As part of our first workshop in the “Values” module we were given a resource task. We were split into five groups and were each given an envelope with a range of resources inside. We were asked to create a ‘Student Pack’ designed to help new students at the university using the different resources were given. We then had to present our ‘Student Pack’ to the rest of the group.
I was part of Group 2, in our envelope we were given a wide variety of resources and thus were able to create a lot of content for our ‘Student Pack’. We included items such as a bus timetable, discount vouchers from local shops, recipe ideas, a map of the campus. Derek was being very supportive during this task, giving us a lot of positive feedback and encouragement, at one point he even came round the group to offer us all a biscuit. As the task went on, however, it became clear that we were one of the only groups being given this ‘special treatment’. Groups 4 and 5 were given little or no attention and received no praise from Derek, during the presentations it also became clear that they had significantly fewer resources to work with than we did. I feel this is important in representing society, there are people who live very privileged lives, who want for nothing and there are also people who have very little and can barely afford the basics. In the classroom there will be children from different backgrounds, some less fortunate than others but as a teacher you need to give every single child the same opportunities to succeed.
Upon reflection, I did not even realise that the other groups were at a disadvantage as our group was so focused on completing the task to the best of our ability. We were extremely motivated and the praise we received from Derek really encouraged us to do well. Groups 4 and 5 said they felt unmotivated and actually thought there was no point in putting effort into the task as Derek was not paying attention to them. I found this very interesting as people can often adopt this attitude if they are being ignored or put down when in fact they have the potential to do great things. It also goes to show that you don’t actually realise the value of things until you see how little others have. This really showed me how important it is not to have favourites as it can really affect a person’s motivation and feeling of self-worth, you must treat every child equally in the classroom and even a small bit of encouragement can go a long way.
This input was really helpful in demonstrating some of the issues that take place in the classroom, the way Derek was treating the different groups showed great favouritism and inequality, something that, in teaching especially, should be avoided at all costs. This input is something I will remember and the lessons I have learned I will think about while on placement and in my future career.