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At first I was just observing as the facilitator went around the room asking questions on Microsoft

word, she also included me asking me questions too which gave me an idea of what its like to be a
student in that situation. I found it as a fairly relaxed environment everyone was friendly and there was
no disciplinary issues. I had some knowledge of the material being asked but wasnt sure of some
questions, I felt no pressure though as if you didnt know the answer the question was simply passed
on to the next person. The facilitator was spoken to by students on their own level and not like they
were speaking to a higher authority although they clearly showed respect. In one sense I felt it was
like a cooperative learning group and the facilitator was the leader. Cooperative learning is a
successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use
a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is
responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an
atmosphere of achievement. (Balkcom, 1992) Because of this I really enjoyed the experience as
there was no worries about classroom management as everyone was there to learn. I had originally
expected there to be a mainly older group of students but was surprised to see some students only
slightly older than myself. There was also a good mix of genders, races and even some students had
very poor English yet everyone was there to help each other and progress together. After the test I
began helping one of the students my own age which I was somewhat nervous to begin as I did not
know if they were going to treat me as a teacher or not. I was surprised to the fact that they treated
me like their facilitator being very friendly and making me feel welcome into the group. I noticed much
the same learning difficulties as would be see in a secondary school classroom, some students
progressed quickly while others struggled but just like a cooperative learning group they were there to
help one another. Overall I feel it was a very worthwhile experience and a great insight into a mature
learner group. Compared to the energy that can be found within a secondary school I really enjoyed
the tranquil atmosphere within the environment at VTOS.

Balkcom, S. (1992, June 1). Consumer Guide. Retrieved from .ed.gov:


http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/OR/ConsumerGuides/cooplear.html

https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Further-Education-and-Training-
Strategy-2014-2019.pdf