Community Project -12th November

I volunteered to help out at a local swimming club on a Saturday morning and a Tuesday evening as part of my community project. It involved supporting younger children who were nervous to swim and also giving them advice on swimming techniques. I am an extremely confident swimmer myself which is why I chose this project as I felt I would be beneficial for the club and I could  improve a variety of skills which will help me as a student teacher. 

There was a range of abilities from complete beginners who were scared of the water in comparison to children being able to swim many lengths confidently. I was extremely surprised to see how the teacher was able to respond to things happening such as when children did not feel well, forgetting goggles and much more. The tea cher dealt with this extremely well. He kept each child interested and engaged through a variety of different ways such as constantly getting them to swim, putting them into groups with their friends so they are comfortable with each other and many more. The amount of swimming I saw in each 45 minute session in the club was very surprising. There were many challenges whilst I was helping out. These included the poolside being small and a concise area. This meant it was hard to hear the children  when they were struggling or needing support as the poolside was very noisy. A  few children had medical conditions so  I had to know about each child’s medical history to allow myself to understand and be able to support each child.  As the swimming club had roughly 20 children per session, I found it difficult to have every child’s attention quickly as possible. This meant time was sometimes wasted. 

I have learnt more about the importance of professional skills through this community project such as communication with children, confidence, being organised with lessons and activities to match each lesson to suit a range of abilities.

Helping out at this club allowed me to research more about swimming overall and how beneficial it can be for the quality of life. ACTIVE (2019) suggests that swimming helps swimmers to improve their metabolism to be able to last longer during exercise. It also helps the muscles to not be painful. This results in more energy being burned off. Team and Team (2019) reinforces these positive impacts as they suggest that by swimming can help people to live a longer life and have a better mind frame and healthier heart. These reasons highlight the positive effect swimming has on the quality of life for people today and how swimming can also help the National Health service by reducing the number of people needing to go to hospital due to heart problems, chronic illnesses and much more.

Obesity in children is very high in the UK. Scottish Government (2018) highlights this through a survey which was taken in 2017. This survey showed that 26% of children between the ages of 2 and 15 are at high risk of being overweight. Also, it was shown that 13% of these children are at risk of obesity. Swimming is seen to be highly recommended to help children with obesity as this sport helps children to lose body fat (Lee and Oh, 2014).

During this placement I asked the pupils at the club how they felt  about swimming and if they enjoyed it. I had very different perspectives from the children which was extremely useful in allowing myself to see their feelings towards their learning and the club. All the children seemed to enjoy it very much however some children in particular such as the younger pupils  had said it can be difficult for them at times and can be too much for them. This then allowed me and the teacher to adapt to the lesson to help each child feel more comfortable when swimming and meet each of their abilities. It has been found that teachers who ask their students for their feelings towards their learning gives teachers the opportunity to adapt their skills to support their pupils learning and improve when needed (Angelo, 1998).

I learnt many skills such as time management, confidence and many more. Barge (2019) states that helping the community benefits in many ways. I have improved many skills such as communication, management and many more.I felt very nervous but the more I helped out, the more confident I became when supporting the children. When speaking to the public for example- speaking to the parents and explaining to the parents what the aim was each week for the children or if there was ever any problems. I look forward to using these skills as a student teacher.

References

  • ACTIVE.com. (2019). 9 Good Reasons Why You Should Get in the Pool. [online] Available at: https://www.active.com/swimming/articles/9-good-reasons-why-you-should-get-in-the-pool [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].
  • Angelo, T.A. (ed.). Classroom Assessment and Research: An Update on Uses, Approaches, and Research Findings. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 75. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998.
  • Barge, M. (2019). Benefits of Community Service For You. [online] Blog.prepscholar.com. Available at: https://blog.prepscholar.com/benefits-of-community-service [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].
  • Scottish Government (2018). Growing Up In Scotland: Overweight And Obesity At Age 10 – Gov.Scot. [online] Gov.scot. Available at: <https://www.gov.scot/publications/growing-up-scotland-overweight-obesity-age-10/pages/3/> [Accessed 29 April 2020].
  • Team, H. and Team, H. (2019). Health Benefits of Swimming – Swimming health benefits. [online] HealthStatus. Available at: https://www.healthstatus.com/health_blog/plan-for-weight-loss/health-benefits-swimming/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019].
  • Lee, B. and Oh, D., 2014. The effects of aquatic exercise on body composition, physical fitness, and vascular compliance of obese elementary students. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 10(3), pp.184-190.

Energy Blog

In the lecture we learnt  what energy actually is and had a discussion about fossil fuel and the sustainability of fossil fuels in our world today. I learnt about their origins and the total use of energy we may use by 2040 which would be 59%. I never knew much about energy we use every day however after this lecture I was able to see the importance of energy.

In the first workshop we had an energy debate.  This included the class splitting up into two arguments. One side FOR wind turbines and the other side AGAINST wind turbines. Before this debate I was not very confident in debates and never enjoyed debating. However, after this workshop I realised how I should have more confidence in debating as I was very good at it and by the end actually enjoyed it a lot. By completing this debate, I was able to hear many great reasons for both sides of the argument and felt I learnt more about energy through the debate through all the different facts. In groups we looked at different evidence to support the side given to us. For example our group was AGAINST  wind turbines and so we looked at many different sources to find information to highlight why we should be against wind turbines.

I found that debating allowed us to improve our critical thinking skills, note-taking skills and many more. After this workshop I found research on why debating  is good in education.  Debating involves improving many skills such as confidence to speak in public, improve the ability to read an audience’s reactions but he said the most important skill they learn is hearing people’s views and responding to them (Clark, 2019). I feel as a student teacher I would reinforce this aspect of debate in many topics of sustainable development as I know from experience  the positive impacts debating can have on people’s development skills.

In the second workshop we had the opportunity to learn much about electricity and what it is. We watched a video on youtube “The Introduction to Electricity”. It was extremely useful and I felt it was a great way to introduce the topic. I learnt from this video much about electricity: Electricity is the movement of charged particles called electrons. Moving electrons causes a lightning strike for example turning a light on. In this video we also learnt about a battery: A Chemical device designed to create the force needed to move electrons.

We  got the opportunity to make a circuit including batteries, lightbulbs,switches and buzzers. I attached each part of the circuit to match the paper copy given to us (shown below in the workshop) after learning how a circuit is created using positive and negative signs on the switches etc.  I was able to see the bulb turn on when all the parts were connected correctly. I found this extremely fun and very useful as was a chance to physically do it ourselves and see the outcome of electricity shown through a circuit. I feel I would be very confident teaching a class this topic. However, I feel that to give children the same opportunity to put circuits together, they would not be focused in the learning of this topic as a whole as they would be so interested in all the different parts in making a circuit.

 

In the second week of energy we focused on technologies in education and the impact of how people  need to be skilled in technologies and also be aware of how positive energy can have in our world today. We learnt about how we as student teachers could teach this topic to class of young pupils. Our task was to build a moving-object in groups. My group chose to build a bus. We had to use different materials such as balloons, sticks, scissors, plastic wheels and many more. As shown below, you will  see the outcome of this task. We were able to see the friction of the bus and the table and how by a push the bus moved. This highlighted the energy used to make the bus move along the table/floor. I found this an extremely effective way to show through physical activity how energy is used, it gives the opportunity to understand and use our thinking skills in making something that moves. It highlights the importance of energy in many different things we use and see every day such as transport. This is definitely a task I would use in the future to teach a class of children about energy in moving objects.

In this workshop, we spoke about how we would critically reflect with our pupils on this topic. This includes asking the pupils questions such as if they were engaged in the topic?, What was a surprising fact they learnt about Energy? and many more. As Brookfield (1998) highlights that asking learners these questions allows them to review their answers at the end of the topic/lesson which is a great way of reflection to see their progress of the topic being taught which  I will use in the future when teaching.

 

                    

 

References:

  • Brookfield, S. (1998). Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. Available at: http://anitacrawley.net/Resources/Articles/Brookfield.pdf [Accessed 28 June 2020].
  • Clark, A. (2019). Why debating still matters. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/aug/06/why-debating-still-matters [Accessed 12 Nov. 2019].
  • Introduction to Electricity(2006)Youtube video[online]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJeAuQ7pkpc [Accessed 12 November 2019].

Disasters Blog

This topic has been my favourite topic so far. The first workshop we got the opportunity to try many different experiments of science to highlight the natural disasters such as volcanos. The first experiment was creating a chemical reaction to show how a volcano is formed. We used baking soda and vinegar. This involved pouring vinegar into a container with baking soda. We then saw the reaction of when the soda and acid met. The result looked like an erupting volcano as shown below.

                                    

The second experiment was we had the opportunity to use a hammer and try break down rocks into smaller parts. It was extremely difficult which shows the impact rocks have when an earthquake strikes. In this workshop we also watched a few videos of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in history.  It was extremely fascinating.

In the second workshop we explained more about the political nature of disasters and talked about the governments actions relating to disaster response and rebuilding. At first I found this quite boring but as we got into the explanations and watched a few videos I was more and more interested. We completed tasks such as being given an image for example, a home that had been wrecked by a disaster. We had to figure out what kind of disaster had struck for this image to look the way it did. It was stated by the Red Cross Foundation, (2019) that a disaster is a sudden event that seriously disrupts a community and causes human material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s ability to cope using its own resources.

We also got the opportunity to look at a case study each. My case study was the Japan earthquake the occurred 11th March 2011.  I found it very heartbreaking imagining the aftermath for all the people who lost lives and lost their loved ones. Our task was to reflect on what it tells us about the governments priorities such as funding, resources and much more. In this workshop we also found out that Halacha, (2012) clearly stated that “ Disasters take children beyond their immediate surroundings and into the wider world”. I found this extremely effective as a student teacher as allowed me to reflect on how we as future teachers are meant to teach about Disasters to children of today.

We also discussed in groups about the response by the government and many organisations to disasters happening. We believe that the government can prepare communities for disasters like these by taking hazard assessments and community procedures such as evacuation. Also they can respond quickly after a disaster by Healthcare support, search and rescue and providing clean food and sanitation. We looked at a report/video regarding to Hurricane Katrina where we watched how the government helped this community after this extremely horrific disaster. One fact I was shocked at was with The Road Home organisation which was formed after this disaster. It was seen that 105, 375 people applied for money and only 576 people received this money. I was extremely shocked as it is shown in the video that this organisation was given more money but this still did not help the people who were in need of money support. 

In the second week of Disasters, we were in groups of 6/7 where we were to do a presentation on a disaster given to us. My group were given volcanoes and so we completed a presentation on volcanoes what they are, how they occur, how we would teach this topic to a class of pupils and much more. As a student teacher I found this extremely effective as highlighted that I would be able to confidently teach this topic using a variety of resources. Each group presented their presentation to the class. This allowed us to have an insight to what it would be like teaching this topic to a class of pupils.  I was able to see the tasks pupils could complete to help support the learning of this topic. I also felt it allowed me to improve my communication skills such as confidence speaking in front of others and  research skills.

Overall, I am extremely confident in this topic and  I am  more aware of the aftermath of these Disasters and how different organisations help communities to re-build their lives again. I found this topic the most engaging as I felt I was constantly learning new things which made me  focused. I also believe that the use of many youtube videos as seen in lectures and workshops is a useful way when teaching to young children.In addition, when teaching this topic, asking the pupils how they feel about the topic and activities would be beneficial to allow me a student teacher be able to see from children’s point of view their thoughts on the way this topic is taught. It also can be reassuring for us by asking their pupils views on the learning (Brookfield, 1990).

I feel a lot more comfortable in being able to teach this topic the most effective and understanding way for young children.

References:

Interdependence Blog

Interdependence 

Interdependence is the idea of two or more living things depending on each other to grow and staying healthy(Cambridge Dictonary, 2019). There are three components of Interdependence: Economic Interdependence including global market and trading and World Bank, Social Interdependence including Media and Advertising, Environmental Interdependence including Weather and Global repercussions and responsibility(Pahelke, 2009). Today we visited two farms. The first farm we visited was called West Mossgiel Farm which was small and organic. The second was called Strandhead Farm which was a large and technologically advanced farm. Both farms had various different facts which made the visit so interesting as really understood the difference between these two dairy farms. Before going to these farms today, I believed every dairy farm was the same and produce the same milk the same way.

Strandhead Farm was an organic farm which I found really interesting. I found out much about the number of cows at this farm, facts about these certain cows, how the best milk is made from the cows and much more. I found out that the more volume of cows on the farm the more volume of milk that is provided. I found out that to have so many cows and so much milk, the cows need to be fed really well and be in a comfortable and safe place on the farm. The most interesting fact I found out which before I had no knowledge of, was that cows need to not be stressed to be able to make enough milk which then leads to better quality of milk overall. I was told that for 4/5 months of the year cows eat grass outside however in the other months there would not be enough grass which then meant the cows had to be stayed inside all the time to allow the grass to grow and be available all the time highlighting sustainability.

West Mossgiel Farm is another dairy farm which produces organic milk. This farm was very different in my opinion. When we got to the farm we had to clean our feet and at the end of our visit. There are people who educate others called RET. They do risk assessments for every visit on behalf of the teachers and they also work with SEN kids adapt for their needs for example fidget spinners etc. I found it really interesting that this farm was set up by Robert Burns 250 years ago. The farm started off with 28 cows and grew to 150, however, after a dairy collapse they had to sell some cows to get money for the bank. They ended up with only 30 cows. Due to having such little money and little number of cows they ended up buying a yoghurt maker to try make more money. I found out that only 10% of the land is grass and the rest of the land is used for cereal products for high energy. I did not understand why they needed so much land for cereal products however then we found out that without cereals in diet at this farm, they would lose roughly 50% of milk which would be very negative for the farms income. I was told that not many farms do this which is why the farm is very unique. This is because years and years ago, cows with horns left would hit farms when they would be cooped up. The most interesting fact I was surprised about at Mossgiel Farm was that dairy cows and calves are not separated at birth from their mothers for 4/5 month as their mothers food prepares them well at the beginning.

After the visit, we were able to reflect on what we found out about the two farms and analyse them both using our critical thinking skills. We also spoke to our peers where we reflected on the assumptions we had about the farms before visiting and how using the information found out today and our thinking skills we can see how sustainability is so important on these farms in particula. This highlighted the alternative ways of thinking. (Brookfield, 1987).

Overall, Ayrshire cattle make high quality milk but however do not make the same amount as other cows. This allowed me to understand why we visited these two farms. I was able to see the importance of dairy farms for sustainability today. It is clearly seen that cow welfare affects sustainable dairy farming. I believe taking the pupils to a farm when teaching this topic is a fantastic idea as not only do they get to see the various factors of interdependence from their own perspective but also gets pupils outside the school environment for a while. This reinforces the outdoor learning and after this visit this reinforced how important outdoor learning really is both physically and mentally: developing confidence, self-esteem and developing collaborative- working. 

References:

Just another blogs.glowscotland.org.uk – Glow Blogs site

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