Walking into the Values workshop hosted by Derek, I didn’t know what to expect. When Derek announced that we were going to make ‘Student Starter Packs’, initially I was a bit confused as to what relevance this would have in relation to the values module.
We were split into five groups and each group was given an envelope of resources we could use to make our student starter packs. I was in Group 1, and we found our pack was full of materials (such as coloured pens, paper, pencils and other stationary items) which would allow us to construct our pack easily with lots of choice.
My group could easily put together our starter pack, reflecting on the difficulties we have had a new students (for example, finding our way around the Dalhousie Building proved to be a difficulty that many of us faced, and admittedly still 5 weeks in) and we constructed information on: A map of Dalhousie, a personalised timetable, a guide to DUSA, simple recipies and general tips and information.
As my group got stuck in to making our started pack, overwhelmed by our extensive choice of resources, we were constantly encouraged praised by Derek, as he commented on our team work, effort and good ideas when we were presenting our starter pack to the other groups. Group 2 then presented their creation, which again was showered with encouragement by Derek, and too had an extensive range of stationary to use.
I was so absorbed on my groups task and working with the people in my team, it only became apparent when the rest of the groups started presenting that they had much less resources than my group and Group 2, as they highlighted when presenting that it was a lot harder to complete the task. Some of the groups had as little as three items to work with, and although had made a good effort, they were not given the same praise or encouragement my group had received and Derek took very little interest in what they had to offer.
After all groups had presented ( and some groups feeling much more accomplished than others), it became clear that Derek was demonstrating to us first hand the inequalities in society that can come up when we enter the teaching profession.
I found this workshop extremely worthwhile, and it is one that I will remember for a long time. I felt this workshop was very important in emphasising that as going into the teaching profession, the children (and even staff and colluegues) will all come from different backgrounds, and require different needs. It showed me that teachers have to adapt to every childs learning style and pace, and offer extra support to those that need it. We need to ensure as teachers, that each child is included, treated equally and their is a strong level of equity is practiced to tailor every childs needs.
After the workshop, I fully understood the relevance to the values module, and really enjoyed the workshop and took away an important lesson on equality and equity to tackle the inequalities in our society, and will not question Derek on his workshops again.