in the room there were 5 groups of students, each group was issued a large envelope with unknown materials. The brief given was to create a help guide pack for students next year who have just begun university, based on any facts or helpful information that we felt would have been helpful to us when starting university that we weren’t aware of.
Each group proceeded to open their envelope and discuss what materials were available and what possible items we could create to meet the criteria of the brief. My group had a wide range of materials that allowed for various items to be created; making it relatively easy for us to meet the task criteria.
We all started to work on our items in pairs. Whilst doing this Derek walked around the room observing what each group was doing. My group were praised for the way we all worked together and the ideas we had come up with. He did this with some other groups and whilst he did comment on some of the other groups work the levels of praise were not as high as we had recieved, and one group were nearly forgotten about altogether one more than one occasion. At the time our group didn’t think much of this and continued to work on our ideas.
Half way through the exercise, Derek approached our group with a tin of biscuits and offered them to everyone in the group. I didn’t notice that he never offered any to the rest of the groups and don’t think the rest of the group did either.
As all the groups finished and begun to present their work, it slowly became clear that the two first groups had been very creative and had plenty of materials whilst the final groups were very restricted with what they were able to do by the materials that were made available to them.
Once everyone had presented their ideas Derek revealed that there was a hidden agenda behind the task; that we had all been given different materials therefore the task would be easier for some and more difficult for others. Some other groups had clearly picked up on this as their materials were considerably more basic than others and began to discuss their thoughts as the task had progressed.
Within my group there was a degree of egocentrism, as we didn’t notice the obstacles that the other groups had in achieving the task criteria as we had more core resources and more options available to us.
This exercise was relevant to us as prospective teachers, as this is something that we are likely to come across in our future careers. It enacted circumstances that are likely to occur in the classroom; that not everyone has the same opportunities, resources, and obstacles to pass. Not everyone is in the same situation, comes from the same background, or has the same prospects, It’s important for teachers to consider this and implement this in the classroom. We are going to have a room full of children from all walks of life. Whilst some may have a very stable home life with plenty of support outside the classroom others might not be so fortunate. Therefore supporting them and making them feel valued and equal to others is part of the duty of care that they aim to provide.