Category Archives: 1 Prof. Values & Personal Commitment

Reflection, what is it good for?

In today’s lecture, the focus was largely on the importance of reflecting as a teacher, both in and out of school. The General Teaching Council (Scotland) have the Standards for Provisional Registration, which outline that engaging in reflection is key to becoming a striving and beneficial teacher.

3.4.2 Engage in reflective practice to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise Professional Actions

Student teachers:

 reflect and engage in self evaluation using the relevant professional standard;

 adopt an enquiring approach to their professional practice and engage in professional enquiry and professional dialogue;

 evaluate their classroom practice, taking account of feedback from others, in order to enhance teaching and learning;

 engage where possible in the processes of curriculum development, improvement planning and professional review and development;

 work collaboratively to share their professional learning and development with colleagues;

 maintain a record of their own professional learning and development, culminating in an Initial Professional Development Action Plan.                                                                                                                                                                                       (GTCS standards for provisional registration,                                                                                                                                                                 2012)

We were asked to think about a key moment about our professional development in semester one and reflect on what we learnt from this and what the processes of reflection are beginning to mean for ourselves.

A very striking memory from semester one which I feel covers this is during the working together module. For the assignment, we all had to reflect on how well we thought we worked together as a team, and what we all thought of each other as peers. It became very clear as we progressed with this task that we did not work as well together as we first thought. We began to identify gaps in our learning and communication with each other, and how we did not reflect on this and try to solve it straight away, but instead, kept it quiet, ultimately not solving the problem.

I feel I learnt a lot about the importance of reflection from such a small, somewhat straightforward task. I learnt that it is so important to reflect on collaborative working in particular, as, by reflecting on how you work well with others, you can identify any issues and resolve them as quickly as possible.

This made me realise that reflection is very important in the teaching profession, as it can help me to identify what  I have done particularly well on, but also, what I need to improve on. Without reflection, the same mistakes will be made and they will never be changed or thought about. By reflecting, I can identify issues and work on these to ensure I become the best teacher I can possibly be.

“Unless teachers develop the practice of critical reflection, they stay trapped in unexamined judgments, interpretations, assumptions, and expectations. Approaching teaching as a reflective practitioner involves fusing personal beliefs and values into a professional identity” (Larrivee, 2000, p.293)

The ‘ugly’ doll

During our Values lecture this morning, we were discussing the ideas of racism. During the presentation, we were shown the history of racism towards African/American people from the 19th century up until the present day.

It was seen that racism was a big part of history and a story in particular we spoke about was Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered by two white people. During their trial, they were found to be not guilty, despite all of the evidence against them.

What really struck me about today’s lecture was the vast amount of racism still ongoing today, particularly in America. Although black people do have more freedom and rights now as opposed to the 20th century, racism is still a large issue.

We found out that over the past couple of years there have been a large number of incidents in which unarmed black people in America have been shot and killed by the police force. This really shocked me as, although it is shown on the news a lot, I did not expect the number of these cases to be so high.

At the end of the lecture, we were talking about how racism can be seen in our profession. I feel that with children in education, other people influence their views, for example, their parents, who may express racist views and opinions in front of their children. This means that the children  may pick up on these views and express them also.

When I arrived home, what really struck me was that I found a video that was shared on facebook called the ‘doll test’.


In the video, a group of black and white children were asked their opinions on the dolls in front of them. When asked ‘which doll is the ugly/bad doll’, almost all of the children chose the black doll. When asked why, they replied because it was black. On the other hand, when asked ‘which doll is the good/pretty doll’, again almost all chose the white doll.

What really struck me about this video is that the children who were darker skinned chose the darker skinned doll as the ugly doll. This gives the perception that they are lead to believe that their own skin colour is ‘ugly’ and that they are considered to be ‘bad’ because of their colour, and that their white peers are more ‘pretty’ and more favourable in society.

This really got me thinking and shocked and upset me quite a bit, as even young children are exposed to racism in today’s society, and proved to me that it is having an effect on not only adults, but children too.

Structural Inequalities

Last week marked the first full week of having modules, and I loved it!

One of my modules is called Values: Self, Society and the Professions. On the Tuesday afternoon, we had a workshop for this module. When we arrived in the workshop we were all sat in to four groups and each group was handed an envelope numbered 1,2,3 or 4.

Derek, our lecturer, told us that our task was, using the resources inside our envelope, to create something that would be useful to a student starting at Dundee university.

On my group opening up our envelope, we found:

A post it note

A rubber band

3 paper clips

A pencil

We were all pretty confused as to how we would manage to create something with such little resources. However, we continued on and managed to create something with the little amount of resources given. (We managed to create a pencil topper that was complete with a map of the campus on it). On doing the task, I looked around at the other groups and noticed how different each groups resources were.

Group 1 had loads of resources such as pens, paper, post it notes, scissors, sellotape to name a few. Group 2 had very similar resources but of a fewer number. Group 3 had even less than group 2 and then our group had the least.

What I also noticed was that Derek highly favoured group 1 whilst being very ignorant to our group and not helping us in any way, which made our group feel embarrassed, dissapointed and jealous.

In the end, the whole point of the exercise was to identify strucutural inequalities in communities. Derek was showing that people, generally higher class, get treated better and have better resources whereas people of a lower class do not have access to as many resources and often fall off the radar.

Upon reflecting on this workshop, I thought about how children in schools may be like this, where some children have a lot of support and money for resources whilst others struggle and do not get the amount of support they should. If I were a child who was of a lower social class and wasn’t getting the support I deserved, I would feel very isolated and would feel like I had less chance of succeeding than those who were better off.

Overall, I feel that the exercise was really useful in helping everyone identify that there are structural inequalities everywhere, whether it be in school, work or in everyday life. It is in our profession to try and overcome these structural inequalities and ensure everyone has equal chances in life and that all are able to succeed and do whatever they want to do, regardless of their personal lives and upbringings.

I would also like to apologise to Derek for all the dirty looks that Danielle and I were exchanging between the workshop about the way in which we were treated. At the end of the workshop, he actually told us that he had to leave the room to stop himself from laughing at our expressions.