When we first arrived in the seminar we were told to disperse ourselves among the tables so that we would be equally divided into 5 groups. The task to complete in our groups was to create an item which students like us would be able to use on welcome week to help guide us throughout our first few weeks at university. As we all began to discuss the ideas of what we could make, our lecturer had passed out envelopes to each table which inside contained different materials. These materials were what we would eventually use in order to create our product. Looking around I had no idea why we would be doing this task in particular.
While we opened our envelopes we found a wide range of materials inside such as paperclips, sticky notes, coloured paper and pens. However looking around the room I found that each group had different amounts of resources most particularly one group who had 1 piece of paper, blue tack and a pen. When observing oneanothers envelopes we found it extremely strange that we hadn’t been given equal materials. All I could think at the time was “what is going on?”
As each group separately began to explain their ideas in front of the class I noticed that the first two groups had been given so much praise for their ‘astonishing’ and ‘absolutely brilliant’ ideas. This put pressure on our group because we had fewer materials than them and our student help box was being held together by some paper clips. As we began to present our design we received no praise. Not a ‘Well done that’s great’ or even an ‘I like the idea’. Derek did not seem impressed with our design at all. The feedback got worse until it came to the last group and finally it clicked what was going on when Derek made it obvious he wasn’t listen in and stood on his phone through the entire presentation.
This was a lesson on teaching attitudes and resource allocations throughout schools and it is a valuable one.
By praising some groups for their efforts and leaving others to ask what they had done wrong it highlighted what is probably happening in schools RIGHT NOW. As a whole class we agreed that by changing our attitudes towards different children is can diminish their confidence in the class. It showed that those who come from wealthier, nurtured and sheltered communities are much more likely to receive the praise for their progression than others. Those who have the support of their families can sometimes progress faster than others, for some children this can make the difference in there future careers and ambitions. As teachers we have the ability to create a class atmosphere were children understand; everyone can help each other to improve, we aren’t good at everything and no one should ever be put down by their social background.
Moving on to resource allocation I find it extremely important to highlight that every school has better or worse resources than each other but it is how we use those resources to enhance the same level of learning that matters. Just because you go to a school in a deprived area doesn’t mean that you should be treated any differently in what you can accomplish academically. After completing our Resource Allocation seminar I found myself thinking about how when we as teachers take on a class we are working with children who have completely different cognitions.