Author Archives: Heather Devaney

IB Reflection 4- Similarities and differences between PYP and CfE

The CfE and PYP both have a child centered approach to the teaching and learning, where the children are very involved and active in their own education.

The PYP is structured to educate children globally, learning all about the world and cultures around them. It allows pupils to think for themselves and does not follow as strict a curriculum as the CfE.

Both the PYP and IB take on different approaches to the curriculum. The PYP takes on a more fluid approach to learning whereas the CfE has a firmer structure in place.

Both systems are effective in their own ways and have their own advantages and disadvantages on the pupils.

IB Reflection 3 – Understanding the history and philosophy

The progressive education trends by the 1960’s which align with CfE are: Critical analysis, student choice, range of skills testing, child-centred, open plan rooms, education of the whole child, criterion-referenced and transdisciplinary.

Children are encouraged to analyse their own work, as in CFE, and also make constructive criticism and comments on the work. Critical analysis is also part of the CFE area of literacy and English.

Both the IB and CFE have a child centered approach to the learning and teaching to ensure that the needs of every learner are being met. This helps to give children a rounded education, covering a wide range of skills and areas within the curriculum.

I believe that the progressive IB trends and the CfE do align in multiple ways, and overall help to encourage children to be well rounded and gain all the skills they need for their life.

IB Reflection 2 – Similarities and differences between IB and CFE

The similarities between the CfE capacities and the IB learner profile are vast, however, they also have varying approaches to their aims, but both produce the same results.

IB shares similarities with CfE as they both encourage students to be thoughtful individuals. It focuses on creating caring pupils, whereas CfE encourages children to be respectful of others and teaches how to care for other people’s feelings. The four capacities for learners that CfE create mirrors the values that IB strives to achieve.

There are not many differences between the CfE capacities and the IB learner profile. The main one being that in the IB learner profile they describe communicators as being a good listener which is an attribute of CfE. IB also encourages the ability to speak and understand more than one language. Languages are taught in the CfE curriculum, however, pupils are not pushed to be fluent in more than one language.

I experienced attributes of the IB curriculum within my own learning through research work and learning about cultures around the world. This encouraged the ‘thinker’ and ‘inquirer’ aspect of the IB learner profile.

Also when on placement, pupils were learning about the culture in Africa, and through doing this, I have experienced them being ‘knowledgeable’.

IB Reflection 1 – Aims of IB and CFE

In both the IB and CFE curriculums, children are at the heart of all teaching and learning. Both focus upon local, national and global learning to ensure a rounded education.

The IB curriculum has 10 main aims:

  1. Inquirers– curious and enthusiastic lifelong learners who ask powerful questions.
  2. Knowledgeable– exploring locally and globally.
  3. Thinkers– critical, creative and ethical decision makers.
  4. Communicators– good listeners, confident in more than one language.
  5. Principled– honest, fair and responsible.
  6. Open-minded– developing critical appreciation four our own cultures and others.
  7. Caring– committed to service within the community.
  8. Risk takers– courageous, resourceful and resilient.
  9. Balanced– focused on wellbeing of ourselves and others around us.
  10. Reflective– thoughtful, realistic and hopeful for the future.

IB focuses on the development of learners, not only throughout their school life, but beyond. It encourages children to expand on skills that can be applied throughout their life, relationships and creative thinking. This curriculum believes on teaching children how to learn and why they are learning, which is extremely similar to the success criteria and learning outcome aspect of the CFE.

CfE follows a similar set of principles:

1.  Successful Learners: having a high standard for their work as well as always wanting to achieve the best thinking whilst being enthusiastic and confident in what they are learning is important to becoming a successful learner.

2.  Responsible Citizens: This capacity is to include children being involved in their surroundings and areas which will effect their lives including social, political and cultural life.

3.  Effective Contributors: being resilient and reliable is important for learners to ensure they are trustworthy and proving that they are valuable to society.

4.  Confident Individuals: having a sense of purpose, respect and understanding how to be balanced and enthusiastic.

The CFE takes on a rather broad learning and teaching style within its curriculum, where as IB takes on a more focused and specific approach. The 4 aims of the CFE largely overlap with the aims of the IB in many ways. By communicating, inquiring and taking risks, children learn to become effective contributors by learning the same basic skills. Thinking and reflecting allows children to be successful learners and also responsible citizens as they gain the skills required to help them adapt to all areas of their life. Finally, gaining skills in all the IB areas help children to become confident individuals through expanding their knowledge and abilities.

Drama workshop

The drama workshop really helped to show me that it was okay to not be amazing at drama and performing as there are so many other elements that performing to an audience.

Drama is an extremely effective way for children to be able to express themselves and step away from their every day life. Through drama they can experience culture, literature and the world in a way that many will find more enjoyable than just opening up a textbook. Children can then begin to grasp the deeper meanings of these things as they explore them in new ways.

I really enjoyed the still image activity. By using simple body language, and eventually one comment, we were able to create a very moving scene. I hope to do this with my class if given the chance as I feel it is important to give them different ways of stepping into someone else’s shoes. Also, using this method, children could be able to express their own feelings of the day letting the teacher see roughly the general feeling in the class.

Dance workshop

Before arriving at the dance workshop, I dreaded the thought of having to perform in front of my peers. Every experience I had ever had to do with dance consisted of learning, rehearsing and then performing a dance. As I am not particularly confident with physical activities, I was really not looking forward to dancing. However, it became clear quickly that this fear wasn’t warranted as it was nothing like I had been expecting.

By partaking in the ‘traveling’ exercise, everyone quickly became more relaxed. As there were no routines involved and we only had to perform 4 different actions, no one felt as anxious or nervous as they initially did.

 

Health and well being – food and health

In our groups, we discussed the meaning of health and wellbeing and the effect it has on our life. We all agreed that this was not only physically important, but also mentally, socially and emotionally. By teaching this to children, we would highlight the importance of caring for every part of themselves, not just their physical appearance. By highlighting how to eat healthily, children would be given the ability to make better choices regarding what they eat and drink.

Before the session, we had been asked to watch John Cornochan’s video titled Sugar Rush. The amount of sugar in perceived ‘healthy foods’ that were discussed shocked me as things such as fruit cordial had a much higher sugar content than I ever imagined. Packaging can be very deceiving as companies often hide their sugar content by labeling it using it’s scientific name that many do not know. Bringing this to the children’s attention would allow them to see that by eating a healthy balance of food can have many benefits to them.

Maths workshop reflection

Straight away in the lecture, we were all given numbers from 1 to 8 which were used to decide who would answer for our table. This was to ease the maths anxiety in the room, and seemed to work to a degree. Those who were extremely daunted by maths quickly tried to swap their number with a peer which left them feeling even more anxious. On the other hand, this method allowed a more wide variety of people to voice their opinions. It also helped to keep us on task as we all knew someone would be chosen to voice the discussion in which our table just had.
Enthusiasm, motivation and passion are all vital when teaching every subject but especially maths. Having maths anxiety myself, this felt like a very challenging prospect, however, I am already beginning to see ways in which I don’t need to feel this way. If teachers display a negative light to maths, most pupils will then adopt the same behaviour toward the subject and become disinterested. the more engaging, fun and exciting maths is presented, the more likely it is that the children will engage and flourish in this area. Parental maths anxiety also plays a large part in the views children take towards maths. If they regularly tell their child “I wasn’t any good at maths at school”, then children will feel as though it is okay to not engage in the subject. Building a bond with parents to combat this is extremely important as it can have long lasting effects on the child.
Also mentioned was the idea that you either had a ‘numerical brain’ or a ‘creative brain’. We were told however, that this was a myth as everyone is born with the ability to learn. You might be more inclined and advanced in one of the two areas, but you still have the ability to do well in both – if maths anxiety is overcome.

Our Society- Racism, Homophobia and Sexism

Racism, homophobia and sexism are words associated with hate and unrest within our society, so why do they still play a large, horrifying role in so many peoples lifes? Being treated differently due to the colour of your skin, your sexuality or your gender are completely outdated forms of oppression within today’s society.

Tuesday’s lecture not only touched on these issues, but also islamophobia and patriarchy. It was an extremely enriching and thought-provoking input that made me think a lot more about different ways people are treated in our society and how we, as upcoming professionals, will have a direct impact on children regarding these stigmas.

Racism has taken place in many extreme examples throughout history. Within World War 2 and Hitler’s regime, to the workings of the Ku Klux Klan in the USA. Shockingly, however, It still plays part in elements of our society. This outdated and ludicrous idea that people with white skin are ‘superior’ to those of a different race are just that, outdated and ludicrous. So why is it still present today? According to the International Business Times, approximately one third of Scots from ethnic minorities have experienced racial discrimination. To combat this issue, the government provided £3m worth of funding to groups and organizations whose aim is to end racism. On the other hand however, the government has been shown to also contribute to societies views on racism. In 1964, the conservative MP, Peter Griffiths, was voted to power in the general election for Smethwick based solely on the back of his campaign slogan – “If you want a n****r for a neighbor, vote Labour!”. This is not as far back in history as many might think. In fact, many parents of todays teens would have been born in or around this time. Growing up with such hatred being deemed as socially acceptable, would be hard to simply shake off. This is one of the reasons as to why todays younger generations harbor racist views and feelings.

Historically, homosexual men were portrayed on TV to be very over-the-top and extremely feminine. Even with children today, comments such as “That’s so gay!” evidentially keep some of this stereotype going. Being able to reflect o the past, allows us to see where we went wrong, and what we need to do to fix our mistakes. Slowly, society is becoming a more accepting and loving environment, but we still have a long way to go. This is mainly due to movements such as the LGBTQ+ parades, celebrity support and change in laws. During the 60s and 70s, language that was then deemed as appropriate can result in someone spending time in jail or being charged. By criminalizing homophobia, it teaches everyone, especially children, that it is not acceptable in this day in age.

Even today, women are, in some respects, regarded as second-class citizens. Recently, amongst celebrities and businesses, the pay gap between men and women has been revealed with shocking results. According to the UK Governments website, there is still an 18% gap in pay. Yes, this me be the lowest it has ever been, but it is still completely unacceptable! The notion of women being inferior, or incapable of responsibility has delved from thousands and thousands of years ago. Stories such as those in Greek mythology, portrayed women as unable to handle power, usually giving them such resulted in disaster and carnage. This delivered the message that women were incapable of maintaining any sort of power, which led to women being treated as male’s property throughout history. Patriarchy is still present in society, just like racism and homophobia. In 1990, in her novel about Theorising Patriarchy, Walby wrote “… a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate, oppress and exploit women.”. Throughout the 1900s, newspapers contained articles directed at women all about how to keep their husbands happy and how best to clean the house. Fast forward over 100 years, and we still see similar things within the media. With women being referred to as ‘the wife of…’ and ‘childless’, society is in an endless cycle of patriarchy. It is only once we break down the ideas of racism, homophobia and sexism, can society really start to become a more accepting, inclusive and complete environment for everyone.

References:
• International Business Times. 2015. Racism in Scotland: One third of ethnic minority Scots have experienced discrimination. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/racism-scotland-one-third-ethnic-minority-scots-have-experienced-discrimination-1519662. [Accessed 30 September 2018].
• Giddens, A. & Sutton, P. (2013) Sociology (7th. Ed). Cambridge: Polity Press
• GOV.UK. 2016. UK Gender Pay Gap. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-gender-pay-gap. [Accessed 30 September 2018].