Category Archives: 1.4 Prof. Commitment

The importance of being an enquiring practitioner…

As we learnt today, in Nikki’s input, being an enquiring practitioner is highly regarded within the teaching profession. This is something that I think we should acknowledge as new student teachers. 

On the GTCS website it states that “Practitioner enquiry is an area of professional learning which was highlighted in Teaching Scotland’s Future (Donaldson, 2011) as a way forward to support teachers to become more engaged with research to support their own learning and ultimately pupil experiences.” 

To enquire means to ask for information from someone, to investigate and look into a situation further. So, to be an enquiring practitioner, we must investigate. Whilst investigating, we must be able to explain or defend our actions by using a rationale approach. Practitioner enquiry is usually undertake within a practitioner’s own practice however, can be completed in collaboration with others. For practitioner enquiry it is fundamental that it is based on evaluative and reflective teaching. Also, for effective enquiry undertaken by practitioners in the future; it should become and integral aspect of the day to day practice.  This I believe interlinks with ‘The Standards 1.4.2 – “I am committed to lifelong enquiry, learning, professional development and leadership as core aspects of professionalism and collaborative practice.”

Like most concepts of education, practitioner enquiry brings both benefits and challenges to the table. Advantages include;

  • Through using practitioner enquiry, teachers can become empowered and encouraged to transform and challenge education.
  • It provides a resource that teachers can use to monitor and develop their own practice.
  • It allows teachers to explore and investigate strategies and initiatives they can adapt in their classroom.
  • It can increase their knowledge of teaching and learning. This helps to build their self esteem as a professional and can aid them in making a professional&autonomous judgements which goes onto enhance their professional identity and self esteem further. 

However, engaging in practitioner enquiry can also rise challenges for teachers;

  • Before engaging with practitioner enquiry, a teacher must consider that it can be somewhat overwhelming and needs to be carefully managed. With the model, it is very easy to take on too much.
  • Practitioner enquiry can also be a disengaging and a disempowering process if there is no planning, understanding, management or support offered at all levels. Also, if it is imposed it can lead to the disenfranchisement of those involved.
  • It can also be a very slow process, there is not always a specific end point or direction for teachers carrying out practitioner enquiry.
  • To transform professional learning there must be radical and rigorous change. This is difficult and individuals and schools need to be open to and ready for potential changes.

Therefore, I believe that we, as teachers, must be adaptive and open to change. We must also engage critically with our practice and always be questionable, never accept. 

We must adopt a professional, critical and questionable approach to learning.

We, as student teachers, should grasp education with both hands and transform it for our students by following the ‘Model of career log professional learning’.

The GTCS website was used in support of this TDT.

Our importance in the Physical Child

We have learnt that we, as teachers, mainly focus on cognitive development due to being conscious of role expectations. However, physical and cognitive functioning are closely linked. However, this factor is not always appreciated with young children. We, as teachers, need to consider all aspects of a child’s development as we look at the children in holistic terms: ‘the whole child’

aPhysical development in concerned with a child’s gross and fine motor skills, the way a child exercises their body in their surroundings. Physical development is an important aspect which is studied as growth determines the experiences a child has and also can affect the reactions of others.

Whilst, developing children are compared to ‘the norm’ this is the normal expectations of the child at their particular age. For example, by the age of 4 children should be piecing together sentences and be able to communicate with ease. The role of practitioners is to expose the children to environments which allow them to become aware of their senses and use appropriate language to help them make sense of these experiences.

Through doing this, children will be able to understand the key value, we have as teachers, that every individual is different and have different limits to what they can do, this will build empathy towards others that are not as fortunate as themselves.

aaTo strengthen children’s physical development, we can engage them with activities that will exercise their fine and gross motor skills. For example, running and climbing will build a child’s gross motor skills whilst developing the pincer grip through painting will develop a child’s fine motor skills, all of which will be beneficial as the child progresses into/throughout school.

Teachers as Professionals videos

What makes a teacher who makes a difference?

From watching this video I was able to identify several key aspects that are vital to teaching with a difference. These include;

Teachers must be aware that, like other professionals, they are involved with life and death situations. For example, a bad education will not produce a professional. A bad education is an abuse of human rights as it will not progress society. Therefore, teachers must be reachable by their pupils, parents, colleagues and community. This involves educating as a community for example, keeping parents up to date with their child’s education, enjoying watching children progressing and taking initiative and making contributions that will make a real difference.

To be a professional teachers must also: realise that their degree is not enough they must strive towards self development, constantly. This can be done by reading educational magazines and being aware of what is happening as education is ever changing and dynamic; not only educating themselves in new teaching methods but also develop the skills of other teachers by passing on information and sharing on new concepts and ideas. Teachers should never be content in sitting around and must overcome the odds to progress children to the best they can be.

Teachers must also: be available 24/7, dedicated 100% to their profession by sacrificing and discipline, committed and have a passion to create miracles. All professional teachers, to me, love their job and this can be seen through professional accountability – there is always a guaranteed quality. Also, professional teachers take responsibility for their actions if something goes wrong and always go the extra mile by being approachable, passionate and professionally up to date.

Do you agree with what these teachers call professionalism?

I agree with Miss.Long that there is more benchmarking and that teachers are being ranked on how well their student’s are doing. I believe that this puts more pressure on teachers to adapt all of the learning approaches to education so that each and every individual child has the same opportunity to do well.

Mrs.Chimmi also stated that a teacher’s professionalism can initially affect the children within the classroom as they grow up into adults. This is why both Mrs.Chimmi and I believe that it is important in the way a teacher portrays themselves in the way they speak, the way they act and their appropriate attitudes. We as teachers are role models  and our behaviour will hopefully one day be adopted by the children that we teach so they become good, responsible citizens.

“Professionalism is a big part of being a teacher” I agree with what Mrs.Smith said. I also agree with her viewpoints that professionalism in teaching is vital to relate with other teachers and it also allows you to be an effective communicator when trying to resolve problems with both parents and pupils alike.

Finally, Miss. Long encouraged that teachers as professionals should continually develop professionally by researching trends in teaching and learning standards in order to be cater for every individual child, with which I agree with.

What is the message here?

I believe that Chris Christie places teachers very high up in the professional hierarchy. However, his viewpoint, to me, did not seem to suggest that he had a great deal of knowledge of the education system. He seems to think that teachers can be satisfied within their jobs with a pay rise. “they care about our kids and they’re doing a great job.” This again, to me, shows his lack of knowledge. He’s made no attempt to back this statement up with any evidence or experience of the teaching profession. I think that Chris Christie should maybe subject himself to difficult teaching in a disadvantaged area to portray that teaching isn’t always easy and sometimes no matter how hard the teacher tries; the job is left done partially or not to the expected standards.

Also, I believe that Karen Lewis makes teaching out to be a chore. She believes that teachers are in fact educational “workers” and that “workers” are those who simply punch a clock. This makes teachers out to not care for the needs of each individual pupil, which we all know isn’t true of a professional.

To me, Chris Christie’s view is more favourable of teachers and the one of the two that I agree with more. I believe that the teaching profession should be placed amongst the likes of doctors in the professional hierarchy as without a healthy education the professionals such as doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons would not be in the jobs they are in today.

Everything is down to a great education which can only be delivered and enhanced by a teaching professional.

Professionalism and the Online World

The GTCS professional guidance on social media and the way it is used in classrooms identifies the rise of social media’s power in todays education and the importance of the teacher introducing this to their pupils to enhance their learning.

aSocial media is infused with a number of different benefits including, when used correctly, it allows children a safe way to communicate with one another. They can, for example, talk to one another of what they learnt that day and build friendships. These interactions can build a child’s confidence in the way the approach their learning and immerses them in the digitised world from an early age, making them more aware of their surroundings as they develop.

I believe that teachers have a very important role in portraying the importance of social media to their pupils. I believe, in order to do this we, as the curriculum’s fresh faced teachers, must first marry the personal vs professional outlook to social media, ourselves. These days, children have the knowledge to make a few simple clicks and find their teachers on social media sites for example, Facebook.  To me, the way a professional, such as a teacher, displays themselves on these sites is vital. It is in the best interests for all teachers to adapt the private outlook to social media and ensure that everything accessible is of the correct content, privatised and displays themselves as a professional.

connecting-with-parents-onlineHowever, I do find that the digitised world lacks a space in which parents, pupils and teachers can work and correspond to one another cooperatively. The mainstream social media sites: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are too personal and can easily cause problems. However, the educational targeted social media sites e.g- Glow I feel, seems too educational and there is no way for pupil’s to express their likes, dislikes and include both the teachers and parents all at once. This would be an idea to take forward in the progression of the online world and digitised space we are exposed to as teachers.

I believe that a class teacher should propose a class blog. To which, all parents and pupils can contribute to. This would keep parents in the loop of their children’s education and homework. It would also allow the pupils to gain the skill of peer assessment through commenting on one another blog posts.

The media is infested with stories to prevent the use of social media in classrooms. From the misuse of certain websites on behalf of the teacher/pupils, to the wrong video link being displayed to the class. To me, these stories are only there to scare those wishing to embark into the digitised space. Instead of holding back because of the threats we should be embracing that sometimes mistakes do happen. Aren’t we encouraging children to not be scared and that mistakes are part of a healthy education? Then how can we do so if we too are afraid of embracing new learning technology?

aaWe should focus on encouraging pupils to embrace technology and enforce how to use it correctly. We can now set up links with classrooms worldwide which is a concept which excites me. Children can learn easily about different cultures and countries through conversing with classrooms worldwide.

I believe that we, as teachers, should be embracing social media/technology and using it to our advantage to strengthen our pupils’ knowledge of society in general. Instead of hiding away because of the very few problems that may arise from its use.