I am so lucky this year that I get to teach with my primary school colleagues from our partner primary schools. For the last two terms I taught Year 5s from Hilltop Road Public School and for the rest of this year I am teaching Year 5s at Merrylands East Public School and Merrylands Public School.
Teaching with primary school teachers have been one of the best professional learning experiences I have had. Here are the main things from primary schools that really speak to me:
-It’s all about students and learning. It isn’t about particular subjects and pushing content. Everything from what is displayed on the walls to the activities is all about the learner.
-Primary school students can do a lot more than you think. While I have never been one of those teachers who think Year 7 students are babies, the level and rigour of learning in primary schools continue to amaze me. Kids are making stop motion animations, blogging, producing their own news … The level of richness is their learning is often unknown to high school teachers.
-I learn so much from watching how primary school teachers structure learning. From how they break down complex tasks to how they use the wall space as another teacher. I have learnt so much from Brett Kent and Karlie Hindmarsh (@karliehindie)
So if you are a high school teacher, you should see whether you can teach with your primary school colleagues. It will be one of the best learning experiences. Plus you get to teach while sitting on a yoga ball. Why wouldn’t you want that experience! 🙂
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I taught Elementary level Montessori before I started the Middle School program. It was essential to learning how to incorporate fun with learning, and connect new knowledge to previously “archived” knowledge (the materials). One of my students commented my class was like being in kindergarten again.
How refreshing to read about your positive experience teaching in a primary school. I have often mentioned to colleagues that it would be an eye opener for anyone who teaches only at secondary level to visit primary schools and spend some time simply “learning” and discovering where their students come from. It’s a little like prior knowledge. It’s amazing and startling just how many secondary school teachers don’t bother finding out what their students already know apart from giving them a test- I wish they would just ask, create a brainstorm, hold a debate, interview, discussion anything but giving a test. Primary schools are great at discovery and creating adventure and “fun” learning experiences. It seems that once those same adventurous Tweens enter secondary school some colleagues have to get all serious about teaching and forget about the fun in learning. Students will enjoy learning much more if we just stop and take the time to find out how they learn and then teach accordingly.
On my website (www.joprestia.com.au) I offer strategies and ideas about getting students engaged and I also run workshops for students, parents and teachers.
You will also find information and ideas on my blog http://joprestia.edublogs.org/
My husband started as a primary school teacher and retrained as a high school teacher. He has always maintained that he was a better high school teacher because of his foundations in Primary ed.
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