Hey Guys, Welcome to my Vlog?

It’s not an every day occurrence where your lecturer tells you you’re all about to become vloggers, but it’s one that I’ve tried to welcome with open arms!

Margaret Taylor, our lecturer, set up a workshop that allowed us to test substances to see how soluble and insoluble they would be in a small amount of cold water. Our tests may not be the most valid, however we did enjoy taking a record of what we found and could compare across the six solids.

In order to make it more valid in a classroom, we could measure out accurate amounts of water and substances in order to make it a fair test, so that the items were the only variable. We could also do more work from this experiment to find out what the substances were, for example, using information gathered from the internet to compare to our observations.

As you can tell from our final clip in the vlog, this would be a very exciting experiment to do in a classroom as the children would not be sure what the outcomes will be. This will therefore spark their curiosity and allow them to become excited about the topic of Materials and how they react with water.

School Uniforms: is it that bad to wear a skirt?

Whilst looking through some news arcitles this week, one stuck out in my mind. The Telegraph (2017) posted an arcitle online titled ‘Head teacher in sexism row over plan to force girls to wear skirts as trousers are ‘too tight”. This then got me thinking about school uniforms and what children think of them.

School Friends and I

Through my time at school, we never had a the option to wear trousers. In primary, we could choose between a pinafore or skirt with a shirt and tie, and in secondary we had to wear a knee length skirt. In my own opinion, I thought we looked very smart when we were out on trips, as we all looked the same and you could easily recognise us. However, I do see the appeal of girls wearing trousers. You can feel more free to move around, whereas with a skirt you are worried it would blow up. But does this make the head teacher sexist if she’d prefer the girls to wear skirts?

The argument in this article is that the girls are wearing too tight trousers, including tight leggings and denim bottoms. Now, I am all for a pair of comfortable leggings, however the school has set out clear boundaries regarding what can and cannot be worn so surely that should be respected. Boys were not seen coming in with tight trousers, or their uniform would have to be sorted too. The new skirts had been sourced at a very reasonable price so that families would be able to purchase them for their daughters.

During my placement in first year, I went to a primary school where the girls were able to wear skirts or trousers, but they were also given the option of shirts and ties or a polo shirt. I personally believe that by giving the children the option  of wearing a shirt or polo is much more important than the argument between skirts and trousers. By allowing the child to be comfortable, you are making school more enjoyable and therefore the child is more likely to get involved with their learning.

Do children really need uniforms? This is a difficult topic I think. Causro (1996) highlights the different views regarding uniforms in school. One point he makes for uniforms is that it can increase self-esteem. This is because if the child is coming into school in their uniform, they feel that they are on the same level as everyone else. Whereas if they were to come in with their own clothes, they may be worried that other children may judge them for not having the latest trends. However, one of the arguments he also has against uniforms is the price of uniforms. I understand that it can be very difficult for families when the new year beings, especially if they have multiple children at school age. Uniforms and school goods can cost a lot if money, so children may end up wearing their tatters old shoes until a parent can buy them a new pair.

Overall, I think it is important to take into consideration the uniform code that is set out by the school, and abide by it as best as possible. I do not believe that someone is sexist either, simply because they would like the girls to wear skirts instead of tight trousers. However, what is most important is that we are more  concerned about how the child is doing in their home life and work, instead of what they are wearing.

Reference

Caruso, P. (1996) “Individuality vs. Conformity: The issue behind school uniforms,” NASSP Bulletin, 80(581), pp. 83–88. doi: 10.1177/019263659608058121.

Telegraph (2017) Head teacher in sexism row over plan to force girls to wear skirts as trousers are ‘too tight’. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/20/head-teacher-sexism-row-plan-force-girls-wear-skirts-trousers/amp/ (Accessed: 20 Feb 2017).

We’re all going on a family holiday?

October time brings about the Halloween half term for children all across the UK. This, for many children, means a chance to go away on holiday and spend time with their families. However, where should we stand, as teachers, regarding children leaving the class during term time for holidays?

Families in England have been fined for taking their children out of class during term time. In the case of Mrs Smith (Shammas and Shephard, 2016), she had taken her daughter out near Easter time in order to accommodate her other children who were at other schools and came home to a £60 fine from her local council. If she does not pay the fine, it may be increased up to £2500. This raises some serious questions regarding attendance. Should we fine families who take children out on holidays, even if the child has a 100% attendance record up to that point?

As a child growing up, my parents would take me out of school early to go on holiday as it could save around £150 per person, which is quite a lot for any family. Whilst on holiday I would be learning about different areas compared to what I’d be learning in school such as the culture of the country I was in. Seeing how a Spanish town would close about midday for a siesta was something that ‘child Amy’ had never considered before. The hustle and bustle of New York City at Christmas time, where American families actually did dress up in matching jumpers to see Santa and that my favourite Christmas movies weren’t lying to me. I was fortunate to do activities such as horse riding and snorkelling which I probably would not have done if I was at home. Family time can also make a huge difference for a child. My dad would travel to different countries for his work, so by having our family holidays, it was time dedicated to spend together and create memories.

Holiday memories can sometimes last a lot longer than something you learn at school.

A child does not necessarily have to go abroad in order to learn things from a family break. Going away anywhere in the UK will give the child a chance to interact with different people and see how, for example, life in London or Glasgow would compare to their usual life in Dundee. By experiencing the underground they will learn about new forms of travel and can apply it back in the classroom when the class are discussing methods of transport. By bringing these real life experiences into the classroom, the child is more likely to be engaged in the discussions and understand a lot more of the topic.

I can see the other side of the argument that teachers will have to work with that child, possibly one-on-one, to help them catch up with the rest of the class. This may mean adapting lesson plans that were previously in place so that the children does not fall further behind all the others. This is especially true in the early years setting where a child may miss out of a phonics sound and could struggle with it in the future.

In conclusion, I believe that if you take a child out of school for a holiday, may it be in the UK or abroad, that the family should not be fined. This is because they will learn a lot from going away and interacting with different people and they will more than likely to be able to catch up on the work they have missed. The advantages in this topic, in my opinion, outweigh the disadvantages as learning the skill of communication at a young age is very important for further development.

References

Shammas, J and Shephard, R. (2016) Impossible’ New Rule Sees Mum Fined For Taking Child Out Of School For Holiday. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-four-fined-after-taking-7835026 (Accessed: 11/10/2016)

 

Secondary School Entrance Exams: does it help or hinder?

Growing up in Northern Ireland, I always knew that once I reached Primary 6/Primary 7 I had to knuckle down and work hard to pass my 11+ exam. I knew that my secondary school experience could be very different depending on what school I got the grades to go to. Practice paper after practice paper; spending 4 hours of class time a week working on and marking more papers. It felt like my life was being overcome by these questions.kids working

However, looking back over it, I believe it was the best thing for me. Getting into my local grammar school, in my view, really did help with my education. By being split up into ability, I found it more of a challenge to see if I could beat the others in my class. As I had a lower ability when it came to subjects such as English, I feel like being split up was again helpful as the teacher was able to spend more time working on different aspects that the whole class were not sure about.

Regarding the new examination that they have brought into the Northern Ireland curriculum, children are now focusing on the ‘2 marks more’ that they got compared to their friends. I believe that this isn’t beneficial for the children, as this means there is more room for bullying because they know in greater detail how they preformed on the day. The new AQE test also means that children will have to take another exam, the GL test, if they wish to go to a Catholic Grammar school. I think this is very hard on the children, as they will have to do four exams if they wish to be considered by all of their local grammar schools, compared to the two exams you would do through the 11+.

Just because a child doesn’t get into a grammar, doesn’t mean that they will not be as successful. It shouldn’t be seen as ‘I’m not smart enough, I’m not going to work’ but it should be seen as an opportunity. I have family members who went to the local secondary school, I have been able to make notes on our progress as we are both heading to university around the same time. It is very important to offer equal opportunities to all students. By streaming the children from primary to secondary, I believe they will get the best help for their ability. Our local secondary school will also stream the children so the lower ability classes will be smaller, so they can get more one on one attention; this will be very beneficial for their development.

Overall, I think that entrance exams are good at streaming the children for their best ability. This will therefore help their development throughout their school life and then into their time at university.

An Enquiring Practitioner: Benefits and Challenges

“Practitioner enquiry, as defined by Menter et al (2011), is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended.”GTCS Website


Throughout our time as students, and also as qualified teachers, we will be expected to expand our learning and thoughts about various aspects of school life.

By becoming an enquiring practitioner, I believe that I will benefit from many different viewpoints and opinions. One major benefit would be that you are able to discuss your ideas with other people. I find this can be very beneficial because people will be able to give their opinion on your interpretation and this means that you can work together to figure out what would be the best idea for that situation. This will definitely help when I am a student teacher because the teacher I am with on placement will be able to discuss with me about topic regarding the class.

However, becoming an Enquiring Practitioner does not come without its challenges. One major challenge could be that the group would get off topic. This means that the main point of the discussion is being missed due to the conversation being diverted to a different topic. Therefore, by getting off the subject, the group may end up spending more time focusing on things that are no longer beneficial to the actual topic.  I think this would be a challenge to me as a student teacher because I will have many questions and when I discuss these with my placement teacher there is a high possibility that I will end up off the original topic.

References:

http://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/practitioner-enquiry/what-is-practitioner-enquiry.aspx – cited 4/11/15

Managing my learning

This is a link to ways that I find work the best for helping me study.

Unit 1 B Managing my learning

Professionalism Vs the Online World

  • Discuss what challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media.

The General Teaching Council of Scotland recommends that teachers put all of their social media outlets on private. I think this is a good idea as students will inevitably try to look up and possibly add their teacher on Facebook. By having all details on private, children or their parents will not be able to find out any further information about the teacher than what they know from school. However, I believe it is a good idea to have a public account as it means they will be able to interact with other teachers/pupils and share ideas or themes that they have been using in their school.

  • How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?

Personally, I have found that the older generation have more of a closed minded view about social media as they assume the worst of what could happen all the time. I believe social media, such as YouTube and Instagram are great and will really help children as they will be growing up surrounded by new types of technology and, as a teacher, being on top of it means that they can be on the same level as the children.