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Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron Reflective Report

SK Semerah Padi

The short teaching practice has really taught me many important lessons and experiences as a teacher. I have gone through a period where I have dealt with things that have matured my thingking and actions as a teacher; I had critical opportunitities with which I became a practitioner, analyst, and problem solver in the classroom. I have learnt that prioritising in lesson planning is important. Prioritising would bring teachers to know what is more important than another; thus, throughout the practicum, I had learnt to prioritise the important content and teaching input to be taught to my Year 3 Kuning pupils through detailed lesson planning. This was not easy, as I had to know what had been going on in the classroom and how the pupils performed academically up to the time I came to teach them. Through this process, I learnt to observe and identify different needs and groups of pupils; I came to know the weak and bright pupils, the shy and reserve ones, and also the troublemakers. Accordingly, in lesson planning, I decided what skill that would be more important than the others to be included as the main skill, and what teaching approaches I would consider in dealing with the pupils. As each topic suggested in the textbook has a different weighing and content, I chose to include the major skill that would be strongly manipulated for the topic. For example, as I went through the topic Going to the city, I might want to emphasize more on listening and speaking skills as I believed, based on their speaking performance, my pupils would need to practically communicate the language of directions in their real lives. Though so, other skills would still be taught too as they would give pupils other important parts of learning such as reading for information and writing for sharing ideas. Having good planned lessons does not mean I could always have them successfully implemented in the classroom; there were times when I had to change my actions and responses to my pupils. I learnt to take immediate actions whenever things were not going on as expected. This was often based on the level of classroom control and how bad the situation would be. For example, when I had a pairing activity that required them to understand the instructions properly before they started, I stopped the activity when I

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron

SK Semerah Padi

found that most of them were confused and misunderstood of what they should do. After that, I repeated the instructions and gave clear examples for the pupils to see and learn. This was something that would often happen in my class. Another example would be related more to teaching input whereby most of my pupils got their answers wrong for a particular lesson and they just could not do the exercises given to them. As commented by my supervising lecturer, this had something to do with my instructional language and somehow it was merely because of too high expectations for the pupils to achieve. Perhaps I should have given clear instructions and examples before getting the pupils doing the tasks. I should have also pitched the level of expectations for the activity appropriately so that my pupils would be able to do it effectively without disappointment. I came to understand that setting up rules right at the beginning of teaching practice was really important. I did not particularly tell my pupils what would be acceptable and would be not during my class in the first phase of my teaching practice. I only had some special cues that would alert my pupils of what should they do and what I expected them to do. For example, whenever they made noises and lost focus, I would firmly say, Eyes on me! and they would all reply me, Eyes on you!; at this moment, their attentions were all on me by sitting straight up, facing in front and keeping quite. When this happened, I would expect the pupils to focus back on the teaching and learning where no nonsense talking would be tolerated and eyes on the board. However, as time flew, and second phase had started, they changed attitudes, and the old classroom control method would no longer be working. They started to go overboard; there was a case where I had to really shout at them and banged on the table to keep them quite and listening to my instructions. At this time, Eyes on me! was no longer working as they would just ignore me and keep doing their own work. I, somehow, could not do anything about it except shouting and banging things on the table as I knew there were no rules set up to get them behave and settled. Things would have solutions including my issue on rules in the classroom; I had no choice but to come out with another attention-grabbing cue that would get my pupils back on their seats keeping quite. I would point my finger up straight and get the pupils doing the same before I put my finger

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron

SK Semerah Padi

in my mouth and they did the same. This would not be the long-term solution as the pupils might be getting bored of it and changing attitudes again. However, having this set up, I could see the positive value that my class would be quite again and the pupils were back on the lesson. In another case of pupils going overboard, I made a quick decision by resorting to manipulate objects that could get the pupils settled and quite. I would use a stick and go around the class pretending that I would beat the misbehaved ones. At times when noises were just too extreme, I would easily bang the stick on the table and the pupils right away kept quite. I found this really effective when the level of noises and misbehaviours was just too extreme to cope with. My cooperating teacher would also agree with this, as she would also do the same action for the worst cases as mentioned. Teaching materials are undeniably important and having them properly presented to the pupils is even more important. I learnt that my pupils would easily get excited when I presented them with beautifully colourful teaching materials and things that were unusual to them. This would include enlarged reading passages, laminated flashcards, and colourful maps. I could see their attentions were directed to the colours, shapes and things that captured their eyes. This would be really interesting to manipulate as I could get their focus on the learning and indeed they could respond to the questions based on the materials effectively. I had used printed materials as teaching aids as the school had only one LCD projector, which was quite hard to get. Thus, I resorted to enlarged reading passages, which I found really good; they were big and had big letters for pupils to read. The passages were easy to manipulate as I could scribble on them using whiteboard markers and get the scribbles erased after that. Nevertheless, as time went on, I could see the puplls were getting bored with pen-and-paper materials; they started commenting on my teaching aids and I could listen some of them whining, Paper again!. I was devastated to hear that, as I knew that it was really hard to get interactive videos and music played in the classroom. The thing that relieved me was the thought that I had brought some interactive games into the classroom and they worked. I believe that teachers could be the best social agent apart from teaching, and I had developed the skill throughout my teaching practice. I had

Abang Kamaruddin Bin Nasron

SK Semerah Padi

good rapports with my pupils; I could see they kept counting on my class, looking forward to see me, enjoying my presence in the classroom. Since the first day, I told them not to call me teacher, but Mr. Dean. They laughed the first time hearing that, as if I was a foreign teacher from New Zealand; but, they got used to it until the last time I met them and heard them calling, Mr. Dean. I manipulated this relationship with my pupils to teach them good manners and appropriate behaviours, and I could see positive changes in my pupils both in academic performance and manners. There was a case, a female pupil, who was rebellious and often talked back to me, changed into an obedient and active pupil during classroom interactions. Whenever she talked back to me, I took the opportunity to use reverse psychology theory and got her grounded. A couple of times after I talked to her telling her good manners, she changed into someone that was approachable and obedient. She indeed wrote me a letter and gave me a gift when I left the school. Another special case involved a weak male pupil who was reserved, but potential to bloom. During interactions, I often came to him giving support and guides, and he improved over time. This was a success for me.