Sorry you couldn’t access that link. I will get one of my tech savvy friends to sort that out. In the mean time I have copied and pasted a sample of the document below. I hope it’s not too long!
These questions came up the most often when I was preparing for the interview last year, it may be different now. Good luck everyone! It is a great course-you’ll love it. : )
1- How to build a rapport with students in a primary school setting:
In order to build a rapport and a positive relationship with a child, the teacher must communicate a sense of caring at all times. A positive student- teacher relationship is vital if the child is to succeed and reach his full potential in school. It is the quality of teaching more than anything else that determines a child success and development in school. The child should always feel that he/she is a valued member of the school community, and in turn of the wider community.
The teacher could build a rapport by getting to know the child, i.e. his family, hobbies, interests, favourite subject and so on. Once a teacher knows what the child is interested in, he/ she can speak to the child about this area, e.g. farming, and hence the child will be interested in developing a rapport. The child should feel a personal connection to the teacher in order for learning to be effective.
There is no one way of building a rapport with students as every child is unique and every child has different characteristics that influence their mode of understanding. The building and maintaining of rapport is an on-going process. Rapport should be built on mutual confidence, respect and acceptance. I would build a rapport by showing a sense of humour, being available to talk to students at all times, encouraging the children to voice their opinions, by showing an interest in each individual child, by sharing personal insight and experience, i.e. telling children titbits of your life outside school, by asking their opinions and so on.
I would also reward children’s work with praise at all times. Building rapport is essential for students to feel capable, confident, creative and motivated. A teacher can build self esteem in children by creating a warm, honest and sincere relationship.
Teachers who foster positive relationships with their students create classroom environments more conducive to learning and meet students’ developmental, emotional and academic needs. Positive relationships have been shown to support students’ adjustment to school, contribute to their social skills, promote academic performance, and foster students’ resiliency in academic performance. Teacher’s who experience close relationships with students reported that their students were less likely to avoid school, appeared more self-directed, more cooperative, and more engaged in learning. The quality of early teacher-student relationships has a long-lasting impact on the child’s life.
How to build a rapport:
· Teachers show their pleasure and enjoyment of students.
· Teachers interact in a responsive and respectful manner.
· Teachers offer students help (e.g., answering questions in timely manner, offering support that matches the children’s needs) in achieving academic and social objectives.
· Teachers help students reflect on their thinking and learning skills.
· Teachers know and demonstrate knowledge about individual students’ backgrounds, interests, emotional strengths and academic levels.
· Teachers seldom show irritability or aggravation toward students.
Teachers build a trusting relationship by helping and encouraging students and by stopping inappropriate behaviour. At all ages, students are very sensitive to what they perceive as unequal treatment. When students believe that their teacher favours some students over others, conflict grows in the classroom, and their trust in the teacher declines. It is so important to treat all children equally in school. The teacher student relationship is very important for children. Children spend approximately 5 to 6 hours a day with a teacher for almost 10 months. For teachers conducting a classroom and shaping the minds of the young students, teachers who communicate effectively with their students should give appropriate and helpful feedback to their students. Interaction between the student and teacher becomes extremely important for a successful relationship through the entire time of a school year. A close, but limited relationship between the student and teacher can be helpful for those students who are shy, and find speaking in front of the classroom difficult or children who have low self-esteem. Teacher’s can establish a positive relationship with their students by communicating with them and properly providing feedback to them. Respect between teacher and student with both feeling enthusiastic when learning and teaching. Having established a positive relationship with students will encourage students to seek education and be enthusiastic and to be in school.
Choose your opportunities to build a relationship with a student carefully. Open up casual conversation when the student appears relaxed and unguarded. Try asking for help or advice, giving the student something you know they are interested in (a newspaper cutting, web reference, and loan copy of a book) or simply say hello and pass the time of day. You may choose to wait until you find a situation that is not pressured or time limited. Aim for little and often rather than launching into a lengthy and involved conversation.
2- Is Assessment important?
Assessment is central to the process of teaching and learning. It is used to monitor learning processes and to ascertain achievement in each area of the curriculum. It helps the teacher to construct a comprehensive picture of the short and long term learning needs of the child and hence plan future work accordingly. It is also used to identify children with learning difficulties so that the nature of the support they require can be ascertained and appropriate strategies put in place. It assists communication about the child’s development between teacher and child, teacher and parent and teacher and fellow teacher. It helps children to become more self aware as learners and to develop powers of self assessment. The curriculum contains a wide range of assessment tools, ranging from informal tools, such as teacher observation, class work, homework and discussion to formal tools such as standardised and diagnostic testing.
The principal purpose of assessment is to provide the teacher with continuous detailed information about children’s development, grasp of concepts and mastery of skills. It leads to a greater understanding of children and their needs and can help the teacher design appropriate learning activities.
The cyclic process of learning, assessment, identifying individual needs, evaluating teaching strategies and planning future learning experiences is central to effective learning and teaching. Tools range from informal- teacher observation, teacher designed tasks and tests, curriculum profiles, to formal- standardised and diagnostic testing.
Assessment leads to a greater understanding of the child’s needs and helps the teacher to design appropriate learning activities and helps the child to gain the maximum benefit from learning. It provides a holistic view of the child’s development. It provides the teacher with the means of identifying the needs of individual children and enables the teacher to modify the curriculum content to facilitate effective learning. E.g. in English, early identification of child with language difficulties is very important, so that the teacher can create a programme which will cater for individual needs. The principal function of assessment is to provide the teacher with an accurate picture of the child’s development. E.g. pupil profile card- record of child’s development.
Assessment is a continuous, dynamic and often informal process. It ranges from class room observation to standardised tests. It is an integral part of the education process. It enhances the child’s learning by providing accurate feedback for both child and teacher. It informs the teacher of the child’s strengths and weaknesses and indicates the child’s readiness to move on to a new topic. It also assists the teacher in planning. E.g. teacher observation, teacher designed tasks and tests, curriculum profiles, diagnostic tests and standardised tests.
The assessment of a child’s learning is an essential and on-going part of the teaching and learning process. It enhances the teacher’s awareness of each individual child’s learning, provides accurate information about child’s understanding and skills and creates a picture of the child’s holistic development. It indicates the areas of learning difficulties encountered by the child. Much can be gleaned from observing and noting the child’s responses to a variety of situations e.g. the response a child makes to teacher questions and suggestions.
3- Is structure and routine important in the classroom?
Structure and routine are essential in the classroom, both for the teacher and the children. For e.g. the classroom I volunteer consists of four classes, junior infants to second class, so the teacher has to have structure and routine. For example, the children know to have their homework on the table to be corrected first thing in the morning. They come in, hang up their coats, put their lunch away and take out their homework. Children like to know exactly what they have to do in school. This saves a lot of time for the teacher. Routine is essential in order for children to learn effectively. Children need to feel a sense of security in school, and structure helps children as they can mentally prepare for the task ahead when they know what it is. An orderly classroom helps children understand what is expected each day. Also, routine is particularly important for children who don’t have a routine at home these children will need a great deal of structure in their day in order to give them a sense of security. Classroom management can be greatly improved with the help of a simple routine being in place. A set of rules, ten at the most, compiled by both students and teacher is clearly visible at the top of the room in SB. The children respect the rules as they helped form them, and refer to the rules every day. Routine and structure help to create a positive classroom environment, conducive to learning.
Students need to know what is expected of them in class. To ensure that you have smooth transitions throughout the day, routine must be in place. Routines are the backbone of a happy and positive classroom environment. Routine also saves valuable classroom time for the teacher. An efficient routine makes it easier for children to learn.
When routines and procedures are carefully taught, modelled, and established in the classroom, children know what’s expected of them and how to do certain things on their own. Having these predictable patterns .in place allows teachers to spend more time in meaningful instruction. With predictable routines in place, students can move smoothly from one activity to the next without losing learning time.
Teacher must ensure that he/she has clearly stated rules and procedures with established consequences that are expected and reviewed regularly. All students must know the rules, routines and expectations.
The teacher should set a schedule. When students arrive in your classroom they should know that they have until a certain time before their desks should be cleared and the teaching starts. Plan for the in-between times as well. Lining up to go to another classroom or outside needs to be structured. “No talking” and “hands to yourself” should be set rules early on. Have a signal to alert your students to line up or move on to the next activity, such as ringing a bell or switching the lights off. If your students finish a task early, have established what they can and cannot do while others finish their work.
Use consequences and praise. For example, create envelopes with your students’ names on them and post on a bulletin board. Students earn or lose tickets depending on their behaviour. If a student interrupts your routine, whether talking in line or not putting his belongings in their proper place, he loses a ticket. If you can, immediately remove the ticket or have the student remove the ticket and bring it to you. Depending on your classroom, you can create your own way to establish an understanding of consequences and rewards.
Routine and structure help the child build self control and mastery. Children learn how to self discipline and become more independent. In order to establish an effective learning environment, class rules and routines need to be set into place. The keys to setting up rules and routines are anticipation, consistency, and reinforcement.
A timetable should be on the board every day in order to let children know what they will be doing throughout the day. The teacher can use SPHE to explain rules and why they are necessary, e.g. n.b. not to speak when somebody else is- respect each other. It is important to have good classroom management, discipline, trust, respect etc. If these are in place structure will follow. E.g. in SB there is a point system for good/bad behaviour.
In SB, the teacher manages a multi-class classroom through effective classroom management. There is a timetable clearly visible on the wall. There are clear routines and guidelines on the wall. Activity centres are organised, teacher has excellent leadership skills. Buddy systems and peer tutoring systems are in place. She gives praise, encouragement, rewards and feedback. Circle time is great for discussing rules and routines.
4- How would I deal with disruptive behaviour in class?
It depends of course on the level of misbehaviour. If it was minor misbehaviour, I would make the child aware that his/her behaviour is unacceptable. I would then give the child a verbal reprimand and give advice on how to improve. I would send a note home in the homework journal if the bad behaviour persisted. If there were a couple of children involved I would change seating arrangements, again if persisted I would temporarily remove the child from his peers. I would keep the child in at break, and give an extra written assignment to be signed by parents. There would also be a temporary loss of privileges.
If the misbehaviour persists or gets worse, I would impose sanctions, and consult with the principal and parents of the child in order to help the child overcome whatever difficulty he/she is facing. On- going discussions between parent, teacher and principal would be necessary to monitor the situation. If misbehaviour is repeated the board of management would be my next port of call. Of course incidents would have to be recorded in the incident book too.
The principles of discipline are school rules should be kept to a minimum and children should learn skills of self discipline. There are times when sanctions are necessary in order to maintain good order and to discourage offenders. The emphasis should always be on positive behaviour in a warm, caring and safe environment where children are encouraged to work to the best of their potential.
If the child is guilty of a serious breach of discipline, or repeated incidences of misbehaviour parents will be sent for. When repeated instances of serious misbehaviour occur, the chairman of the BOM will be informed. The parents will be requested in writing to attend the school to meet with the chairperson and the principal and the class teacher. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the child will behave in an acceptable manner in future, the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period. The objective should always be to help the child.
5- Differences between schools now and when I was in school?
§ Role of ICT. IWB.
§ Curriculum- new subjects- drama/ art accorded equally important as core subjects.
§ Learning child centred- child actively involved.
§ Role of parents- more involved, able to assert their rights.
§ Clergy- less involved, a lot more religions in schools nowadays.
§ Classroom set up- tables in groups.
§ Teacher- student relationship- children more confident in speaking out, not afraid of teachers.
§ Chalk and talk.
§ Learning teacher centred, children sit and listen.
§ Three ‘Rs’- reading, writing, arithmetic. Focus on the finished product. Now process of writing as important as finished product.
§ Clergy more important, big influence on school.
§ Learning was not child centred, and not as much fun.
§ E.g. when I was in school we had only one computer per classroom, now they have several in the same school.
6- Child falling behind in school?
· Differentiate curriculum until child catches up.
· Assess child, teacher observation and teacher designed tasks. Consult assessment policy- early intervention is essential.
· Give child extra help while other children are working. Increase confidence and self esteem.
· Possibly involve learning support teacher.
· Inform parents so they can do extra work with child at home.
· E.g. in SB a girl fell behind in English so teacher now gives her grinds after school once a week to help her catch up.
· Follow school policy.
· If the child’s development falls significantly below the expected level, teachers can enable children to succeed by planning work that is in line with the child’s individual needs.
· Speak to parents, principal and other teachers, who already taught the child and those who will be teaching the child in the future.