The Key to an effective Science lesson

After reading “The Sciences: 3-18”, page 25-33, I feel there are a number of key factors in planning an effective science lesson.

Firstly, as the teacher, you must create a positive learning environment to engage the children in the lesson. It is important for children to be actively involved in their learning which can involve practical activities, for example experiments or outdoor activities. It can also involve independently analysing data from research in a variety of ways such as using ICT. By giving children responsibility in their learning, they will enjoy the lesson and also be challenged. This will develop their skills in science.

Furthermore, there are several opportunities to develop skills in science. Literacy and numeracy are combined in science as numbers are used regularly and results can often be recorded as a report. There is also a wide opportunity for children to develop skills in problem solving, organisation and teamwork, along with several more. An effective science lesson will contribute to the development of these skills which will be beneficial in all areas of the curriculum.

Lastly, a science lesson will be more effective if it relates to real life or personal experiences. This allows children to understand the topic and put it in context of their own life which creates relevance in the teaching. By teaching in this way, children are instantly interested in finding out more and enjoy the lesson. This will make an effective lesson as they are more likely to be focused and work to the best of their ability.

Why do we need Maths?

Last week’s maths input opened my mind to many reasons why our maths ability really is more important than we think. As we become aware of the growing number of people who suffer from maths anxiety, we must look at ways to overcome it but most importantly, prevent it. We must firstly disregard the myths we are told around maths; “you are either good or bad at maths” or “maths is for geeks”. As teachers we have a responsibility and the opportunity to change these stereotypical views.

Maths and numeracy are used in our everyday lives and it is important for each child to have the ability to work with numbers. They are categorised as the ‘Responsibility of All’ and are used throughout the curriculum. For example, measurements and graphs in Science, distance in Physical Education and sequence and pattern in Art. By making children aware maths is in everything we do, it will be less scary to them when it comes to a stand alone maths lesson. As teachers, we can also make children more confident in maths by talking about it more often. This will allow children to make sense of mathematical situations and understand different  approaches to reaching the correct answers.

Finally, it is important to step away from the standard textbook approach in maths and make it more interesting and memorable for children. By using, for example, ICT or outdoor activities, the children will become more intrigued in the lesson and therefore more focused on the learning.

Sociological Imagination – Racism & Patriarchy

In Tuesday’s lecture, racism was a major part of the discussion relating to our sociological imagination. As we looked back to the Civil Rights Movements and the injustice of crimes such as Emmett Till and the acceptance of Jim Crow laws, I realised these historic events were not that long ago. I cannot begin to imagine the lives of Black Americans at this time and the horrific events that went on. White people were seen as so superior that lynching, Jim crow laws and the Supreme Court ‘Separate but Equal’ judgement were accepted and never questioned. Although there is still racist views towards people of different ages, gender, culture, race and sexual orientation, there has been a lot of movement in equality from then.  For example, there is acceptance of integrated marriages, women have more rights and gay marriage is legal in over 25 countries. Recently, there was a pride march in Dundee to show the positive stance against discrimination towards different sexual orientations. Locally, this is a huge step of acceptance for the LGBT community

Patriarchy was also a key part to the lecture. The equality and power of women was discussed in great detail. Women had always been seen as inferior to men and were given no voice. Even today women are given little recognition for their achievements. For example, in sport, the media do not show as much attention to the achievements and progress women are making, whereas men will usually take the sport headlines. The ‘Always #likeagirl’ advert shows the way in which “like a girl” can be an insult. When both men and women were asked to do certain actions like a girl, they demonstrated signs of weakness. However, when younger girls were asked to show these demonstrations, they showed strength and power. The video showed the gender inequality and the stereotypical views of women made by society. Despite this, there has been major changes to women in society in the last 1oo years due to women’s suffrage. From the hard work of the Suffragettes and Suffragists, women have been given their own voice. It is important for the next generations of women to be educated on the progress we have made and to understand the things women are capable of.

It is very easy to be stereotypical as society is constantly telling us what to think. Media plays a big part in this due to the way the portray groups of people. For example, they associate certain races with violence and associate genders with specific jobs or sports. In my profession, I feel teachers are stereotyped to females which comes from years ago when women would look after the children and men would be out working. Although this has changed in today’s society, this is still a common stereotype. It is important to step away from society’s stereotypical views and have a open mind. This is key in my profession to treat every child fairly to give them confidence and inspire them to be who they want to be.

Overall, this lecture showed me the movement we have made away from racism and patriarchy and the movement that is still to be made. I can contribute to this by having an open mind and disregarding society’s stereotypical views. It is important in my profession as a teacher to treat every child equally and there should be no judgement towards a child on their background, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Values Workshop Reflection

At Tuesday’s workshop, we were divided into five groups and given a task to create a useful resource for students. Each group received an envelope of resources to help them complete the task. My group had an envelope full of paper, pens, elastic bands, envelopes, post it notes and much more. As we began the task, my group came up with an idea quickly and began making our resource. We had so many pieces of equipment to help us create the resource yet we only used paper and pens. As each group explained their resource, our group was continuously praised and we received positive feedback for our ideas. However, other groups were questioned on their resource and received little or no praise for their ideas. We were then rated out of ten by our lecturer and my group received the highest mark and other groups received ratings as low as a half mark.

Throughout this task I was very unaware of the mistreatment and inequality in the room. I was so focused on the amount of resources in our envelope that I had not to think about the other groups. It was not until I looked around the room near the end of the task that I realised every other group had limited resources to help them. This showed me how oblivious I was to others in the room as I was focused on the privileges I had. At the end of the task I noticed the stress caused to the other groups due to not only their lack of resources, but also the lack of support they received. As the lecturer showed no enthusiasm or positivity towards these groups, they felt demotivated. From this workshop, it became clear to me that some children do not have the same support or resources as others which ultimately affects their learning and their ability to reach their full potential. The inequalities in the wider community can also affect children as they may lack support and resources due to deprivation. Although each child should be given the same opportunities and treated the same, it is also key to remember some children may need more support than others.

Overall, the workshop showed me that in my profession as a teacher, equality is key to develop each child’s learning and to be aware of every individual’s needs. It is important to always create a positive atmosphere in the classroom and act as a motivator for each child to learn. This is not only the structural inequalities in the classroom, but in the wider community.

Why I chose teaching

My desire to teach came from the positive relationships I gained with my teachers in my school career. When I think back to my time in primary school, I think back to the teachers who inspired me the most and the mark they have left on my life today. Their enthusiasm and positivity motivated me to do well, both in primary and high school, and I would love to have this impact on children. My experiences made it clear teaching was for me as I would love the opportunity to have a positive impact on children’s lives. I knew in this role I could support children in their early stages in order to give them the best possible future.

My thrive to teach also flourished through my time at a local primary school last year. I worked with all stages throughout my work experience which broadened my knowledge of not only different teaching styles and methods, but the variety of abilities in children. I developed my understanding of the learning approaches used in classrooms to meet the needs of each individual. I could also see first hand the impact the teachers were making and how the children looked up to their teachers as role models. I knew at these moments primary teaching was the career for me.