What Makes a Good Science Lesson?

When I was younger we never had any science lessons at Primary School. It wasn’t until I went to High School that I was introduced to Science and I really enjoyed it. I’m excited that we, as teachers, can give children a chance to embrace their curiosity through Science. It is a vital, very relevant subject that is important for pupils to be involved in.

A good Science lesson should definitely be interactive. Teaching the children a theory is important too but it should never be just talking at them. Allowing the children to actually see the theory in practice will intrigue them. Interactive lessons always make the children more interested and therefore they actually learn more. Even if there is not a good access to Science resources, it could be simple Science lessons with simple ‘equipment’. Furthermore allowing the children to interact with each other is important too because they will learn from one another and develop their communication, team working and/or leadership skills. The children will have different ideas about the experiments which they can share with each other and allow an alternative way to think about things.

The children should be developing new and relevant skills every time they do a Science lesson which prepares them for the real world as science is a big part of life and work now and even more in the future. Being able to question and make sense of things are two of the key skills that they can gain from Science lessons which they can hold onto for life. As well as this, discussing the variety of potential jobs that will be available to the children and the different people who fill these roles (eliminating stereotypes), this is important because the children can see that Science isn’t just a man in a white lab coat and will hopefully inspire them, making a job within STEM subjects a reality for them.

Within a good Science lesson looking at news stories relating to science is a great idea as this will prompt discussions with the children and potentially make links with external issues. This again allows them to ask ‘why’ and think about the different effects that all of this new science will have on the world. It opens their eyes to how much all these different aspects of Science impact our society and creates a reality for them to be able to make a difference through Science.

Overall, I would say that a good Science lesson should be interactive, teaching pupils how to apply the knowledge they have gained and giving them skills for life and work. Furthermore children should be inspired to look into Science much more often too.

 

 

 

Mathematics (1) Reflection

I have been worried about teaching maths. This is because I have never liked maths, therefore I felt as though I would not be good at teaching it. The reason I don’t feel passionately about it is because I remember maths as sitting quietly, doing ten questions then for the teacher to mark them and discover I’d got most of them wrong anyway. However, this session with Tara gave me an insight into how interesting maths can be.

Talking to the children about their maths was an idea I found quite surprising as I mostly always experienced maths as a subject where I would work quietly. Asking children to discuss and justify their answers not only allows the teacher to understand what is going on in their mind but also demonstrates to the other children alternative ways to work out a sum or a problem. This may help other children if they feel stuck or just give them alternative, easier ways to find a solution. This also develops communication skills and their confidence as they try to explain their thinking.

Referring to maths as a language made me realise the importance of it. It is a universal language, everyone uses numbers and therefore can be used as a means of communication.  Furthermore we discussed the myths of maths that have arisen over decades. This made me feel responsible for getting rid of them. Just because I have ‘maths phobia’ does not mean that I should pass it on to the children that I teach. I would love to show the children that I am passionate about maths (even if I’m not) to motivate them to try their best and ensure that they enjoy the subject.

Maths can be taught through other curricular areas such as PE, science or even art. This is a great way to teach maths because even the children who dislike maths will still enjoy the lesson. It may allow them to discard the mindset of ‘I cant do this’, meaning they will allow themselves to do their best and won’t be stopped by this mental block. The interactive learning, such as doing games in PE, means that children of all levels can interact with each other.

Even though maths was not my favourite subject at school, I look forward to teaching it through talking, doing and seeing. I can use the knowledge I have gained to show children that maths is an intriguing and fun subject.

Health and Wellbeing 2 (TDT)

During this session we discussed what health is and how to help the children to understand what health is and how to keep themselves healthy. I have planned some lessons relating to what we learned and discussed, particularly focusing on food health.

Lesson Plan 1

On the tables in the classroom, lay out a variety of food in bowls as well as a bowl full of sugar cubes. The children will be split into teams and then in each team should take turns guessing how many sugar cubes they think are in each food product by placing a number of sugar cubes next to each bowl. Once every team has guessed, the teacher will put the correct amount of sugar cubes next to each food which will surprise the children as it will probably not be what they expect. This is an interactive lesson which means that the children will feel more interested in what we are learning about. It also involves problem solving and team work. The competitiveness amongst the teams will motivate the children further. This is a fun way to educate them on how sugary some of our food products are. Being able to see all of the sugar cubes may have more of an impact on the children as well because they have a visual of the sheer volume of sugar. The teacher can then discuss with the children how these foods contribute to a healthy diet.

Lesson Plan 2

At each table, lay out packaging from a variety of healthy and unhealthy foods. Ask the children to work together, looking closely at the sugars on the food packaging putting them into piles of healthy and unhealthy foods. The teacher can then discuss with the children the impact that healthy and unhealthy foods can have on them.

Lesson Plan 3

Using the knowledge gained from the previous lessons, the children can design and create their own food diaries. They can customise/decorate their diaries to make them personal which will motivate them to actually use them. For 1 week, each time they eat a meal they can write down what they ate. This will allow them to reflect on their own diets and because they are paying close attention to what they’re eating this may encourage them to make healthier choices.

 

Reflecting on Dance Workshop 1

This lesson pushed me out of my comfort zone as I was interacting with people whom I hadn’t before. For some children this may also be the case but I can see that it would build their confidence as throughout the lesson everyone became more comfortable with one another. I was put in the pupils’ shoes which allowed me to be on the receiving end of the teaching of dance and see how much impact it can have on the child. I discovered that dance builds motivation, confidence and relationships amongst the children. I have gained valuable experience for teaching on my placement and beyond.

We discussed that dance can be used to teach other subjects such as numeracy, literacy and sciences. These could potentially be quite ‘boring’ subjects but dance makes them fun and the children are more likely to take in the information because their concentration levels are higher than they would be if they were bored. Giving the children specific dance moves for phrases, grammar/punctuation or sums may enable them to remember helpful information. Even in the classroom, if the dance move if memorable enough then they will remember the sum to do or the punctuation to use.

Another good concept that I think I will take forward as a teacher is the idea of getting the children to find different ways to move around the hall. It allows children to build their team working skills whilst they are brainstorming to think of crazy ways to move around. The children will also become more confident as they share their ideas with others. This allows the quieter children the courage to share their ideas with the class which, in turn, builds their confidence in their own ideas and their work during other subjects.

When the groups came together and had to choose their favourite move to show the class, I could see how this could be challenging for children as most children would want to use their own move. They would have to debate who’s move to use and overcome the problem. Problem solving is a valuable skill that can be used by the children in many aspects. This gives the children a chance to embrace other people’s ideas.

I have learned that dance isn’t just for the children’s fitness but can be used as a way for them to learn and/or express themselves. I look forward to using these ideas and concepts during my teaching.

Racism and Patriarchy

The lecture on Tuesday opened my eyes to the horrific treatment that human beings received if they weren’t white men. Although we are now in modern times there is still disadvantages that exist between different races and different sexes in many aspects.

We were told the story of young Emmett Till’s death. He was brutally beaten and murdered by two white men. His mother made sure Emmett had an open casket so that people could see what these men had done to him and over 1000 people came to see his casket. However, there was no justice as these murderers stood in front of an all white, male jury who, after just 67 minutes, decided that they would be allowed to walk free. It astounded me that the colour of Emmett’s skin determined whether these monsters were classed as murders or not. This horrific event was one that triggered the movement for equality amongst races.

The Jim Crow laws are another shocking part of our history. These were signs that would specify ‘white only’ or ‘black only’ in shops, restaurants, cinemas and more. One sign that really caught my eye was a sign that read “no dogs, Negros or Mexicans”, this compared anyone who wasn’t white to the same level in society as a dog. This should never have been acceptable to treat other human beings this way, but unfortunately for many centuries this was seen as ‘normal’. This extent of inequality amongst races was fought against by activists such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and many other brave people who took steps towards equality. It showed me how one small act of bravery can contribute majorly towards a movement that you believe in and it can inspire others to do so too.

Although the amount of equality between the races has decreased significantly, white people are still somewhat privileged in society. There is a lot of racial abuse and discrimination which exists today. It can be seen occurring during many sports and even during politics, a lot of these people (especially sports professionals) can be seen as role models for many people which sets a horrible example and may encourage their fans to use racist comments.

A story which shows that white people continue to be the privileged race is one of a woman who was caught drink driving. After she was caught she told the police that she was a “clean, white girl” which she thought may get her out of being charged. This woman should never have assumed that she could break the law and put other people in danger just because she is white. It is incidents such as this which remind me that the inequality still exists even after all the injustice that people have received.

Another inequality that has effected our society is the one that has existed between the sexes. For many centuries, throughout every country in the world women have always been though of as less than men. But why? There have always been stereotypes that women are weak and fragile and men must be strong and insensitive. This inequality is introduced in very early years for every child and can affect their motivation, self esteem and create barriers for women especially throughout their careers and their life. These gender specific behaviours are shown to us through books, movies and TV shows. This is how children pick up on these behaviours, they are told that if they act any way other than what they are shown then they aren’t feminine or masculine enough for society.

We were shown adverts from the 20th century which advertise women as being “servants” to men and portray woman as being unintelligent. Demonstrating how a the “ideal” women should act or look. As well as this, there were photos of women have their bathing suits measured to see if they were the appropriate length. This seems completely mad to me, however this inequality still exists now. In 2016, a women was asked by police to remove her birkini on a beach in France. The fact that women are still being told what they can and cannot wear portrays a sense of men still being dominating.

The fear of not being what society expects becomes in-bedded in people. Doing something “like a girl” has always been something that people take offence to. It enhances the idea that girls are less than boys. When we were shown the Always advert we seen older boys and girls doing things “like a girl” such as running, throwing or fighting, all of which they performed in a pathetic and weak way. However when they asked young girls to perform the same actions “like a girl” they ran fast, threw strong and fought hard. This showed us that it is through childhood that children absorb these views and thoughts that boys and girls are so different. We have the power to change this.

 

Reflection of structural inequalities

At the workshop we were split into four groups and given an envelope of full of resources. We were then asked work together in our teams to create something that would help new students. Within the envelope were a number of resources such as paperclips, coloured paper, pens and pencils. My group had a good variety and amount of resources. When we presented them we could see that Brenda was quite unimpressed by what groups 4 and 5 had created however she gave the other groups lots of praise. Although what we were unaware of was that groups 4 and 5 had far less resources than us. This obviously meant that they could not complete any work to the same standard as ours, nonetheless Brenda did not take this into account. We never realised that other people had less than us because we were too focused on our own task.

This taught us that as teachers it is important to recognise that children have different backgrounds and therefore some may have limited resources which will effect their work. For example some children may not have access to the internet therefore will struggle with homework that is assigned to them. It is important to treat children equally no matter what, whether it is in or out of the classroom. This means that the children will feel important and cared for by the teacher which, in turn, will motivate them.

Favouritism in the classroom towards certain children and their work can create many problems. It can have an impact on pupils confidence in themselves and in their work which means they may not feel encouraged to work to their full potential. As well as this it may have an effect on the relationships within the classroom, making some students feel isolated. Treating children equally allows for a good working environment to be created for the pupils.

Furthermore as a teacher it is crucial to have integrity. For the children a teacher with integrity would act as an excellent role model, allowing them o have someone whom they can look up to. Mutual respect between teacher and pupil creates a positive atmosphere in the classroom as well as inspiring respect amongst the pupils themselves creating more positive relationships. Another vital aspect within a classroom should be trust. Trust between the teacher and pupil means that the pupil will feel confident to discuss anything with their teacher, whether it be problems within the class or at home. This means appropriate actions can be taken to ensure the child receives help with whatever it may be.

Why I want to be a teacher

There are many experiences I’ve had that have inspired me to be a teacher. I knew that I loved teaching after doing my work experience as I got to see the children develop new skills, build their confidence and learn new things – I found it very rewarding. I was able to observe teaching strategies and having the chance to teach the pupils myself which allowed me to build relationships with the pupils. I have also assisted at an Art and Design club in my high school as well as assisting at a Tae Kwon Do club. These both gave me tasters of what the teaching profession would be like and proved to be enjoyable experiences as well as allowing me to gain relevant knowledge and skills.

I have had many role model teachers throughout my school years who have inspired me to become a teacher as I would like to have a positive impact on children’s learning the way they had on mine. However, I have also had many teachers who have had a negative impact on my learning which impacted both my relationship with the teacher and the subject we were learning about. This highlighted the importance of the teacher building relationships and creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom. This made me even more motivated to become a great teacher.

I feel that I have lots of passion and enthusiasm for teaching, giving the pupils an exciting learning experience which would encourage them to work to the very best of their abilities. Being a teacher means that I am able to be involved in shaping the pupils to become exceptional individuals, which is very important for life and work. Teaching would allow me to guide children to do the best they can in all aspects of life giving every pupil an equal chance to do what they want to do. I am excited to learn more about education so I can become the best teacher I can be.

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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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