Final Year Placement

Hello everyone!

I hope you all have that Friday feeling and have some nice weekend plans ahead!

I have officially completed 8 weeks of my final professional practice with only 2 more to go! The time has flown by and what an incredible experience it has been! This is partly down to the support and guidance from teachers in my current placement school, and also because of previous teaching opportunities that Edge hill have provided.

When I applied to study primary education, I did not realise how worthwhile and valuable professional practice would be. Although our seminars and lectures are useful for developing our knowledge of classroom pedagogy, putting theory into practice has been my favourite part of the course for many reasons.

Usually, at the start of a placement block, students begin to teach a small percentage of the timetable. This increases week by week until it reaches 80%, which used to seem impossible! However, having 3 blocks of professional practice has allowed me to grow in confidence and develop my love for teaching even more!

If you are going to study a teaching course with professional practice opportunities,  feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Have a fantastic weekend,

Interviews at Edge Hill

Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a fantastic Christmas day with all your friends and family.

As the new year approaches,  it means it will soon be interview time for some of you! Not every course requires an interview but Primary Education is an example of a programme that does. I remember how nervous I was beforehand, mostly because I did not know what to expect. It has all become a bit of a blur now but I will try my best to recall what I can about Edge Hill’s interview process! You can access some useful information here. 

How should I prepare?

Research – make sure you know enough about the university. Have you been to an open day or campus tour? Why have you chosen Edge Hill University? What about their Primary Education course appeals to you?

Work experience – make sure you have had enough experience in a classroom environment. It is not too late to ask to spend time observing lessons, perhaps in your former primary school.

World of education – it is SO important to stay informed of current educational issues.  The Times Educational supplement and BBC education news are good starting points!

What should I bring to the interview day?

Portfolio – although a portfolio is often not necessary, I found it really useful to bring to my interviews. By having a small file with a few pictures from different work experience, it allowed me toeasily access things to talk about. Not only did it support my discussions, it looked organised to the interviewers. It shows them that you are already thinking about meeting the Teachers’ Standards.

Certificates / Qualifications – these can be photocopies. Ensure you have all the evidence you need to demonstrate your abilities and past achievements.

Potential Questions

  • Why have you chosen Edge Hill University?
  • Why do you want to be a primary school teacher?
  • Why do you want to teach primary insteadof secondary?
  • What current issues in education are important to you?
  • How will you be a creative teacher?
  • What experiences have you had of working with children with special needs?
  • What skills do you have?
  • What are your strengths / weaknesses?

Subject Knowledge Tasks

As well as having a campus tour and an individual interview, I also took part in maths, science and English written tasks. These were marked out of 20 and I received my feedback when I got my letter of confirmation in the post! An important piece of advice I can offer is… research phonics!

Good luck!

Although it might seem a bit daunting, you’ll be absolutely fine! During the interview just be yourself and relax. The interviewers at Edge Hill are lovely so try to think of the interview as a chat, rather than an interrogation! Wishing you all the best.

Summer Biology Internship

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it’s been over 12 months since I’ve been properly on campus – with an ERASMUS+ internship in Sweden and a placement year in the USA, it’s weird to be back! However, there’s no rest for the wicked so I’m back on another internship, this time a lot closer to home. The biosciences department offer a number of summer internships aimed at second years who are progressing into third year. This year, 6 lecturers offered internships, in disciplines such as genetics, ecology, microbiology, covering organisms including plants, invertebrates and humans. I was lucky enough to receive a place on Paul Ashton’s internship, after applying for two of them (you can apply for two internships maximum) with a CV and cover letter. Being abroad at the time of application, I participated in a Skype interview – a strange experience!

The subject area of my internship is titled, “Does meadow restoration conserve genetic variation?”, although I haven’t actually got to that part of the work yet! Before I start on that project (being worked on by a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and PhD student, Elizabeth Sullivan), I’m assisting on a different project to do with lime trees. This project is Carl Baker’s (a Postdoc Researcher). Right now I’ve been assisting in the final steps of DNA extraction, cleaning up the extracted DNA to try and get rid of any impurities in the samples. This process involves inverting and emptying a tube of liquid whilst keeping a pellet of DNA precariously stuck to the bottom – quite nerve-wracking to see your sample hanging by a thread!

Another unexpected aspect of this internship was setting up and running a session for the 2018 Edge Hill Biology Olympiad. The Olympiad is a series of challenges completed by teams from various sixth forms and colleges that come to Edge Hill University for the day. Each activity is graded and the scores released in a ceremony at the end of the day. I didn’t expect to be doing this kind of work but thoroughly embraced it – it was a great opportunity to push myself and see what it felt like to run a teaching exercise of sorts.

Memorable Moments 2

Hello! I hope you are all enjoying this lovely weather! Continuing with my ‘memorable moments’ from my recent professional practice, I am going to be talking about a science lesson I taught to the year 4 pupils.

After Edge Hill introduced this idea in a Science seminar, I knew I wanted to try it with the children. It is a very messy activity… which just adds to the fun, right?!

The activity was based on the human digestive system as their current topic is animals and humans. The children had also learnt about instructions in literacy so this was a perfect chance for a cross-curricular task! Below are the instructions I put together to hand out to the groups of 3…

You are creating your own human digestive system. Every day materials such as the tights that you brought in, will represent a part of the body – so you need to use your imagination!  You will follow the journey of the banana through the body, starting with the mouth.

You will need to do the following:

  1. Use scissors (the teeth) to cut the banana up in the cup (the mouth).
  2. Add a few drops of water (saliva). This will create a ball of food (the bolus).
  3. Push the bolus with a finger through the funnel (the oesophagus), and into the plastic bag (the stomach).
  4. Pour more water into the bag (this represents the stomach acid).
  5. Seal the bag (seal the opening to the stomach). Try not to trap air… if there is a lot of air in the stomach it creates a burp!
  6. Squeeze the bag to make the mixture smooth. Food usually stays in the stomach for 6 hours!
  7. Make a small hole in the bottom of the plastic bag with the scissors.
  8. Pour the contents into the tights (large intestines). You may need two people to ensure the mixture does not spill. Cut a hole at the bottom of the tights.
  9. Use your hands to wrap around the tights and squeeze the mixture to move it down.
  10. Make sure to place the larger plastic container (the toilet) underneath the hole (the anus).

If you are still on teaching practice or plan to start soon, I highly recommend this practical activity if you have the chance! The children were so engaged and absolutely loved it. Afterwards, they were able to talk through the digestive system and apply their knowledge by relating scientific terms to the everyday materials which they used.

Have a lovely weekend!!!

Anna 🙂

Memorable Moments 1

Hello everybody!

My second year placement for Primary Education has unfortunately come to an end. 8 weeks have flown by and I am feeling VERY sad to leave after building such strong relationships with the pupils and staff. There have been so many wonderful memories that are too special to put into one post… so I’m going to start my ‘memorable moments’ blogs to summarise some of my favourite times on professional practice.

My year 4 class and I made visits to the local church to learn more about Christianity as part of their religious education syllabus. Since their next topic was Judaism, I invited a Rabbi/former teacher of mine to visit my year pupils. After introducing the topic of prayer, children showed deep interest in learning about my Jewish identity. So, when the Rabbi delivered an informative and HILARIOUS talk to over 60 pupils, it was great to see the enthusiasm of the children. This gave them a chance to ask questions they have not been able to ask before, and it was amazing to see. The children’s’ eyes lit up when they recognised so many similarities between Judaism and their own faith, and they were astonished to learn about the traditions of another culture.

Brilliant opportunities like this, reminds us of the importance of acceptance. By allowing children of a young age to connect with someone of another faith, it encourages them to embrace differences and appreciate similarities. When children don’t have the chance to communicate with members of another faith, they begin to see ‘being different’ as a negative thing. As teachers, it is our responsibility to encourage open-mindedness. In a world where acceptance is often tested, small moments like these highlight the importance of celebrating differences instead of simply tolerating them.

When you were in school, how did you learn about different faiths?

Speak soon, Anna 🙂

Placement Magic

Hi everyone!

With my placement drawing to a close, I am starting to feel quite sad! 6 weeks have flown by and I only have 2 weeks left of teaching my year 4’s… but I hope to visit them again when they’re in year 5! So, here are some of the many reasons why professional practice is the best part of my Primary Education course:

1)The children

After teaching the same pupils every day for the past few weeks, I have gotten to know each and every individual – their personalities and unique quirks. One of the most worthwhile parts of teaching is watching a pupil understand a new concept or overcome an individual struggle within a certain aspect of work. Knowing I have helped to make a small difference puts it all into perspective. Not only is it amazing to help children learn, assisting with social or community events like a school disco, sports day or club allows children to simply let loose and have carefree fun – laughter and smiles are enough to make anyones day!

2) Developing yourself as a teacher

With every placement, comes new lessons learnt. I cannot begin to explain just how much I can take with me from just 6 weeks of professional practice. This is mostly down to the teachers, mentors and every adult who works there. Their guidance and support has been brilliant and inspires me to become as supportive as they are when I eventually have my own class!

3) The creative side

This professional practice has allowed me to recognise the opportunities for creativity in everything I teach. In Religious Education we recently made stained-glass windows for their topic of the church. In Literacy, the children have put themselves in the roles of Boudicca and Claudius for their Roman topic (also relating it to History). Overall, it has been wonderful to deliver these lessons and watch the children participate with enthusiasm.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions if you’d like to know more about my second placement within Primary Education! Speak soon,

Anna 🙂

A Normal Day!

So summer is well and truly here, hopefully you’ve finished to enjoy the sunshine being carefree! For this blog I thought I’d talk about what a typical day at uni on campus looked like for me!

8:00am: My alarm would go off and after about 10 minutes or so I’d get up and get ready.

8:45am: Set off walking to my lecture, from ForestCourt most places on campus took 5-10 minutes max to walk to leaving me good time.

9:00am: My lecture would start normally around 9am, but not all do! I would sit with and talk to my friends as the lecture began I would take notes, listen and talk to the lecturers.

10:45am: Around this time we would normally be given a comfort break, meaning we could have a snack, drink and relax!

11:15am: The lecture would continue around this time in the form of a tutorial where we would answer questions based on the lecture. The lecturer is still available to ask questions during this time if you want more information or get stuck!

1:00pm: The lecture would finish around this time. This means dinner time! In first year I occasionally pre-prepared my dinner, went back to my uni flat to have dinner or even tea out occasionally if the budget stretched!

1:30pm: Another lecture! For me these lectures in one day mostly contrasted between the maths side of my degree and the education part.

3:00pm: Another comfort break.

3:20pm: The lecture begins again! Normally with a tutorial like activity, working individually or in a group! The education lectures promote conversation and topical debate! The sharing of good practice is also promoted and extremely useful!

5:00pm: All finished for the day!

This then just left the evening to have some tea, complete work and get ready for the next day! Between this time you should talk to your flat mates and enjoy living in a the student community!

So in a few months time you’ll be in your own little routine! Enjoy it!

Offers and Interviews!

So congratulations if you’ve been invited to an applicant day, as this means you’ve been offered a (conditional or unconditional) place! This is great news! If your offer is unconditional then you know that you’ll be joining us in September to start! However if you receive a conditional offer- do not fret! As long as you continue to work hard you will also be joining us in September as you will undoubtedly meet the necessary criteria!

Some courses may also request other non-academic requests, such as placements/work experience! Back in 2014, I attended an interview for my course (Secondary Maths Teaching with QTS)! Before the interview I was asked to prepare a part of a lesson on expanding brackets that I would be demonstrating to the panel. I also was told I would be subjected to a written comprehension based on an educational topic, as well as questions from the interview panel. The interview panel at the time consisted of two people, the head of a local high school and the maths course leader at Edge Hill.
Thankfully I received a conditional offer which was based on my grades at college, passing the skills tests (required for QTS) and also having completed work experience in a high school and primary school!

My advice to you as prospective students, many of you with interviews to attend is to be confident, research your subject topic (you might be asked about current affairs!) and enjoy the experience! The tutors will be happy to help you and answer any questions you have. At Edge Hill you are an asset to the university so ensure that you show off your talent and skills so you can really develop academically over the forthcoming years!

Good luck!

A Day in the Life

Now as much as I would like it to, I can’t lie and say that my day often begins with me springing out of bed, watching the sunrise and skipping off to a lecture. As a primary education student my timetable is pretty varied and some days my lectures begin at 9am and other days they begin at 2pm. But a typical day for me goes a little something like this:

8:00am – Is generally the time I set my alarm for if I am in for 9am, living on campus means I only have a 10 minute walk to get to the faculty of education so this leaves me plenty of time to get up and get ready for the day

9:00am – Most commonly when I am in at 9am it is for an APD lecture. APD is a core aspect of Primary Education and it stands for Academic and Professional Development. This area of the course focuses on areas such as learning theory and behaviour management. Lectures often have a bad reputation for being boring but ours are energetic and interactive especially this one

12:00pm – When in university for most of the day I often get lunch from McColls and sit with friends in the Hub. For me this is easier than remembering to make lunch and is also a fairly cheap option. As well as McColls there’s also hot food available from Sages and occasionally there are vendors in the Hub selling everything from cakes and crepes and smoothies and sweets.

2:00pm – Once I have finished for the day I usually call into the library on my way home, I find this is easier than making another trip later in the day and as most people are still in lectures or seminars it’s often a quieter time. During busier periods the library is open 24 hours which is convenient when you’re working late at night and suddenly realise there’s a book you urgently need.

3:00pm – When I get back to my flat I pretty much always have a nap. Halls are much quieter in the afternoons and I find this is the perfect slot for a little me time.

5:00pm – Following on from this I like to try and get some work done everyday even if it is only a small amount. I find that on my course organisation is key and filing notes and completing reading may seem small but really helps me to stay on top of the bigger tasks and prevents work from piling up.

7:00pm – As a flat we always have dinner together. This has taken many weeks of trial and error as it is not easy to co-ordinate 8 meals in 2 ovens at any one time, but we have almost perfected the art. Sitting together in an evening is a really important part of the day for me as it allows everyone to catch up and talk about their day.

9:00pm – Evenings at university aren’t that different to what most people experience at home. Following on from dinner we usually spend an hour doing work and then all get showered and watch a film or television together. As the night draws on we almost always spend an hour saying that we must go to bed soon followed by another hour of chatter. I think when living with other people that you enjoy being around it is hard to just go to bed as you don’t want to miss out on what is going on around you resulting in many, many late nights.

My favourite 6 places on campus

Seeing as it’s the middle of the holidays and we’re relaxing (or trying to), I thought I’d pick a rather light-hearted topic for today’s blog post. Here is an (incomplete) list of my favourite places on campus! Given that I love the Edge Hill campus so much, it was incredibly difficult to narrow these down, but I tried my best!

6: Creative Edge – Whilst this building is one of my favourites on campus, I’ve put it at the bottom of my list, simply because I don’t get to spend nearly enough time in there! I’ve had a few Languages seminars in here, and have been lucky enough to show people around during Open and Applicant visit days. Creative Edge is home to Vibe Media, as well as some of the most fascinating equipment on campus. I rather like that there’s an ‘On Air’ light outside the studios!

Inside Creative Edge

5: The Sports Centre Rooftop – I’ll be the first to admit that the Sports Centre isn’t one of the places I frequent most on campus, but I do like the rooftop! I know other people might say that they prefer the roof on either Creative Edge or the Business building, but this is my personal favourite of the three. It’s a fairly quiet part of campus, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of student life. The rooftop leads onto the trails, which absolutely anyone can use for free. On a sunny – or even a not so sunny! – day, it’s quite nice to get some fresh air over there.

4: The Sunken Garden – Like Creative Edge, if I got to spend more time here, it would definitely be higher on my list! The Sunken Garden, or rather, the outdoor amphitheatre, is used for performances by dance and drama students. It’s another one of those quiet, peaceful places on campus that is tucked away.

The Education Building, overlooking the lake

3: The Education Building – With the rooms set up like primary classrooms, our very own Water’s Edge café and some really cool artwork, there isn’t a single part of the Faculty of Education that I don’t like. Except maybe that second set of stairs – and even they’re not that bad! Being in classrooms with work on the wall reminds me why I’m doing the degree I am, and really helps set the tone for the lesson that I’m in. During last spring and summer, I liked studying outside Water’s Edge when it was sunny.

2: The Hub – My favourite social space on campus has everything that I, as a student, need: Starbucks, a shop, a café… and free printing upstairs! I spent a lot of time in halls last year and didn’t really see much of the Hub, but I hugely recommend spending some time in there. Like the name suggests, it’s the hub of activity on campus. Last year, there was a wellbeing day where we had a petting zoo just outside, and we have different market stalls here throughout the week. My favourite is the pancake stall…

Central Campus: The Hub

And finally… drumroll please…

1: The library – Specifically, I like being in an individual study room on the top floor, closest to the education books so I can pop in and out if I need to. I’m the kind of person that can’t stand talking when I’m working. Each floor in the library has varying degree of noise, going from loud to silent as you go up the stairs. On the top floor, there is a section for people to work in silence, which is where I spend a lot of my time. However, if it’s late and I’m just trying to finish an assignment, there’s nothing better than booking a study room, so I can sit with the fan on, my headphones in, and just get down to work.

I’m sure you’ll find some of your own favourite places to study and socialise on campus when you get here; it’s a big place, and there’s plenty of hidden gems to be found!