Following the ePortfolio input where we had the opportunity to read some of our peers blog posts, I have realized that there are in fact a number of ways to display my professional thoughts within my own blog. I have also decided that I need to reflect more upon my own practice and take the initiative to create my own blog posts, not just sticking to tutor directed tasks.
Many of my peers have spoken about aspects of their personal life, I found this interesting as it made me feel like I was really beginning to understand the reasons behind their motivation to become a primary teacher. Some spoke of hobbies whilst others told stories about conversations with family members that really got them thinking. it was fascinating to see how much real life actually correlates to the theory that we have been looking at in lectures, workshops and tutorials.
Most of the best posts included some form of media, most commonly pictures or videos. I felt like this was successful as it allows any readers to gain a clearer understanding of what is being discussed in the post, as well as making it more interesting.
I think that others will benefit greatly from many of the posts that include personal experiences and media, due to the fact that for our tutor directed tasks we all write on many of the same topics and we are then directly able to compare our own posts with others and see how we could possibly improve and better our own work.
When asked to come up with an aspect of science that I would not be confident to teach, space immediately sprung to mind. A whole solar system out there that I know very little about. During my time at primary school, there were a number of occasions where we did make the effort to learn about aspects of space, however, not many of these activities actually stuck in my mind. My goal as a teacher will be to give interesting and important subjects justice by creating fun and engaging exercises for all of my pupils. This way, there is a much larger chance that the children will retain more information about their topic.
So back on to space, where to start? There is a vast amount of information out there on the subject so this task in terms of time scale, may take a while. I aim to be able to cover the basics of what is actually going on up there, and anything extra is an added bonus. If I were the class teacher and I had made the decision to teach my class about the solar system for a science topic I would start by taking them on a trip, mainly due to the fact that most of the memories I have of primary school include a break from routine, some sort of exhilarating outing.
My chosen excursion would be to Mills Observatory in Dundee, as this will give the children an opportunity to actually see some of the stars and planets that they have been learning about in class prior to this. Of course this outing will be weather permitting, a foggy night wouldn’t really be ideal. I have chosen this because it is easily achieved due to the fact that it is not far away and it is also extremely relevant to the topic of space, allowing the children to make the connection between class work and what they are seeing through their telescope. However, this trip isn’t just a plan for when I have my own class, it is something I could do myself before starting placement to brush up on my own knowledge of space, and I will also have an opportunity to ask some of the staff at the observatory any questions that I have regarding space.
As well as this trip I will use a combination of books, internet and television to build on what I already know. Following news updates regarding the astronauts who are currently in space may also be useful in my attempt to build up a clear knowledge base.
I personally found this question extremely difficult to answer as there are so many different examples and definitions of reflection. This video helped me greatly in my attempt to understand what it actually is:
It starts by saying it is the ability to consider solutions to problems. Although very broad, I somewhat agree with this statement. Reflection is using past experience and knowledge to actually solve a problem. For example, if I was to fail an assignment (hopefully that wont happen) I would look at what I actually did wrong and I would use this for my future assigments to avoid making the same mistakes again. This is reflection, in a way it is an ‘action plan’ to help improve our learning.
It could also be said that reflection links to being self-critical. If we reflect after each lesson we deliver we can identify which aspects we could improve on. It is important to accept that we will make mistakes so that we can enhance our teaching methods and reach our full potential.
Social media is an extremely modern and useful tool for primary teachers but only if it is used in the correct way. We must learn to keep our personal and professional uses of social media separate if we can not behave in a way that is appropriate because if we fail to do so then this may endanger our fitness to teach according to the General Teaching Council Scotland’s code of conduct.
When using the internet in a professional way there are a number of challenges as well as opportunities that teachers may be faced with when marrying their personal and professional presence on social media. A main challenge I feel would be maintaining boundaries with pupils, keeping a professional relationship online. it is important that both teachers and children know the difference between communicating professionally and chatting with friends in an informal manner. Teachers need to know how to communicate appropriately with their pupils and it is important to know what is acceptable.
Another issue for teachers may be the children’s parent’s looking them up online, they must not post anything on social media that may be deemed inappropriate. For example pictures that include nudity or last weekends drunken antics.
it is important to consider that even though using social media in teaching has some key challenges, there are a number of opportunities that it provides. A main benefit would be the aspect of communication. It is important for a teacher and their pupils to have a good level of communication because it helps to form a stronger professional relationship. Children will be more likely to ask for help and support if their is good communication. Building a good relationship with pupils also tends to help improve behaviour, a teacher will find it easier to control a class if they can identify what is causing bad behaviour.
Children are very in tune with technology these days from an early age, it seems to interest them greatly, this is a key reason why technology is beneficial to the learning environment as children will learn more if they are actually interested in what thy are doing.
Overall I do think the benefits of using social media in teaching far outweigh the drawbacks if it is used correctly. It is important to marry personal and professional presence on social media in such a way that there are still boundaries.
I would personally like to frame social media using a mainly positive viewpoint, I feel this is appropriate as if used correctly it is an extremely useful learning tool, it opens up a world of extra resources and it is a far more entertaining way for primary children to learn. However, both teachers and pupils must always be aware of the dangers and challenges that we face while using social media, it can really make or break the learning experience.