Saturday, September 29, 2007

PGCE Day 20 - Getting into the groove

The first week of proper College was quite fun. There seems to be a greater sense of camaraderie on this course than I recollect there being on the Secondary course. Of course, we spend more time together. Each week we have one lecture as a whole group. We have a seminar group which meets for a 2 hour block, a curriculum group which meets for 7 x 2-hour blocks per week and the special interest group which meets for a 2-hour block. This pattern continues from now until two weeks after half term so we will get to know lots of other people quite well. I wanted to keep myself very much to myself, since we will all be competing for the same jobs in a few months' time but already I have broken that vow to myself. I just like people (well, some, anyway).

I did say that people are mostly a bit older but there are one or two who have crept in direct from university. There is this one kid has that cocky self-assuredness. They are big on 'group work' here, so we were doing a little problem solving task in Maths. The problem was (now don't laugh, I'm not mathematically hard-wired so I find this hard!):

If everyone in the room shakes hands with everybody else, how many hand shakes would there be in total?
So, little Miss Cocky-Knickers immediately says "Everyone of us (25 in total) will shake hands with 24 people so (whips mobile phone out to calculate) 25 x 24 is 600. The rest of the group was happy to accept this like docile little sheep. I slowly said, "Is that right, though? Let's think it through - better, let's model it in our small group. I shake hands with the four of you, that's 4, the next person shakes hands with you three, but she has already shaken hands with me and so on, you see that each time the number of handshakes decreases by one...?" The bit we floundered on was turning it into an equation which always works but we finally managed it as a whole class. I can only gather that we didn't have anything vaguely resembling maths specialist among us!

The next day in Science, having established that newspaper rips differently depending on whether you rip it with or against the print, we had to check whether its weight bearing capability was different according to the direction of the stress. There was no guidance given but we were pointed in the direction of a load of equipment which we might find useful (this was apparently how not to do things). I had found myself, again, in the company of little Miss-cocky knickers. Earlier on, we had established that she was a Science (Biology) specialist. She came up with a super definition for Science to which I said, "Hey, she's not bad is she?". She responded with a smug little smile. (The tutor's definition was actually 'SCIENCE IS FUN' - funny really, apparently the definition for History is 'HISTORY IS FUN'. No doubt when Boot Camp starts next semester we will be told 'PE IS FUN', though I may need some convincing of that!) Back to the load bearing quality of newspaper. As far as learning styles go, yeah, I do a bit of kinaesthetic from time to time but I like to keep it as my very private pleasure, so at the instruction to set up apparatus, I decided to sneak off and have a play with the hand-held microscopes and offer advice if I felt it was needed. After all, things were in the safe hands of our Scientist friend. She wanted to use a bulldog clip to attach the paper to the stand. Unfortunately the bulldog clip slipped, so she wanted put sellotape on the paper to add some friction (why not just sellotape the paper to the stand and sellotape the weights to the paper? But then, I'm not a Scientist and you can have too many cooks...) I left them to it and went to look for some weights. When I looked back to the action, I noticed that the square of paper now had sellotape all around its perimiter. The others were standing around like, yeah, you've guessed it, docile sheep, so I was duty bound to say (gently, honest!), "Er, I don't think that's going to work 'cos you can't have the sellotape all around the paper..." Irritated at my interjection, she scowled at me, in a Who-exactly-is-the-Scientist-Around-Here kind of a way and carried on. Again, I interrupted, "Er, do you see that you'll actually just be measuring the strength of the sellotape and not the paper? You only need the sellotaper in the spots where the bulldog clip comes into contact with the paper. She looked up to the sky in just the way that my 14 year-old daughter does, snatched the paper off the stand, threw it down and stomped off to play with the hand-held microscopes leaving me feeling like a real mum!

I start at my first school on Wednesday. We just go in one day a week for the first few weeks. I'm going to be working in KS2 on this placement. It's a bit of a hike to get there but my own locality isn't big on Spanish. Apparently this school is a centre of excellence for the teaching of primary Spanish...PRESSURE!...Or alternatively it is a wonderful learning opportunity (that's my life coach head speaking).

But apart from all that fun, I have been busy reading children's books and swotting up on Piaget and his band of merry Constructivist chums. What with all of these stories of puppies and developmental theories I now have a mild craving for a bit of s*x and violence!

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