The Developing Child: Self- Concept

Critical Analysis: “How do differences between men and women, which have developed over many years, contribute o expectations about how male and female infants differ in temperament? In other words, in your view, do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”

After reading Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014, p.318) I could see that even during infancy parents start having an influence on how the infants view gender by the way they behave. It can also influence parent-infant relationships. In the text Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318) discuss that parents can respond positively to an infant girl who is calm. This is because their experiences and have led them to have this perception that this is ‘girly’ and therefore desired in an infant girl. If an infant girl behaves in a much more active way, this is seen as stereo typically masculine. Without sometimes realising parents can act disapprovingly because of their perceptions. This as a result leads to gender- bias expectations at it is inborn in the children inborn character.

After watching the video No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, I can see that, parents treating boys and girls differently even as early as infancy can affect how they perceive boys and girls. The video shows that boys and girls associate the word ‘strength’ with boys, that they have stronger muscles and cry much less. This is also discussed in the text McClure (2000) cited in Boyd, D.G and Bee, H.L (2014, p.318), who says that girls are often perceived as being much more emotional.

So, to answer the question; “do adults engage in what might be backward generalisation from adults to infants with regards to their opinions about the existence of gender differences early in life?”. From what I have read and watched I think that yes, parents do treat infants differently because of their perceptions, but these perceptions have probably come from the gender- difference perception their parents have and are influenced from how their parents treated them differently if they were a boy or a girl as infants.

I believe that as a teacher it is important to challenge these perceptions in a way that will help the children understand but also not to upset them. This is because, the video showed one of the boys getting very upset and angry when it turned out he wasn’t the strongest. One girl had greater belief in herself at the end of the strength test, this was fantastic to see. But, I think having a positive impact on one child shouldn’t result in having a negative impact on another. Therefore, changing these perceptions can be quite a difficult task to do effectively, but I believe it can be achieved. Involving the parents in this is a great idea as they influence their children’s thoughts and perceptions greatly.

References:

‘Gender Differences in Temperament: Real or Imagined?’ Chapter 10 (p318) of Boyd, D.G. and Bee, H.L. (2014). The Developing Child. 13th edn.

No More Boys and Girls: Can Our Kids Go Gender Free? 21:00 16/08/2017, BBC2 England, 60 mins. https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/prog/0F7AFD86 (Accessed 01 Oct 2018)

How the First Year of University Has Impacted My Ongoing Teacher Journey

My first year of University really has changed my perspective of teaching. When I first decided to be a teacher I thought that I would go to university and get told what all the basic contents are that need to be covered from Primary 1 to Primary 7. I knew that there would be a lot to do with child development and theories behind this, but I didn’t know we would look at ourselves as teachers.  I had never really thought much further than this or about myself as a teacher. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in children life and help them succeed, but I hadn’t realised that the first step to doing this started with looking at myself, what I believe about what is important in teaching and what my beliefs and morals are.

But, the very first lecture of Values: Self, Society and the Profession changed this. I started to really question what I believe and the lectures where very though provoking. I started to really think about my values and morals and thinking about the experiences which shaped my thoughts and beliefs. This has progressed throughout my first year. I began to realise how much teachers really do, how much of an impact they can have not only on children but also on society, as well as how much in society can influence teaching.

My first-year placement did not fully go to plan with me having to change schools due to changes out with my control within my first school. I stayed in the Nursery for a week before moving to a school outside of Dundee. At first, I was stressed and worried and I didn’t like that things weren’t going to plan. When I arrived at the new school my teacher was off for my first week, this was also not ideal but again out with my control. As placement went on I found that I was good at being flexible and being able to take on lessons with being given short notice, sometimes on that same day, and still having the ability to come up with an effective and well-planned lesson plan.  I realised if I hadn’t had that experience at the start of my placement I wouldn’t have been able to be as flexible. This also gave me a very realistic experience of what working as a teacher will look like in the future.

This placement gave me the ability to see what I thought was negative, turned out to be a very positive experience with a positive impact on my professional development. As Bass and Eynon (2009) describe the process of critical reflection, I can see that my first year at University has improved my skills of reflection, especially seeing what I can do to improve my practice. It has enabled me to think much more deeply about how I learn and why it is important for children in my class to know how they learn as well.

 

IB Primary Years Programme

Reflective activity 4:

  • The similarities and difference of PYP and CfE.

IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) encourages teachers to deliver child focused learning, to help them make meaning for themselves, constructing knowledge. Engagement comes from delivering a bigger picture, with big ideas. It is also about the children learning together and from each other, from different countries around the world and creating new ideas together, in a variety of ways.  PYP is also very focussed on reflection, so that pupils know what they have done very well and what they still need to do to reach their goal. PYP is known as not being a curriculum but as an approach instead, so instead of focusing on one subject such an English, they use cross curricular learning. An example used in the video was that the children were learning about plants, but this was not only science based, it led to the discussion and exploration of deforestation and the impact of this on people, bringing in social studies. The PYP gives the children a good start in letting them understand these connections. In CfE we do use interdisciplinary learning and combine subjects together, but I think that perhaps the difference between the IB and CfE is that the IB is more progressive and flexible, as the practice reflects itself constantly.

When reading about the PYP, one thing which really stood out for me is that children above the age of seven get the opportunity to learn more than one language, although in CfE there is a chance to learn languages, I don’t think there is as much of a focus on this and not as many opportunities in this particular area, and it shows that CfE and the IB do differ in some ways. Another way in which I see that they differ is the IB mission. This mission aims to:

“Develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

Curriculum for Excellence also aims to create knowledgeable and caring people who are responsible citizens and effectively contributes, but the focus is mainly on the community that they live in. Although the aim is to also contribute to the world, the focus is much more on community whereas for the IB it is much more about global contribution

The Exhibition in the IB is about the final year of the programme. This is where pupils are required to suggest solutions for real life issues and problems, this prepares the pupils for life beyond school. This aligns with CfE as real-life issues are also discussed, they are also explored deeper to allow understanding to occur. This is where the two programmes are similar, they both focus a lot of what is happening in the world and share the importance of knowing what is happening in the world and how we can be affecting this.

Another similarity between the two programmes is that the IB programme aims through the six PYP subject areas: language, maths, science, social studies, arts and Personal, social and physical education. The areas in curriculum for excellence are almost identical: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, maths, sciences, social studies, religious and moral education and technologies. One of the largest and most significant differences between the two programmes is that PYP is much more focussed on languages as there is opportunity to learn more languages. These are also learnt at a much younger age, starting at age 7. This aims to widen opportunities for communication around the world and participation in the world, building and supporting these connections for younger generations.

Overall the IB and CfE have very similar aims and goals. The values and morals in their teachings are very similar and affective teaching styles. The biggest difference between the two curriculums, I believe, is that the IB focusses on learning much more globally.

 

 

Educational Trends

Reflective Activity 3:

  • Which of ‘progressive’ trends align with CfE?

Firstly, in the 1960’s the traditional way of teaching was very different to what it is now. It was much more teacher-centred with only right and wrong answers, with not much room for exploring knowledge. It mainly focused on facts the children had to memorise and undergoing tests to see how well they could remember these facts. Children’s IQ’s would be compared to the average child and looking at constructive criticism, showing the children what progress they already had made to keep the motivated, was not something that was done. Finally, every child was given the same material in the same format, whereas now teaching is suited to each individual child’s needs.

Many times, I have heard that the world is expanding in knowledge, which is very true. But, it is expanding so rapidly that it is impossible to give children all the knowledge they need in the 21st century. Now, the focus is on giving children a toolkit which will enable them to be lifelong learners. This includes critical thinking, analysing information. Learning is now much broader, with a lot more culture involved in the learning, more perspectives to give pupils a clear idea of all the possibilities.   When reading this (specify) document and looking at the Education Trends (by the 1960’s) the history of the IB shows the transition from traditional to progressive trends, these align with CfE impressively and many of the progressive trends I have seen in my own teaching experience. Traditionally children were taught to memorise information, such as the times tables. But now in the progressive trend, critical analysis is used. Now children are taught how knowledge interlinks and shown different methods in understanding so that this is engraved deep in their minds, not just memorised for testing purposes.

This leads me smoothly onto the progressive trend in the IB of multiple perspectives, I understand this to be showing children different methods of learning so that they choose the method which works for them, but I also understand it as enabling the children to develop their own informed opinions about the world around them. All which is also a trend in CfE. Student choice, child-centred and constructivism are also very important progressive trends part of the IB. These I greatly saw on my placement and used in practice. Whatever the lesson and task, the children needed to be given constructive criticism and feedback, to allow them to take responsibility for their own learning. Thus, enabling the children to know how they are progressing and allowing them to make informed decisions about their own learning.

Education of the whole child is, I believe, related to the responsibility of all teachers. In the traditional trend academic intelligence was the focus, whereas now health and well being, mathematics and literacy are all the responsibility of each teacher in CfE. I believe this is another alignment between the IB and CfE as academic intelligence is not the only thing children now gain at schools, but also learning about themselves, their personalities, what their likes and dislikes are and how to live a long and healthy life beyond the school life. Overall, I believe that the progressive trends align prominently and have many similarities, they are both very pupil-centred and focus on giving each individual child the tools they need to live a happy and successful life.

The International Baccalaureate

Reflective Activity One and Two:

  • How do the IB aims align with the main aims of CfE?

Firstly, there are 4 main aims of Curriculum for Excellence, these are:

  • Successful Learners, learners who can express their thinking and thoughts, meet challenges with a positive attitude and come up with the innovative solutions to problems.
  • Confident Individuals, these are individuals who are determined, have learnt about self-awareness, discipline is committed and confident in their learning. Showing this through drawing upon their knowledge, experiences, feelings and ideas.
  • Responsible Citizens: These are student that can explore ethical questions, respond to issues that are social and personal as well as develop morals and views.
  • Effective Contributors: this focuses on the ability for learners to express themselves creatively, work with others in a collaborative and cooperative way, showing initiative, leadership and enterprise.

These are known as the four capacities. The four contexts for learning are: Curriculum areas and subjects, Interdisciplinary learning, Ethos and life of the school, Opportunities for personal achievement.

After watching the video, I can see a very strong link and alignment between the aims of the IB and CfE. The IB aims are much more broken down, with very specific definitions. They are broken into 10 aims instead of four, but they cover very similar, if not the same aspects:

IB learners strive to be Inquirers, these are learners who ask powerful and knowledgeable questions to expand their learning and be lifelong learners. Knowledgeable learners are those the IB strive not only to explore locally but globally. They also strive for their learners to be:

  • Thinkers: Make decisions which are well thought out and many options have been investigated.
  • Communicators: Good listeners and confident in more than one language. This is very similar to confident individuals in CfE.
  • Principled: This is a large focus on the sort of people these students become, which is honest, fair and responsible.
  • Open- minded: This is focussed on developing critical appreciation for not only your own culture but for other cultures you may come across and explore.
  • Caring: Committed to serving the community, this aligns greatly with responsible citizens in CfE.
  • Risk takers: Courageous, resourceful and resilient.
  • Balanced: Taking care of personal wellbeing for themselves and those around them.
  • Reflective: thoughtful, realistic and hopeful for the future.

IB is highly focussed on their students, help them to become lifelong learner, which is also a focus in CfE. IB education help build understanding through enquiry and reflection, using independent research to gain understanding and is not only about their own knowledge but also about what else they can do. IB students are globally engaged, help face local and global challenges. Students learn content that is worth knowing and make connection through many fields of study. I would say that CfE is not as focussed globally as the IB, the IB really emphasises this area impressively. The IB aims to remove barriers and boundaries by improving pupil’s knowledge of other countries, their languages and culture. This is to build intercultural learning, understanding and respect towards every individual, enabling collaboration with others.

  • Have you experienced any aspect of the IB aims when working with children or in your own education?

I have experienced many aspects of the IB aims as a pupil myself and when working with pupils. I believe this is because many of the IB aims are like those of CfE. The only ones which I would say are not as closely looked at is how global the IB is. There are languages done in schools but there is not such a focus on it as there is within the IB, which is what makes the IB so unique. During each school day, as a student teacher is as trying to develop the children numeracy, literacy and Health & Wellbeing, which aligns with the IB. In contrast, when on placement I did get to experience seeing French lessons being taught, as well as looking at War and Peace across the globe now, not in the past but what is happening in the world currently. So, this shows that CfE does have some focus globally put perhaps isn’t recognised as globally as the IB. As a student teacher I have also experienced how important being aware of other people’s culture and background is in this profession and in teaching. The IB programme also aligns with CfE as it focuses on the teaching to be successful in the way that it is engaging, thought provoking, significant, challenging and relative. These characteristics will build pupils into successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Both the IB and CfE focus on creating a safe, healthy and successful environment.

Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for everyday experiences, for example decision making. Scientific literacy allows a person to read or hear an article or newspaper online and decide on its validity. A literate person should be able to evaluate the worth of certain scientific information based on the sources and methods used to produce the conclusion or argument appropriately. It is important for educators to give students the opportunity to develop their understanding of scientific concepts and processes and show how they relate to our society. Without scientific literacy children are more likely to buy into false scientific facts and findings.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, scientific literacy is, “the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions.” (OECD, 2003) Without this there would be no evidential backing to many scientific theories and scientific knowledge. The reason that science, for many people makes sense, is because everything is backed up with evidence and research. However, there are many times in the media where scientific literature is used incorrectly, or even not at all. An article written by Ben Goldacre (2016) explains how many new drug trials and testing do not give an accurate idea of how good the drug is. This is due to a lack of testing and a small amount of people in the trials. Without this explicit scientific data, there is no way a correct conclusion can be made about the new drugs. If proper testing was carried out, there would be a higher chance new drugs would either be more effective or pulled before being released to the public to save people having undue side effects. This also gives people the wrong impression of drug trials, as the lack of concrete scientific evidence means there is no proof, however if this is missed out completely in media then nobody will think bad of it.

How teaching Fair testing in schools links to scientific literacy:

A fair test is an experiment where you change one factor (variable) at a time whilst keeping all other factors and conditions the same. For example, if you are measuring what object travels fastest down a ramp you would only change the object and not the angle of the ramp or the force the object is pushed with.

Fair testing is taught throughout primary school with the help of other science topics. Through this, children develop skills and independence in planning and performing fair tests.

Fair testing is taught throughout the curriculum and not as a separate topic a it involves a variety of skills. Children will use fair testing as a way to investigate questions within every science topic from plants to forces.

Fair testing links to scientific literacy as it shows “knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making” (discover magazine). Children require specific skills to carry out fair testing that shows they have adequate scientific literacy for that stage they are working at.

References:

Science Buddies (Undated) Available at: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/doing-a-fair-test-variables-for-beginners (Accessed on: 9th February)

What is a fair test? (Undated) Available at: (https://www.theschoolrun.com/what-is-a-fair-test, (Accessed: 9th February)

Kirshenbaum, S (2009) ‘ What is Scientific Literacy?’, Discover (March), Available at: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2009/03/17/what-is-scientific-literacy/#.WoA1qFJ0egQ (Accessed: 9th February)

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] (2003) The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem-Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD.

Goldacre, B. (2016) The Cancer Drugs Fund is producing dangerous, bad data: randomise everyone, everywhere! Available at: http://www.badscience.net/2016/09/the-cancer-drugs-fund-is-producing-dangerous-bad-data-randomise-everyone-everywhere/ (Accessed 11 February 2018).

Management and Organisation in the Classroom

Organisation and Management:

  • Having tables of 4 or 6 helps avoid noise during the lessons. I would also make sure children get to sit with people they get along with, but if it becomes too chatty it is good to mix the groups to ensure children are focussed and so that they also get a chance to work with others within their class.
  • There are many whiteboards and chalkboards around the class, this allows the teacher to clearly display the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, as well as putting any notes on the other whiteboards. Although some kids will have their back to the chalkboard and small whiteboard, all of them have a clear view of the smartboard which is what will be used for the majority of the time. If children can’t properly see the smartboard they can become bored and distract themselves with other things. This can also put limitations on their learning.

Use of Resources:

  • There is a located area for all the scissors, glue, rules etc. This allows the children to access resources easily and feel to do so freely. Having these resources out also means the children won’t have to constantly ask the teacher for resources.
  • Keeping the jotters in the same place also allows anyone in the class to hand out work as it is always kept in the same place. Finished work is also kept in the same place, this allows good routine within the class and avoids confusion.

Effective class rules and routines:

  • The class rules are located next to the teacher’s desk, in the front of the class where all pupils can see it. There is also one sheet laminated with all the pupils signature, showing they have agreed to these class rules.
  • The pupils are all expected to know the routines for coming in every morning, from breaktimes and the routine for how the classroom should be left at the end of the day.
  • There are also normal routines such as asking to go to the toilet before leaving the class.
  • Another good routine to have is for the children to have the expectancy to walk around the school quietly, taking into consideration everyone else’s learning.
  • Morning routines are important so that you can get your class settled down and ready for the day, it is also good to keep the class organised, such as doing a morning activity while the lunches and register are taken.
  • Routines are overly very positive to have as it gives children consistency which they may not get anywhere else.

Allocating activities:

  • Giving children specific jobs is beneficial as it gives them a sense of responsibility, while also learning responsibility, which is a big part of social development.
  • Having responsibility also gives the pupils a sense of importance.

Display and Presentation:

  • On the displays there should be topics that have recently been covered, this is so that children can refer back to this if they are getting stuck.
  • I think it would also be good to have displays of the children’s achievements, this would show a good classroom ethos. Children would also then feel like a part of the class and feel a good sense of community.
  • Having on display what the pupils will be doing throughout the day is also very beneficial as they can be prepared and aware of what thy can expect throughout the day.

Overall organisation in the classroom is important, it reduces stress for the teacher, promotes good behaviour management, and promotes a good learning environment for the pupils.

Health and Wellbeing

The main messages sent in Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochas videos, was all to do with the importance of early brain development in children. Both videos explained that babies are born prematurely compared to most mammals. Because of this baby’s brains are not only more fragile but also more flexible. They are not fully developed, and they continue to develop not only because of genetic codes but they also develop based on the relationships and environments they are presented with. As teachers we need to take into consideration that there are consequences to the brains we are asking children to develop. The pathways the brain makes in early years, will be the pathways that continue onto adulthood. If a child lives with domestic violence where there is a lot of shouting their brain has to develop to cope with those situations. Their brain is constantly monitoring when the next threat comes from, so they can’t have learn about a lot of other things in the world as they are too busy looking for threat. Cortisol: helps to cope with stress, if have this hormone all the time it starts to swamp the brain with the stress hormone. Brain is almost drowning in stress hormone.

We have to carefully consider the environment we present to children because their brains will develop in response to this environment. As Suzanna Zeedyk says in the video: “If we are giving them a world that is calm and predictable then their brain is developing in this and they will carry on this motorway system into adulthood and expect everything to be calm and predictable.”  Children need consistency in their life, and their only chance to have that may be in the classroom. If children haven’t built relationships it can have a very negative impact on them, they can then struggle to build relationships all throughout their life.

As teachers we need to consider what kind of brains we are asking children to develop and what kind of motorway systems we want them to develop. The pathways that are created in their brains need to give them the ability to make decisions, communicate with others and also empathise with others.

Semester 1 Reflection

 

Reflect on one of the most important moments for your professional development in semester 1 and write a post about what you think you have learned from this critical incident and what the process of reflection is beginning to mean to you.

One of the most important moments for me in my professional development during semester 1, was when writing the values essay. This was the first essay I had to write at a University level standard. At first, I was really excited about writing the essay, this was because I had enjoyed the module so much and learnt quite a lot of new things. I had not only learnt about values in our society but also about myself and my values, trying to identify what they are, though this was quite a challenge.

I firstly had decided to write my essay based on gender and gender equality, although it was something I was really interested in, I found that I didn’t have much resources to evidence what I was saying. So, I took all this on board and made the decision to base my essay on poverty, as I had much more knowledge I this area and resources.

Reflecting back, I believe it was a very professional decision. In the end I was very pleased with my essay, but I was much to worried about referencing. The referencing I had left slightly too late, so it took up a lot of my time as I had never used that sort of referencing before, neither had any of my peers so we were all mostly guessing.  This meant that proof reading the essay was rushed and lead to silly grammar mistakes. So, when writing an essay again I will now keep a better record of resources and not rush the proof reading, making sure silly mistakes don’t lose me marks in my final grade, I will also seek the advice of peers in year groups above me as they are more experienced and can give help when it comes to referencing.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland states that it is vital to critically examine personal and professional attitudes and challenge assumptions. I believe that during the values module I started to critically look at this, challenging my own assumptions. I hadn’t realised how much stereotypes were built into society and how much my unconscious biases were adding onto this. I know am much more aware of things that I may think and say, I realise this is extremely important in the teaching profession.