Day 1 of 4 in the school

So yesterday was the BIG day of doing research in the school. I woke up nice and early to prepare any last minute things to ensure a smooth running of the day… We still see how that turned out later in the day!

After eating a nice breakfast with my friends I set off nice and early for the train. Getting the first the train was fine. Then I got a bit lost since there are like 3 different levels for trains all with different lines on them and different speed trains. I asked the first person, but just my luck the guy was Spanish and couldn’t understand a word I was saying… Anyhow I finally spoke to a random person who helped me to the right platform.

Arrive at the school I was a bit nervous on how to approach the day as everything looked so clean and formal. Soon enough thought I met the headteacher who was very nice and we had a conversation, while talking towards the classroom. I soon found that most teachers were friendly and were actually English! Sitting in the staff room was fun at first people looked confused but then they found out I was the S.O.L.E man.. yes now that song is stuck in my head!!! ” I’m a SOLE man…”

Anyhow enough rambling. Before the lessons I spoke to the teacher about the SOLE and how it worked so she had an understanding. She seemed very interested to see it in action. I told the children a story about how I didn’t anything about The Tudors except I had heard the name who Henry VIII was. So the big question I asked was “Why was Henry VIII so famous” and let them get off with it. At first there was confusion and maybe I should explained a couple of things at the start rather then during the SOLE.

While observing it became clear that I had forgot to print out my observation sheets, which means i’m now taking all my observation notes down on paper to transfer over at a later date. So yeah my planning this morning FAILED!!!

At the end of the SOLE the children presented their results, which seemed to work fairly well and the focus group went fine I think. It then soon became apparent the plan given to me by the headteacher just was not going to work so I had to collect more feedback and interview the teacher later on the day. Getting feedback from the teacher was good as got some interesting day. BUT getting children to complete my feedback sheet proved more difficult because on the language barrier. Going forward I think I will explain each question in detail and what they mean for clarity.

After getting feedback I had some time to kill so  I was offered the chance to observe a history lessons by a lovely young teacher, which of course I jumped at the chance. This was useful as give me an insight to how the children interact, which I think will be useful for tomorrow.

3:30 the bell rang and it was time. I slowly walked up the stairs to perform my presentation about the SOLEs to teacher. There must have been about 25-30 teachers; only 2 I recognised. I have never felt so nervous in a long time.I started off with an open question, which seemed to engage some of them. I then spoke about myself a bit, but they didn’t seem interested in that bit so I quickly moved on. The TED talk seemed to peek some interest because of the humor. While with other teachers it seemed hard to gage or seem unimpressed. I got through the rest of the presentation fine… still feeling nervous!!! Then the question came. At first there was silence and I was dreading that… Think what have I done! Then they came. Started off nice and easy about security which I answered with ease but then the more challenging questions came. I managed to respond with strong answer that seemed convincing, but I question if all the teacher thought this was a waste of time.

Overall the day went ok I think. The teacher and pupils were lovely to work with and embraced the ideas of the SOLE with intrigue.

Looking forward I am going to make a few changes to how I approach the SOLE and explain things to the children. I also have some interesting data to be analysed. Additionally, the a teacher did raise a few interesting ideas, which I had not previously thought about which included using books as an option along side the computers.

Coming back was even more fun on the train. I got lost after the first tram and asked for help. The only people at first was an old shop owner and alcoholic. So I got not sense out of them. Then a person just starred at me!

On the evening I went to a park event with some people that had an arts display, which was nice. It also give time to relax and reflect on the day, which was important to ensure I could process my thoughts and feelings.After this we went to an Irish bar for a drink and I almost walked into the girls toilets!!! Luckily a girl saved me and she got a good laugh out of it at my expense. I now know that on the signs that begining with H I think of Hercules (thinking back to the history lesson)  and D is for Dames – see this German stuff is not that difficult. I can now walk into the correct toilets…..good start! And NO there was no sign with male and females on it.

That’s all for now.

Peace out!

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