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.
There are a number of key qualities and attributes that play an important role in the construction of a professional and they are all beneficial in different ways when it comes to teaching. I have chosen to focus on five qualities that I think are key to possess when teaching children:
For a teacher, patience means having the ability to stay calm if a child is really pushing it, it is the ability to never give up on a child no matter how tough they are being. it is an important skill to have because if a teacher wasn’t patient they probably wouldn’t really enjoy their job, it would be hard to see children improve if teachers did not possess the patience to work with them, to help them do the best they can do and to work hard with them so that they can get better at anything that they struggle with.
This, I feel comes hand in hand with patience. Similarly, for a teacher this means that they should be able to keep a cool head when it comes to bad behaviour and deal with it calmly. when working with kids it is important to be extremely tolerant as children will be noisy and they will muck around. it is important for a teacher to allow some fun and be tolerant to a certain extent when it comes to noise and mess.
I believe that having the ability to be kind is extremely important when it comes to teaching. Children need to feel like they can approach their teacher and not be scared to ask questions. However, it is important to not be too kind and let the children take advantage, a teacher should be approachable but not so approachable that the children feel like they can walk all over them.
A teacher should always be fair, this means that they should always treat every child the same. It is important to reward children when they deserve it and similarly to make a child aware if they have done something wrong and take appropriate action. A teacher should always remain consistency and should not favour some children over others.
This is an extremely important quality to have. A teacher should be able to understand how a child is feeling and consider how this may effect their behaviour or concentration in school. They must be able to understand why a child is acting in a certain way so that they can figure out how to improve behaviour or decide how to deal with a situation.
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.
Gender affected me particularly in primary school, mainly due to my choice of friends because, to the disgust of many of the girls in my class, my first best friend was in fact a boy. My female classmates didn’t seem to accept that, they acted as if it was wrong or like it was against the unwritten rules of society even at the ages of four or five.
In the early years of primary school it almost felt like teachers were brainwashing us to act in a certain way according to our gender, I was frequently told to “sit like a lady” in school, mainly by the older teachers. This may have been due to their old fashioned approach to what actually defines gender. Another clear memory that stuck in my mind regarding gender was that boys seemed to always get in more trouble than girls for doing the exact same thing. It’s almost as if young boys were expected to behave badly and so the teachers lacked patience when they misbehaved.
I certainly do feel that gender greatly influenced my time at primary school. As I moved further up the school in to primary four and even in primary five I no longer had male friends. There was always this idea that “boys were smelly” and I think this was mainly due to the fact that primary four was roughly when boys and girls started “fancying” each other.
Finally, gender also had an influence over my time in high school mainly through gender separated PE classes but I can confidently say that this was not in any way a negative influence and I was completely thankful of it.
One of the main reasons for my decision to study Education at Dundee University would probably be due to the positive memories that I still have of some of my own Primary Teachers. In particular, my Primary 7 teacher. He never lacked enthusiasm and always made everyone in the classroom feel supported and included. In the future, I hope to mirror this enthusiasm as well as doing my very best to ensure that every child in the classroom feels accepted and equal.
Another factor that greatly influenced my future career choice would be my current part-time job at a local kid’s club. I enjoy the fact that no two days will ever be the same. Also I know that primary teaching can be extremely rewarding as it will be my role to assist pupils in overcoming any obstacles that they may have.
I also aim to create a good balance within the classroom, one of which that the atmosphere is relaxed enough so that the children are never afraid to ask for help when it is needed but also so they know the level of behaviour that is expected of them. I feel that if I succeed to create this atmosphere then it will greatly contribute to the creation of many positive memories of Primary School for the children I teach, just like the memories that I already I have. I feel that this is extremely important in helping the children to gain confidence for their progression to High School at the end of primary 7.