Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old. Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged …

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I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

 

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Disasters

“A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins” (IRFC, 2019) Disasters are split into …

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  • “A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins”
    • (IRFC, 2019)
  • Disasters are split into two main categories; man – made and natural.
    • Man made disasters
      • “events that are caused by humans and occur in or close to human settlements.”
      • Examples are famine, industrial accidents, transport accidents, famine and other complex emergencies or conflicts.
        • (IRFC, 2019)
    • Natural disasters
      • “naturally  occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events”
      • Examples are split into four categories
        • Geophysical: earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic activity
        • Hydrological: avalanches and floods
        • Meteorological: cyclones, tornadoes, storm/wave surges, and other extreme weather
        • Biological: disease epidemics and insect/animal plagues
          •  (IRFC, 2019)
  • A countries capability to be able to deal with a disaster relies on three factors;
    •  Preparedness
    • Response
    • Recovery
  • This can be seen most clearly when comparing Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake in  March 2011 and Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
Japan Haiti
Preparation ·       Prepared for earthquake

·       People had hard hats and protective headgear

·       Not prepared for following tsunami

·       Around 2 million Haitians live on land that they don’t own (In Port-au-Prince 67% of the 2.4 million population live in ‘Informal Areas’)

·       Buildings can be put up anywhere without proper foundations or planning

·       Only 30% had access to sanitation

·       Only 54% had access to clean water

·       History of corruption and violence within the political history

·       Badly prepared

Impact (numbers) ·       2,000 people confirmed dead (10,000 more expected to be dead)

·       2,000 people injured

·       530,000 people displaced

·       2,500 evacuation centres to house those displaced

·       2,400 people were isolated immediately after disaster

·       1.2 million homes without power

·       1.4 million homes without water

·       4,700 destroyed houses (50,000 damaged)

·       582 roads cut off

·       32 bridges destroyed

·       3.5 million people living in the most damaged areas

·       Anywhere between 85,000 and 316,000 people dead (unconfirmed because of rapid body decomposition in the heat and humidity and overwhelmed morgues resulting in mass graves)

·       30,000 injured

·       1 million made homeless (10% of the population)

·       250,000 dwellings destroyed or significantly damaged

·       60% of government buildings destroyed

·       80% of schools in capital and 60% in South and West provinces damaged or destroyed

·       UN headquarters in Haiti destroyed

Response ·       Tsunami warning issued 3 minutes after the earthquake

·       Emergency cabinet meeting convened

·       News conference held

·       Military sent in to help

·       Task force and disaster control team set up

·       Asked for help with search and rescue

·       Used social media to bring updates on the situation

·       Makeshift camps set up causing outbreaks of disease because of poor sanitation and proximity to decomposing bodies

·       Poor response from government

·       Problems with management of airports

·       4-day delay of supplies to remote areas resulting in looting and violence

·       Haitian government called off search on 23rd January (last survivor found on 8th February)

·       Lots of international response

·       No long-term strategy so problems still continue over 9 years since earthquake

This shows how much a country’s readiness and response to a disaster can really affect the recovery of the country. Although Japan’s earthquake should of had more of an impact on the country, because of the greater magnitude, it is Haiti that is still suffering because Japan had the education, money and resources to prepare themselves for the earthquake but Haiti had none of this.

This topic has really made me reflect on how the UK would cope in a situation like this and how much countries such as Haiti really need our support and help even now. This is a topic I would look into with older classes to help them understand how the impact of such disasters differ from country to country. With younger classes I would approach this subject and make them aware that disasters do cause injury, death and destruction but would mainly keep to how these events happen or form; just like what was presented in the micro teaching done by the cohort.

The main skill I used was critical thinking skills when looking at the case studies on Japan and Haiti and being able to form an opinion on the situation and to be able to able to compare them. I used a variety of skills when it came to preparing and presenting the micro teaching such as; research skills, communication skills, critical thinking, decision making and communication skills.

The Dr Bionic videos is a resource I would use for younger classes when doing this topic:

(These can also be accessed as seperate videos)

Red cross resources link

 

References

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2019) About disasters [Online] Available: https://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/about-disasters/ [Accessed: 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Haiti  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Japan  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Placement experience

2 weeks ago, I nervously walked into school for my first teaching placement. Little did I know this would be the quickest and most valuable 2 weeks. I got to work with a lovely primary 3 class. Who helps me … Continue reading

2 weeks ago, I nervously walked into school for my first teaching placement. Little did I know this would be the quickest and most valuable 2 weeks. I got to work with a lovely primary 3 class. Who helps me learn and also gave me some lovely pieces of art to take home, who knew I had such a red face. Most of all through this placement I learnt areas of strength in my communication, some that I didn’t even realise and also made clear to me areas I can develop upon.

I got to work with groups closely and was able to identify key communication skills to interact with the children. But also the communication skills I could apply throughout with other teachers. This experience was valuable to me in the way I could see the teachers use their interactions to help benefit the children’s learning. As I observed and interacted I was able to realise the skills I needed to use to aid me in becoming a strong communicator within my teaching role.

Strengths

An area of strength I quickly became aware of my communication skills I used to interact with small groups, during a maths lesson. I was able to assist 2 groups at a time and have the ability to apply the appropriate amount of help to the children, looking at the different problems they required assistance with. I found I could use my initiative to go over to the groups and use effective and clear communication. I spoke at an adequate volume and used language that was appropriate for the stage of the children. Within this area, my body language was used in a positive stance and using eye contact to be able to also communicate my non-verbal communications to the children. During this maths time with the groups I found I could effectively use ‘thinking time’ to be able to help the children come to the answer themselves. I was there to support and make use of the strategies to lead them to an answer. I was able to apply this help through listening to the teachers exposition on the learning intentions for the children that day.

Areas of most progress

Areas I felt I quickly adapted to and made progress with was my interactions with individual children. I feel I learnt quickly to look at the values the children held as a school: Kind, resilient, respectful, confident and included. Through this placement, I learnt to use appropriate language and praise to effectively communicate and make the children feel valued. I used this to acknowledge the children’s efforts and also to promote positive behaviours. My positive choice of words such as ‘well done’ or giving them a simple ‘good job,’ helped them feel accomplished and respected. I also found I was strong in using enthusiasm, during free play time, to value the children’s confidence and respect their efforts. They would show me their creations and I would interact with them and making sure I was giving them the appropriate attention.

 

 

 

Areas requiring progress

My confidence is always a main struggle of mine. I find I sometimes don’t have strong communication with other adults. Lacking the confidence to ask questions or speak up on my ideas. This is an area I felt I got a bit better with on placement, but still the area of my communication that needs the most work. I find it easier communicating to the children but there is always still the nagging doubt if I am communicating the strategy correctly, or if the language choice appropriate to the stage. I know this will come over time and it will improve with practice and experiences. I try to get involved as much as possible but I feel that on occasions my confidence holds me back.

Action plan

My next steps I need to look at include, communicating to the class and creating my own lessons. This will help me look at the language I need to use and making sure my body language is positive to the whole class not just small groups or individuals. I need to also build on my group work and communication to my adult peers. From teachers to parents alike. Being able to ask questions on things I am unsure of but also sharing my own ideas. I know that group work within university will help with this but also my daily life at work or on my placements over the next few years.

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