Reflecting on my blog post from last week and looking at the #SLTChat topic - nurturing leaders, here are my thoughts on tacking leadership in the world of primary education. As I discussed last week, I am in my third year of teaching. Let's just stop there. I qualified in 2013. Already, I am the science subject leader of a one form entry primary school in Westminster. Doesn't that deserve praise? Why then don't I cut myself some slack? While I appreciate that everybody's career develops at a very different rate, I can't help but feel disappointed, especially at the start of this academic year. I wasn't sure why. I have good relationships with my colleagues, parents and, of course, the children I teach. In my NQT year I was subject to a LA review and then an OFSTED inspection. I achieved good results in Year 2 SATs and subsequently became science subject leader in my second year along with being moderated for SATs data last year.
As some of you will be aware, I conducted my first ever piece of research last month, into the use of iPads to engage Year 4 children in scientific enquiry. After a couple of supportive and encouraging tweets, below is a summary of my research (the full report is available should you wish to read 7,500 words on it!).
So, on Saturday, I attended my first ASE conference. I decided to attend on the back of an #ASEchat that took place in September 2012. Luckily, as a trainee teacher (and an ASE member), it was free for me to attend one day. However, I also booked on two paid sessions: Microbiology for primary and Inspiring Primary Science!, both of which are reviewed below.
While I know this post may appear to be premature, it comes as a reflection on comments that I have started to receive over the past month or so. Through conversations with lecturers, amongst others, there appears to be growing consensus over my career in the world of education. It has been mentioned to me that I could become a Headteacher within 5 years of graduating in September (2013).
Since my last post, I have to confess that I've neglected my research somewhat. While there have been assignments to focus on, I am usually very good at keeping myself going by reading (or at least sourcing) new journal articles. So, where am I now?
I've passed! Well, the research proposal anyway!
I know it's not a graded piece of work, but passing the proposal now means I can continue with my research project.
During the 2 years I have currently spent studying towards my degree, one of the key themes that has emerged is the importance of talk in the primary classroom. Social constructivists (namely Vygotsky) argue that children consolidate their knowledge and understanding through engaging in social situations (talk); in the context of school, working in small groups and pairs can enable children to do just this. Opportunities for talk have therefore become a natural part of the school day and can now be observed in many areas of the curriculum. This year, I have noticed how important the same principles are in developing my own understanding, with particular reference to my research project (iPads in science education).
As I've mentioned in previous blogs, the amount of reading to undertake this year is ever growing. However, one area of study that I can't stop reading around is for my research project.
Although it's not yet been approved by the ethics committee, I am hoping to conduct my first piece of professional research into how iPads can enhance the learning of (primary) science using the outdoor classroom.
Following on from a brief discussion during this weeks' #ASEChat, in which the selection of science personalities listed in the new (draft) primary curriculum for science (access it here) came under fire for being overwhelmingly white and male, I have decided to review and revise this selelction to include a more diverse selection of science personalities. The science personalties currently in the revised primary science curriculum are: Charles Darwin; Carl Linnaeus; Nicholas Copernicus; Galileo Galilei; Neil Armstrong; David Attenborough; Gerald Durrell; William Harvey; Galen; Isaac Newton; The Wright Brothers