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My journey of attending placements and watching teachers with highly skilled learning at a professional level has inspired me to develop several qualities as I engage in practice with my placements. In terms of reflective learning, this essay explains how teachers educate students with music (Primary) unnamed school. ‘Putting theory into practice’ is also an experience for one of the teachers within the schools as they move from student to teacher identity. During my placement, I attended a workshop which was to do with music at an ‘unnamed’ school a new experience for me as a way of change from my recent placements. This placement gave me an interest in discovering and developing new ways of learning whilst engaging through the contribution to children’s learning as “Art” in every educational setting is undervalued (Eisner, 2004).

Introduction

The national curriculum for England is to be emplaced and taught within all local authority and maintained schools. The national curriculum also provides programs for study purposes for all 4 key stages. The Centre to Education provision is the National curriculum where that gives young people an understanding of what is needed from them. In the Education Act (1944), R. A. Butler; the chairman of the conservative chairman introduced education for all primary and secondary schools. This helped provide a large aim for the education system: “It shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to recon sign with society religiously and physically more”. Concerning the school’s curriculum, music is a universal language that supports people to become more creative with different elements of music. There may be concerns about this program such as limited time and resources with art. Challenges may be faced with being musical teachers, “is to keep abreast of the standards for effective teaching so that our students are appropriately prepared” Binder (2001, p.3).

Learning and Identity

As I attended ‘unnamed’ school I began to focus and study more on the teacher with education (Trent, 2010: Beauchamp, 2009 and Gee, 2000). I observed the power the teacher held with her students as teaching holds a complex and skilled practice in the music industry. What I learned from last year’s placement is to identify the key knowledge that comes from the knowledge and skills that process from being a teacher and shape me. Researcher Britzman (2003, p.31) points out that “with time transforming, with inspection of learning and what they are doing is what they will become”. As I watched and investigated the teachers throughout the years, taking notes on a teacher’s way of education is identified as construction, (Britzman, 2003; Millar Marsh 2002; Roberts, 2000) explains teachers identify as fashioned, refashioned, processes in ways through the influenced of perspectives from schools and governors. The reason for becoming a teacher in any subject is reflected in one’s identity of self-reflection. This impacts the way teachers teach their students also known as ‘identity-in-practice’ where their actions are emplaced through understanding and professionalism; Varghese, Morgan, Johnson and Johnson (2005).

My identity-in-practice during last year’s placement would be supporting the kids during activities and sports I partook in. As I stood there and analyzed how the children were actively involving themselves with lessons and sports, my identity progression as a teaching assistant would be in relation to Wenger’s (1998), which involves ‘engaging’, ‘alignment’, and ‘imagination’. What I have gained from my experience would be how it changed me as a person and “engagement which allows us to invest in what we do and in our relationships with other people gaining a lived sense of who we are”; Wenger (1998, p.192). During the first week of my placement this year, I noticed an ‘unnamed’ teacher using her ‘voice’ towards the pupils through their knowledge skill, and passion for music which shaped my understanding through reflection and witnessing the shape of identity. During my placement, as I witnessed the teachers teaching their music lessons and showing off their skills it helped encourage me to engage directly with the children and interact with the use of art and music. I have learned during my placement is the ‘Knowledgebase’ contains practical and theoretical components that undermine one’s practice as a teacher. As I prepare myself for attending these placements, it is my responsibility to ensure I gain knowledge and understanding of what the teacher is teaching theory and how the school is indeed for the practice to happen (Henry 2001). Some argue that these practices being taught within schools and institutions can endanger what is being taught (Sutherland, Scanlon & Sperrign, 2004). The reason is that some parents may prohibit their child from being taught music in general within schools as a child did complain to me that they find it as ‘Haram’ and against their religion. Field & Latta (2001) are those who argue that about endangering the institutional practice. However, as I attended an ‘unnamed’ school the teachers during my placement helped provide me with opportunities to help develop my skills with professionalism as they also gained wisdom through teaching. Whilst at higher levels of teaching, usually the teaching and learning may be neglected from developing through technical skills.

A challenge I faced during my third-year placement was the limited time I had and being prepared for the aspects of the classroom (Temmerman, 1997; Jeanneret 1997). As I focused more and took part in this experience, I began to help the students with learning to play the piano whilst taking notes. This helped my development with being ‘hands-on’ as it also supported me through “developing an initial repertoire of teaching, competencies, comprehend the various dimensions of music experience and understanding student learning” (p.52). Students began to ask me questions when they were too confused or ‘shy’ to put their hands on the teacher. This gave me confidence and made me believe that I am responsible for the child’s learning, this gave me more momentum to see that once a pupil gets an understanding of what is being taught how is more than just telling (Weinstein, 1989). This is also known as not only basic knowledge but even pedagogical knowledge, which helps those people in practice become good teachers. As I progressed with my journey of being an assistant in the classrooms, my involvement within the institution helped ‘pre-service teachers more towards full membership of the profession, these components become progressively interrelated as they use these principles to inform their pedagogical practice”, (Sutherland, Scanlon & Sperrign, 2004, P.80). During my third-year placement, the unnamed school the teachers teaching the students music were also provided with pre-service feedback to ensure the teacher was given their own criticism ‘practice of learning to teach takes practice’. These experiences give students like me the opportunity to learn “linking theory to practice” (Henry, 2001, p.24). During my school placement, the teachers provided the students with learning hand signs and body movement. The teachers taught children to use their hands to clap during the music and also to stomp their feet to engage in the class and learn about rhythm.

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In the 1920s, the psychologist John B. Watson argued that behavior was becoming influential which created the new league of classical conditioning. In terms of operant conditioning, an example of this during my workshop was giving the children candy when answering the correct question and I gained important skills through cooperating with the teacher and students throughout. This was important for me as Skinner’s views on the best way of learning are to understand behavior and the actions that come of it. Wattiaux (2001) argues that “in order to be a good teacher weaving an essential product of connectedness with the subject, pupil and the student” (p.1). One advantage that teaching music to children would be allowing children to be free when it comes to music and make it their own as “experiences from which they can construct their understandings of music, education and music education” (Wiggins, 2007, p.36). To get the full experience from the children’s learning, the teachers were required to teach music and engage through the lesson constructively (Bleicher & Lindgren, 2002). My experience of being there and actively listening also helped me understand how teachers were supporting the children. As the knowledge I gained from this being a sense of human construct, taking notes and reporting back to the teacher I was assigned to also helped improve my achievements and understanding as to what was needed. By doing so, after each music lesson during the break, I asked the teacher questions. Feedback is very important and also reflect upon my behaviour as more learning occurs. Rogoff (1990), suggests that learning is a process that can happen when one person learns from one another or shared learning. Although during my placement through the years, I have my unique style and ways of learning and teaching as everyone else does; however, learning new knowledge is a way of social construct where it is helpful to regain more knowledge from comments and reflect on criticisms.

At an unnamed school, the workshop I had been attending was designed for a formal background in Arts, although some of the students attending this workshop come with knowledge already taught to themselves, this unit helps teach and provide them with a better understanding of visual art gaining more diversity range and discipline. The purpose of my placement was to explore a new experience with the levels of teaching. The main reason for this workshop unit is to provide students with several ranges and organizations with music through elements. Examples of these would be playing instruments, performing, dancing, etc.

During my second term placement, students were entitled to pick one program known as ‘focused study’. This required students to take part in dance, drama, etc. I met up with the students and teachers weekly for 3 hours during this process (workshop). The music they partook in was primary school level with a specialist teacher. The type of music being used was known as ‘African music’ which included drumming (djembe). The name of the music was also called ‘Masakhane’ which stands for ‘let us build ourselves’ in Africa which also puts learning into practice as the children gain and learn new sets of skills and understanding through the use of music. This can also be seen as cross-culture engagement as the music being produced is also westernized into European style. In this, I noticed the opportunity of engagement and being with the students gave me ideas and a set of skills from learning. What I had gained from this was to share ideas with the classroom about musical sounds and make music with the children. I kept a journal of my experience from these activities through the workshop so I could reflect on the process. I had learned that through these journeys throughout the years of attending placements, I had not only gained techniques and skills through music but also achieved more of an understanding of my own teaching identity throughout as (Hatton and Smith; 1995) relate this as critical, practical and technical. The workshop was also beneficial for me as it helped my understanding of what a teacher should be like through self-reflection as I gained more knowledge of “how to research pedagogical issues” (Maaranen and Krokfors, 20007, p.201).

Developing

In my journey of going to the workshops within the schools, a social science approach is a way of demonstrating my experience and also how I developed through this practice. In reflection teaching is an “element of professional preparation” Russel (2005). My journal is also an important element as the notes can help me look back on the years and see what needs to be improved with my own set of skills. This helps me develop for the future as Ferraro (2002) points out that it is important for students to “put theories into practice in class” and replicate “their learning when coming back from their placements. With the theory in practice, I would remember during class time with the children to ensure I engage correctly from the previous year so I get more skills as Atherton (2003) says “the cultivation of the capacity to reflect in action (whilst doing it) and on (after doing that certain thing) is a crucial feature of professional training”. As I took notes throughout the years, I learned that looking back in the journal I was able to reflect on my learning (Loughran 1996). As I asked the teachers for advice on what I should do the next day they responded to me by going through my journal and actively learning the pros and cons I wrote down as Imel (1992) states no one can learn without reflecting on themselves. During my placements throughout the years, I also noticed how body language and a sense of communication an important elements of learning. For example, watching the kids actively get involved with the teacher’s learning and asking me for help when needed. Reflection is also learned from four elements as pointed out by Brookfield (1995); taking note of their own experience as learning (the practitioners); also, eye contact as away from looking through experience and the theoretical literature (p.29).

Conclusion

Upon reflecting on my placement during the years, I noticed that the more productive and adventurous the activity is, the more is needed for the teacher to have rules, and regulations for the children’s behavior. Even though I found out that in classrooms learning typical subjects gave me an understanding of classroom arrangements whilst musical workshops require more of a fun engaging activity with the children. I also took note of how the classroom teacher not only was confident but also taught swiftly with their body language such as the eyes and ears. That attracted the student’s attention and gave support to those children who may have had difficulty hearing. As I actively stood up too with the teacher it gave me a chance to move around and demonstrate my confidence as a way to be “on the ball” to get the children’s attention. These experiences helped shape me to reflect on my own and learning what’s the best way to teach. It also supported me in learning how to manage and cater to all the children no matter the circumstance. To add I would say that the teachers I had met had “good management strategies” and keeping additional notes from these experiences would help my behavior and learn from each student it prevents the “management strategies that worked for one class may not work for the next” (p.58) doesn’t happen. Through last year’s placement and this year’s, teachers are usually responsible for preparing themselves for the lesson but I also learned that teachers are more confident in teaching children’s art. The workshop allowed me to explore aspects of teaching through instruments and music which gave me a “live experience” (Chase, 2005, p.658). Through this, the unnamed school pushed me to move from student identity to teacher identity allowing me to explore the connection between practice and theory during my placements. Focusing on how the teachers in both of my placements gave me an understanding of what a teacher is and how it would reflect on my abilities in teaching. Through these experiences at ‘Unnamed school,’ the workshop provided me with a way of seeing “music teaching will be a satisfying endeavor” (Conkling & Henry, 199, P.20). A positive key factor overall would be how the placement provided me with confidence to want to teach not only education for primary school but also other aspects such as music for primary schools. These experiences also helped develop my own identity in Education to help me “think on my feet” as I got the support from the teachers by linking theory to practice. Through reflecting, I’ve learned that these placements not only changed me but also prepared me for the future as a teacher as “learning to teach is a process that endures for the duration, teachers are needed to be fully ready no matter the case within a teachers career and education program” Conkling & Henry, 1999, p.22).

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