Structural Inequality Seminar

Last week i took part in my first fully interactive experience at Dundee University. I found this exercise very engaging and enlightening. The seminar began with an introduction from Brenda Keatch, a former primary teacher who operated across Scotland and is now using the experience she gained to work as a lecturer at the university.

The activity started with the classroom being separated into groups of around 5. My group consisted of people I had already spoken to and become friendly with in the early stages of the course, this helped us feel comfortable and confident with the task at hand. Each group was then handed an envelope with resources inside and asked to produce an idea/item which would’ve been useful to us in these early stages of university life. We decided a parking badge would have been welcomed with open arms due to the extortionate prices of parking close to the campus and we used our abundance of coloured paper, scissors and pens to make ourselves the parking badges.

Each group was then asked to present their idea to the others. Our group gained a large amount of praise from Brenda but the others she seemed to be very harsh on. It was at this point that members of my group and I realised that the other groups had received very limited resources in comparison to us and therefore were up against it from the beginning and the praise we were receiving was staged for metaphorical purposes. This left us feeling sympathetic for other groups who didn’t have everything going for them like we did.

The lesson behind the seminar was that each student in a class has different levels of skills, resources, levels of support and mental capacity for learning therefore we as teachers must divide our attentiveness and attention intelligently to those who need it, maintaining a balance of progression as best we can for the class as a unit. Each child needs different styles of teaching to reach their potential and it is essential that we motivate them and ensure they are doing so, not only academically, but in every walk of life.


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