After my first values module lecture, I left inspired, calm and collected. After my first values module workshop, I left panicked, confused and hysterical. Then I laughed, cried, then laughed again and wondered why I did not realise what was really happening during this workshop.
I entered the classroom to find we were being split into four smaller groups, and we were soon joined by Derek. He went on to explain that each group would be given an envelope containing a variety of materials and we were to create a resource that would be useful for a new student studying at the University of Dundee. One person from the group would then pitch our idea, once just to explain our idea, then once more after we had used the materials to actually create it. As if we needed more tension, Derek then revealed that each group would be marked out of 10, everyone casually sitting more upright and poised, ready to begin.
Each group was then given their envelope, labeled 1-4, I was in group 3, still i took no notice and began the task, we didn’t have much materials, just some paper, post it notes, paper clips etc, but we worked with what we had. As Derek began listening to our conversations, he let us all know that groups 1 and 2 had very good ideas, so I found myself trying to eavesdrop and almost climbing across the table to see how their idea could be so amazing, yet we seemed to have similar ideas. We decided to create a survival guide, that would include a map, some tips, vouchers, a timetable…lots of useful things for a student. As a member from our group began to explain our idea, Derek barely gave us a second glance, and seemed bored stiff with the idea, but again praised groups 1 and 2.
So we then began to create our guide whilst Derek continued to huff and puff as he passed our table, so much so I was beginning to think we had done something to create this reaction from him, surely a survival guide wasn’t that bad of an idea??? The competition was heating up. We made two guides: one for a student living at home, and one for a student staying on campus. Without tooting my own horn (toot toot) I thought we did a really good job, and to add that extra layer of icing to the cake we even added some twitter hashtags to try and #impress Derek since our idea was so horrifying to him.
As Alan began presenting our now completed and pretty darn good guides, Derek’s eyes were still rolling to the back of his head. Now i knew for a fact he didn’t like us, he despised us. Then he even had the audacity to ask if we had taken our ideas from group 1!!!! As if. They had created a bag that also included a map and timetable, and it was only at this point I realised they had a lot more resources than us, group 4 only had a pencil, some paper clips and a post it! The scores went like this:
Oh and as for my group our wonderful, creative and absolutely amazing guide, got a 4. Out of 10. Yes a 4. I was livid. All our hard work seemed pointless as Derek STILL gave us the cold shoulder, so I thought it was time he got a taste of his own medicine, I slumped in my seat, barely glancing up at him as he asked what we thought of the workshop, only shrugging my shoulders to tell him I was listening. Barely.
Then here’s the twist, it was all a wind up. Yeah yeah jokes on us ha ha ha. Well once he told us I suppose I wasn’t quite so angry, more confused and astonished, that Derek was a lecturer, he should have been on Corrie!!
But jokes aside this workshop did open my eyes to many key points; that the way a teacher reacts towards a pupil’s performance can seriously affect their learning, after it became clear Derek was not impressed, I felt deflated and did not see the point in continuing. This workshop was very valuable and I am glad that I was in group 3, as I was able to experience first hand inequality in the classroom. It also highlighted the point of inclusion, that despite how a pupil performs, they should not be treated differently based on this. As every child has different levels of progression, this should be used to the teachers advantage to allow the pupil to learn and grow to their highest potential. We as teachers should provide education that is flexible enough to benefit each pupil. The workshop also allowed me to think of inequality and how this can affect learning, as groups 1 and 2 recieved the most materials and recieved the most rewards, however groups 3 and 4 recieved little and were given little praise. Not every child will come from the same background, each child will have different levels of support, whether that be at home or anywhere else, some children will have more than others but as teachers it is important we do not view things this way. Equality is essential in class to ensure each child is treated fairly with the respect they deserve. This workshop was completely mind boggling, but it allowed me to realise the impact teachers can have on a child’s life inside and outside the classroom, from the way they learn to their views on society.