On the 25th of November our TECSOL class had the fantastic opportunity of going to visit Stonefields Primary School, located at the base of Mount Wellington in Auckland.
Our group of eleven students and two NZLC staff set off at 8.00 and arrived at the school at 9.00. We were greeted by senior teacher and one of the founding members of Stonefields, Katherine Jackson.
Katherine showed us around the beautiful and modern campus and then we were taken to a smaller room, where our TESCOL students asked questions to learn more about the pedagogy and philosophy of Stonefields School. After that, it was time for the TECSOL students to observe the lessons, interact with the children and take note of the materials and activities in the classroom. The TECSOL students sat with the children and asked them what they were doing and what they were learning from the task, they took photos of the resources and discussed with their partner how the space and unique design of the school assisting in the learning process.
At lunchtime, the students played and chatted with the children. Then we discussed the theories that Katherine had explained to us and the students brainstormed how they would implement these ideas into their own teaching practices. The students commented on how important they thought it was to make lessons fun and visual when teaching English to children.
The NZLC students will now use their experience at Stonefields to write an assessment titled, ‘Putting Theory Into Practice’, in which they will need to compare and contrast the educational practices in New Zealand with their own country as well as reflect on the experience and what they learned from it.
On the way home the students were buzzing with ideas on what to write about in their assignments and couldn’t wait to get started. They were discussing how a school like Stonefields would be received in their countries and comparing what they had found most surprising about the experience.
Issy from Chile said, “Before today, I thought I wanted to be a teacher but now I’m 100% sure I want to!”
Every TECSOL course includes two visits to local primary schools. Two different schools are specifically chosen to ensure that students get a rounded experience of education in NZ and can experience different teaching styles, locations, school sizes and ages. After the trips, students are asked to reflect on the differences they noticed and which teaching methods and environments they believe to be most effective. They can then draw on the experiences when they teach their own classes and use the ideas to create new resources.
Thanks for having us Stonefields! It was a great day and a rewarding experience for our TECSOL students!