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Pontarddulais Primary School

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The electives experience is a non-assessed professional development opportunity for student-teachers. It takes place in a school setting and focuses on gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of an area related to a personal interest.

The student-teachers follow a particular subject or theme of interest by engaging in activities such as:

 Observation;
 Conducting interviews;
 Reading research;
 Engaging in professional dialogue.

During the visit, time will be allocated for different types of activity in order to ensure each individual has a broad range of experiences within a given subject/theme. The intention is for students to receive a comparable experience, enriching their understanding and giving them a USP when applying for posts in schools.



Having undertaken the elective, the student-teachers disseminate their findings to the professional community in the elective placement, e.g. teachers, governors, or the leadership team, in order to show their understanding and to share with the school positive aspects of the experience and new knowledge gained. This can be done by using the Estyn good practice model, available at the following link:



Electives will normally take place within the network in which the student-teacher has been placed for the duration of their ITE programme. Arrangements will be made within the networks to match student-teachers’ interests with available placements.

Each experience will differ slightly depending on the setting, however the expectation is that each student- teacher spends a sustained period of time in the school and that members of school staff will have been allocated the role of ‘electives experience co-ordinator’ for the duration of the electives visit. This will allow opportunities for professional engagement through dialogue and sharing of ideas and reflections. The electives experience co-ordinator should adopt the role of the discussant when conducting the share phase of the electives.



Student-teacher role:

  •   To prepare a rationale for the choice of elective;

  •   To engage fully with the electives experience in order to enhance their knowledge and


  •   To undertake personal research linked to the area/subject;

  •   To share the experience with a variety of audiences in a professional manner.

    School role:

  •   To allocate a member of staff as the ‘electives experience co-ordinator’ to support the student- teacher team;

  •   To ensure the students are supported throughout the experience by key staff members;

  •   To provide a wide range of opportunities for students to gather information;

  •   To engage in reflective dialogue with the students at various points;

  •   To welcome observations and comments made by students.

    University role:

  •   To ensure student-teachers are prepared for the elective opportunities;

  •   To support student-teachers and school in a triad of reflective dialogue;

  •   University Tutor (Professional) to support networks in arranging the elective offer and the

    organisation of experience.


Student rationale for the choice of elective

These are the questions that student-teachers are required to discuss with the school-based teacher educator and University Tutor (Professional) leading the elective experience. Student-teachers need to show a high-level of engagement with the electives offer from the outset and evidence undertaking self-directed research in their chosen area prior to the experience. The agreed questions are as follows:

Question 1

• Does it relate to an aspect of previous study?
• Is there evidence of engagement with the area in other experiences e.g. community volunteering, clubs and

• Does it relate to future plans e.g. choice of phase or type of school?

Question 2

• Are you chosing from an informed position to maximise the experience? • Can you talk about some of your key reading to justify your choice?

Question 3

• What lines of enquiry have been raised from your reading? • Have you formultae some research questions?
• What methodologies might you use?


Suggested Timetable for Electives Setting and Date Activity

What are your reasons for this choice of elective?

What key reading have you already undertaken?

What do you intend learning from the elective experience?

Day 1

Elective School Meet

Meet – Induction

  • The first day will be an induction day getting to know the school e.g. expectations regarding arrival/base room, school information, a learning walk around the school, school vision, work in the community

  • The school should communicate their policies/vision/practice with regards to the student-teachers’ elective area of interest.

  • The student-teachers will also share the area chosen as their focus on this day and state what their research question will be. This will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

  • The student-teachers needs to ensure their register/consent forms have been signed by the appropriate members of staff (Appendix 1 and 3)



Days 2

Test – Data Gathering

Elective School Test

Student-teachers begin to follow their lines of inquiry and gather overall data to try and answer their research question by undertaking relevant observations in various classes.

Possible methods of data collection:

  • Narrative notes

  • Movement charts (or sociograms)

  • Classroom plan

  • Photographs

  • Bubble maps

  • Padlet

    All ethical considerations reacting to anonymity and consent will have been addressed in the University preparations.

Day 3

Elective School Reflect

Test - Reflection

  • This day will be a reflective day to give staff and student-teachers the opportunity to discuss the information gathered to date.

  • During this time there should be opportunities for student-teachers to draw on the background reading undertaken, linking them to the practice observed and developing a critical analysis, initially through discussion that can potentially support the student-teachers’ final presentation.

  • Student-teachers should arrange any other data collection they still require to answer their research question (to be conducted on day 4)

Day 4

Elective School Prepare to Share

Test - Reflect, Review and Clarify (Student-teachers and Electives Coordinator)

  • Student-teachers should use the time to review and clarify any unanswered aspect of their research e.g. through interview with the relevant co-ordinator, conducting pupil voice

  • Findings should be shared with a peer in order to offer a critical eye

  • There should be time allocated to write and finalise the presentation

  • The electives coordinator should ensure that all student-teachers are on-

    track to complete the presentation.

Day 5 Share

Share: Present in a Professional Setting

  • The final day of the Elective is for each student-teacher to present the report in a professional setting (ideally with school-based staff present).

  • Presentations should take the form of an executive summary and should

    not be lengthy.

  • Student-teachers should focus on presentation skills including

    articulating ideas clearly, using evidence to support claims and