Category Archives: 1.3 Trust & Respect

Day 1 at Somerset

Okay. So. Somerset is AMAZING!

Arriving at the school this morning was incredible. The campus is so big there are separate gates for pre-prep, junior and high school. I am still overwhelmed at the size of this school and the amount of staff they have for everything. They even have a snake catcher!

The beginning of my day was spent getting photos taken, completing inductions and collecting my “blue card” which permits me to work with children in Australia. I was also shown around the school a bit more getting a glimpse of their library, staff rooms and all of the fire evacuation points. Fire procedures etc are similar to those in Scotland, but it was so interesting to hear abut their “lock down” procedure they have in place “just in case”. When this happens the song “the man from snowy river” plays over the loudspeakers, which prompts all doors to be locked and the children to hide away out of sight.

The classroom routine is also noticeable different. Between the beginning of school and recess, children stop to have a “brain snack”. It was so lovely to see a study break being encouraged and the children learning about the importance of relaxing their mind. It was also a shock to see how much the sun influences the day. All classrooms have approved sun tan lotion for children to apply, and “no hat no play” is enforced school-wide to provide extra protection to the children’s heads and necks. Additionally, the majority of the school is actually underneath shade to ensure the safety of the children.

I particularly loved the work ethics in the classroom. In the afternoon the children were working on their “rainforest cafe” as part of their assessment for the end of their first line of inquiry. The children all went off to more “comfortable” working areas. I was astonished at how to motivate the children were not only to get a substantial amount of work done but also to do so at a high standard. All without prompting from the teacher! No one was off task, no one was chatting off topic – it was incredible!

At the end of the day, we went along to the week 8 assembly. I definitely had not anticipated how formal this would be. The school head, as well as the head of the junior school, were sat on the stage as well as a selected few pupils who ran the assembly. I was even asked to stand up and wished a happy birthday in front of the whole school (which was a very nice touch!) Then, they only went and announced the national anthem. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole as I didn’t have a clue what the words were. I definitely have some homework to do!

Now for day 2! I am so excited to see more inquiry in action, specialist teachers and lots of sports!

Placement Jitters

Current mode: panic!

No, not really. However, I am feeling very nervous about placement which begins TOMORROW. I say placement but is, in fact, a “prac”. I arrived in Australia Friday just passed and about to undertake a placement in Somerset College, an International Baccalaureate world school in Queensland!

As well as all of the nerves I felt before my last placement, I’ve accumulated about ten zillion more. Well. Ish. This is a totally different curriculum to Scotland and I am so incredibly excited to learn more about it.  An (unexpected) tour around the school when I was

An (unexpected) tour around the school when I was fresh off the plane has really given me a feel for the place. It is nothing like any of the schools I’ve been in before. It has an Olympic-sized swimming pool (which actual Olympic teams come over to train in!), a massive gym complex, sports fields, running tracks, multiple buildings, hugely facilitated classrooms all on a campus about four times the size of the campus at Dundee Uni! A short introduction to my class and a quick chat with the teacher has given me a little insight into the class dynamics. Lots of excitable little faces that I can’t wait to teach and learn from!

Australia as a place is EXTREMELY HOT. I am boiling, but it is way better than chilly Scotland. I
am very intrigued to learn about how the sun affects the daily routines of the school. I am so excited to learn more about Somerset and Australia, which just happens to have the cutest koalas EVER.

 

 

Common Purpose Study Abroad Opportunity – Malaysia!

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-19-50-37Recently I’ve just returned home from a fantastic opportunity offered by the university to visit Kuala Lumpur on a leadership programme offered by Common Purpose. I’m still a little stunned, as I didn’t even think I’d be selected to go, however, I did and I had such an amazing time.

The programme involved exploring what a smart city is, leadership, exploring cultural leadership and undertaking the “challenge”.

When we first arrived in Malaysia we had time to explore the city. It was absolutely amazing and a bit of a culture shock compared to Scotland! We delved right in experiencing everything from the public transport to the food, navigating ourselves around the city (and getting lost in taxis!) We were introduced to our peers we’d be working with from both Heriot Watt Edinburgh and Heriot Watt Malaysia and got our bearings. We were introduced to all of the tourist spots including the KL tower, Twin Towers, and Batu caves!

Statue and stairs leading to Batu Caves

Statue and stairs leading to Batu Caves

The first thing we explored within the programme was “cultural intelligence” (CQ). We found it was an essential element to understanding the world and people around us. The programme taught us that this involved the cross between different cultures, but also different generations and even organisations. Personally, I felt this was how well we understand and respect others from different backgrounds.

We also took part in a number of group work activities. We were

Our winning tower!

Our winning tower!

grouped in a mixed group from Dundee and the two Heriot Watt campuses so we had a lot of diversity in our little team. We done little group work activities such as building the tallest tower (which we won!) as well are more thought-provoking activities. The one which got me the most was a group activity with cards. Each member of our team was given around 6 cards with very controversial statements regarding things such as religious clothing and if it should be worn at work, euthanasia and global warming. These were to be grouped into agree, disagree and can’t decide. after everyone had placed them down, we had the opportunity to read them all and turn over any we felt had screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-19-55-23been placed in the wrong area. These cards were then discussed and provoked some very interesting discussions. It was so interesting to hear other points of views on subjects that are not normally spoken about. This also provoked discussions on the difference between Scotland and Malaysia in regards to LGBT rights, legal systems, religion, and climate. These were very interesting to hear. I don’t think I was quite aware of the significant differences.

The programme was mainly aimed at the “challenge”. On two days there were opportunities to visit one of four businesses, so there was someone from your team represented at each. I visited ThinkCity and Women’s Aid.

Our group after visiting ThinkCity!

Our group after visiting ThinkCity!

ThinkCity is an organisation that uses small government grants to support communities to improve them. They ensure they involve the community and make sure what they are doing is really what the community needs. We heard some lovely stories of their past projects and it was great to hear how much of an impact they have on the local people.

Women’s Aid is an organisation that provides short term aid to Women who are victims of domestic abuse. Women are not particularly represented well and there is still a strong male dominance within the political system. This organisation comprising of social workers and volunteers work extremely hard, even more so considering there are two separate legal systems, one for everyone and one for muslims to follow.

After everyone had visited their organisations, we came together with our local mentor to come up with an idea. We felt that there were significant issues regarding the representation of the disabled and elderly. The first day I was in the city I was shocked at the fact the buses were so high up and didn’t even come over to the pavements as well as the lack of lifts or accessible footpaths. We later found out that due to this people who would benefit from these facilities cannot venture out without help. We decided that the disabled and elderly would be the focus of our idea, and we would implement these features into the community. After speaking to our mentor we also included the facilities at local community centres, to give these people an opportunity to leave

Our poster to go alongside our elevator pitch video and presentation!

Our poster to go alongside our elevator pitch video and presentation!

the house on outings and to join social groups. On the final day, we produced an action plan and presented our idea to s senior/expert panel. We were supported before doing so in a pitching workshop where we worked on the skills necessary to do so successfully. They were touched that we’d recognised the need for support for these people, as is not the first thing people consider when they think about “smart cities”

This opportunity was incredible and one I never even knew existed until I happened to open the email sitting in the library only a few weeks back. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me and the experiences I gained along the way. Malaysia is incredible and I hope to visit again soon!

The Heriot Watt Malaysia campus was incredible!

Heriot-Watt Malaysia Campus was incredible!

 

Scientific “literacy” ……

So what actually does, “scientific literacy”, mean?

Being literate is ‘the ability to read and write’ (Oxford University Press, 2016). Being able to read and write helps us understand daily processes we wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Without being able to read and write, we wouldn’t understand travel timetables, signs, how to tell the time, how to shop or even be able to sustain a job! To me, this would suggest that the idea of Scientific Literacy means simply to be able to understand the ideas behind science and how to use these ideas to conduct experiments, alike how we use reading and writing to understand variables of the outside world.

Not only does Scientific Literacy mean having an understanding of science, bscienceut also being able to form questions and conclusions from the evidence found through experiments (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003). Over all, Scientific Literacy means that children understand the words used in science, the process of experiments, why the experiments are being carried out, can come up with their thoughts about the outcomes, and also why it is important that they know this for everyday life. This directly links to some key principles in the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, 2016). Teachers must ensure that when they are teaching science their pupils are not simply just learning the terms like they may learn a times-table. In order to be Science Literate, the children must understand the depth of what they are learning.

A lack of scientific literacy could mean the development of false scientific conclusions. One of the main examples of this was the MMR vaccine scare. In 1998 an investigation into the three in one vaccine for measles was conducted by, the now discredited, Andrew Wakefield. He came to the conclusion that that vaccine could actually increase a child’s chance of developing autism. This research was released and caused fear in parents who then became hesitant to allow their children to receive the vaccine. It wasn’t until 2004 that an investigation intommr Wakefield’s research took place and it was found to be flawed. The medical records of the children he investigated did not match his research and the paper he published was taken  down.

This is a clear example of how important science literacy is. This spread of false information caused the vaccine rates to drop dramatically and a significant increases in measles, causing many children to suffer unnecessarily. New research found that there was no connection between and vaccine and autism and there are no side effects to the vaccine. However, some parents are still wary of the vaccine and refuse to allow their children to receive it.

The process of fair testing is ensuring there are no deliberate advantages or disadvantages to any variables in an experiment (or, to any pupils in a school!). This ensures that the information gathered is reliable. To guarantee reliability any obvious advantages to any factors are controlled.

An example of this is how high a ball bounces (Prain, 2007). The height of the bounce the ball executes is measured, however the following things are considered:Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 20.29.04

  • “Will the type of ball affect its bounce?”
  • “Will the surface on which it bounces affect the bounce?”
  • “Will the height from which you drop the ball affect its bounce?” (Prain, 2007)

These three variables are changed and the experiment is carried out more than once. This, therefore, ensures the test is “fair” which all tests should be, and especially in schools. By taking into account all these factors and questioning how they will affect the experiment a person is, therefore, “science literate” as they are understanding the questioning and issues with the experiment.

This TDT was written by – 

AC1 – Rachel Allan – Explanation of the concept of scientific literacy.

AC2 – Catriona Mcphaden –  Analysis of an example where a lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reporting.

AC3 –  Myself – Discussion of how teaching fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy.

AC4 – Amy Lorimer – A carefully researched and referenced paper on scientific literacy.

References

  • Education Scotland, (2016). Principles – How is the curriculum organised? – Learning and teaching. [online] Educationscotland.gov.uk. Available at: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/thecurriculum/howisthecurriculumorganised/principles/index.asp [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].
  • NHS Choices, Ruling on doctor in MMR scare, 2010. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01January/Pages/MMR-vaccine-autism-scare-doctor.aspx
  • OECD, (2003). The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD
  • Oxford University Press, (2016). literate – definition of literate in English from the Oxford dictionary. [online] Oxforddictionaries.com. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/literate [Accessed 28 Jan. 2016].
  • Prain, V. (2007) How to interpret multi-modal science texts. Available at: http://www.education.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/5303/linking_science_literacy_strat.pdf (Accessed: 27 January 2016).
  • The story behind the MMR scare, Rory Greenslade, 2013. Available at:http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/25/mmr-scare-analysis
  • Utmb Health, Wakefield Autism Scandal, David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, 2012. Available athttp://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/237_wakefieldAutism.html

Opening Our Arms

 

The plane which landed around 15:40 GMT at Glasgow airport.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34839477

The plane which landed around 15:40 GMT at Glasgow airport.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34839477

As the first plane of Syrian refugee’s touches down in The United Kingdom today, I feel it is important to reflect on how positive it is that our country has opened its arms to these people in their time of need. Britain has agreed to take in around 20,000 refugees over the next five years, which I feel is fantastic. It is amazing when countries step in to help at times like this, and even more amazing that this time it is us.

As most of the refugees coming over are families and are due to resettle in various local authorities across Scotland, I feel it is appropriate to reflect on what this means for us as teachers. These refugees will be in need of specialist medical care and specialist support to help them through any issues derived from the violence and torture they have experienced. There are already places within schools set aside for them.

A lot of these children would have been forced to quit school if they were even lucky enough to be there in the first place. We will have to be aware as teachers, that these pupils are likely to be learning English as their second language. This will face us with certain challenges. We will have the additional factor that their understanding on the English language may not be as developed as the rest of their classmates, as well as the fact that they will be at a disadvantage socially due to the language barriers.

self-esteem-and-mathThese children will also have experienced loss all around of them, and lost connection with a lot of their friends and family. This will have had a very negative effect on their self-esteem and confidence. As teachers, we have the responsibility to recognise this and put into effect support strategies to support these children in this difficult time.

A way in which we can do this is “buddy” systems. This will help them get to know their peers, and ensure they are not lonely at times such as breaks and lunch. Children may feel secluded as their parents may not want to bring them along to after school activities when it is dark – so it is essential they are given a good opportunity to socialise during these breaks within the school day.

In countries such as Syria, schools are often targeted by terrorist activity. We need to make sure these children coming into our UK schools know that they are now in a safe environment.

It’s heart-breaking to think about what they’ve been through, but there is the chance that their past experiences may have an effect on their behaviour. Children may be distant, and refuse or even become frightened around strangers, so a close eye will have to be on them in the early days to ensure they are settling in and coming well. Struggles may also be apparent when they are placed within large groups, they may need one-to-one support before they can build up the confidence to take part in whole class activities.

ok_to_move_forwardWe should never ask children to re-live these traumatic experiences, ever. No matter whether it is a written exercise, homework exercise, or ANYTHING. We should also make sure they are never questioned by any other staff or child as to why they are here. They deserve to be in school getting educated as much as everyone else.

Most importantly of all, we need to provide a school experience for these children that is positive and welcoming. These children have a lot to offer and have been through so, so much to get here.

What is personality?

In today’s input by Patricia, I found the aspect of personality very intriguing.

Personality, as quoted in Bee and Boyd (2012, p 218) is “The individual’s enduring patterns of responses to and interaction with others and the environment.” 

Personality is a very difficult area to study, as everyone is different.

There are five different dimensions of personality traits:

  • Extraversion (opposite to introversion)
  • Agreeableness (warm/compassionate or cold/distant)
  • Openness (Ability to imagine, be insightful and question things)
  • Conscientiousness (our impulse control)
  • Neuroticism (stability/instability of emotions)

An ambivert is someone who is both an introvert and an extrovert. One test of this was by Grant. He assumed that sales persons would be better if hey were extroverts. However, he found that it was actually the ambiverts that were, as extroverts can be too loud, overconfident and come across as cocky.The ambiverts were better as whilst they were confident in themselves and their role, they were also able to be quiet and listen to the needs of customers.Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 14.17.58

I took an online test to figure out whether I am an introvert, extrovert or an ambivert.

The result (pictured right) is that I am not either introvert or extrovert, I am in fact an ambivert; in-between the two. I totally agree with this, as I am an outgoing person, but at the same time I do like to have some “me-time!”

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.’  – Carl G Jung

This is easy to agree with. Someone who lacks in social skills will not be able to function properly in society. Likewise, someone who is overconfident and overly-clingy will have the opposite problem. I would however not use the term “lunatic asylum”.

The five big personality traits:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 18.51.11

 

 

 

 

If I was to rate myself on these I would say:

  • Extraversion – 6
  • Agreeableness – 9
  • Openness/intellect – 8
  • Conscientiousness –7.5
  • Neuroticism – 7

Since I was a child, I do not feel my personality has changed much. I am still the same outgoing bubbly independent person, who still likes to have time to myself. What I would say is I’ve become more confident in myself and really began to understand my own personality more over the past few years.

However, is personality predetermined by nature?

NatureNurtureThere are some genetically determined characteristics that we are born with, and differences in personality are termed physiological. There have been some tests with identical twins, which has found they have the same personality traits. This is also the case with normal siblings – even though most of us assume we are completely different to our siblings. There is a dip in the personality expression in terms of physiological processes. Everyone has a stable temperament and disposition from childhood right through to when they become an adult, and the environment plays a part in influencing or modifying how our temperament changes.

What about the other side of the argument, nurture?nurture

Yes, how we are brought up plays a big role in the way we learn how to act. Often our traits are
gained through observations and are termed “learned behaviours”. I believe nurture plays a large role in developing our personalities. If your mother is outgoing, you will subconsciously grow to act the same as her. Another example of this, is you are unlikely to have shy parents who do not communicate well raising a very outgoing child. A shy child in a new situation will show signs of muscle tension, an increased heart rate and dilated pupils. They are born with this disposition towards physiological processes. The cerebral cortex of these shy/anxious children is thicker. Out temperament and disposition become stable, and our experiences shape this.

The behaviourist principles of personality development is a very interesting learning theory. The principles include:

  • Strengthening behaviour through reinforcement
  • Reinforcing said behaviour intermittently to result in better learning
  • If reinforced too often, it will not be effective.

It is important not to reinforce negative behaviours. If they know they will continue to get attention from behaving in a certain way (E.g. badly) they will continue to do it, reinforcing this behaviour.It is also better to reinforce intermittently. Doing it every time will cause them to lack motivation as they will know they don’t need to work to get praise. By praising occasionally, they will be motivated to work harder. This is an interesting lesson for teachers. It takes a while to influence a child’s behaviour so it is important that in the process we are enforcing the correct behaviours.

Bandura’s Social learning theory

Bandura’s Social learning theory is built upon the idea of modelling. Modelling is when we observe someone, and copy their behaviours.

( e.g. If a child grows up in an area where everyone acts the same; such as where people shoplift and vandalise; the child will learn this behaviour through the process of modelling, can be a motivation to learn behaviour.

This “modelling” is when we strengthen our behaviours through constant reinforcement. These reinforcers cause personality to develop through both cognitive and physical factors.

The self-efficiency aspect is when we consider how we feel about ourselves and our own standards. People who are self-efficient are those likely to go right away from a lecture and complete the associated TDT. Those who don’t go away and do this may not do so for reasons such as they are not confident enough, or that “no one else is” – these people have low self-efficiency.

These behaviours are reinforced by parents, who model a child’s “internalised standards”. E.g. a tidy house is a standard of learning.

Bandura’s model is based on a process of observation, imitation and internalisation; along with cognitive, physical and motivational factors.Learning-by-Watching-Social-Cognitive-Theory-and-Vicarious-Learning

The four conditions that need to be met are:

  • Paying attention
  • Remembering
  • What can be physically copied
  • Motivation to imitate

This theory can be analysed whilst considering learning a new sport. You need to be able to pay attention to what you are doing, if you cannot do this you will not know what they are doing in order to move on and develop the next condition. You need the ability to remember a breakdown of the sport and all the different parts of it, in order to piece together what your role in it requires you to do. If you cannot do this, you will be physically poor at the sport- which is the next step. Different things can be copied, the most important being the movements. However by observing a professional it is hoped that we will subconsciously learn their confidence and good techniques. Our motivation to imitate is our initial desire to attempt the sport. If we are not motivated o try, we will have no desire to learn and, therefore, take nothing away from the observation. By only observing, we won’t remember or be able to physically copy what the person is doing.

Freud’s Theory of Personality is initially based on the idea of sexual needs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 18.53.01 I do not agree with the age stages within Freud’s stages of development, as I feel his view that we stop developing at the age of 18 is, well, crazy. I’m only 18 at the moment and I feel, especially in terms of my personality that I have a lot more developing to do. Also, none of his stages are backed up with scientific evidence. In fact, most of his clients were actually middle aged Vietnamese women. Many elements are right, but are difficult to test making this theory very hard to prove or disprove.

 Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 18.59.53

Erickson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development is based on the concept of ego-identity. Erickson states that the successful completion of each stage, leads to a healthy progression into the next one. It also helps create a good personality and very successful social skills. The theory does state that failure of a stage hinders development, which is questionable.

I do not fully agree with this, as things that go wrong can be resolved, and this theory is very hard to prove or disprove due to a lack of scientific testing. The quote “life begins at 40” comes into mind. This makes sense in accordance with this theory, as by 40, we have developed all our personality traits.

I agree with the fact that Erickson’s theory goes right up to the ages of 40+. This is interesting, especially when thinking about the phrase “life begins at 40”. As according to Erickson that we have developed almost all our personality traits by then, maybe this is true?

This Is very relatable and makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. It is very understandable that trust is built up in the first year of life. Also, that tivities become goal orientated around age 4-5, which I can personally relate to as I see my little sister going through this phase at the moment.

I do however disagree on providing an approximate age scale. Yes, it is good to know where children should be at what age, but even a slightly different wording to “suggested age scale” would make it less stressful for parents who’s children are not quite at the right development for their age (within reason, obviously).

I believe it is important we learn about personality so we can take this knowledge into the mpd
classroom and be able to identify the different personality traits of our pupils. This will allow us to spot signs of slower development and identify poor behaviour styles.

This will have a positive aspect of the child’s development in the classroom as they will get more direction from a teacher who understands their personality. It may even help forming that relationship a little easier.

The Construction of the Professional

Many different things reflect on the role a teacher plays in the classroom and their role as a professional. I believe these 5 terms in particular are important in doing this:

Integrity

The word itself means to be honest, and to have strong moral principles. Children are not born with integrity, they develop it as they grow up and learn how to behave. As children learn most of their behaviours they will need in later life such as honesty, respect and social responsibility in the classroom, it is important we show them integrity so they too can pick it up and learn how to be moral citizens.

Compassion

To be compassionate, is to show sympathy and concern for others. By showing compassion to our pupils, it shows we care. It shows we are paying attention to them and acknowledging them. By being compassionate we are passing this trait on to out pupils. It is important they too learn to be compassionate to succeed in later life.

Patience

Different children will learn at different paces, and it is important to realise some children will take a lot more time to grasp concepts than others. So whilst we will have to have patience with everyone, some pupils will require even more. It is important as a teacher to have this skill, as learning from someone who is impatient is frustrating as nothing will be broken down and explained slowly enough until understood.

Kindness

Kindness is important in teaching as it reflects on who you are as a person. Children do not want to learn from someone they are scared of. A kind teacher is approachable and their pupils are more likely engage in lessons and ask questions. Kindness is a characteristic of being friendly. Even though we are not in the classroom to be friends with our pupils, it is important they see us as a kind approachable adult they can trust to learn from.

Fairness

Fairness in the classroom is important to ensure all the pupils are treated equally. It would be unfair to only praise one person when everyone else has done that same thing well too. This would cause upset and even de-motivate some pupils. Everyone in this world wants to be treated equally, and by being fair in the classroom you are portraying to your pupils that equality is important and that you should not favour certain people.