Author Archives: Danielle Campbell

Overlooked Books

Over the last few weeks various lectures and tutor directed tasks have looked at the power of story telling in all aspects of life. I have found it pretty astonishing to discover just how many books there are to help children to understand and cope with the emotions that each and every one of us struggle with at some point in life. Although I found this totally amazing, I can’t help but feel slightly frustrated at the was I was taught as a child and the ways in which stories were introduced to me.

As a child, I couldn’t stand reading. it was always an activity that I hadn’t enjoyed. the majority of the reading I remember doing in primary school was silent and was simple a time for my thoughts to run away with them selves, at many points wondering what dramas id be going home to that night, or the heated discussions that I had to endure the previous night. This time of silent reading was the only time were we were encouraged to spend time with a book. it was always an isolating experience for me. Because of the lack of reading I did, I also found other aspects of literacy challenging. even now, at the age of nineteen, I find spelling to be challenging at times.

Luckily, by the time I reached secondary school, one teacher was able to find a way to have me engage with a book properly! After years of turning to numbers to relax, I had finally been shown another way, a way that was easy to do regardless of the situations around me.

These recent inputs have been appealing to me due to the nature of some of the stories and the many different things that a story can teach. We read a book the other day which explained loss to a child in a way that wasn’t too heavy; a way that no other method could do. similar stories were read about teaching social skills and learning about different emotions. In an age where technology is taking over, surely it’s time we start to strip things back to basics and give children the chances to do all the things that I never got the chance to do as a child; to fell in love with reading… to realise that it is ok to feel however you feel and you’re not along… and to step out of reality into the weird and wonderful land of stories.

Science TDT

As scientific literacy is a concept rather than a fact or particular skill set, there seems to be many controversial debates about what scientific literacy is. Millar (2007, P.145-150) states that “scientific literacy is the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions”. Whereas, another definition of this concept states that scientific literacy prepares future citizens for “interacting in a global environment needing to know how to learn, adapt, create, communicate, and how to interpret and use information critically”, and be able “to make personal decisions on the basis of a scientific view of the world” (International Baccalaureate National Curriculum Board, 2009, p. 4). The term scientific literacy has defied precise definition since it was introduced in the late 1950’s (Hurd, 1958). This concept is one that many people have tried to define since the late 1950’s however, none have come up with a universally accepted answer, raising the idea that can you ever truly define a concept? an abstract idea? Therefore, can you ever truly define Scientific literacy?

Being scientifically literate is becoming the focus of school science according to Millar (2007). One of the reasons for this could be the devastating consequences of being scientifically illiteracy. Catastrophic results of this scientific illiteracy can be seen in some inaccurate reports published through the media. An example of this can be found in the case of doctors attributing a rise in autism with the MMR vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella after studying the effects of the vaccine on 12 children (Laurence, J. 1998). After the report was published in a medical journal (The Lancet), the media backed the claims and began spreading the news (Laurence, J. 2013). This resulted in parents refusing to let their children be immunised against measles, mumps and rubella at once and measles broke out in the United Kingdom even leading to the death of a child. With further testing it was shown that there was no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. (BBC, 2005) This example highlights the need for fair-testing and scientific literacy.

A fair test is one in which only one variable is deliberately changed during an investigation while the others are kept the same (Science Buddies, no date.) The one which you change is known as the independent variable whilst the factors which change impacts are known as the dependent variables. Fair testing in schools is important so that pupils can compare and assess the impact that the one independent factor has on the others.

In schools, fair testing is not taught as its own topic but is used in investigations throughout other scientific topics (The School Run, 2018.) Participating in fair tests throughout their time at school enables pupils to engage in science and develop a deeper understanding of how to effectively carry on a scientific investigation. An understanding of fair testing will help children work towards scientific literacy as they can use their knowledge of scientific procedures to determine whether or not an investigation is accurate. They can therefore decide for themselves if they can trust the results of that investigation.

 

BBC, (2005) ‘’No link’ between MMR and autism’, BBC News, Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4311613.stm (Accessed on: 16 February 2018)

Hurd, P. DeH (1958). Scientific literacy: Its meaning for American schools. Educational Leadership

International Baccalaureate National Curriculum Board. (2009) Scientific Literacy in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP):NAP-SL Outcomes, available at http://www.ibo.org/globalassets/publications/ib-research/ibnapsl_report_final_000.pdf (Accessed 16 February 2018)

Laurence, J. (1998) ‘Doctors link autism to MMR vaccination’, Independent, Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/doctors-link-autism-to-mmr-vaccination-1147081.html (Accessed on: 16 February 2018)

Laurence, J. (2013) ‘Timeline: How the Andrew Wakefield MMR Vaccine Scare Story Spread’, Independent, Available at:http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/timeline-how-the-andrew-wakefield-mmr-vaccine-scare-story-spread-8570591.html (Accessed on: 16 February 2018)

Millar, R. (2007) Scientific Literacy; Can the school science curriculum deliver? Communicating European Research 2005, Pages 145-150

Science Buddies, (no date), Available at: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/science-fair/doing-a-fair-test-variables-for-beginners (Accessed: 10/02/2018)

The School Run, (2018) Available at: https://www.theschoolrun.com/what-is-a-fair-test (Accessed: 10/02/2018)

Health and Wellbeing TDT

By investigating food labelling systems, I can begin to understand how to use them to make healthy food choices. HWB 2-36a

 

This outcome has almost limitless way of tackling it. as part of the tutor directed task from a Health and Wellbeing input, we were asked to plan three sessions on at least on of the experiences and outcomes.

In particular I am going to focus firstly on the sugar levels in the foods that we consume. Firstly, the children could be given different foods and drinks and, in groups, order them from the product that they think has the least sugar to the product that has the most sugar. With an upper years class, they would then list the items in the order they decide in a table to work across the curriculum by using elements of numeracy as according to Rowley and Cooper (2009), children make connections that enhance learning  when learning is done across a variety of curricular areas.

For session two, the children will look at the label and add the actual amounts of sugar to their tables. they will then be given the opportunity to measure the sugar so they can visualise the amount of sugar they consume. This can then be used to create a wall display.

In the third session, children will mind map, then research, healthier alternatives. Allowing the children to look for the answers themselves will enable them to develop not only team-working skills but also to use and develop their ICT skills.

Inaccurate Limitations

The recent Health and Wellbeing lectures and TDT’s have been amongst the most personally and professionally challenging inputs that I’ve been faced with since embarking on this journey that society said I’d never get a chance at. As the topic of relationships was discussed during the first lecture, I began to reflect on my own childhood and the difference that the relationships with various teachers had on my life. Without the influence that they had, I assume that my life would have taken a very different path. Their presence always gave me a sense of security, freedom and hope. The high expectations that they had for me made me strive to find a better life for myself, to break free from the ‘warzone’ that I called home. However, I cannot help but wonder if I would have been encouraged in the same way had they known what I faced when I left the school building to return to my reality.

Following this lecture, we had two videos to watch as part of a TDT. These videos help to explain why I see the world the way I do. One of the videos was by John Carnochan, who established the Violence Reduction Unit within Strathclyde police. Carnochan discussed many issues in this video which once again caused me to reflect. One of the most prominent things that Carnochan said during this video was:

“raise a child in a warzone and you’ll raise a warrior.“

Despite the chaotic state of my home life, I was never a child who was disengaged on a regular basis; I didn’t have outbursts of anger or upset in school. Instead, school was the place I could be myself, the place where everything made sense and most importantly the place where I could let my guard drop a little.  From as young as nine or ten I was able to live what may been seen as a double life. What appeared to be a normal way to live at home and what seemed to be normal at school were never the same. School was tranquil, even on the days where others may say it was mayhem.

For a long time, I’ve been able to see that every child reacts to stress in very different ways. Some children deal with this by lashing out in anger or upset; others will be disengaged with everyone and everything; for yet more children, like me, the only way to cope is not to speak, or shout or scream but instead to throw themselves head first into learning. This allow an escape to be found.

Today, we had the chance to discuss this video at the beginning of the lecture. I found this to be difficult as I never really know what to say when it comes to actually speaking about how I grew up and what my relationships were like. What did strike me today was the expectations that people place on children who have never had the opportunity to completely escape from stress, aggression and violence at home. As much as I believe that the comment today was not meant in the way that I perceived it, I was a little shocked. I feel that there is a valuable lesson to be learnt from today, which I presume will have gone unnoticed by many people in the lecture theatre. The limitations that I have fought (and still fight) against  were once again placed upon me. The limits of living and growing around a vast variety of social issues, including drugs and violence, are different for every person. Everyone has developed different levels of resilience and a variety of coping strategies and therefore a generalised limitation cannot be placed over the group of people.

As I continue on this road to joining the teaching profession, It is coming more and more clear how easy it is to place limits on people which have the possibility to stick with them throughout their lives.

Semester one reflection

A whole semester is over already?! Where did time go? There are many words that could be used to express how the semester has been for me including crazy, surreal and liberating. Throughout the semester I have learnt so much about the society we live in through the “Values” module and my own opinions have been tested an changed significantly throughout the “Working Together” module. There have been many key moments for me as the semester has progressed which have caused me to reflect on why I think about certain things the way I do.

One of the biggest moments of reflection for me arose during at  the Working Together module. Before a of our focus for on the assignment, we took some time to discuss the experiences we had had in our peer learning groups. This, for me, ended in a massive breakthrough in my thought pattern. As a child, the collaboration of professionals in my life was poor. This led to me struggling with the idea of a variety of professionals being able to work together well with the child at the centre of the entire process. Hearing the more positive experiences of other people in my peer learning group challenged the mindset and stereotypes that I didn’t realise that I had.

Reflection is essential in order to become the best version of myself I can be. In doing this, the needs of others around me are often clearer and easier to see.

 

Poverty

So, this morning’s lecture was all about poverty. Whilst looking at the reading prior to the lecture, it provoked feelings of nervousness but also excitement to a point. One of my favourite things to do is to ask questions and find out what other people’s opinions are relating to topics which I feel strongly about; poverty is one of these topics.
I found the reading for this week to be really interesting; not because I learnt anything new but because I had one of those big moments where something just clicks into place and makes sense. One of the things to read for this week was a report entitled “The Roles We Play”. This came with my questions for me, not because I don’t understand the situations these people face, rather because I understand only too well.
It totally bewilders me as to why it is the people who have nothing that give the most to their community. The people who understand what it is like to suffer; to struggle; to have nothing, are often the first to stand up and look to be the light to someone else’s darkness. People, as a whole, like to attach labels onto one another. As a society, we are very good at judging people when we have very little information on the person and their situation. These labels and judgements have the tendency to be negative. When we hear about people not having enough money to live, the automatic assumption is that they live on the state, they’re lazy or they just don’t work hard enough to change their life but what about the people who work, the ones who try their best to make the best life that they can for their families? Where do they fit into this broken image that society has?
During the lecture today we looked at a role-play involving two fourteen year old girls – Emily and Kylie-Ann – who had very different experiences of childhood. Emily was a child who appears to have had a loving, stable comfortable upbringing with parents who, although may put her under pressure, want what’s best for her. The family have multiple streams of income flowing into the home providing a degree of financial stability. Kylie-Ann on the other hand, lives with her grandmother in a tower block. The household relies on benefits to be able to survive and when she needs new clothes or shoes, Kylie-Ann’s Gran has to rely on payday loans.
The girls school lives are also very different. Emily attends the school that both her parents has also attended. She is very rarely absent but even when she is, her parents request any work she misses to be sent home. She is very ambitious and aims to study medicine at the university of St Andrews. Although her parents are encouraging regarding her education, they put pressure on Emily to be the best.
Kylie-Ann seems to have had a very different experience. Her Gran allows her to skip school and isn’t encouraging towards her education. Although she doesn’t want to live on benefits for the rest of her life, she doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.
Whilst learning more about the girls, I could think of many situations in my own life and in the lives of other people I know that has similarities to the stories. I find it easy to relate to the instability in Kylie-Ann’s life.
From a young age, school was a stable place for me. The one place I could rely on to be consistently the same. When I found life difficult I would throw myself into school work, maths in particular. I didn’t see it at the time but reflecting now, I can see that my love of maths that I developed as an eight year old, was my way of dealing with the uncertainty in other areas of my life.
It would have been easier for my life to take the same path as Kylie-Ann’s. However, my life was influenced massively by the teachers I had in school. I was always encouraged to be the best version of myself that I could be academically. Although I lacked the confidence in myself as a person, I had a great deal of confidence in my academic ability as a child which provided the baseline I needed to break the vicious cycle that I was trapped in.
Issues such as poverty and social injustice have the ability to either throw a child headfirst into their education in order the better their lives or to send a child to follow the path that society has prepared for them because of their upbringing. Although teachers may not be able to transform the lives of the children in the class, they have the ability to encourage every child to be the best they can be and to build lives that they are happy to lead.

Revalue the Priorities

A few weeks ago, I was introduced this article regarding  school pupils being sent home because of their school uniform. Reading through, I was intrigued to see why young people were being prevented for learning by the very people who are in place to allow them to learn and support them on their journey! The further through the article I got, the more infuriated I become. I am a strong believer that school uniform is important not only to get pupils in the correct mental state to learn but to give them a feeling of belonging. However, I find the article to be extreme.

Pupils are being stripped of the opportunities to learn and to set themselves up for life. What goes through teachers minds to become so pernickety over the appearance of their school that they ignore the value of education? I understand that pupils can return to school once they have “appropriate” school uniform on but, what about the pupils who aren’t as fortunate as others? The ones who cannot afford to go and buy a whole new wardrobe for school because the items they or their parents have purchased aren’t acceptable. Many young people are still growing quite quickly at the beginning of secondary school, it cannot be helped. Items such as blazers can be expensive so what happens when a family doesn’t have the money to replace it mid-year. This seems to me to be yet another way of singling children out who don’t have the same privileges as other.

A school should be a place of stability, a place where everyone feels as though they are being judged for the items of clothing that they have. How can we expect children to find who they are as an individual when they are under so much pressure to the same as every one else. Young people are already put under so much pressure from the media to look and act a certain way but now they are being put under similar pressure from school. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly agree in the value in school uniform but only when it is in it’s correct place on the priority list! The people making these decisions are only in the position to be able to make them because they have already come through the system, the same system that they are preventing these children to make the most out of because they are being sent home for the way they dress. It doesn’t make sense.

 

Nothing is as valuable as encouragement

Last week we were faced with a task which had more to do with real life than first met the eye. Split into five groups, we were given envelopes with different resources in them and asked to make something with our items to give to a new student at university. The thing was, as the group number increased the resources that the group was given decreased. Not only amount of resources goes down, the amount of encouragement they received went down. The groups who had lots of resources also received lots of encouragement, likewise the groups without many items received no encouragement whatsoever.
This was very insightful for me. Not everyone comes from the same background and has the same privileges. Not every child in a class has the same things. From experience, I think it’s possible to do things with less resources than others however the encouragement is what can really make the difference.
As teachers, we need to be aware that not every child sitting in our classrooms will have had a stable start in life. They haven’t all had the comfortable upbringing. They have all walked different paths in their short lives. Each individual is on their own journey through life, just as we are. No two journeys or upbringings are exactly the same as everyone reacts differently to different situations. Although we may not be able to solve all these problems and ensure that every child has identical resources, we can ensure that every child receives the encouragement that they need to develop into a confident individual. Encouragement is an amazing thing that has the ability to change a child’s life. As extreme as that may sound, it is very true. When I was younger, the encouragement of one teacher totally transformed my life. It allowed me to develop confidence that I lacked.
As much as we cannot provide every child with material possessions, we can give every child our time and encouragement. That’s worth more than most people realise.

Racism Input

Discrimination is a concept that I’ve never really understood. I just don’t see the need for it to exist. Why does it matter which country you come from or what colour your skin is? Why should one life be worth more than another?

I find it very easy to see how easy it is for society to adopt a ethnocentric view. As I grew older, I began to realise that this was the view of my parents. Being an inquisitive person, I have always enjoyed questioning peoples views in order to try to understand where they come from and what they believe to be right. This did not come without its difficulties. As a young child I was taught that the colour of your skin mattered in how you should be treated but at around the age of 8 I questioned everything. I  didn’t see the point of treating someone as less of a person for things they could not help.

Although I found the input insightful and interesting, it didn’t change my opinions and thoughts on the topic.