Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

 

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Disasters

  • “A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins”
    • (IRFC, 2019)
  • Disasters are split into two main categories; man – made and natural.
    • Man made disasters
      • “events that are caused by humans and occur in or close to human settlements.”
      • Examples are famine, industrial accidents, transport accidents, famine and other complex emergencies or conflicts.
        • (IRFC, 2019)
    • Natural disasters
      • “naturally  occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events”
      • Examples are split into four categories
        • Geophysical: earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic activity
        • Hydrological: avalanches and floods
        • Meteorological: cyclones, tornadoes, storm/wave surges, and other extreme weather
        • Biological: disease epidemics and insect/animal plagues
          •  (IRFC, 2019)
  • A countries capability to be able to deal with a disaster relies on three factors;
    •  Preparedness
    • Response
    • Recovery
  • This can be seen most clearly when comparing Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake in  March 2011 and Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
Japan Haiti
Preparation ·       Prepared for earthquake

·       People had hard hats and protective headgear

·       Not prepared for following tsunami

·       Around 2 million Haitians live on land that they don’t own (In Port-au-Prince 67% of the 2.4 million population live in ‘Informal Areas’)

·       Buildings can be put up anywhere without proper foundations or planning

·       Only 30% had access to sanitation

·       Only 54% had access to clean water

·       History of corruption and violence within the political history

·       Badly prepared

Impact (numbers) ·       2,000 people confirmed dead (10,000 more expected to be dead)

·       2,000 people injured

·       530,000 people displaced

·       2,500 evacuation centres to house those displaced

·       2,400 people were isolated immediately after disaster

·       1.2 million homes without power

·       1.4 million homes without water

·       4,700 destroyed houses (50,000 damaged)

·       582 roads cut off

·       32 bridges destroyed

·       3.5 million people living in the most damaged areas

·       Anywhere between 85,000 and 316,000 people dead (unconfirmed because of rapid body decomposition in the heat and humidity and overwhelmed morgues resulting in mass graves)

·       30,000 injured

·       1 million made homeless (10% of the population)

·       250,000 dwellings destroyed or significantly damaged

·       60% of government buildings destroyed

·       80% of schools in capital and 60% in South and West provinces damaged or destroyed

·       UN headquarters in Haiti destroyed

Response ·       Tsunami warning issued 3 minutes after the earthquake

·       Emergency cabinet meeting convened

·       News conference held

·       Military sent in to help

·       Task force and disaster control team set up

·       Asked for help with search and rescue

·       Used social media to bring updates on the situation

·       Makeshift camps set up causing outbreaks of disease because of poor sanitation and proximity to decomposing bodies

·       Poor response from government

·       Problems with management of airports

·       4-day delay of supplies to remote areas resulting in looting and violence

·       Haitian government called off search on 23rd January (last survivor found on 8th February)

·       Lots of international response

·       No long-term strategy so problems still continue over 9 years since earthquake

This shows how much a country’s readiness and response to a disaster can really affect the recovery of the country. Although Japan’s earthquake should of had more of an impact on the country, because of the greater magnitude, it is Haiti that is still suffering because Japan had the education, money and resources to prepare themselves for the earthquake but Haiti had none of this.

This topic has really made me reflect on how the UK would cope in a situation like this and how much countries such as Haiti really need our support and help even now. This is a topic I would look into with older classes to help them understand how the impact of such disasters differ from country to country. With younger classes I would approach this subject and make them aware that disasters do cause injury, death and destruction but would mainly keep to how these events happen or form; just like what was presented in the micro teaching done by the cohort.

The main skill I used was critical thinking skills when looking at the case studies on Japan and Haiti and being able to form an opinion on the situation and to be able to able to compare them. I used a variety of skills when it came to preparing and presenting the micro teaching such as; research skills, communication skills, critical thinking, decision making and communication skills.

The Dr Bionic videos is a resource I would use for younger classes when doing this topic:

(These can also be accessed as seperate videos)

Red cross resources link

 

References

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2019) About disasters [Online] Available: https://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/about-disasters/ [Accessed: 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Haiti  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Japan  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Interdependence

Over the last two weeks we have been looking at interdependence. Interdependence in its simplest form is the way in which two or more people or things depend on each other. Interdependence is split into three areas; economic, social and environmental. Economic interdependence is related to the global stock market and trading, and how we, as a country, are impacted by the value of other currencies, products and jobs in other countries. Social interdependence, because of technology and social media, is increasing. With most of the major media outlets being in the USA or Europe, American and European cultures and values are being spread throughout the world and impact on other cultures. It also means that the wants of those around the world are becoming increasingly similar and are allowing the economy to grow and feed on itself (Higgins, 2013). Environmental interdependence is something increasingly in the front of people’s minds with climate change invoking protests and political action. The biggest thing, in my opinion, that we need to be aware of is that pollution  is not confined to one country or one area it is a worldwide issue. We also have to be aware that habitats and animals that are endangered in one place have an effect on the world as a whole. We can see the impact of all three of these areas if we look at them in terms of the farms we visited and the sustainable fishing infographic we created.

We visited two dairy farms; an organic farm and an intensive farm. Economically the intensive farm had a bigger impact as they sold to supermarkets, however, the organic farm may also have an impact as they sell their milk for a greater price but sell to a smaller consumer base. This also links to the social aspect of interdependence as more people are looking to eat organic food and drinks, and are against intensive farming. This is something that couple be seen within my peer group when we were at the farm as many people comment that they did not like how the cows and calves were being kept and were shocked when told that the cows were milked up to five times a day. The other thing impacting farming in general, from the social side, is the approximate 542,000 vegan that live in Great Britain (The Vegan Society, 2016 cited in BBC, 2018). This is decreasing the sales of milk and other dairy products which has an impact economically as well as socially. Dairy farming does have a huge environmental impact. According to WWF (2019) “Dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. Poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources.” Unsustainable farming, including the production of feed, can also impact the environment through the loss of habitats, such as prairies, wetlands and forests.

The organic farm:

  

 

The intensive farm:

 

Sustainable fishing also impacts these three areas of interdependence. As a group we researched these three areas and made an infographic.

When we went to the farms I was rather apprehensive as I did not know what to expect and what condition the cows would be kept in. I loved the way the organic farm was run and how they kept the cows and treated them. However, I, along with a number of my peers, had a couple issues with how the intensive farm was run. We found that the cows were hardly ever outside a difficult concept to grasp and that they were milked up to five times a day compared to the organic farms one. This experience though made me more aware of the importance of educating children about where there food comes from. Children need to be able to make informed decisions about what food they want to eat, where that foods comes from and how it is made.

When reviewing my visits to the farm I developed my critical thinking skills and worked on becoming more ethically-minded as I had to really but into perspective of how I want the farms to be run and how that impacts my choices and decisions, and how it impacts the choices and decisions of others. For example, I would love to be able to support organic farming but, as a full time student with a limited income, I can not afford to buy exclusively organic products. I also came to the opinion from these visits, from research and other experiences in the past, that if someone is becoming vegan or vegetarian to protect animals from cruelty, they should consider trying to support the farms that do rear animals the way they like instead of cutting off everything but I’m also aware that, for the same reasons as I have, that this is not possible for everyone.   Through this I also believe I worked on “critically examining [my] personal and professional attitudes and beliefs and challenging assumptions and professional practice” which is one of the professional values under the GTCS Standards for Registration.

Resources

https://www.rhet.org.uk/teachers/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cjyykdwmw58t/uk-climate-change-protests

http://www.gtcs.org.uk/web/FILES/the-standards/standards-for-registration-1212.pdf

https://fishandkids.msc.org/en/teachers/teachers-pack-1


References

Higgins, K (2013) Economic Growth and Sustainability – are they mutually exclusive? [Online] Available: https://www.elsevier.com/connect/economic-growth-and-sustainability-are-they-mutually-exclusive [Accessed: 20 October 2019]

Jones, L (2018) Veganism: Why is it on the up? [ Online] Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-4448805/  [Accessed: 21 October 2019]

WWF (2019) Sustainable Agriculture: Dairy [Online] Available: https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/dairy [Accessed: 21 October 2019]

Communication in Other Environments

Group and leadership

There wasn’t just one leader, we split into rough pairs and took different parts of the shelter each. Everybody contributed to a part of the den. When someone came up with an idea it was discussed with other members of the group and, if it was decided it was an idea we would use, that person would take control of doing that section and making it work. For the most part this worked well for our group. However, at times people were overshadowed by other peoples ideas or were not heard because of all of us talking at once. At these times, someone would step up and say something letting everyone get their ideas and thoughts heard. I think, looking back on the day, the hardest part was communicating exactly what everyone was doing. As there wasn’t an overall leader it was sometimes difficult to understand what everyone was trying to achieve and who was trying to achieve the other challenges we were given. Overall, I think we functioned very well as a team.

Explaining

The group that was explaining their den were slightly unclear with their explanation of how they built it but clearly put across their overall concept of their den. They explained what their initial idea of their den was and then went onto add some imaginary aspects (underground levels). Their explanation of their den was clear because they were able to “simplify [their] complex idea” Hargie, O. (2011)¹ and put across clearly and concisely what they had been thinking and discussing. However, their explanation of how they built it was unclear. This was mainly due to us running out of time there for it was rushed and not completed. Overall, this means that the planning of both groups was not very good because we allowed time to run away from us, but the presentation was good and all other steps that were needed to explain their ideas to us were done.

Environment

The physical environment didn’t impact  that much on our communication, but I could see that if we had different weather (i.e strong winds, rain or snow) then our communication could have been hindered. The main changes I noticed in the way I communicated in an outdoor environment instead of in the classroom was the way I tended to demonstrate things more rather than just explaining how I was going to do it. I also noticed that I tended to speak quieter and made more eye contact. I think the reason I spoke quieter was that I was more aware of the fact that I was only speaking to a small group rather than a whole class. It was not that difficult to communicate above any natural sounds because it was a rather quiet spot. However, if there was more people around, more wildlife or more sounds from the wind or rain then there might have been some difficult in communicating. To ease any difficulty the speaker and the listener would have to maintain good eye contact, make sure they were standing fairly close to each other and make sure they are able to hear each other as they talk. The environment didn’t distract me that much but I can see how it would distract other people as it is a very beautiful location. Primary children, in particular, could become very distracted in an environment like this. In order to avoid distraction I would allow time at the start of the session to allow them to explore and then get them to settle down for the task we were out their for.

Negotiation

The negotiation we were tasked with was to get someone to come and help us for five minutes, for free. This did not work very well. We were able to get someone to help for a short amount of time (less than one minute) but were not able to get anyone to help for a longer period of time. This was because of the fact that we were not offering anything in return, it was also partly due to the fact that the people that we asked we joking around and did not want us to complete our task. It was very difficult to try and negotiate with someone for their time when you were not offering anything in return. Most people will not do a task for nothing. I think this is something you have to keep in mind when working with anyone, especially children. You have to be willing to have a give and take relationship and be able to negotiate with children. There will be times when you have to be firm and not be able to negotiate but there will be times when you have to be able to have an open discussion and negotiation with children.

 

The communication, explanation and negotiation skills I have learned through this are ones that are essential in classrooms, indoors and outdoors. Without these skills classrooms would not be successful environments and it would be harder to function in classrooms where these skills are not being implemented by teachers and students alike.

 


1 – Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication. 5th Edition. London:        Routlege