Scientific Literacy

Within our society we are bombarded daily with various claims and stories about the impact of science on our world. These can range from global warming and medical advances all the way to the food we eat. When we have knowledge and understanding about scientific processes and larger concepts we can then hopefully approach this information in an informed manner. If we grasp the concept of scientific literacy we can question the world around us. The idea of scientific literacy is basically being educated as to how science moulds the world. This can hold great cultural, social and personal importance. The skills that are developed when we analyse and critique scientific information are transferable. Scientific knowledge then becomes a very observational, experiential, logical and somewhat sceptical way of knowing. This enables people to ask questions and find answers. If we are to be fed “facts” by the media it is with scientific literacy that we can decide whether to take them at face value or delve further for answers. This also grants us the tools to reach conclusions through fair debate and applicable evidence.

Scientific literacy is very important as not having it can lead to misunderstandings. This happens a great deal with media reporting when the journalist didn’t have a good level of scientific literacy and writes a report which spreads incorrect information to the public, this can often have a very negative impact. An example of this is the report which claimed there was a link between the MMR vaccine and ASD, which has now been proven wrong. However this report was picked up by the media and they spread hysteria across the country over whether or not it was safe to vaccinate children. In 1998 BBC news published an article titled ‘Child vaccine linked to autism’ the Telegraph also published an article in 2007 which restarted the concern over the vaccines claiming there was a ‘New fear over MMR link with rising autism.’ This panic meant that hundreds of children were not vaccinated which could have been avoided by ensuring people have a good level of scientific literacy. Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities.

A “fair test” refers to an experiment that is carefully controlled to ensure that the information gathered is reliable. In science, it is an experiment conducted in a manner so that it does not provide any advantages to any of the conditions or subjects being tested. To insure that your experiment is a fair test, you must change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. Scientists call the changing factors in an experiment ‘variables’. For example, imagine we are wanting to test which toy car is the fastest while going down a sloping ramp. If we gently release the first car, but give the second car a push start, this is not a fair test! This is because we gave the second car an unfair advantage by pushing it to start. The only thing that should change between the two tests is the car. To ensure a fair test, we should start them both down the same ramp in exactly the same way.

 

Reference List

BBC (no date) Home. Available at: http://bbc.co.uk (Accessed: 7 February 2016).

The telegraph – telegraph online, daily telegraph, Sunday Telegraph (no date). Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk (Accessed: 10 February 2016).

The national academies press (no date). Available at: http://www.nap.edu (Accessed: 14 February 2016).

Oxford dictionaries (no date) in Oxford Dictionary. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com (Accessed: 13 February 2016).

Rebecca Muir, Polly Ford, Rebecca Birrell & Ailsa Mackie

A colourful, organised and engaging atmosphere.

My Ideal Classroom.

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It’s difficult to design a classroom on a small single A4 piece of paper. I have always had this picture in my head of my perfect classroom since I was a little girl and slowly I am getting closer to that dream. I have designed my ideal classroom to suit 22 Boys and 6 Girls.

My ideal classroom would be in a modern new school with lots of space. I am super OCD so organisation is my thing. Colour co-ordinated, labels, desk tidies, you name it. My classroom will be so organised every child will know where everything is. For me it is important that my classroom is neat, tidy and organised so that every child will find it easy and accessible to find things.

I plan to have a large amount of resources all over the classroom. I am really keen to have a large class library full of books (which I have already started to collect) where the children can sit on some bean bags, or on the floor and chill out, while enjoying reading and learning.

I plan on having resource trays at the back off the classroom where the children can help themselves to things like, number lines, word banks, rulers etc. This way it keeps their tables free off clutter and mess when they are not using things.

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Displaying their work on the walls is really important and I plan on changing these displays termly to freshen up the classroom but also so they can show off all their work and be proud of it. I also plan to have things hanging across the room, for example, the alphabet and numbers. Just to constantly familiarise the children with what they should be learning.

It is important that the children are aware of our classroom rules, so I am planning to have them up on the wall in large print to remind them of how we behave in our classroom environment. It might be an idea at the beginning of the year to write out our rules and put them up on the wall so we have decided them as a whole class.

It would be ideal to have a few computers in the classroom in case the laptops/netbooks are not working properly and we still have access to the internet.

At the front of my classroom will be where the SMART board and white board are. Leaving enough room for all the children to be able to sit on the carpet as well. This makes it easier for the children to engage and for myself to grasp all of their attention.

The teacher’s desk is also at the front of the classroom. I feel this is a good place as I can see all the children from this angle and it is close enough to the main recourses in the classroom.

The children’s trays are over near the door. I feel this is a good place as they can get to their tray easily when coming into the classroom after break, lunch, etc.

I feel the layout of my ideal classroom is quite similar to the classroom I will be going into for my first placement with a few changes. I hope to have my own classroom a little more organised and colourful with more recourses and displays around the classroom to improve the children’s learning.  I am excited to begin my placement and eventually have my own ideal classroom.

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Is it really that bad?…

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For me, maths is probably one of my weaker subjects. Not because I can’t do it, but more because I find it the least enjoyable. I’m probably most feared to teach maths because I am not very confident in the subject.

Throughout Primary School there wasn’t a subject that I particularly didn’t enjoy. I was one of those children who was quite competitive and wanted to be the best at everything. I tried my hardest at everything in Primary School but as soon as I hit High School everything changed. The subjects started to get more difficult and I couldn’t keep up with everyone that was in the top groups. I slowly started to slip down and then I realised I wasn’t actually as good as I thought at Maths. From there on, Maths became a chore to me and I became completely uninterested in the subject.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t actually looking forward to our input on Maths but after coming out of it I felt much more confident and enthusiastic than when I went in. We use maths every single day and we probably don’t even realise. We use it when we are cooking, cleaning, exercising. These are just a few examples but the list is endless. We also use Maths in the classroom not just when doing a Maths lesson. It is used in Art, Geography, History, P.E, Science and probably in many other subjects.

Maths really is all around us, and it is our role as a teacher to ensure that we identify and exploit the mathematics in the environment.

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Identifying Skills and Abilities

  1. Managing My Learning

  Activity 1

Complete the table below to identify and reflect on those factors and plan actions for each.

Recognition/ Reflection Action
What helps my learning? How can I utilise this?
Example: “Discussing the topic with others” ·             Set up a study group of like-minded peers

·             Engage with the online community

Engaging with reading before lectures ·             Engaging with reading helps me to have an understanding of what is going to be spoken about at the following lecture.

·             Engage with new knowledge

Rewrite notes after lectures ·             Rewriting my notes from previous lectures enables me to engage with the work from that class

·             This helps me to remember what we discussed

Engaging with lecture PowerPoints ·             This helps me have an understanding of what is going to be spoken about at the following lecture
Quiet study space ·             Having a quiet space to study in works well for me
Colourful neat notes ·             Neat, colour coded notes helps me to remember and engage in what we are learning

 

Recognition/Reflection Action
What hinders my learning? How can I address this factor?
Example: “I’m easily distracted” ·             Study in a place where distractions are minimal

·             Read lecture notes before the lecture and then take notes lectures to keep me focused

Lose concentration quickly ·             Keep focused by taking notes and listening carefully
Distracted by my phone ·             Turn it off when studying

·             Only use it when appropriate

Writing quickly in lectures ·             I struggle to write quickly in lectures which hinders me from gaining all the knowledge in that lesson

·             I try to have an understanding of what is going to be spoken about during that lecture and plan in advance

Identifying Skills and Abilities

Activities for unit 1 Personal and Interpersonal Skills and Abilities

  1. Identifying Skills and Abilities

Activity 1

  1. Below are a list of skills and abilities. Complete an audit of where you are now. Record this in your learning journal/portfolio.

Rate yourself (1=Not very well developed; 3=very well developed)

Skills and Abilities 1 2 3
Self Confidence                     X
   
Set Personal Goals                           X
Team Work                          X
 
Listen to Others                            X
Contribute to Discussions                          X
 
Computing Skills                          X
 
Use Technology                             X
Organise and Plan                             X

 

Activity 2

  1. Complete the audit below, using the information from the table above.
Recognition Reflection Action
Skills already developed How I will use these How do I know (evidence)**
·             Set Personal Goals

·             Organise and Plan

I believe that setting personal goals gives you something to focus on and achieve. It is good practise for deadlines and keeps you motivated. I prioritise my work and set goals within a realistic time-frame. I set myself goals by writing in my diary, writing to-do lists and writing up a study timetable to finish a certain amount of work before the end of the week and to keep up to date with reading and TDT’s.
·             Listen to Others I think listening to others will benefit me in transferring, learning and gaining more knowledge from other people’s perspectives. I have already used and contributed these skills in primary classrooms and in group discussions in lectures/workshops.
·             Computing Skills Technology is growing more and more everyday and as a professional I will need to access a range of learning methods through ICT.  I want to use Technology as much as possible in the classroom to make effective use of he resources available on the online world. Through out my education we were shown how to use electronic white boards, E.g. Smart Board.
I have been involved in basic computing courses throughout school, so I have an understanding of how to use technology.

 

Recognition Reflection
Skills to be developed How I will develop these
·             Self Confidence

·             Team Work

·             Contribute to Discussions

I have always struggled with my confidence and try to push myself more and more everyday. I tend to sit back and let others speak. But I’m hoping that being at university will boost my confidence to interact and be more involved in discussions.
              Use Technology I engage with technology everyday but need to be more proactive with my ePortfolio by posting blog posts more often.

 

** This section should be completed as you identify when/where/how you have used/developed these skills.

 

How did your gender affect you when you were a child?

“Through my experiences at school, we were all treated equally and gender wasn’t really an issue that affected me when I was a child.”

This was originally how I felt gender was provoked at primary school, but after sitting back and reflecting on my experiences, I was wrong. Gender in fact was an issue that wasn’t addressed more closely.

At break and lunch times, all the boys would go off and play football or basketball – the more ‘masculine’ sports. While the girls would just stand and chat or do ‘girly’ things. These are both very stereotypical opinions, but both very true. School culture plays a big part of gender, especially in a school environment.

It wasn’t just outside of the classroom where gender became an issue, it was also inside. Boys were stereotyped to be academically brighter than girls and higher achievers. But this case has now been proven wrong. There have been some radical changes where girls now tend to outperform boys in languages, maths and science.

I found Jill Shimi’s lecture on gender very informative and it made me realise how big an issue gender is in schools. For me, gender plays a big role in day to day life and I feel it should be addressed more closely.

I definitely agree with Jill’s final thoughts…

“Being aware of the gender debate and the impact of stereotyping it is incumbent on us all, as teachers, to respect our pupils as individuals with their own experiences and interests. Boys and girls must all be treated equally and fairly.”

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Happy Teaching :)

What made me want to become a teacher?

 Why teaching? Well, to me, it was a mixture of many things really. Towards the end of Primary School, I used to sit in my seat listening to my teacher and imagining I was her, hoping one day I would be standing up in front of a classroom of children teaching them.

I have met many inspiring teachers and close teacher friends along my way and these people have most definitely influenced me to choose a path in teaching.

When reflecting back on my years in Primary School, I can remember myself as being an eager, confident child who always wanted to succeed and to be recognised and praised for everything I done. I looked up to all my teachers and always wanted to try hard and impress them. To me, my teachers were my role models and now I can see how influential they were to me. During 6th year, I devoted a lot of my free time volunteering in my local primary school and in the Department of Assisted learning in my High School which was a great experience being able to see the children learn and being an influence in their learning.

What kind of teacher do I want to be?

 For me, I want to be a successful teacher who can make a great impact on every child I teach. I want to be a role model and someone a child can look up to. I also want to use my creative skills to build an atmosphere where children want to learn and enjoy themselves.

Overall, I want to be that special teacher that all the children talk about and who they want to aspire too and who makes their faces shine. Someone who can make a great impact on a child’s life.

At the end of the day, we are joining a profession where we just need to be “Happy” 🙂