Equity Workshop

This week in our tutorial we were split into five different groups, each group was given a brown envelope filled with stationary resources and told to come up with a service or product which would be useful to a first year in their first week of attending Dundee University. At the start of this task the five groups were unaware that each envelope contained a different amount of resources so some groups were more limited than others.

Once each group was given time to come up with their idea they were instructed to use the resources they were given to make a model of their final product. I found that the groups with more resources got straight into the task and were quite happy with what they had been asked to do. Groups with less resources were confused as they looked around to see other tables with more pens or paper than them. After noticing that they had been given less than others around them they became less enthusiastic towards the task and distracted by the confusion that they had not been given equal opportunity to others in the tutorial.

After each group made their product we were told to present our idea to the other four groups in the room. At this time the groups with the most resources were not aware they had an advantage to the other groups and were asked to present first. I found the lecturer to be very enthusiastic about the first groups product, giving them a lot of praise for their work. As each group presented, regardless of their effort and ideas the lecturer became less satisfied with their work, finally giving a score out of ten to each group, where the groups given less resources were given very low scores. This caused confusion throughout the whole class, as everyone started whispering the scores seemed rather odd and unfair. Due to the feedback that the class had received the groups with few resources were made to feel quite confused and felt bad about their performance compared to others in the class, through no fault of their own. I was in a group with second to most stationary and was given very positive feedback for our work.

After everyone had presented the lecturer went on to explain that it had been an equity exercise and to discuss why the groups with less had realised they were not equal to others in the room but how the groups with more had not realised their advantage. This let everyone see how important it is for every child in a classroom to be given equal opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability regardless of their background. The tutorial showed us that some children may have more than others and not realise it, however, this does not mean other children should be made to feel less significant but should be given any support necessary so they can feel equal to and as confident and accepted as their peers.

Why I chose teaching?

I chose to pursue a career in primary teaching because the opportunity to be a part of shaping and enhancing a child’s mind for their future is deeply important to me. Primary education will influence some of the first of many important decisions children will make throughout their lives. I am passionate about helping children from different backgrounds and cultures come together to learn to respect and communicate with each other at the same time as individually developing their own opinions about themselves and the constantly changing environment around them. In their primary education children can learn to thrive and enjoy each others company as well as discovering skills and hobbies they will take with them into their futures and possibly their careers. I would love to have a positive impact on children and be part of the reason they come home from school feeling content and successful. I love to see children developing their knowledge and understanding more and more each day, therefore would love the opportunity to be able to support and guide students as they mature into confident and responsible members of society who are keen to learn and contribute to the world around them.

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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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