Thursday, January 23, 2014


Eleven students and I were assigned St. Thomas HS, Karthikapally, for the Initiatory School Experience (ISE) from January 20th to 23rd   2014. ISE is a modified version of the School Visit Program of previous curriculum and it aims to provide student teachers an opportunity to have primary experiences with the functioning of the school. Though general instructions are given in the curriculum document, essential planning and customization at the college level is to be done. This aspect was not properly addressed by the college. Teacher educators provided a few practicum activities in addition to the one given in the curriculum document. At the college level, there was no attempt to integrate various activities provided by teacher educators. Therefore much planning was conducted at the school after the team arrived at the school.
        The program went smooth as planned by the group. The group could undertake all the stipulated activities. The school authorities cooperated excellently with the team and extended all the help to complete various activities. Teachers gracefully permitted student teachers observe their classes. The headmistress arranged required number of classes for each student teacher to engage lessons. Student teachers collected data regarding learning facilities and physical facilities available in the school.
      The group couldn't effectively undertake activities related to the study of the social and familial background of school students. I think there are two reasons for this lapse. One is the absence of proper planning and the other is the general negligence of role familial and social background of students in their learning. A focused attention of this aspect during the planning session will help mitigate this lapse.
      A few suggestions for better implementation of ISE are given below  
1.      Fixing the school and finalizing the students’ list much in advance will help student teachers prepare for the ISE in a planned manner.
2.      A thorough planning at the teacher educators’ level and customization and integration of activities must be undertaken.
3.      Distribute an instruction sheet to each student teacher containing various activities proposed by teacher educators. Core subject teachers may provide practicum works and help plan other general activities and optional teachers may help student teachers plan class observation and class engagement.
4.      A half day visit to the assigned school and meeting the Head teacher and the subject teachers a week ahead of the program will help student teachers plan the activity better.
5.      Distribution of attendance sheet to teacher educators help note down absentees and report the same to the college office.( There are stray cases of absenteeism during ISE)
6.      How to prepare observation notes and class engagement notes must be discussed with student teachers. A few models may be introduced.
7.      Out of school hours or Saturdays may also be included for the effective study of familial and social environment of school students.
8.      A workshop mode embedding constructivist approach will enhance the effectiveness of the program.

Your comments are earnestly solicited.                                  23/01/2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

EDU 102 - Initiatory School Experience

EDU 102 - Initiatory School Experience

(2 Credits- 20 marks)

The purpose of Initiatory School Experience is to provide student teachers an opportunity to have primary experiences with the functioning of the school. This programme is for four continuous working days, giving them an opportunity to acquaint with the school environment and the day-to- day functions. The following activities must be undertaken by student teachers.

1.      Observation of lessons engaged by school teachers (student teachers observe lessons individually or in small groups).

To observe means to watch keenly and note down what happens. You need prior planning and must get ready to observe the class. Please get prior permission from the head of the school and the concerned teachers before planning to observe their classes.

2.      Meeting students in an informal setting to learn their background and their interest in learning.

You may get prior permission from the teacher-in-charge of a class to collect necessary data from students.

3.      To see the learning facilities in the school.

To take a stock of the learning facilities, prepare a check list of essential learning facilities needed and take the list of available facilities. Try to note down the working conditions and the frequency of use of these facilities. You may also collect data regarding students’ satisfaction with these facilities.

4.      Observing the social climate in the school, etc.

To observe the social climate, prepare a check list incorporating a few components like teacher pupil relationship, punctuality of teachers and students, morale and motivation of students’, participation and success in co-curricular activities at various levels, school community relationship, involvement of various stake holders like parents, local self- government etc..  

5.      Engaging lessons individually or as Shared Practice.

Each student-teacher has to engage 3 lessons individually or as Shared Practice.Lesson plans need not be written with the rigidity employed for Practice Teaching lesson. In Shared Practice, student-teachers will be in small groups of three members. The lessons will be divided into three parts and each student teacher will practice one of the parts by rotation in the natural classroom situation.

6.      Maintaining a detailed diary as record of the visit.

           The diary must contain a brief history of the school, learning facilities available, social      and academic climate of the school, notes of all lessons engaged etc. This must also            contain reflective text by the student teacher.

7.      Reflecting on your experience.

             After the four day initiatory school experiences, a one day reflection session will be organized in the college on Friday 24th February. Student teachers are expected share          their reflections in plenary as well as in small groups sessions.