Aldridge Education


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Growing Together ECF Pathways - James Hartstein

This week on the ECF Pathways we hear from James Hartstein, a MFL Year 1 ECT with a passion for languages, pedagogy and making a difference to his school community at PACA!

Hello, My name is James Hartstein. I’m currently a first-year ECT in French and Spanish at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA). I’m originally from London and came to Brighton in 2016 to study a masters in Applied Linguistics at Sussex University. 


For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed studying languages and have always wished to share this interest in connecting with other cultures and economies – teaching seemed to be the natural means to do so. My biggest success at school thus far was not immediately obvious to me; over time at PACA I have found more and more pupils approaching me with questions about French and Spanish culture, as well as the other languages I speak, and have observed a steady increase in attendance figures in my weekly afterschool Japanese language club. The challenges at school are nevertheless constant, manifold and unpredictable; I believe that maintaining a strong, consistent character with the appropriate flexibility helps the children calibrate themselves and feel that they are being supported scholastically and pastorally.


The ECF has provided the continued training I sought both academically and practically, ranging from behavioural management to effective assessment for learning; the seminars reinforce key teaching theories and practices that allow me to reflect whilst I teach. In future I hope to contribute to workshops and seminars with fellow teachers at PACA and across other schools in an R&D manner, so as to compare and contrast the diverse range of teaching methods in order to innovate and apply the most suitable ones; I would also enjoy the opportunity of sharing my experience in language acquisition research. My mentor Ian—head of MFL—and the ECF lead at PACA Vic have both been instrumental during my PGCE training and currently in my development as an ECT. They have observed many of my lessons and continue to provide detailed feedback with reference to the ITT Core Content Framework. Any ECT would benefit from the Teach First and ECF programme provided by Aldridge Education; it is straightforward to navigate whilst maintaining intellectual rigour and offers a strong support network from within. 


My own positivity and happiness stems from a protein-rich, balanced diet and regular exercise. When not at school or independently researching, I can usually be found walking my dogs on the Sussex Downs or exploring the local countryside on my motorcycle.

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