the same time together in order to understand the text. (cf. Field, p. 13)
By learning the new words together, the pupils get into a conversation about the English words and the German meaning. The students help each other and complete the tasks with their individual knowledge and some verbal, mimic or gestural support by the teacher. All students have the same knowledge afterwards. Hence, the complete list of the new words with the translation is the result of teamwork. Additionally, the new words and the translations are written down on the whiteboard so that the students can check the words throughout the rest of the lesson. To connect the content with the new words is a very effective way in order to have good results in the later on usage. The “natural” approach of learning new vocabulary effectively is to firstly being taught the vocabulary, to comprehend the new words and then to apply the words. The texts offer the students some examples of usage of the new words in everyday contexts and therefore an explanation why the learning of these new words serve a purpose for their later life. (cf. Dunigan, p. 19)
The second listening part is mixed with a reading task because the students read along while listening. This task gives every student the chance to at least once practice the pronunciation and to understand the text better if the students struggle with their listening skills. The whispering provides a save environment for the shy pupils. Another important aspect is that all students are active at this time because even if they are not whispering alongside, the students at least read the text while listening.
Some students read the text in front of the class so that the pronunciation problems become visible. The students get a chance to improve their own pronunciation and through repeating the most difficult words with the whole class all students get used to them as well. Strong students can get into the position of a role model for the students who do not like to read out loud. The text is divided into different parts which can be read by many students so most of the volunteers get their chance. Reading is the only way to become a good reader and also to improve the writing skills. Reading is also a positive experience for students (if they are not under pressure). Additionally, pupils who read show a positive trend in their cognitive development and lower the fear of writing. The students are not forced to read out loud and can choose on their own if they are willing to read in front of the class. This provides a save environment for the students who might not feel confident enough to participate in the reading, (cf. Krashen, p. 37)
The exercises for the text understanding make sure that all students really understand the texts’ messages. The method for the first exercise (students choose each other for the solutions) has the advantage, that some more students take part to support the others. They have to help each other out with the answers because no one is allowed to give more than one answer. This light pressure has not impact on every student but it can activate a student who might not want to talk English under normal circumstances. Even better, the students do not feel forced but feel like a supporter for the group. The main challenge in understanding texts in a foreign language lies in the connection between (in this case) understanding English words and understanding the context of the texts at the same time. This is a difficult task for many students but the high amount of processing the text beforehand leads to a more secure attitude toward the exercise. Every student knows at this point what the texts are about and what information they offer, (cf. Delanoy, Bredella, p. 16)
The second writing exercise is very easy but if completed correctly it is a short summary of the texts. The students can do it with a partner to make sure that the outcome is correct. This writing task provides an important communicative function: processing the newly learned information for a reason. The students learn how to separate the important from the lesser important information. Even though the usual outcome depends on the reader/ listener but with this task, the pupils have to concentrate on the given task and process the information in order to fit into the given task. In this case, the students only need to process the information in a linear way. This helps the students in not getting confused with the different texts and their diverse contents. The weaker students feel more secure because they realise that the order of questions fit the order of answers in the text. (cf. Dahl, Smith, p. 14f.)
- Quote paper
- Laura Bruns (Author), 2017, Detailed Lesson Planning. Northern Ireland (English/ Geography), Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/434980