Week 5 and 6: Interdependence

During these 2 weeks the focus was on interdependence and what it means. Interdependence is the way that two or more living things rely on each other to be able to remain healthy and grow, for example cows and their farmers are interdependent as the cows rely on the farmer to feed them and give […]

During these 2 weeks the focus was on interdependence and what it means. Interdependence is the way that two or more living things rely on each other to be able to remain healthy and grow, for example cows and their farmers are interdependent as the cows rely on the farmer to feed them and give them a safe environment while the farmer relies on the cow for milk or meat to make an income. We visited two farms to give us a better understanding of this (explained further down). Interdependence is split into 3 categories:

  • Environmental (the one we focused on) – ideas such as every species has a function to fulfill in sustaining the web of life
  • social – ideas such as the worldwide demand for market access
  • economical – ideas such as the global market and trading

I have linked a video that I would show a class when teaching interdependence to deepen their understanding of the definition and to allow them a more visual perspective which they may be able to relate to.

We visited two farms on week 5 to widen our understanding of interdependence and to allow us to see it in action. the two farms were very different from each other but both fulfilled the same role, producing milk.

The first farm was Mossgiel Farm, a small organic farm near Mauchline. It was small and made up with 2 sheds for the cows and a family home. It felt welcoming and all the workers seemed happy to be there. The farmer who owned the farm, Bryce, started of by telling us about the farms history and how it had came to be what it was today. He was very passionate when explaining to us about being an organic farm and how his cows are fed grass and allowed to roam the fields. Then we got to see the cow shed and the milking parlour as well as the area where the milk is produced. This let us understand interdepence as the cows eat the grass which helps them produce organic, high quality milk which is then bottled and sent to shops for customers to buy. The customers need the milk to give them their intake of nutrients such as calcium but the cows need the customers to buy the milk or they wouldn’t need to be milked which can cause the cow harm. This farm also seemed very responsible for the cows welfare and allowed calves to have a relationship with their mum and they did not remove their horns to see if they gave the cows more personality, the cows were only milked 1 to 2 times a day. I found this farm very interesting and it gave me a clearer idea of where my dairy products come from and a sense of gratefulness for the work that everyone does to allow us to have these products. I think this is important for me to understand as a teacher so that I can explain to pupils the importance of interdependence and where their food comes from. This would link in with “I have observed living things in the environment over time and am becoming aware of how they depend on each other.” SCN 0-01a, as the pupils could be involved with a trip to the farm to see the processes and interdependence in play.

The second farm was Strandhead Farm, a large technologically advanced farm near Tarbolton. It was very different to the first farm, it was drastically bigger and everything from feeding the cows to cleaning the floors was carried out by robots. The cows were kept inside at all times to make sure they ate enough in order to be milked 5 to 6 times a day. Calves were removed from their mothers very soon after birth and placed in a small pen (image below). I understood the need for the robots due to the larger area and more cows but I didn’t like the idea of the cows not being allowed outside and this definitely gave me more knowledge about where my dairy comes from (which is something I hadn’t really thought about before) and allowed me to think more critically off it which is a UWS Graduate Attribute. the farmer did say that the cows were well looked after and had everything they needed but I think I preferred the more organic approach. An experience and outcome that this visit with pupils could have would be “I understand how local shops and services use technologies to provide us with what we need and want in our daily lives.” TCH 0-07a, as the children can see the technology being used within this farm to produce milk that they can then buy.

I think its important to show pupils the contrasting farming environments to understand interdependence and the different forms it can take as well as broadening their understanding of where their products come from and the different farms that there is.

After looking at the UWS Graduate Attributes and reflecting on this experience, for me as a learner I feel like I gained more knowledge as I didn’t fully understand the term ‘interdependence’ but now I do. It also allowed me to become more of a critical thinker in terms of how the cows were reared and were the food and drinks I am consuming actually come from and what I think is right and wrong. From a teaching perspective I think the skills such as being more knowledgeable and critically thinking are important as a teacher, as well as a learner, but I also feel more ethically aware after the farm visits and I think that’s important in a classroom as it allows for discussion (similar to critical thinking) to what might be right or wrong.

I enjoyed the farm visit and look forward to teaching, in the future, similar ideas to this one on interdependence.

Week 5

This week we started looking at music and the beneficial aspects of it within education. It was mentioned how some practitioners don’t see music as being an important part of the curriculum. It was also said that some teachers express that they are too scared to teach it because they see themselves as not good …

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This week we started looking at music and the beneficial aspects of it within education. It was mentioned how some practitioners don’t see music as being an important part of the curriculum. It was also said that some teachers express that they are too scared to teach it because they see themselves as not good at it. They feel because they are not a musical person that they can not successfully teach a music lesson.As teachers, we should make sure that every child gets a fair experience of music. They might not be exposed to any kind of music at home and school is an opportunity to experience new things. Music and playing an instrument might be an exciting new activity for a child.The most basic music lesson is still a music lesson. Even if a teacher feels they are not musically minded, there is still wide range of music lessons they can teach without feeling uncomfortable. I feel that music as a lesson, can be created to be extremely fun for the pupils or can be intertwined within other aspects of the curriculum. You can use music within a literacy or art lesson quite easily.

In the music workshop we focused on how music can have an impact on feelings and emotions. We listened to a song and were to create in a story in story-board style which is inspired by the song. My group imagined the song as a chase and adventure between a bear and a family. This was an extremely creative task for all involved and could easily be completed within a primary school. This lesson made me realise the images that music can create in your head and the impact music can have on your imagination. This activity included music linking with writing and literacy, proving that is is easy for music to be linked with other curricular areas and how beneficial musical education can be (Safford and Barrs, 2005).

In drama we participated in our peers micro-teaching presentations and activities. Completing and participating in these micro-teaching activities was a great way to conclude everything that we have learned over the past few weeks. Micro-teaching was hugely beneficial as a learner and as a teacher as we were able to revise all the drama conventions, in different contexts, that we have been focusing on throughout the weeks. After the last micro-teaching presentation, we then learned one last convention: role on the wall. I have never experienced this drama convention before (or I can’t remember it) even though I have complete higher and advanced higher drama. Role on the wall involved drawing an outline of a figure and writing inside the drawing what the pupils imagine the character thinks of themselves. Around the edges of the future you are to write what other characters think of that certain character. We completed this exercise base on a children’s book.

Safford, K. and Barrs, M. (2005) Creativity and Literacy: Many Routes to Meaning [Online] Available: https://clpe.org.uk/sites/default/files/Many%20routes%20to%20meaning%20childrens%20language%20and%20literacy%20learning%20in%20creative%20arts%20work_0.pdf [Accessed: 08 October 2019].

Week 4

Unfortunately, the cohort missed the lecture today due to a lack of communication within the cohort. In the art workshop today we returned to the images of the Scottish highlands that we created last week and added words to it. We were to add words of what the image made us feel and think. I …

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Unfortunately, the cohort missed the lecture today due to a lack of communication within the cohort.

In the art workshop today we returned to the images of the Scottish highlands that we created last week and added words to it. We were to add words of what the image made us feel and think. I chose to use a black felt tip pen and just let my brain do the work. I felt my way of doing things was a lot more simple than fellow students as I do not see myself as very imaginative. One of my fellow pupils wrote poems around their art work, some wrote song lyrics, some wrote quotes from famous Scottish people and the list goes on. Although I possibly did not stretch my level of creativity I feel that this activity was successful in proving that art/the arts can be used as cross-curricular activities as this activity had benefits to literacy.

The drama workshop today consisted of my groups micro-teaching task. My group chose to focus our presentation on ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’. My group focused our presentation on four drama conventions: improvisation, hot-seating, monologue and flash forward. This was an interesting experience for all of my group as it was the first time we have had the opportunity to teach a class throughout our time in university. For me, teaching my first drama lesson was the first time I have experienced first-hand the feeling of teaching a topic within the expressive arts. I really enjoyed having the support of the group as it was slightly intimidating having to teach a presentation aimed at primary school children to a group of adults. I appreciated how well my peers participated with the activities my group prepared for this task. On reflection, I think that my group had correctly estimated how long each activity should be as we managed to complete our presentation in the time allotted to us. The class of my peers seemed to be really engaged with our presentation.

 

Week 3

For me, this week really highlighted how uniformed art lessons were for me during my time at primary school. When the teacher taught an art lesson, the usually put an image by an artist up on the board and we were pretty much to copy it as best as we could. This ended up with …

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For me, this week really highlighted how uniformed art lessons were for me during my time at primary school. When the teacher taught an art lesson, the usually put an image by an artist up on the board and we were pretty much to copy it as best as we could. This ended up with everybody’s end product looking very much the same. No individuality. The entire class was to use the same utensils, the same techniques and the same colour palette. Although, some individuals work would look better than others, sheerly for the fact they were better at art.The advice from Diarmuid was to have art lessons pupil lead but as a teacher, keep it controlled. You want the children to express themselves via their interpretation of the art topic of that lesson. I do not want my class to have extremely similar looking art work. I want the children to have fun with what they are doing and not feel like they can only draw in a certain way or paint with a certain colour.You do not want to end up having a uniformed art lesson. Art is art. Art is not copying someone else’s work.

In the lecture we discussed Room 13 and its approach to art and creativity. Room 13 is a room within a Scottish school that has a specialised resident art teach who’s purpose is to be in the school to aid children on their creative journey. This project has been going on since 1994. Room 13 encourages ambition and aspiration at every stage and age. They have a proven record of keeping children engaged and have a reputation of addressing some of the problems facing young people in society today (Room 13, 2012).  I would love for this to be introduced and acted upon in as many schools as possible throughout Scotland as I feel as it is beneficial for all children involved. This approach encourages creativity within the school as a whole.

In the drama workshop we discussed how drama classes and improvisations can be used to teach difficult societal issues. Using drama to highlight current issues in society is a fun way for children to learn about serious issues. This was extremely helpful as it showed everyone that we can use drama as a tool to teach controversial topics. Drama is more likely to keep the pupils engaged and interested comparatively to a teacher standing in front of the pupils talking at them (Kokx, 2017).

In the art workshop we various used materials to create our own, unique, paintbrushes. We were to use our paintbrushes to paint our interpretation of an image of the Scottish Highlands which was described to us by Diarmuid. This was a successful activity in regards to every individuals painting and paintbrush being completely different. Every person in the room was given the same brief and set of instructions but ended up with a completely different finished product. This activity demonstrated how being given the opportunity to create our own paintbrush can lead to every person having a different creative journey. If this were to be done in a classroom of primary pupils, I am confident that they would enjoy this activity and that the array of creativity within each child would come to surface. Materials for this task would be easily accessible and inexpensive as they would most likely be available in the school and materials could also be found outside that could be used to create the paintbrush.

 

Room 13 (2012) About Room 13 [Online] Available: http://room13international.org/about/ [Accessed 28 October]

Kokx, K. (2017) Effects of Musical Theater Education on the Self Esteem of Middle School Students. Ed.D. Dissertations, Concordia University – Portland.

Week 2

The first input was interesting. We were given part of a text and we were to draw over it. We were to draw what the words were saying. I genuinely found this quite difficult. The article I was given was academically advanced which added to the difficulty, I have never been the type of person …

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The first input was interesting. We were given part of a text and we were to draw over it. We were to draw what the words were saying.

I genuinely found this quite difficult. The article I was given was academically advanced which added to the difficulty, I have never been the type of person that was very good at drawing or even liked to draw. I always preferred colouring in.  As the article was an academic article I found it quite difficult to even think of what to draw. Looking back at how I was feeling during this lecture, I am under the impression I was thinking too much into what I was doing rather than just doing it. I eventually got some drawings down on the page, as did everyone else.

I am confident this exercise could be used in a classroom and could be quite successful within a lesson, obviously with an easier bit of text. Instead of an article, a book, song lyrics or poems could even be used. The pupils would be able to turn the words and information they see in front of them into visual images. For some individuals it  is easier to visualise something as an image rather than to just look at a bunch of words. It could also be a fun activity for the pupils to participate in, something different than usual. This activity showed me that art can be taught and experienced through literacy.

The art workshop today consisted of using black paint and black pens. This activity was heavily influenced by lesson number three of the ten lesson that the arts teach by Elliot Eisner (2002). Eisner says that children see and interpret the arts in different ways and that they can have multiple different perspectives on one single piece of art. In this activity, we were to put the black paint on our hands, make marks on the paper with our fingers and hands. We were then to focus on the shapes we had created with our hands/fingers and then we were to add details of what we imagined them to be. Every person seemed to have different interpretations of what even a thumb print looked like. This activity proved, even in adults, that every person will have different interpretations of similar things. This workshop made me realise how no two sheets of paper will look the same, even when given the same brief. This task could easily be completed within a primary school. As long as you, as a teacher, prepared for the possible mess it could create. Preparing for this activity could include have news paper pages placed on desks under the paper in which they were painting on, to avoid paint getting on the desks. Also, to make sure that all the pupils had aprons on so that they paint would not get onto their school uniform.

After the drama workshop, I noticed improvements confidence-wise in everyone. Everyone that participated seemed a lot more confident in performing. My desire is for the pupils in my class to grow in confidence day by day, activity by activity. Drama is a subject that helps to build confidence and self-esteem all the children have an opportunity to work in groups, speak independently by expressing opinions and ideas and present themselves in a play or by improvisation (Bytdrama, 2018).

 

Eisner, E. (2002) The Arts and the Creation of Mind. Conneticut: Yale University Press.

Bytdrama (2018) Benefits of Drama [Online] Available: https://www.bytdrama.com/benefits-of-drama/ [Accessed 28 October 2019]

Week 1

Before my return to university for the year, I wondered what the module “integrated arts” would include. Would it purely be about art? Drawing and painting type of art that is. Will it include all of ‘the arts’? Drama, music and art. 10th of September came around very fast and this was my first day …

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Before my return to university for the year, I wondered what the module “integrated arts” would include. Would it purely be about art? Drawing and painting type of art that is. Will it include all of ‘the arts’? Drama, music and art.

10th of September came around very fast and this was my first day of the integrated arts module. The first day of the module was not unlike most other first days in a new class. We, as a cohort, were introduced to the module and what it would include. It would include all of the arts, like I hoped. Drama, music, dance and art.

Diarmuid explained that we would need to “build a tolerance for ambiguity” to be successful at teaching the arts. This essentially means we need to open to more than one interpretation of the same thing. This also means, as a future educator, I need to open to things not always going exactly to plan and that I should be prepared for things to be unpredictable within the arts. Tolerance is an essential skill to have as a teacher, to be constantly prepared for the unknown. You can never predict how a day will go in the classroom, you can never predict any interruptions that may happen throughout the day or the week.  Diarmuid also stated that we needed to develop a tolerance for mess. Developing both of these is essential. The arts its not as straight forward as maths or literacy. Maths and literacy usually include only one correct answer whereas the arts is down to an individuals interpretation of whats in front of them. You can improvise within the arts and every individual could have a different idea.

We had two workshops on this day: a drama workshop which was very practical and an art workshop in which we reflected upon works of art that children had created.

As a teacher, it is of paramount importance to make sure we value every pupil’s work and efforts by showing interest in their work to make sure there is no discouragement of their creativity (McAuliffe, 2007).  This was spoke about through both our drama and art inputs. Encouraging pupils not only proves creativity but has also been to aid attainment in other subjects. Encouragement within school has helped to improve literacy with advancing creative writing skills (Safford and Barrs, 2005). Pupils need encouragement to have self-confidence and belief in their own ability.

I am looking forward to learn more about how to teach the expressive arts in primary schools. I also look forward to observing the benefits that children will experience through the expressive arts. Personally, I was not exposed to the expressive arts in my primary school experience although this differed in high school.

 

McAuliffe, D. (2007) Foundation and Primary Settings. In Teaching Art and Design 3-11. London: Continuum.

Safford, K. and Barrs, M. (2005) Creativity and Literacy: Many Routes to Meaning. [Online] Available: https://clpe.org.uk/sites/default/files/Many%20routes%20to%20meaning%20childrens%20language%20and%20literacy%20learning%20in%20creative%20arts%20work_0.pdf [Accessed: 28 October 2019].

Interdependence

Over the last two weeks we have been looking at interdependence. Interdependence in its simplest form is the way in which two or more people or things depend on each other. Interdependence is split into three areas; economic, social and environmental. Economic interdependence is related to the global stock market and trading, and how we, …

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Over the last two weeks we have been looking at interdependence. Interdependence in its simplest form is the way in which two or more people or things depend on each other. Interdependence is split into three areas; economic, social and environmental. Economic interdependence is related to the global stock market and trading, and how we, as a country, are impacted by the value of other currencies, products and jobs in other countries. Social interdependence, because of technology and social media, is increasing. With most of the major media outlets being in the USA or Europe, American and European cultures and values are being spread throughout the world and impact on other cultures. It also means that the wants of those around the world are becoming increasingly similar and are allowing the economy to grow and feed on itself (Higgins, 2013). Environmental interdependence is something increasingly in the front of people’s minds with climate change invoking protests and political action. The biggest thing, in my opinion, that we need to be aware of is that pollution  is not confined to one country or one area it is a worldwide issue. We also have to be aware that habitats and animals that are endangered in one place have an effect on the world as a whole. We can see the impact of all three of these areas if we look at them in terms of the farms we visited and the sustainable fishing infographic we created.

We visited two dairy farms; an organic farm and an intensive farm. Economically the intensive farm had a bigger impact as they sold to supermarkets, however, the organic farm may also have an impact as they sell their milk for a greater price but sell to a smaller consumer base. This also links to the social aspect of interdependence as more people are looking to eat organic food and drinks, and are against intensive farming. This is something that couple be seen within my peer group when we were at the farm as many people comment that they did not like how the cows and calves were being kept and were shocked when told that the cows were milked up to five times a day. The other thing impacting farming in general, from the social side, is the approximate 542,000 vegan that live in Great Britain (The Vegan Society, 2016 cited in BBC, 2018). This is decreasing the sales of milk and other dairy products which has an impact economically as well as socially. Dairy farming does have a huge environmental impact. According to WWF (2019) “Dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. Poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources.” Unsustainable farming, including the production of feed, can also impact the environment through the loss of habitats, such as prairies, wetlands and forests.

The organic farm:

  

 

The intensive farm:

 

Sustainable fishing also impacts these three areas of interdependence. As a group we researched these three areas and made an infographic.

When we went to the farms I was rather apprehensive as I did not know what to expect and what condition the cows would be kept in. I loved the way the organic farm was run and how they kept the cows and treated them. However, I, along with a number of my peers, had a couple issues with how the intensive farm was run. We found that the cows were hardly ever outside a difficult concept to grasp and that they were milked up to five times a day compared to the organic farms one. This experience though made me more aware of the importance of educating children about where there food comes from. Children need to be able to make informed decisions about what food they want to eat, where that foods comes from and how it is made.

When reviewing my visits to the farm I developed my critical thinking skills and worked on becoming more ethically-minded as I had to really but into perspective of how I want the farms to be run and how that impacts my choices and decisions, and how it impacts the choices and decisions of others. For example, I would love to be able to support organic farming but, as a full time student with a limited income, I can not afford to buy exclusively organic products. I also came to the opinion from these visits, from research and other experiences in the past, that if someone is becoming vegan or vegetarian to protect animals from cruelty, they should consider trying to support the farms that do rear animals the way they like instead of cutting off everything but I’m also aware that, for the same reasons as I have, that this is not possible for everyone.   Through this I also believe I worked on “critically examining [my] personal and professional attitudes and beliefs and challenging assumptions and professional practice” which is one of the professional values under the GTCS Standards for Registration.

Resources

https://www.rhet.org.uk/teachers/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cjyykdwmw58t/uk-climate-change-protests

http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf

https://fishandkids.msc.org/en/teachers/teachers-pack-1


References

Higgins, K (2013) Economic Growth and Sustainability – are they mutually exclusive? [Online] Available: https://www.elsevier.com/connect/economic-growth-and-sustainability-are-they-mutually-exclusive [Accessed: 20 October 2019]

Jones, L (2018) Veganism: Why is it on the up? [ Online] Accessed: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-4448805/  [Accessed: 21 October 2019]

WWF (2019) Sustainable Agriculture: Dairy [Online] Accessed: https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/dairy [Accessed: 21 October 2019]