Sunday, November 22, 2015

Compare and Contrast

Recently I have had the opportunity to locate a new path or route to school.  While walking the path I encountered beautiful landscape of rolling green hills, mountains, fields of sheep, and the old Westport House.  The walk to school generally takes about twenty minutes, depending on the weather.  As you know from my previous posts the weather in Ireland very unpredictable.  It is usually wet, rainy, and very windy.  The weather also changes dramatically from one minute to the next.  For example, during school it hailed for three minutes and twenty minutes later the sun appeared.

These are pictures of Clew Bay in Westport that I pass each day on our walk to and from school. This Bay runs up to the famous Westport House that is popular attraction in this quaint little town.

These are also more views from my walk to and from school as well as the scenery just outside the Gaelscoil school.

During this week of school I worked with students on their spelling, grammar,and comprehension skills.  I had the opportunity of facilitating the instruction while the cooperating teacher worked with other small mixed ability groups. Students are also provided with exposure to English by allowing them to read at different times throughout the day.  They read various types of chapter books and at the end of the day they listen to my cooperating teacher read Charlotte's Web. I have had the privilege of reading Charlotte's Web and the students show a tremendous amount of gratitude for taking the time to read to them.

Along with teaching, I have been comparing and contrasting the function of the Gaelscoil School versus the American school system.  There are many differences found within the structure of classroom management, the layout of the school and the content taught. There are also some similarities found in the exposure to literature and the way students converse.  Comparing and contrasting the school systems could be explained in many ways, but the following are the most common.

Classroom Management:
The students are disciplined mostly on an individual bases and not as a whole class.  This practice is even used when there are several students that show inadequate classroom behavior.  However, the students are very well mannered and show an extensive amount of respect to their teachers.  When taking this in consideration, the students rarely act out and cause disruptive behavior.  The teachers in the Galescoil school do not show any of the basic  classroom management strategies  found in the American school system such as clip up clip down, behavior sheets, sticker charts and ClassDojo. The students understand the expectations they are held accountable for and understand the consequences that will be established.

School Uniforms:  
The Gaelscoil school and other schools in Westport, Ireland have established a set uniform.  The students wear uniforms regardless if they are in a public or private school.  The Gaelsocil school must wear the traditional red sweater with the schools logo on it and wear some type of blue pants.  The students are allowed to wear other types of pants at different times throughout the week and they can wear any type of shoe.  This is similar to what you would find in most private American schools and some public schools.  However, the private schools in America can be alittle more strict on their dress code than what we have encountered in the Gaelscoil school.

Teacher Uniforms:
The teachers in the Gaelscoil are very relaxed in their form of dress.  Teachers are currently do not have a dress code; therefore, the teachers wear jeans or sports attire.  Sometimes the teachers will wear professional dress attire, but most often they will attend work in casual clothing.  This is very different to American schools where teachers are required to wear professional dress throughout the week and only wear casual wear at different times throughout the week as well as year.

School Restrooms:
Every classroom within the school has a boys and girls restroom.  They also have a sink and cups for students to have water throughout the day.  They have other restrooms located throughout the school for students, faculty, and visitors to use when in the hall.  The convenience of having restroom in the classrooms causes fewer distractions and disruptions.  The use of classroom restrooms decrease the loss of instructional time when we take the students as a class to the hall as we do in the American schools.

Classroom Content:
The Gaelscoil school currently teaches core math and reading just as you would see in your traditional American schools.  However, they share a difference in their English lessons such as the materials they use and the content they teach. Most all of their lessons are taught in the Irish language and the students continue to have Irish lessons just as we would have English lessons in American schools.

Scholastic Book Fair:
The Scholastic Book Fair is a universal book fair found in America as well as European countries.  My cooperating teacher is in charge of the book fair and keeping it open for all students to have equal opportunity to purchase items.  Many of the parents come in with their students to purchase items from the book store before and after school.  Throughout the day students purchase things at their lunch and recess breaks.  This isn't a typical way for a book fair to be scheduled in American schools, but there are some similarities.

These similarities and differences create the culture of both the Irish as well as the American Culture. We are looking forward to bringing a little touch of the American culture to the students by teaching them about Thanksgiving next week. Stay tuned to learn more about my experiences in and outside of school!

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