The Placement Module: what will you choose?

Your second year of the BA Education, Culture and Childhood involves a relevant placement of your choice; it’s a great way of getting some real-world experience, but can also seem a bit daunting. Now in her third year, writer Holly Kingston looks back on her own placement, and how she thought outside of the box.

When I started my degree in Education, Culture and Childhood, I, like many others on the course, had the intention of studying to become a teacher when I graduated. But during my time in the School of Education, I became passionate about new and different topics brought to my attention in various modules, and I began exploring other career options too.

As life did exist outside of my perfect Uni bubble, I was already thinking about these options when I started my second year, and had to apply for a placement. Instead of choosing the familiar setting of a primary school, where many students take their placements, I decided I wanted to get a taste of a different educational setting, and so applied to the University’s Faculty of Social Science Outreach Department.

The Outreach Department are a small team who work hard in encouraging young people from traditionally low participation backgrounds to come to university. My gamble with this ‘unconventional’ placement paid off as I absolutely loved working there, and it became my favourite module of the year. I was given the brief of using the knowledge gained from my degree to design an Outreach event for primary school pupils; there was a lot to do, and school holidays combined with deadline pressures meant it was very intense time. However, this is not to say that I didn’t have a great time during this semester, and I would love to do placement all over again!

As for my Outreach event, I decided the day would consist of activities based around 3 different social science subjects: Management, Journalism and Architecture. This meant putting the lesson planning skills I had learnt in modules to the test. Supported by the Outreach team, I contacted schools in low participation areas (as we felt that they would benefit the most), asking them to express their interest. As a result, we had 10 schools interested and there had to be a process of selection due to limited room space within the University.

With a date set and schools confirmed, it was very hands on for the final few weeks of my placement. However, it was so worth it when the actual day of the event came around and 36 school children plodded through the door of the ICOSS building, where the event was held. After delivering a presentation about University (which I was uber nervous about), I could finally relax and enjoy the day. In fact, I was really sad that it was over. My favourite part of the day was seeing the Mortarboards the pupils had made using black card and lots of glitter (Note to self: never let children loose with glitter again), and the pupils wearing them for our mini graduation at the end of the day.

All in all, the Placement Module was a fantastic experience and I would strongly encourage anyone who is considering their career path to try something different. Even if your placement doesn’t introduce your perfect career, you’ll still learn a huge lot from it.

About the author

Holly Kingston, BA in Education, Culture and Childhood

I am currently starting my third year in Education at Sheffield with optimism and excitement after a great two years so far! I have had the chance to study interesting topical issues in more depth, and a level of freedom to pursue these in my assignments. The degree programme has taught me how to critically analyse aspects of my own education and make clear what I see as morally important, such as the inclusion of Special Educational Needs pupils into mainstream schools, and the widening participation of those traditionally less likely to attend university. I hope to explore this further in my final year!

Learn more about the BA in Education Culture and Childhood