Author Archives: Amellia Menmuir

IB Reflective Activity 4

Similarities

The most obvious similarity between the two curriculums is that they are child centred. Every decision is made to suit the children by taking into consideration their wellbeing and the world around them. The curriculums both have documentation which encourages teachers to create learning which is child centred CfE has the principles of curriculum design (challenge and enjoyment, breadth, progression, depth, personalisation and choice, coherence and relevance) (Education Scotland, 2019). Where IB aims to be interesting, relevant, challenging and significant (Cambridge High School, 2019).

Both curriculum frameworks aim to involve the world around us for example CfE has made an effort to be inclusive of outdoor education, where children link their classroom learning to their own community. This also encourages children to understand learning doesn’t only occur in the classroom. The PYP curriculum involves the world around them by ensuring pupils are also receiving valuable learning from their countries national curriculum so that they do not miss out on cultural learning. PYP also has children learning a second language from the age of 7 so they can be involved and participate in communication around the world.

PYP and CfE bot encourage learners to learn about the world and be accepting of different cultures and religions. They both encourage learning about place and time, where children are encouraged to learn about history and its influences on where we are in the world today.

A final similarity between the two curriculums is the pedagogy of effective classroom talk, where children are encouraged to be leaders in the discovery of their own learning. Instead of tick box exercises both curriculums guide teachers to help create a support system for pupils to discover learning for themselves by providing the correct resources and boundaries.

Differences

Looking closely at both curriculum’s I believe there is a difference between the world the curriculum’s are setting their students up to be able to live in. IB is based on bringing people all over the world together whereas CfE is based on creating learners who are resilient to the change in an ever developing society. Also, CfE is based mainly on Scotland with the rest of the world being global learning. Whereas IB does not have a specific location and is adaptable to being taught all over the world.

A final difference is between documentation, different aspects of each part of learning is given different emphasis in the curriculum guide lines. For example, the four capacities are left to discussion on what each means whereas PYP has 10 learner attributes which are made clear what each means and what is expected of a learner. However, CfE has the principles of curriculum design which makes it clear what learning should be inclusive of e.g. relevance, personalisation and choice but IB only states these ideas in their aim and doesn’t include specific documentation for it.

IB progressive trends alignment to CfE

The first trend which I believe links between the two curriculum’s is criterion referenced. In relation to classroom teaching this means testing a child’s knowledge on a specific subject area in relation to a set of standards. This relates to CfE as they have the experiences and outcomes which a child should have taken part in and also the benchmarks which a student should be meeting at key stages in specific subject areas.

Transdisciplinarity is another progressive trend which can be seen in both curriculum’s. In CfE this can be used to engage learners by making subjects more relevant to the students. For example social studies and religious, moral education can be linked together by discussing what religions were around in a specific time era. In CfE I believe transdisciplinary learning is brought into the classroom by the teachers approach to engaging and interesting learning.

The progressive trend of student choice links to CfE as children are encouraged to have personalisation  and choice in their education so they can have an active and engaging role in their education. 

I believe CfE is also child-centred because all curriculum diagrams have the learner themselves at the centre for example “A schematic guide for curriculum planners”. CfE also has getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) this legislation ensures each child receives an education which suits them and is adapted to their own abilities.  This can be done through curriculum supports such as the principles of curriculum design.

A final progressive trend I believe is shared is critical analysis. In CfE children are encouraged to reflect on their own learning and are also asked to create learning goals for themselves in relation to the topics they are covering in class.

In conclusion, I feel many of the IB trends have a relation to CfE however, the progressive trends stated above are those with the closest links.

Do IB and CfE students have different attributes?

The IB curriculum has 10 learner profile attributes these are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. The CfE curriculum has the 4 capacities which are successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Difference: The first difference is strikingly obvious, the IB attributes are much more obvious of what is required from each learner. Where CfE requires extra questioning, what does it mean to be a successful learner? How do I show that I am a confident individual?

Similarities:

Inquirers, as IB believes are students who ask powerful questions (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to being a responsible citizen because these are students who participate in political, economic and cultural life and to be able to do so you have to be able to question what goes on in the world. Open-minded, as IB believes are students who are appreciative of their own and other peoples cultures (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to being a confident individual because these children have secure values and beliefs and are also self-aware. Responsible citizens relates as well because these students are respectful of others and are able to understand different beliefs and cultures. Knowledgeable, as believed by IB are students who explore locally and globally significant ideas (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to responsible citizens as these are students who are able to develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland’s place in it. Caring, these are students who are committed to helping our community (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe being a caring person links to all 4 capacities as learners are encouraged to think about themselves, others and the world around us. Thinkers, are critical, creative, decision makers (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to successful learners as these are students who are able to think creatively and independently. Risk-takers, are students who are courageous, resourceful and resilient (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this links to confident individual as these learners are able to be self-aware and can assess risks and make informed decisions. Communicators, are confident in more than one language (Cambridge High School, 2015). Communication is a key part of being an effective contributor however, there is a difference between IB and CfE. This is because IB is linked more to being a worldwide communicator and a CfE effective contributor is a learner who can work well as part of a team. Balanced, these students are focused on caring of well being of ourselves and those around us (Cambridge High School, 2015). This relates to confident individual where students have a sense of physical, mental and emotional well being. Principled, learners who are honest, fair and responsible (Cambridge High School, 2015). This is another attribute which I feel is shared evenly between all 4 capacities as students are taught to be respectful and to work well alone and together. Reflective, learners are thoughtful and hopeful for the future (Cambridge High School, 2015). I believe this relates to confident individual as these learners have ambition.

Difference: Looking closely at both curriculum’s I believe there is a difference between the world the curriculum’s are setting their students up to be able to live in. IB is based on bringing people all over the world together whereas CfE is based on creating learners who are resilient to the change in an ever developing society.

Difference: A final difference between the two curriculum’s is that CfE is based mainly on Scotland with the rest of the world being global learning. Whereas IB does not have a specific location and is adaptable to being taught all over the world.

In my recent professional practice I witnessed the attribute of knowledgeable. During a maths topic children were shown three different types of learning in maths (concrete, pictorial and abstract). This allowed each child to learn in a way that suited them but also allowed them to see different approaches to gaining knowledge. I also noticed the attribute of being reflective, each child had their own targets booklet where they recorded learning which they wanted to improve on with a timescale in which they would try to complete the target. As a school I noticed the attribute of caring by providing a breakfast club for the children who needed a soft start to the morning.

References

Cambridge High School. (2015) What is an IB education? Available At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZPi2-x0zkc (Accessed: 23/08/19)

 

The alignment of aims between IB and CfE.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) share an almost identical aim. Where both curriculum’s strive to create learners for life and not just school (Education Scotland, 2019) and (International Baccalaureate Organisation, 2019).

Where the CfE strives to create successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors (the four capacities). IB aims to produce learners who are inquirers, curious, and enthusiastic life long learners, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open minded, caring, risk-taking, balanced, reflective passionate life long learners (Cambridge High School, 2015). Although, IB clearly states each attribute their learners should acquire it is clear to see their link to the four capacities. For example, IB learners are encouraged to be thinkers who are critical and creative decision makers (Cambridge High School, 2019). CfE learners are encouraged to be “innovative thinkers, who accept a challenge and find imaginative solutions” when aiming to become a successful learner (Scottish Executive, 2006).

Not only do the aims and learner outcomes have a significant resemblance both curriculum’s intend to provide learner education in similar ways. CfE has the principles of curriculum design (challenge and enjoyment, breadth, progression, depth, personalisation and choice, coherence and relevance) (Education Scotland, 2019). Where IB aims to be interesting, relevant, challenging and significant (Cambridge High School, 2019). As a future practitioner of both curriculum’s it is clear to see how preparing and delivering lesson content is interchangeable between both curriculum’s.

In my recent studies I have become aware that effective classroom talk is vital in a classroom. This key study relates to both curriculum’s in discussion as it allows CfE effective contributors and IB communicators as children are taught to listen, engage in discussion and express their own thoughts and opinions in a polite manner.

During my first placement I noted that the school used newsround on a daily basis with a question and answer session after so the children were encouraged to explore and find out about issues occurring in the world around them. This would also be appropriate to do in an IB school as they strive to be “knowledgeable learners who explore local and global significant ideas” (Cambridge High School, 2015).

References

Cambridge High School. (2015) What is an IB education? Available At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZPi2-x0zkc (Accessed: 22/08/19)

Education Scotland. (2019) What is Curriculum for Excellence? Available At: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/What%20is%20Curriculum%20for%20Excellence (Accessed: 22/08/19)

International Baccalaureate Organisation. (2019) Primary Years Programme, Available At: https://www.ibo.org/programmes/primary-years-programme/ (Accessed: 22/08/19)

Scottish Executive. (2006) A Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 1, Available At: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/btc1.pdf (Accessed: 22/08/19)

Key Features to a Successful Science Lesson

A good science lesson has to be prepared thinking about the Es and Os and effective ways to develop the skills required of a successful science learner, the lesson should include the following:

  • The impact of science on their own health and well being
  • The health of society
  • The health of the environment
  • Engage in a wide range of investigative tasks develops skills for them to be creative, inventive, enterprising adults
  • Experiences of science must lead to a lifelong interest
  • Should take into consideration their natural curiosity and desire to create and work in practical ways
  • Lessons should be challenging, engaging and enjoyable
  • Effective teaching should use a variety of methods including: active learning, planned play, development of problem solving and analytical skills, scientific practical investigations, use of relevant contexts to teach children, use of real materials, living things, effective technology, development of collaborative learning and independent thinking, emphasis on children explaining their own knowledge
  • Relating lesson to real life jobs such as engineering/medicine/forensics
  • Lessons should also link to literacy, numeracy and ICT
  • Children should be able to develop skills to be able to observe and explore, classify, fair test and find associations
  • Children should be open to new ideas, thinking critically and creatively
  • There needs to be a positive ethos where learners feel comfortable to volunteer answers
  • Use of questioning techniques to consolidate the learning children have participated in

Reflective Practice

In today’s lecture I have learned that is important to consider the consequences of my own actions and the role in which I have played in an incident rather to jump to conclusions and blame everybody else first. I feel that this was important to learn because it has taught me to realise that not everything is going to go the way I plan in my future placement and in order to get over this I will have to think critically and not let it hurt my ego.

This lecture has made me think about how I should go forward looking in my placement and has also given me good tips for writing an interesting and detailed evaluation or reflection on my placement. I found the examples of different reflections effective so in the future I can look at these in comparison to my own work and consider whether or not the reflection I have written has enough content and is helpful for my own professional development.

Semester 1 results have had a major influence on my professional mindset, I found my ego to be sorely hurt with the results I received. After talking to my AoS about my feelings I have realised that this is a merely a learning curve I have encountered and the situation is not nearly as bad as I was making it out to be. I have learnt how to move on from the mistakes I have made in my work and how to correct them in the future. I have also learned to take the constructive criticism given by my marker in order to help myself in my professional development.  The process of reflection is starting to become a way to collect my thoughts on each lecture/input I have been to and be able to make my learning clear to myself on what I understand and what I need to do extra work on in my own study time. My blogging has also highlighted areas of interest that I could make into my professional goals for the upcoming placement.

 

Relationships To Primary Practitioners

Relationships are vital to our future profession as they determine the success rates of our learners. The children who come into our class have brains developed by the relationships they have with the people around them.

The child’s brain is very flexible and so can learn to survive in different situations/learn different languages. However, the child’s brain also learns to protect itself from harm very quickly, this is vital for safety but has the potential to be detrimental to learning. Suzanne Zeedyk created the analogy “a child who protects them self from domestic violence is like a child who would run from saber-toothed tigers in the past. The domestic violence = the tiger”. In our profession this is essential to consider as we could have children in our class who live in fear. As practitioners we cannot expect the best work from these pupils if they do not understand how to concentrate in a calm environment as they will be waiting in fear for the worst to happen and this will disrupt their focus and learning. This easy stress these pupils develop is unhealthy for them as they are not old enough to understand how to control their feelings effectively. On the other hand, a child who has a “calm and collected” mindset is also likely to experience unhealthy stress as they will never have experienced this feeling and are much more likely to panic due to not understanding what is going on.

As a future practitioner it is vital that I get to know and understand my class so I can create a classroom atmosphere that is comforting for all pupils to learn in. Knowing the children will also allow me to set achievable goals for them. This will help to boost the children’s self esteem rather than knock it because they are able to cope with the work load that they are given.

A Lesson On Drama

For our first drama input we were set a task to watch a short video clip and think about this in relation to our own practice along with a set of questions.

Throughout this clip the lesson structure was made evident. Agreement – warm up – provide stimulus – development of ideas – visualisation – soundscape – bodyscape – performance – evaluation.

Each section of the structure is of equal importance for a successful lesson:

  • Agreement: allows children to understand the rules and what is expected of them. 3 key factors to always consider are communication, cooperation and concentration. (If something goes wrong in a lesson usually it is due to a downfall in one of these areas).
  • Warm – up: this is important as it differentiates between a regular class activity and drama itself, also it allows children to focus their mind before being set to a task. There are a variety of warm up techniques for voice, concentration, teamwork and to get “warmed up”.
  • Provide Stimulus: decides a focus for the learning.
  • Development: This allows all ideas to be linked together and become something more interesting than a still image by itself for example.
  • Visualisation: Allows children to think creatively about the topic being discussed. Throughout visualisation you could use the thought-tracking convention to establish what the children are thinking.
  • Soundscape: Allows children to think about learning in different ways. How can they create the sounds they are thinking of with their body/the floor/objects around them? Soundscape can be used for cross-curricular learning for example in reading – what noises do you think the character can hear, use soundscape to show me these noises.
  • Bodyscape: allows the children to create a visual picture of the place we are creating. Can also be used for cross-curricular learning as class can recreate scenes from reading books or could help them to imagine what places might have been like in the past (history).
  • Performance: Allows children drive and motivation to do everything else in the lesson.
  • Evaluation: As a teacher this allows you to understand what the class has learned and what we need to look at in the next lesson. It is a calming experience to end an active lesson and allows the children to see that they have had a learning experience not just play.

Drama Conventions Used:

  • still images
  • thought-tracking
  • frozen scenes

CfE Es and Os Addressed:

  • The children have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience. (EXA0-01a, EXA1-01a, EXA2-01a)
  • Thought-tracking has allowed the children to communicate thoughts and feelings through drama. (EXA0-13a, EXA1-13a, EXA2-13a)
  • Soundscape allows the children to experiment with voice. (EXA2-12a)
  • Bpdyscape allows the children to experiment with movement and sustain different roles. (EXA2-12a)
  • Performance allows children to present drama – asking the children about levels and audience seating while they are creating their performance allows children to take account of audience and atmosphere.

Initial Professional Goals

It is the end of my first week back to university and prior to my first placement I have been looking into the Standards For Provisional Registration (SPR).  Looking into the standards has helped me to make some initial decisions on my first placement goals.

I have taken into consideration different types of goals for the upcoming placement and have decided that I would like to have a mix of both personal and professional goals to develop over the duration of my placement. I have made this decision so I can work on both myself as a future teacher and the work that will be required of me as a teacher.

Through the reading which I have done I have decided that my first goal will be for my personal development and it will be “to have confidence in myself at all times”. I think this is important because if I do not believe in myself I cannot expect my mentor, tutor or any other person relying on me to do so either. Being confident in myself will allow me to:

  • create successful partnerships with those around me
  • develop my own ability to control and look after a class
  • allow me to help the children in my class safely

There is a huge list of achievements I will take from a growing confidence over placement and above are some examples I hope to achieve.

The professional goal I would like to achieve during my upcoming placement is time management and organization. These achievements will allow me to create successful lesson plans which will lead to lessons going to plan with back up arrangements already in place so there will be no panic for me. This will be helpful on placement as the class pupils will be able to tell if I have not taken care into my lesson planning as I will experience anxiety if something goes wrong and they will potentially not learn from the lesson.

In the weeks coming up I hope to consider more options for goals for my placement so that I can choose the best set of goals before starting my placement.

Reading

The most prominent memory I have of language is reading. “Biff and Chip” are my most memorable language experience from primary school, these are a series of stories that we used for our reading groups. I remember these novels because our teacher related learning activities to these books and we also had a large display of pictures of the characters on the wall.

In my family home reading was also an important part of my day because I spent every night being read a bed time story until the age where I could read the stories to my parents at bed time.

Even though I participated in lots of reading as a young child I remember it being something I got into trouble for not doing enough of as an older child. I think this was because I could not find a genre that kept me interested. As a future teacher I will keep this in mind so that my reading books for children offer a wide range of interest so no child feels the way I did.