Structural Inequalities Reflection

In this values workshop, I was placed into Group 1 and we were all instructed to plan and create a resource that would be useful for first-year students at the University. To complete this task each group was given a pack of materials. At the time we were given our packs we realised we had a lot of materials to work with including coloured paper, pens, scissors, paper clips, sellotape, glue and elastic bands.

Within our group, we planned a fun game that could be used in Student Accommodation to allow flatmates to get to know each other better and have fun. This included making ‘fortune-tellers’ out of paper with fun truth or dares inside. Our idea was simple and did not use many resources. However, our lecturer was very encouraging with our idea which motivated the group.

After creating the resource, each group presented their idea upfront and were given feedback. My group agreed that each idea was innovative and useful however one group had a similar concept to our one. After each group had presented, the lecturer gave each group a score out of 10. My group received the highest score which was 9/10 and the other groups had scored as low as 1/10 which confused us all, especially due to the group with the lowest score having a similar concept to my group.

At the end of the workshop, the lecturer enlightened us to something my group was completely oblivious to. We discovered that our group’s resource had won by default. The lecturer explained to us all that each group had a different pack of resources and group 1 contained the most and group 4 had the least. We also find out that our group was given the most encouragement and guidance whereas groups 3 and 4 were ignored completely. This was another aspect of the workshop our group had been oblivious to. However, Groups 3 and 4 explained they had noticed Group 1 and 2 were favoured by the lecturer.

What does this mean?

This workshop was eye-opening and helped reveal that in teaching, professional commitment is a standard that must be followed. The lecturer demonstrated that by not engaging with all members of the class it left groups 3 and 4 to feel unmotivated due to the lack of attention and support. However also showed the positive effect that engaging with groups created. Group 1 and 2 both felt supported and therefore became excited about the task at hand and wanted to succeed. Looking back, it felt rewarding being in Group 1 and having the lecturers praise therefore shows this must be a key aspect of teaching.

Another key aspect of teaching was demonstrated and this was Trust and Respect. This involves the teacher to be respectful of each child’s ideas and motivating them to achieve. The groups 3 and 4 quickly realised that their ideas were being ignored and this would have caused an effect on their work ethic. However, as Group 1 and 2 felt respected this only made us continue to make progress on our resource.

In order to follow professional values the lecturer should have also showed integrity across the entire class. However, as it has been stated the lecturer only showed a sense of courage and wisdom towards groups with more resources leaving half of the class in a less fortunate position. This idea links into the overall social justice system within the class.

It would be fair to say that there was purposely a lack of equality within the class in order to show the effect of treating people differently can have on their work and progress. The lecturer demonstrated a non-inclusive environment to those who had less and showed a much more warm environment to those who had more. The ones with very little resources noticed very quickly that they were being treated differently to groups 1 and 2, however, there was no obvious reason for this at the time.

Looking back to this workshop, I can admit that I did not notice the other groups were being ignored whilst our group received the most help. However, this has allowed me to understand the impact favouriting others can have on the rest of a class. I believe this workshop has been very beneficial in starting to understand the Values module by opening my eyes to the importance of following professional values within all areas of my work.



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