Category Archives: edushare

The benefits of active learning and co-operative working

To me, active learning is a skill we should all be working on to improve. It is one thing taking notes in lectures but for me, and I’m sure many others would agree, the information doesn’t always go into my head and stay there by the time the lecture has finished.

An effective way to make sure you have understood the content from the lecture would be to read over and write your notes out again soon after the lecture. Copying out the notes again puts information into your head easier as you don’t have the distractions of the lecturer speaking and from your peers. For me, I find it helpful to rewrite my notes in coloured pens or make mind maps and flashcards. Seeing information in a different format sometimes helps.

Co-operative learning for me is working together and helping each other out. Sharing ideas and hearing other people’s ideas and opinions is a really helpful way to collect information and to expand on what you already know. As well as active learning, I think it is really important for us as future teachers to develop our understanding of co-operative learning so that we can then pass on our knowledge and encourage our pupils to learn in a similar way.

How gender stereotypes affected me at primary school

In the book ‘Learning to teach in the Primary School’ by Teresa Cremin and James Arthur, they describe the definition of ‘gender’ as being different to that of ‘sex’. Whereas the term ‘sex’ is used to signify the biological differences between male and female, ‘gender’ describes the patterns of behaviour and attitudes attributed to members of each sex that are an effect of experiences of education, culture and socialisation.

During my time at primary school, I wasn’t greatly effected by gender stereotypes, although I was aware of them and they were definitely there. At primary school age I wasn’t actually aware of what the term ‘stereotype’ really was or meant. I just understood and believed that girls and boys were treated differently.

One of the biggest stereotypes I remember was boys being asked to lift heavy objects into the classroom. The teacher would say something along the lines of “would any strong boy like to volunteer to lift these boxes?” or “I need three strong gentlemen to help me lift this table”, and from a young age it was ingrained into our heads that males were stronger, more dominant characters. The playground was another environment where gender stereotypes were apparent. Girls, for example, would never even think about playing football with the boys. Not because she didn’t enjoy it or wasn’t good at it, but because she had it in her head that football was a ‘boys sport’ and that she would be made fun of if she took part. Vice versa, boys would never play with dolls or take part in a game of ‘mums and dads’ because they would be afraid of being laughed at because those are, stereotypically, girls games.

So, even though gender stereotypes didn’t affect me in a great deal during primary school, they did exist and to some extent, even if I wasn’t aware of it, influenced me into knowing wat was ‘right or wrong’ for either girls or boys to take part in or not.

Why teaching?

All throughout my primary school years, I was influenced by many inspiring teachers. They encouraged me to enjoy learning and to be enthusiastic about it. My primary 4 and 5 teacher was especially inspiring as she encouraged me to want to learn and enjoy coming to school as she made lessons interesting and enjoyable and focused a lot on the expressive subjects as well as on maths, science and English. I became interested in music, art and languages because my teacher was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic in these areas, which again encouraged me to want to explore these areas further and learn more about them. Looking back on my teachers from primary school has encouraged me to want to become an influential and motivational teacher who has knowledge in all subject areas.

In primary 7, we used to go into classes of lower years and nurseries to help out during our break and lunch times. I realized that I really enjoyed working with young children and from observing how teachers taught and behaved inspired me to do something like that as well.

Later when I started secondary school I got involved in activities and modules with helping younger pupils. One module I joined was the working in the community module where I took part in planning and organising activities such as an Easter egg hunt for the local playgroup and again, having had more experience with younger children and helping out in the community inspired me to go into the teaching profession.

I also want to teach in the primary school rather than the secondary school because it would be very rewarding to teach and nurture a child throughout their younger years and to prepare them for the step up to secondary school.