Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice

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:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can upload an image or pull one in from Flickr or any other image sharing site.

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.