Before today’s workshop I was nervous at the thought of having to teach dance to a class, as I was unsure where to begin or how to work in a manageable way. I was also apprehensive about the dance input, and concerned I might be asked to create some complicated choreography and perform in front of everyone. However, I had a great time working in my group to come up with different ways to travel and spin around the room, eventually creating our own mini routine. I thoroughly enjoyed the input and now feel much more confident about dance. We were given lots of helpful ideas and tips for class dance lessons which would allow all pupils to get involved, regardless of their ability or confidence.
Dance is a very important part of the curriculum as it allows pupils to be active, show their creativity and develop self-confidence. Therefore, it is essential that I can deliver lessons which engage and encourage pupils to get involved. The ‘Expressive Arts Principles and Practice’ document, states that the expressive arts allow children to be “creative and imaginative, to experience inspiration and enjoyment”. (Education Scotland, no date, p.2.) I believe children should be exposed to different cultures and experiences and dance is a perfect way to achieve this.
During the workshop we were shown ways to make dance relevant to pupils. I thought that using videos of different dance styles as a stimulus was a good idea because it would give pupils a starting point, which they could then adapt and make their own. The video clips could also be linked to another subject area the class had been working on, for example a Buddhist dance to accompany RME work. Also, working in pairs would allow less confident or less creative pupils to get involved and benefit from developing skills, as they would have someone to help them. We were reminded that when pupils present their work to a class audience, it is important to discuss expectations of the audience first, for example not talking during the performances and clapping at the end. I found it useful to be given practical solutions. Overall, I have definitely been inspired by the dance workshop and hope to similarly inspire pupils in the future. I may not be able to teach complicated, technical dancing, but I would love to make dance accessible and exciting.
Education Scotland, (no date), ‘curriculum for excellence: expressive arts principles and practice’, Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/expressive-arts-pp.pdf, (accessed 12.01.19).
I found this week’s Values module input an important and interesting insight into racism and patriarchy. The lecture tackled these difficult topics in a respectful manner, which I found engaging. Although difficult, it is important not to shy away from these topics. Many lecture attendees got involved in discussion and contributed points I had not previously considered.
As a Primary teacher I believe that it is my job to raise my awareness of racism and sexism in order to educate my pupils and prevent these issues in the classroom. I feel it is important to highlight to young people that everyone is equal and deserves the same respect and opportunities, regardless of their background. As a Primary teacher must also ensure that no genders are subconsciously favoured.
The Values workshop on Tuesday was an interesting and thought provoking experience which shed a great deal of light on structural inequalities in society and how easy it is for us to not even notice them. The group I was part of had the most resources and encouragement from the tutor, making me totally oblivious to the lack of resources and help the other teams were given. I was horrified that I did not notice these basic inequalities in the classroom, nor did I notice how downhearted the other teams were. However the exercise definitely opened my eyes to issues people deal with on a daily basis. I hope not to make this oversight again during my professional career or in life in general.
As a teacher I believe it will be my duty to identify and work past inequalities and deliver lessons accessible and inclusive to all, regardless of the different barriers students may face. This correlates to The General Teaching Council for Scotland’s ‘Standards for Professional Registration’, which states it is essential to show trust and respect for all by “Demonstrating a commitment to motivating and inspiring learners, acknowledging their social and economic context, individuality and specific learning needs and taking into consideration barriers to learning.”
It is also important that young people feel their voices are heard and valued by their teacher, who must accept everyone for who they are. Social justice should be at the forefront of education and a core value for all teachers. The GTCS states that teachers must be “Committing to the principles of democracy and social justice through fair, transparent, inclusive and sustainable policies and practices in relation to: age, disability, gender and gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion and belief and sexual orientation.” I believe children need to be given all the facts about a subject in order to allow them to come to their own conclusions, without pressure or bias from outside sources. As a professional I know it is vital that I never let my personal opinions come through.
I have always wanted to be a Primary teacher because I believe every child deserves a fair start in life and has the potential to succeed. I want to help each child build their confidence and find their own voice, as I have. I want to give pupils the keys to unlock their learning, the opportunity to pursue their passions, and the chance to thrive in a positive environment regardless of their background. I hope to be a supportive and inspiring teacher. I believe it is crucial that learning is made fun and accessible to all.
I have wanted to be a Primary teacher for all of my life, apart from when I wanted to be a lollipop lady in nursery! I even remember writing a poem in Primary 4 called ‘Teacher Tastic’ about all the tasks I would love to do as a teacher, such as preparing the paint for art lessons and making the class rules. I love teaching and helping people to do new things and feel an enormous sense of fulfilment when someone achieves something they have previously struggled with. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to inspire and shape the lives of future generations.
Volunteering twice weekly at my local Primary school, during my final years at high school, gave me a huge insight into the role and responsibilities of a teacher. I observed that being a Primary teacher is challenging but highly rewarding. There was never a dull moment!