As we are all aware, we only have a finite amount of natural resources, and as such we are running out of them faster than we can produce them. Although this is a fact that is well known, as teachers we need to get this across to children and reinforce that we as humans have a responsibility to do something about it. This links to another theme that we explored, climate change. When we burn Fossil fuels, they generate high quantities of carbon dioxide, this can lead to a change in the climate as carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere.
Our first impute for todays theame was a very different approach from the rest. In today’s workshop we had a debate on whether renewable energy such as windmills were harmful to the environment or not. Todays class was very student led, we were given a guideline on what to research and were provided with articles on Moodle. I found this approach effective in terms of being more involving and retaining more information as I was actively looking for it myself. I feel I can implement this in teaching as children learn better when they are interested and involved with the lesson. By making lessons more child led and there being little input of the teacher gives children a sense of responsibility and in-dependency. After researching, the class was divided into two and each side chose whether they were for or against windmills. We choose for. As someone who doesn’t really talk much in class, I targeted my focus on the research aspect of the debate and wrote down many strong points that I felt argued our case well. Having my friends in my group made all the difference, as one of them volunteered me to speak in the debate. If this was two years ago I wold have strongly rejected the offer, however this course has constantly pushed my level of comfort by putting me in scenarios that make me uncomfortable and stressed. However, I have tried to mend my thinking by telling myself the more practice I get at speaking out loud, the better it will make me as a person and more importantly as a teacher. So, I said yes. Thinking about this from a teacher’s perspective I understand the strength of friends and having them in the same group, as they can encourage children that may not be comfortable in these situations and give them the confidence they lack. However, I also understand the advantages of mixing children up, it encourages them to bond over a common aim, and get along with people that they may not get on with and listen to their opinions. Participating in this debate developed a lot of my skills, research skills, collaborative skills, and my speaking skills, all skills that are highlighted in the General Teaching Standards. Curriculum for Excellence wants us as teachers to create confident individuals, and by incorporating small activities like these tests their abilities and encourages them to step outside their comfort zone in a safe and familiar environment. (Curriculum for Excellence 2016)
Our last input of energy was again a much different approach. As a class we were divided into two sections. My section was given a sheet with instructions that showed how to make a car out of very basic materials such as card, wooden sticks and cardboard. The instructions only showed how to make the car, however, our job was to make the car move without touching it, we were given additional materials such as rubber bands, balloons and paper clips. I enjoyed this activity, mainly because it was straightforward and clear on what we had to do. The instruction was concise and there were small pictures on the side as a reference, which proved very helpful at times when we were unsure. The element of a visual aid in a classroom id very effective as it provides children with a rough outline and guide. The second part of the activity was where we were able to use our initiative and creativity. We were able to successfully get the car to move using rubber bands and paper clips. After, both groups were accumulated together, and we discussed to one another our process. Instantly I could see the difference just by looking at their cars, everyone’s car in the other group was differnet, were as in my group we all the same structure, and people and gained on this by adding small decorations. I later learned that both groups were given the same task, make the car move with out touching it. However, where my groups had instructions on how to build the car, the second group were given none and were just given a random assortment of materials and told to build their own. This process of freedom and ability to use intuition and creativity is known as “Tinkering”.
After critically analysing both methods of practice I learned the benefits to both processes in a classroom. Since my group were given instructions, and set resources, it allowed us to be calmer and more relaxed as everyone knew what they were doing. There was also no pressure to create your own car. However, this may also cause concerns in a classroom, and some children may find it frustrating following instructions and may find the concept of instructions limiting as they cannot explore much. The solution for this would be to work with a pencil for so that no mistakes would be made before going on to something more concreate like a pen. Another reason why this method is effective in a classroom is because everyone is making the same product, no on has drastically different outcomes and this therefore eliminates the factor of competition. Assessment and experiences and outcomes are easier to manage as everyone has had the same experience of building a car. Through the guidelines of the CfE as future teacher I can monitor the skills that children are developing in using tools, equipment and materials.
The tinkering approach allows a sense of freedom but still in forcing rough guidelines. This method invites a divergent process in which there is no set plan and ideas that are constantly changing and developing. It encourages innovation, which develops skills such as curiosity, problem solving and the ability to take initiative. In a classroom I feel this approach may be well reflected