Friday, November 20, 2015

Working with the next generation of teachers!

We have had a couple of fantastic work placement teaching students working with us:

Our names are Megan and Terri. We are studying Primary Education: Early Years at Leeds Trinity University and over the past two weeks, we have undertaken a placement with the Wakefield Museum Services.

The purpose of our placement has been to experience learning in an alternative setting.
Throughout the two weeks, we have had the opportunity to observe several workshops (such as WW1, Victorian and Egyptian) and assist with the activities involved in them such as handling artefacts. Having the chance to handle some real artefacts such as weapons used in WW1 really excited us and we were both fascinated by the mummified baby crocodile in the Ancient Egyptian collection!
Mummified baby crocodile
The children involved in these workshops have been both Key Stage One and Two children. These workshops were very interesting and engaging, but they also allowed us to successfully develop our own subject knowledge and confidence when working with children. We also observed a workshop at Sandal Castle and were given the chance to visit other places off site such as Pontefract and Castleford Museums and Pontefract Castle (where we went on a magazine tour) to gain a broader knowledge of how museums and heritage sites contribute to education.

Completing our placement at Wakefield Museum has allowed us to see how History lessons in school can be developed into cross-curricular sessions. For example, the WW1 session that introduces children to Wakefield soldier George Kellett incorporated diary writing, therefore covering aspects of the Literacy curriculum. Part of this session involves an actor portraying George Kellett by reading extracts from his diary to the children. We were also given an insight of how much content is covered in each session depending on the time allocated to it. We found that the amount of content covered was perfect for the amount of time a session lasted.
George Kellett's diary

Actor playing George Kellett
As well as observing and supporting workshops, we were given a project to work on throughout our placement. This was to create a teaching pack on Charles Waterton that the museum could use to encourage schools to engage more with local study and the museum itself. In order to help us with this, we researched Charles Waterton extensively (both before and during the placement) and visited the Charles Waterton exhibit in the museum. We put together three cross-curricular sessions to support the teaching of Charles Waterton in both Key Stage One and Two and also included a range of possible follow up activities, early years input, outdoor activities and possible visits (such as Walton Hall where Charles Waterton lived) that may enhance learning.
Caiman caught by Charles Waterton in 1820
It is very difficult to choose one aspect of our time at Wakefield Museum as our favourite because there has been such a wide variety of opportunity. However, our particular highlights were handling artefacts from a range of different historical periods, watching children’s faces when they saw these artefacts and observing the role play part of the WW1 workshop. We would definitely recommend this placement to other students and we look forward to bringing our future classes to the museum!
Thank you Megan and Terri - it has been great to have some fresh insights into our sessions. We wish you well with your studies and hope to see you with your classes in the future!


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