Author Archives: Rebecca Potter

Would You Chance it All?

How often do you take a chance? The answer would be every day. Every day we take a chance, whether it be crossing the road, going to the gym or simply choosing to watch the TV. We cannot predict the potential outcome of doing something, yet, without even thinking, we create the factors that are influenced by our decisions. Something of which has lead us to be where we are to this day.

Before this module began, I remembered learning about probability in high school. I was never intrigued by the prospect of learning about probability. However, after the lecture about this I have felt that I can relate chance and probability to my personal experiences and highlight to pupils the basic maths behind this, whilst making it enjoyable to learn about. Inter-connectedness is a concept of Liping MA’s that can be used between maths and our everyday lives (Ma 2010). By interconnecting our experiences with the subject of probability, basic mathematical skills can be integrated into our everyday experiences, something which I believe is important when obtain fundamental maths skills.

Probability is “the likelihood or chance that something may happen” (Turner, n.d. p5) and can be worked out by:

Probability of something happening = The number of  ways it can happen – over – the total number of outcomes

For example, when rolling a dice there are 6 possible outcomes. However, if I were to only try and role a 5, the possibility of this would be 1 in 6. In many cases people try to predict the possible outcome, however as we have discovered in maths, it is not as simple as this.

Gambling has a profound and direct link to probability and chance. By taking this chance it can be the profit or the lost to some people’s bank balances. Those who are serious gamblers are costing the government £1.2 billion a year (IPPR, 2016). This is not only impacting the economy but can also cause extreme debt for some people, and a break down in relationships and mental health. This is why some people try to predict casino games and influence the outcome, in the hope they can solve the problem (Aasved, 2004).

There are aspects of gambling which are linked to multiple perspectives. This is about having a variety of different ways to reach an answer. For example, there are variety of meals you can have in a restaurant. Say for example there were 2 choices for a starter, 3 for main meal and 3 for dessert, you have to list of different meals that you can possibly have. Therefore, there are many different combinations and to figure this out multiple perspective is important.

Gambling is something which relies on randomness and probability (Turner, n.d). When discussing this in our lecture, we all thought that surely humans can create randomness effectively? Wrong! We wrote our predictions of either heads or tails, if we were to flip our coin 30 times. I thought I would try and mix it up a bit, put heads 4 times in a row, a couple tails etc, but the answers truly baffled me. It ended up being completely 50/50. Even when I was trying to be as random as possible. The results were similar on a larger scale of our class, with the majority of people being one or two off the other. When actually flipping a coin, my results were 21 heads and 9 tails, and this varied around the lecture room. Therefore, as humans, we THINK we are being random, however nothing is quite that simple and we actually try to create logic results rather than random. I remember when conducting my answers, I thought I had to put a head and not another tails because 4 tails in a row was being silly, yet the physical experiment proved this to happen with heads.

Using a coin is a simple way of introducing probability and chance to children, as there are only two outcomes. If they have the basic skills and understanding of what a half or 50% means then probability can quickly follow behind. This aids their longitudinal development, as they have the basic skills prior to probability and therefore they can build on this to have a deepened understanding of problem solving and the possibilities of finding the answer. It also helps them in more complex scenarios, for in class work and future work, if they were working in a restaurant for example. Therefore, multiple perspective, basic skills and longitudinal coherence, all key skills in profound fundamental maths (Ma, 2010) can be shadowed through everyday maths.

It is important that we recognise that gambling can possibly be predicted. However, slot machines and casinos profit more from us than we would ever earn back (unless you’re the 1 in 45057474 to win big on the lottery! (Lottoland, 2016)). Slot machines are to us, a quick and easy way to win money back. Charles Fey, developed the Liberty Bell machine in 1895, which has 3 reels and 5 symbols. This machine in particular pays out 50% of the time with an average of 75% pay-back. Therefore, although you seem to ‘win’ more, you are in fact, losing more!

Stefan Mandel, 1964, applied to buy every combination to the Romanian lottery. He followed this up by doing this with the Virginia state lottery. The video below highlights the result of this.

In conclusion, probability and chance is something that we use every day. Some people take this for granted and some take it to extremes. However, we have the ability to use multiple perspectives to figure out possible outcomes, which can be used in our daily lives and in maths in primary school. Yet, probability on a gambling scale, as seen in the video, can be on a completely different scale to our everyday probability. I believe that Liping MA’s principles are important here and they are concepts that I will look at deleloping in future placements and my teaching career.

References:

 

Aasved, M. (2004) The Biology of Gambling. Springfiled: Charles C Thomas.

LottoLand. (2018). The Probability of Winning the Lottery. Available: https://www.lottoland.co.uk/magazine/the-probability-of-winning-the-lottery-.html. (Accessed on: 17th October 2018)

Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.

Slot Machine History (2010). Who is Charles Fey? Available: http://slotmachineshistory.com/charles-fey.htm. (Assessed on: 15th October 2018)

The Progressive Policy Think Tank. (2016). Cards on the table: The Cost to Government Associated with People Who Are Problem Gamblers in Britain. Available: https://www.ippr.org/publications/cards-on-the-table. (Accessed on: 16th October 2018)

Tuner, N. (no date) Probability, Random Events, and the Mathematics of Gambling

 Wherbert, P. (2010). Stefan Mandel (online video) Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TqFp0efLK0 (Accessed on: 16th October 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching New Phrases – French

French was never my strong point at school. I felt that I didn’t have the underlining and basic skills to forward my development and therefore the subject broke down for me. In Scotland, we are now introducing a second language in Primary 1. This is a positive means of having the underlining basis of a language such as French or German and therefore moving forward and learning another, for example Spanish, will become easier in accessing the grammar and speech.

Children learn a modern language through receptive skills and productive skills. Receptive is similar to our language – learning through listening and reading. It is important that children have the opportunity to listen to a language before attempting to read it. This is because in many European languages they use accents. These can change the way the words are pronounced. Therefore, if a child were to read a new word first, they would have an interpreted pronunciation and continue to say the word wrong. It is important that productive skills are brought forward also. These are talking and writing. Talking is important feature that can run alongside listening. Teachers can get involved with this also, as demonstrated by Carrie on Tuesday. Carrie used a lesson with us where the teacher used associated actions with a word, such as a left-hand wave with “bonjour” and right-hand wave with “au revoir”. This repeated back and forward from the teachers and pupils can reinforce specific phrases and therefore they have a sound understanding of new vocabulary. This makes it easier in future to receive the words through recognition of sounds and phrases.

These new phrases can then be brought forward through the introduction of the words being written and read. As a teacher, it can be difficult to bring forward a second language when a child’s first language is continuing to develop. Therefore, as mentioned previously, it is important that they are not bombarded with phrases and lessons are focussed on a maximum of 8 new words in a lesson. This provides opportunity for new vocabulary to become embedded in a child and talking and listening activities can progress through writing and reading lessons.

When Carrie was carrying out the lesson she solely focussed on some individuals. This was a reflection task for us all as we were required to think like a class of primary school pupils would. As a teacher, we have to understand that not everyone will be confident in accessing a different language or confident enough to say phrases in front of their peers (Jones, J and Coffey, S 2006). It is therefore important to make activities group tasks to get everyone involved and if feedback is required this is done on a collective basis. We must also keep the work engaging for pupils, whilst progressing at the same time. Keeping activities relevant to the language by having lessons based around a song, a game or an art lesson, provides pupils with fun activities whereby the language is not their sole focus. However, we must develop progression. In Primary 1-3 talking and listening is emphasised, so the pupils have a key understanding of basic language. But older pupils will engage more with reading and writing lesson so therefore they are expanding their skills (Jones and McLachlan 2009). This however may require for teachers to recap pre-taught language to gage the level of the pupils’ understanding and reinforce the words. Therefore, by checking for understanding, use of progression and the use of the four main language skills, children CAN have a sound understanding of a foreign language and maintain this language throughout primary school, with progression in upper stages.

References:

Jones, J. and Coffey, S. (2006) Modern Foreign Languages 5-11: Issues for Teachers. David Fulton. London

Jones, J. and McLachlan, A. (2009) Primary Languages in Practice: A Guide to Teaching and Learning. McGraw-Hill Education

 

 

 

What is a Number?

We come into contact with numbers every day. Time, working out how many portions of dinner we’ll need to make or simply “hey what’s your number?”. But have we ever taken the time to think, what is a number and why do we even use them?

My first question is, why does the number three collectively represent other items in threes? Surely three dinosaurs would be more than three peas, even though they represent the same amount collectively. But it’s not due to weight, height or mass, its due to the value of the number three. Numbers are a language. For value, comparison and equivalence. They help us understand how many there is of something (value), help us compare that five dinosaurs are two more than three peas and that three peas and three dinosaurs are equal.

Numerals play a significant part in this. A numeral is the symbol or collection of symbols used to represent a number. A child’s first experience of a number is most likely going to be an adjective that would collectively describe a set of something e.g. five cats or two arms, this is more commonly known as the ‘cardinal aspect of a number’ (Haylock, 2014). This highlights that children can recognise an equivalence between two sets of objects and is why we understand that three dinosaurs are equal to three peas. At this stage numerals are the link to numbers. Therefore, children can look at numerals such as pictures of shapes or objects and count how many are there of one thing. This will therefore help them connect to real life situations and when shown beside numbers, they can begin to connect numerals and numbers together. By beginning to connect the two, children will have a deepened understanding of numbers and therefore their longitudinal coherence will develop. Starting their journey with numbers and maths simply and positively to prevent future maths anxiety (MA, 2010).

Numerals have been shown throughout our history and teach us a lot about the development of mathematics. One of the oldest is hieroglyphics, used by the Egyptians, dated as far back as 3000 BC. Their numerals were shown through drawings and symbols such as a bird and an Egyptian man (O’Connor and Robertson, 2000). Maths was commonly used by Egyptians if they were dividing food, solving problems for trade and market and most importantly for the pyramids (Mastin, 2010). This highlights the first use of maths for economy and trade. Wealth played a significant part in Egyptian life and social class was divided by money but more than anything, maths. Through looking at our history, we can see the similarities in the importance of economy then and now. We live in a world that’s economy changes daily and has the power to change and impact upon people’s lives. If we looked more in depth at historical economy such as Egyptian trade and social classes, we could learn and reflect on our economy nowadays and therefore maths is a historical aspect of economy that involves counting and numbers.

All factors of numbers have a place in fundamental maths, but most importantly teach us a lesson for now. We can apply what we have seen previously in history and the importance of numerals and numbers to aid our development with maths and see that it is essential for our wider society and not just basic classroom use. Relevance is a fundamental principle of Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Government, 2010) and therefore it is important that teachers bring this forward from historical findings into our everyday maths lessons and make children think about their future with maths in society.

Number Patterns and Sequences

Another way of teaching maths can be through number patterns and sequences. This can be another way of making maths interesting for children whilst developing their relationship with numbers. Vale and Barbose (2009, p9), stated that the use of patterns in maths can challenge students to use “higher order thinking skills and emphasise exploration, investigation, conjecture and generalisation.” Therefore, basic skills in maths are used within problem solving to develop not only longitudinal coherence but also multiple perspectives as they can use different methods to find the solution to a problem.

An interesting number pattern is Pascal’s Triangle, named after Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. This is a triangle that starts with the number ‘1’ and then below are the sum of the addition from the numbers above. For example, if 1 is beside 2 in the triangle the sum (number written below) would be 3. An example of this can be seen below.

Pascal’s Triangle makes maths fun for children whilst learning about addition and number patterns. Addition is a fundamental aspect of maths that it taught as early as ages 4-5 and can be continued to be taught throughout primary school through ways such as Pascal’s Triangle. The introduction of colours can also produce other findings within the triangle. For example, pupils can colour odd and even numbers or work out the horizontal sums of the triangle (Maths is Fun, 2017). This therefore keeps maths relevant and allows for differentiation in a classroom, as some can complete the main body of the triangle (addition) and some can move forward looking at other aspects of the triangle. Therefore old maths techniques and problem solving continue to find a relevance in our everyday maths and classroom.

References:

Haylock, D. (2014) Mathematics Explained for Primary Teachers. 5th edition: SAGE.

L, Mastin. (2010) Egyptian Mathematics https://www.storyofmathematics.com/egyptian.html (Accessed: 5th October)

J, O’Connor and E, Robertson. (2000) Egyptian Numerals. http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Egyptian_numerals.html (Accessed: 5th October)

Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.

N/A (2017) Pascal’s Triangle.  https://www.mathsisfun.com/pascals-triangle.html (Accessed: 6th October 2018).

Scottish Government. (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Building the Curriculum 3 A Framework for Learning and Teaching: Key ideas and Priorities. Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/1240/7/0099598_Redacted.pdf  (Accessed: 5th October 2018).

Vale, I. and Barbosa, A. (2009) Multiple Perspectives and Contexts in Mathematics Education. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/1485703/Patterns_multiple_perspectives_and_contexts_in_mathematics_education  (Accessed: 5th October 2018).

The Art of Tessellation

When Jonathan first said the word “tessellation”, I immediately thought what on earth is he on about?! Yet, following this lecture I now understand that tessellation is something that surrounds us.

Tessellation is the arrangement of identical shapes that fit together perfectly to create a pattern. These shapes have to fit precisely beside one another, meaning they’ll leave no gaps. If we look closer at items that we come into contact with on a regular basis, such as chocolate, footballs and kitchen tiles, we can see that there are shapes such as hexagons, squares and triangles that are joined together to form tessellation.

But how does tessellation link into a classroom setting?

Tessellation can occur through two different types of shapes. The first are regular. These include squares, hexagons and equilateral triangles and therefore form a more simplistic tessellation, for example, in the form of chocolate squares. Regular shapes, unlike irregular, have the ability to interconnect as all the vertices meet one another and therefore create the sum of 360 degrees. The second are irregular shapes, these are shapes such as pentagons, octagons and isosceles and scalene triangles (Maths is Fun, 2018). These work similarly to regular shapes, however, the shapes must be cut and pasted to a different part of the shape to be able to interlock with the other identical shapes. An example of this is shown below in the creation of a horse.

A form of tessellation can particularly be seen in Islamic religion through mosaics and geometric patterns (Hames, 2017). Islamic art focus on the creation of stars through tessellation. For example, they particularly use equilateral triangles to create 6 to 12 points of stars. These represent and symbolise harmony and hum consciousness. These features can be introduced into a classroom. Using maths (tessellation) and interconnecting it with art is a great way of introducing a calm and settled environment to the classroom. Boaler (2009), states that completing tasks in different ways therefore allows children to see that there are different methods to learning maths and therefore maths can be enjoyable for everyone.

Liping MA’s idea of inter-connectedness is highlighted through the use of maths and art. By using a mixture of the two, children who feel anxious about maths will therefore find a task such as creating Islamic art, as a more relaxed approach to maths. For example, if they enjoy art they believe it is more about art than the maths. Furthermore, this will lead to their longitudinal coherence. This is because they will have the basic understandings of shapes and therefore children have a sound enough understanding to bring this information forward to more complex areas such as tesselation.

An example of a lesson that could be used for tessellation is multiplication to create stars. By finding the different digital roots e.g. 4 times 6 = 24 which therefore this simplifies to 2 + 4 = 6, you can start at a point in the circle and continue to connect to the following dots (answer). When completed the pupils can colour these in and therefore maths and art have been interconnected in a lesson, helping those who have a passion in art have a profound understanding of maths.

 

Example of tesselaltion star from the digital root of the 4 times tables.

 

 

Overall, tessellation is a great lesson to introduce differentiation within a classroom. It allows for both art and maths to be taught at the same time, making maths fun and achieveable for those suffering from maths anxiety. Tesslation links into our classroom setting through a number of different lessons and has a major link to pupils’ understanding of shapes. A basic concept of maths that is learnt thoroughly to bring forward. This lecture in particular is one that I will continue to revisit when teaching, as I have not only learnt how maths can be fun, but have learnt about a different culture in the process. Therefore, I think this topic could be integrated into the classroom in a number of ways such as a class topic or investigation task.

References:

Boaler, J. (2010). The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths. London: Souvenir Press.

Giganti, P. (2010) Anatomy of an Escher Flying Horse. Available at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYGIhZ_HWfg (Accessed on: 25th September 2018).

Hames, S. (2017). Tessellations in Islamic Art. Available at: https://classroom.synonym.com/tessellations-in-islamic-art-12085299.html. (Accessed on: 12th November 2018).

Ma, L. (2010) Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics. (Anniversary Ed.) New York: Routledge.

Maths is Fun. (2018). Tesselation. Available at: https://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/tessellation.html (Accessed on: 24th September).

Warner, M. (no date) Digital Root Patterns Available at: https://www.teachingideas.co.uk/number-patterns/digital-root-patterns (Accessed on: 26th September 2018).

 

 

Discovering Maths in Me

When choosing my elective, I had to think rationally about what would have the most influence on my future career. Maths was the one subject that leapt out at me on the elective list. But not in a good way. I, like many other people, associate the word ‘maths’ with fear, horror, failure and disappoint. I eventually chose this elective, as I wanted to change this thinking and my feelings about maths.

Teachers can be placed in a difficult position. If they don’t understand or like a subject they cannot pass this on to their pupils. As many lecturers said during placement “faking it, till you make it” is vital. If we don’t fake our confidence within a subject and our teaching, then the children will see through this and adopt the same attitudes. Kelly and Tomhave (1985) found that primary school teachers have the ability to transmit their own anxiety about maths to their pupils. This, multiplied by 20-33 pupils, has the ability to influence children from age 5 to adulthood, which could have a detrimental effect on their future careers and their own children.

Maths plays a prominent part in our everyday activities, from reading bus timetables, to working out when to set an alarm. If children begin to believe that they can’t do maths, then easy everyday activities can become a difficulty. I remember telling two of my high school maths teachers that maths was impossible and I didn’t understand anything. The first, told me that maths wasn’t for everyone and maybe more English based subjects were my forte. The second, broke it down for me. He asked me if I could read a clock, count money, organise my day. All of which I agreed to. He then told me that maths is not just ‘find the equation’ or Pythagoras, but it was simple concepts that we take for granted. As teachers, we have to break maths into different components, to show children the everyday uses of maths to highlight to them that they CAN do maths.

A study carried out by the university of Cambridge shows that anxiety in any subject can prevent progression in learning. Having your mind tell you that you cannot do something can be one of the most detrimental things. Children need to know that they can improve and they can do maths. One factor that may knock a child’s confidence is always being told they’re wrong. Adults have a responsibility to tell children that it’s fine to get things wrong and it is just a learning curve that they can overcome. Teachers in particular need to be careful about constantly using a cross beside wrong answers or using the dreaded red pen. Instead, helping a child understand step by step where they went wrong and reassuring them that they can do maths, will hopefully prevent maths anxiety. Therefore, their confidence will maths can flourish in everyday uses and in the classroom.

Overall, my main goal with discovering maths is to develop a positive relationship with the subject and finally believe that I can do maths to develop my skills as a teacher.

References:

Cne.psychol.cam.ac.uk. (2018). The Relationship Between Maths Anxiety and Maths Performance — Centre for Neuroscience in Education. [online] Available at: https://www.cne.psychol.cam.ac.uk/the-relationship-between-maths-anxiety-and-maths-performance [Accessed 15th September].

Schwarzer, D., Bloom, M. and Shono, S. (2006). Research As A Tool for Empowerment. Greenwich, Conn.: Information Age Pub., p.4.

 

 

Scientific Literacy TDT

An understanding of science and the skills developed through the subject are becoming increasingly more acknowledged within Primary schools. Rutledge (2010) states; “children will not be able to connect up with their own ideas without skills such as predicting, and they will not be able to challenge their ideas without skills such as looking for patterns in results”. This links well into the importance of scientific literacy as it exhibits that children can develop skills that are learned within science, which can be transferable across the curriculum such as measuring, predicting and evaluating.

Scientific Literacy falls into four stages; Nominal, Functional, Conceptual and Multidimensional. This starts with recognition of a scientific term such as mass, following up to a full understanding of the term and applying it to their own lives and linking it into areas, such as history or a wider setting.

If there is a misinterpretation within scientific literacy and a person does not have the knowledge and skills to understand the science within conducting experiments; this could lead to false scientific conclusions being made. An example of when a lack of scientific literacy has led to false media representation is the MMR vaccine scare. The MMR vaccine protects against three illness, those of which are; measles, mumps and rubella. Dr Andrew Wakefield publicised that he believed this vaccine has links to autism and bowel disorders which resulted in vaccine rates of the MMR to decrease dramatically due to a fear within the public. It took over five years for this scare to finally be ruled out due to the high amount of allocations made by witnesses. It was said by the General Medical Council that Dr Andrew Wakefield “abused his position of trust” by conducting tests in which were unnecessary without the appropriate qualifications or ethical consent. Due to a failure of disclosure of questions that conflicted his argument the original paper that published this scare removed the article and his allegations were deemed as false (NHS Choices, 2010).

One of the key issues which must be enforced throughout science education in primary school is the importance of scientific literacy. As described by the OECD (2013, p9), academic literacy is the ability to use scientific fact and draw an accurate conclusion based on such knowledge. The importance of encouraging academic literacy from the earliest years of education cannot be underestimated. When teaching science from the earliest stage, academic literacy must become part of a routine. This will therefore allow accurate findings to be made which can support an individual’s research. As future educators, we must allow children to explore the ways of carrying out research responsibly throughout their time at school. Children must be motivated to work from a Nominal level (where by pupil recognises scientific vocabulary and concepts but their understanding is vague) – up to a Multidimensional Level of Scientific literacy (whereby the pupils can use scientific concepts and vocabulary in relation to other curriculum areas) (Holbrook & Rannikmae, p279). In order to understand how easy, it is to alter a substantial amount of results from the click of a button, children must see the damage inaccuracy can have. This allows them to understand that the implications are not just on an individual level but effect greater society. From a societal point of view, inaccuracy can cause extreme conflict between mind and matter. As a result, people most commonly suffer from severe mental of physical implications, which can be life changing and threating. Therefore, the importance of enforcing a secure structure of research, from a young age, will mean that in future the integrity of science can be protected.

To conclude, there must be more focus upon scientific literacy within primary schools. This will allow children to explore science and its connections to wider society, making it more relevant to them and their future learning. It will also provide them with the fundamental skills to; predict and challenge their learning and numerous transferable skills, all of which will accommodate their skills within school.

Jess Millar, Kimberly Waddell, Hannah Robertson, Rebecca Potter

References

Holbrook, J. and Rannikmae, M. (2009). The Nature of Science Education for Enhancing Scientific Literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 4.

Nhs.uk. (2010). Ruling on doctor in MMR scare. https://www.nhs.uk/news/medical-practice/ruling-on-doctor-in-mmr-scare/ (Accessed on: 10th February 2018)

Nhs.uk. (2018). MMR vaccine ‘does not cause autism’. https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/mmr-vaccine-does-not-cause-autism/ (Accessed on: 10th February 2018)

Oecd.org. (2015). PISA 2015. https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/Draft%20PISA%202015%20Science%20Framework%20.pdf (Accessed on: 8th February 2018)

Rutledge, N. (2010) Primary Science: Teaching the Tricky Bits. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

The Science Behind the Experiment

When entering 1F06 before our first science lesson I was nervous. The prospect of having to teach a science lesson is an area of learning I felt I couldn’t do. However, instantly the lesson grabbed my attention and showed me that science can be engaging.

We were all given the task of demonstrating an experiment and explaining how it works. I chose to show how to create ‘cornflour slime’. For this you only need cornflour and water. Once the consistency is right the liquid becomes hard when force is applied and returns to a liquid when there is none. It becomes a solid when force is applied as the particles of the cornflour lock together and then a liquid when there is no force, as the particles are suspended within the water. I believe that this experiment can intrigue children of all ages and is extremely simple to conduct. However, the science behind it is more focused towards those in upper level and this can be broken into the concepts behind the experiment.

Richard made us aware of the importance ‘P-O-E’ (predict, observe, explain). Firstly, you can get the children to predict what they think will occur in the experiment and the outcome. This could be formally written in a report as a hypothesis or just verbally. Secondly, they observe the experiment, this means they can repeat the experiment in groups or later at home. Lastly, explaining why the experiment occurred and what it means, will get them thinking about a variety of science concepts and thinking about real life scenarios that an experiment would apply to.

Science is extremely important to teach within primary schools as children will engage with active learning, whilst learning new concepts. There are many possibilities for future lessons from experiments such as; report writing, presenting, measuring distances and calculating time. Furthermore, I am now less apprehensive with teaching a science experiment and have seen a variety of other experiments that I can now use for a class lesson. These science workshops have demonstrated the many possibilities that science can bring – something which excites me.

Reflection – Semester 1

Throughout my first semester I have learnt that hurdles and challenges are what makes you a better person. When reflecting on the Working Together module, I overcame many hurdles. All of which helped my confidence. Just before our presentation a member of our group couldn’t attend. Although this sent us into a panic, it taught me that when things don’t always go right – it’s about how you deal with these problems that shows who you are as a person and your own capabilities. Following this, I can see that in teaching things will not always go to plan. Some lessons may not be successful and others may need adapted to go right on the day. This is the joy that teaching can bring. I am excited but anxious about placement, however I know it’s a learning curve and will provide me with key skills that I can use throughout university and the rest of my professional career. I am aware that my confidence is still developing, yet by interacting with new people and learning new skills, I know that university will change how I perceive things. From what I have learnt so far, it is fine to have push backs once in a while, as these are how we become better in our profession and life.

General Teaching Council for Scotland states that it is vital to critically examine personal and professional attitudes and challenge assumptions. I feel like I did this through the Values module. I came into the module with the assumption that I knew a lot about stereotypes, race and gender. Little did I know I was barely scraping the barrel. I am now more conscious about how I present myself and the things that I say. This is a vital quality to have within teaching, as you will meet people from different backgrounds and cultures, everyday throughout your career. Starting with the values module in semester one was more crucial to my learning as a student teacher than I could have imagined. I have challenged myself and my outlook on life and the world and this is something I never thought would occur.

 

 

Is the World Moving Forward Or Going Backwards?

In 2017, people find it difficult to express themselves. The common term ‘think before you speak’ has never been more relevant. Generations above us had no difficulty with saying what they think, and to be fair still don’t to this day. However, society nowadays will always find a flaw with something you have to say, whether that be about gender or sexuality.

The battle that homosexual individuals continue to face has been challenging. Before 2003, section 28 was a law that meant it was illegal for teachers to talk positively or support homosexuality in schools. It was believed that children may be influenced by this and only recently in 2014, Scotland passed legislation allowing same sex marriage. To many, this came as a no brainer, as equality is the best for everyone. However, older generations and some religions perceived this decision as wrong. Understandably older generations may find it difficult to come to terms with extreme changes in society and therefore find it harder to accept new things. Yet I believe that this may change how we act towards homosexuals; no matter how we feel. Sometimes in public you are more cautious about who you are with as you worry about who may be judging you. I can personally say that when with my gay friend, I feel a bit more vulnerable to what others are thinking of me. Although I know this is wrong, it’s an instant reaction, as I think about comments I have heard on television and from older people surrounding me. It doesn’t change how I feel towards gay people, but how I feel about myself and surroundings, which I know needs to change.

On the other hand, is different religion’s perceptions on same sex relationships in modern times. One Christian couple for example, wouldn’t allow a gay couple to stay in their B&B, as it went against their beliefs. I understand and sympathise that they wish to stick to their beliefs and think it’s right for them to do so. Yet, our society is continuously changing and it is difficult to discriminate nowadays to things such as same sex relationships, as the law states that it’s a right these people have. Christianity is also a religion that tells you to love everyone, and in 2016 Pope Francis stated that Christians should apologise to gay people. This comes after the increase of gay people committing to Christianity as their main faith, highlighting that even religions need to adapt with societal changes.

A further controversial issue in the UK is gender equality. The generic idea is that pink is for girls and blue is for boys. However, many young boys want to dress up as princesses and more girls are wanting to become scientists and engineers. This has led to companies such as John Lewis creating gender fluid clothes. Yet there have been many complaints about this, asking questions like – why do we need gender fluid clothes when there are boy’s and girl’s clothes available for the child’s particular gender? This is an example of how parents and society influence a child’s upbringing and decisions in life. One example of this is a young boy who wished to get a butterfly painted on his face, however his dad disagreed with this and made him get a more ‘boyish’ design of a monster. This emphasises that some parents influence their children to be more masculine which may be because it’s their perception of how a boy should be or because they don’t want their child to be judged by other parents.

One BBC documentary highlighted that maybe gender stigmas are ingrained in us, influencing our decisions without our knowledge. One task showed boys dressing in girl’s clothes and girls dressing in boy’s clothes and then taken to play with someone they had never met. The floor surrounding them was covered in toys but showed the adults reaching for teddies and princesses for the girls and robots and cars for the boys. The presenter of the documentary confronted the adults about their choice of toys and made them aware of the gender swap. They felt guilty about their choice of toys and not being aware of why they made their choices. Many toys and clothes do try to determine what path a child may lead with slogans. For example, Clarks shoe shop had their girl’s shoes being called ‘Dolly Babe’ and the boy’s as ‘Leader’. This can influence how many girls at primary school age perceive themselves or have the confidence to speak up in class. The term ‘leader’ also gives the idea that boys are more superior and can achieve anything, compared to the undermining term ‘Dolly Babe’. Small factors like these terms also links to the limited number of females in professions such as engineering, as this is believed to be a man’s profession, such like teaching is commonly known as a female profession.

To conclude, society is continuously changing and so are our ideas. Homosexuality is now a right and something that no one should be ashamed of. However, it is still difficult to achieve complete acceptance of this. Many people in older generations still find it difficult to adapt to the changes that the 21st century bring and this is clear with our beliefs with genders also. Many parents are guilty of feeling judged if their children act against their gender norms and therefore children can be influenced to be ‘girly’ or ‘masculine’ without being aware.

 

Resource Allocation – Meritocracy Within the Classroom

Our first seminar with Derek, saw us split into five groups. He told us to come up with the a ‘guide to fresher’s week’. He handed out envelopes full of equipment we were to use. Whilst doing so, we spotted that group 1 and group 2’s envelopes were much bulkier than the one we received. At this point in time we questioned whether some tools were left out and whether we should ask Derek if this were the case.

Our envelope included;

  • 1 post-it note
  • 3 paper clips
  • A pencil
  • Blue tack

This was in comparison to the other groups who had multiple pieces of card, different coloured pens, scissors and much more.

When delivering our idea to the class, we were aware of the positive feedback and interaction Derek portrayed to the first few groups. Our group felt very proud of coming up with the idea of a game from the limited resources we had. However, to hear next to no feedback, this made us question what we were doing wrong.

Upon creating our game, we felt we had to prove ourselves. We wanted to create the best idea and in return receive positive feedback. Yet, when Derek was scanning everyone’s ideas, he hardly interacted with us and at one point offered biscuits to group 1 and 2 and told them how imaginative their ideas were. At this point in time, we all felt neglected by Derek and therefore believed it was our fault.

When demonstrating our ideas to the class, Derek once again praised the groups before us about how inventive and imaginative they had been. Although to us, we believed we had the most imaginative idea. As our turn arrived we noticed Derek’s interaction had immediately dropped. He continued to look out the window and gave us no feedback. This made us feel extremely put back and more than ever made us question what we had done wrong. Not only that, but we felt annoyance towards him and the lack of attention we were given.

This particular task made us aware of meritocracy: the holding of power by people selected according to merit. Derek’s demonstration highlighted that teachers cannot discriminate against those without resources. The praise he awarded to others would make a child feel anxious about their studies and relationship with their teacher, which is not a healthy environment. When discussing the topic with the class, we became aware that group 1 and 2 had no realisation that they were receiving better treatment than the rest of us. This highlights that those with the best resources and opportunities in life, have little awareness about those surrounding them living in poverty and deprivation.

Overall, it is clear that becoming a teacher can be a struggle. It is not simple to give everyone the same opportunities when you have little understanding of their background and can become extremely easy to favourite particular students over another, without being aware of doing so. To prevent this a teacher should provide the same opportunities for everyone and understand that particular students made need more help than others. When achieving this the class environment becomes equal and enjoyable for the students.