The Health and Wellbeing of the Child is Crucial to Development- Reflection

After watching both Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnocha’s videos about the brain development of children in their early years, it made me understand even more just how important it is that we as practitioners do everything in our power to promote positivity into every child’s life.

It was particularly eye opening for me to understand in better depth from Suzanne Zeedyk’s video just how much the environment a child grows up in can affect the development of their brains in both good ways and bad. If the child grows up in a calm and more predictable environment then they will feel happier themselves which effectively makes them learn more efficiently. However, if a child lived in a more stressful and unpredictable environment, it causes them to feel anxious and uneasy which can negatively impact on their learning as all their energy is focussed on feeling nervous and limited to learning. These factors effect children’s futures as the children living in more calm environments find it easier to succeed in life as they don’t have to focus all their energy on being nervous as they have nothing to be afraid of. Whereas for children living in environments that involve problems such as abuse, it can make it hard for them to connect with others later in life as they come across as anxious as they don’t know who to trust.

John Carnochan’s video reinforced to me the fact that it is also important to be as caring and nurturing to children as possible, especially in the early years of their lives. By doing this, it can make a remarkable difference to the way their brains develop later in life. By adding positivity into their lives at an early age, it makes a huge difference as it allows children to feel happy and safe in ways they maybe cannot at home if they are living in an abusive household. This consequently will increase the productivity of their learning in the future as it helps reduce stress and anxiety by having someone they can trust to help them.

As primary practitioners, it is important for us to make all children feel welcome in the classroom and feel at ease by creating a positive ethos in school. By creating a positive ethos both in school and in the classroom, it effectively encourages to children that school is a safe and enjoyable place to be. It reassures children that they will feel comfortable and wouldn’t need to feel anxious in any way. To create a positive ethos, teachers and all staff in the school need to be happy, open, approachable, and trustworthy to children. By being this way, it means that pupils will not hesitate to speak to teachers if they have any questions or want to talk about problems which develops positive relationships between both the teacher and their pupils. In addition, it is important for the school environment to feel welcoming and friendly, for example by adding lots of colour onto the walls and displaying pupils’ work on the wall. This helps to make all pupils feel like they are included members of the school which helps to boost their confidence. On the whole, by making school a pleasant and positive place to be, it will effectively enhance the learning of all children as they gain positive attitudes and mindsets from this. As primary practitioners, we need to be as caring and nurturing as possible to all children in the school to reinforce this positive ethos.


Learning Language- My Experience

Language was an area of the curriculum that I really enjoyed when I was in school. It is an extremely important area of the curriculum as it is a way of expressing ourselves and a key way for us to learn.

There are four areas of language: writing, reading, speaking and listening. When I was younger, I developed my writing skills greatly by writing many different stories. Since this was a very enjoyable part of my childhood, it motivated me to keep developing my writing skills by writing even more stories, helping me to improve more. In school, we also used work sheets to trace letters onto which helped massively with my handwriting.

To develop my reading skills I would always read stories with my parents most nights before going to sleep, which allowed me to hear more frequently how certain words were pronounced which helped greatly. Furthermore, reading out in class at school also developed my confidence massively in reading which helped me progress even further by  making less hesitations and becoming more fluent.

My listening and talking skills were developed by doing both solo and group presentations in school. These successfully helped me gain more confidence in speaking to a larger number of people and also improved my listening skills from watching other presentations.

As a teacher, I would like to encourage the methods I used to help develop my writing, reading, speaking and listening skills as I felt that they really helped me and were very effective for me to make as much progress as possible.

Dance- Actively Engaging Children

This morning I participated in a dance workshop and it made me understand in great depth how dance can be used in schools to allow children to learn in an active way. Not only does it improve the fitness of children but it can also develop many other skills without them even realising.

I learnt that dance can link to many areas of the curriculum very effectively. By involving dance in lessons, it encourages children to see a variety of subject areas in a completely different way and it also makes lessons seem more interesting for them which motivates them to focus more. For example, instead of learning about RME in the classroom in front of a board, dance can be used to enhance the knowledge of the different cultures people live by, which makes the children understand these better by actively participating, rather than sitting at a desk. Another area of the curriculum I could think of that dance could be incorporated into was Numeracy by learning about rhythm and different counts to the music.

I also believe that dance is an amazing way for children to express themselves. Being open to new ideas from the pupils and positively encouraging them with the dance moves they do effectively gives them more confidence in their own learning which evidently encourages them to want to actively engage in lessons and to not be afraid to show their peers what they can do. This also allows children to really get as much out of the lesson as possible by feeling comfortable and allowing them to reach their full potential by not feeling too shy to give it their all. This will evidently improve their knowledge of the area of the curriculum that dance links to as pupils are encouraged to try their best.

Lastly, dance is a great way for pupils to work together with their peers in a respectful manner. By working in groups, children can hear everyone else’s ideas and take them all on board. It can also play a part in growing the children’s confidence as for the shyer pupils dancing on their own can seem daunting, but the support from their peers can really bring a positive impact onto their learning by encouraging them to get as much out of the lesson as possible and to not be afraid. It also develops team working skills which are essential for later in life.

Over all, dance is an amazing way for children to learn as it gets them out the classroom for a while but they can still learn very important aspects of the curriculum that need to be covered in an active and engaging way. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and now feel that I can use dance in lessons in many more ways than I knew before.

The Issue of Racism and Patriarchy in Society

This week’s values lecture about racism and patriarchy was both thought provoking and eye opening. It gave me the chance to fully understand just how much society has changed over the years and seeing how us as humans have grown massively regarding these issues. I understand that it is extremely important for me to be aware of these issues as a future primary school teacher.

During the first half of the lecture we learned about the issue of racism. Throughout this half, it made me think deeper about the issue in many ways. The lecture was extremely eye opening as it expressed the views of society during the late 18th century which are completely different to views nowadays and would never ever be accepted in today’s society. I was shocked to see how appalling the problem of racism was during the 18th century with Jim Crow Laws existing. There was a quote mentioned in the lecture which stated “All human beings belong to a single species and are descended from common stock. They are born equal in dignity and in rights and all form an integral part to society.” (UNESCO, 1982) This lecture really reinforced these words in my mind as we are all human and everyone is the same regardless of the way they look like or the way they live their lives. The lecture reinforced that everyone needs to be treated equally and this is very important in schools and in everyday life. As a teacher, it will be my job to treat all children equally, fairly and respectfully.

In the second half of the lecture we spoke about the issue of patriarchy. During this half I found the video by Always called ‘#likeagirl’ really interesting and eye opening. In this video children were asked to describe how girls played sport and were asked what came to mind when they heard the phrase “run like a girl” or “throw like a girl.” They expressed their views by actively demonstrating them. Numerous children (both boys and girls) portrayed girls as being ‘weaker’ than boys when it comes to sport which is a stereotype that’s completely wrong and needs to change. However, many other young girls when asked to demonstrate their opinion portrayed girls as being strong, passionate and trying their best at sports. The video highlighted the issue of gender stereotypes effectively and promoted just how important it is for girls to be seen as being just as strong as boys, not only concerning sport, but also concerning everyday life as well for example at work. It is important for me to have a good knowledge about the issue of patriarchy as a primary school teacher as children need to have the confidence to do whatever they want to do in life and not let stereotypes put them off. It will be part of my job to give them this confidence.

On the whole, the aim of this lecture was to get me to understand more about the issues of racism and patriarchy in the world in which we live, and it did exactly that. These problems have been embedded into society for many years and it is good to see that progress has been made to resolve them as life in the 21st century is quite significantly fairer than back in the 18th century, however these problems are still extremely current and need to be resolved even further.

Workshop with a Twist

This week I took part in a workshop with my lecturer and classmates which gave me a deeper understanding of structural inequalities in a very interesting way.

In the workshop, there were four groups, each given an envelope of resources and the task was to create an item that would help a new first year student starting university. However, the resources were not distributed equally between groups, as two of them were given a much larger range of items than the others, giving them an unfair advantage. Furthermore, each group had to present their ideas, with the resources they had, to the rest of the class.

The lecturer expressed very different views to each presentation. He gave the two groups with less resources much more negative and criticising feedback, making them feel worse about themselves (I was a member of one of these groups) and the groups with much more resources more positive and praising feedback, making them feel better about themselves. However, after we finished presenting, he explained that the workshop was just an experiment to emphasise the problems of structural inequalities. It was very effective as it opened my mind greatly.

With that being said, from personally taking part in this workshop, I have a greater understanding of just how important it is to treat every child equally in every way as the way teachers treat pupils has a massive influence on how they succeed in school. For example, if a teacher made a child feel neglected or stupid in the class, it puts the false mentality in their minds that they can’t do the task and that they just want to give up. However, by creating a positive ethos in the class by encouraging good work and positivity it inspires children to want to learn more as they feel good about themselves. Confidence is key to learning and if teachers fail to give it to their pupils it can be a problem.

From being in the group that was provided with less resources, I felt bad about myself after presenting as we tried our best with the resources we had to think of a good idea but the lecturer seemed very uninterested in our presentation, facing away from us, fidgeting and unengaged to what we were saying. It gave us less confidence in ourselves whereas the groups with more resources got much better feedback and felt better about themselves, without them even noticing they had an advantage. This helped me to understand that more disadvantaged families and communities try their best with the limited resources they have, but still don’t get enough praise, and that families in more affluent areas have everything they could possibly need and consequently forget to think about the people in more deprived backgrounds.

This work shop really opened my eyes about how structural inequalities are not only present in the classroom, but also in society as we discussed about equality and the Social Justice aspect of the Standards for Registration by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. I believe that it is essential in schools to give every child equal resources as children come from a variety of different backgrounds. This means that some families may not be able to afford as much as others because some live in more affluent areas whereas others live in more deprived areas. This can affect families and communities greatly as it can impact on the child’s learning negatively. It is therefore important that teachers are aware of this and can help provide materials for families that may not be able to afford them, helping to give them a better quality of life. As a result they would not need to worry about getting resources as they might have bigger problems to worry about at home. This as a result will raise every child’s learning to an equal level, giving them all equal opportunities.

Why do i want to be a teacher?

I believe that being a teacher is more than just a job, it is also a vital part to society. I want to be a teacher as I want to help make a difference to the lives of many children and their families by giving them as much support and help as I possibly can. Many of my inspiring teachers helped shape me into the person I am today and I want to do the same to improve all children’s lives and prospects. I want to help improve the life chances of children from all backgrounds and do everything I can to help narrow the attainment gap. I want to give them all the same opportunities in school, consequently helping to give them the best possible start in life and preparing them for a successful future. I have always thought that teaching would be a very rewarding career path, in which I would feel great satisfaction in knowing that I had helped create a positive impact onto a child’s life. For example, witnessing them improve on their learning and flourish as individuals is a part of the job that I will absolutely love. Throughout my work experience I have had, I witnessed a massive progression in pupils learning and development and by seeing this happen, it attracted me to the role even more. Above all, I want to contribute in helping children reach their full potential, and the role of a teacher is perfect to fulfil this.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your ePortfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The ePortfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

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

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.