Examining the Implementation of an Emotional Literacy Programme on the Pedagogy and Reflective Practice of Trainee Teacher
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This study investigated trainee teachers’ delivery of a targeted programme entitled ‘Special Me Time’ (SMT) whilst on teaching placements in Foundation Phase settings in South Wales, over a training year. As reflective practice formed an integral part of the research, the study also aimed to discover whether students reflected effectively on their practice by employing specific reflective practice skills. The teaching experiences of two BA Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Year 3 students and six PGCE ITT students were scrutinised, primarily through examination of student reflective diaries and lesson evaluations. In addition, the study explored the rationale for the further development of good practice in pedagogy related to Personal and Social Development, Well -Being and Emotional Literacy (PSD/WB/EL) and reflective practice in the School of Education of a large university. The analysis of results revealed two common themes: Theme one related to the development of students’ pedagogical practice and to the teaching and facilitation of PSD/WB/EL during ‘Special Me Time’ (SMT). Theme two related to students’ use of reflective practice to assess and reflect upon teaching performance and competencies relating to PSD/WB/EL as part of the SMT programme. Findings from research showed that students gained in knowledge relating to PSD/WB/EL from undertaking the ‘Special Me Time’ programme. However, students found it difficult to effectively quantify the differences that the programme made. Students were aware however, that they were spending what they termed ‘quality time’ with the children. Students appreciated the concept of reflective practice, but often did not reflect upon or credit themselves with pedagogical achievements as a result of this process. Although student reflection was evident, students did not use reflection as a fundamental part of their practice. They often viewed reflection as superfluous and either did not wholly engage in the concept or undertook it but did not document the process fully, often engaging in what I termed ‘shallow reflection’. The study concludes by recommending that further research should be conducted in this area. Further evaluation of the benefits of equipping all ITT primary students regardless of age specialism chosen, with skills and knowledge in relation to teaching/facilitating PSD/WB/EL would be pertinent. The importance of ITT students developing skills and knowledge in order to integrate reflective practice into their professional practice is particularly significant. Findings from this research will inform future delivery of ITT primary programmes.
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