Why Do We Reflect?

In my opinion, reflecting is a way of enhancing one’s knowledge.

Specifically, in my chosen career path, reflection is key.

We all reflect, every day, without even realising. People reflect in their heads, it’s not just about writing stuff down, it’s a process that we do constantly.

It is a lot easier through my own experience to reflect negatively on yourself, although it is hard to admit that you’re wrong, especially in the things that you expect to do well in or be right about, it is still apparent that individuals tend to be more critical during reflection. In my opinion, everyone can reflect negatively on themselves, it is in fact harder to reflect positively, is this because the process of reflection is about improving, how can you improve if everything is perfect?

I feel as though positive reflection can cause complacency, creating a lack of effort for further progression. Not in all cases but often.

For me exams at school were a big one, the subjects that came with critical feedback, were always the ones that I strived to do better in, the ones that I studied the most for and enjoyed studying for so that improvement was apparent. Not to say that the positive feedback and reflection from the other subjects wasn’t a motive to keep up the good work. But being told you are good at something doesn’t encourage as much determination as being told something can be improved on.

Moreover, reflection is crucial in gaining optimal information, relating this to my Professional Practice Placement, that will be occurring in the upcoming weeks, reflecting on my daily experiences will be one of my ways to ensure that I reach my full potential in the short time that we have. I can expect good days and bad days, thrilling lessons and problematic lessons, but throughout my whole experience my end of day reflection will be a method to ask myself, “What went wrong?”, “What made that exciting?”, “What other strategy can I use?”

It is so important to then make those changes, bettering your techniques to ensure children are learning sufficiently, changing your tone of voice to ensure children are engaging. Reflection is your tool to success, use it.

Structural Inequalities Reflection

This week we participated in a very eye opening task within the values module. We were split into four groups and given envelopes. These envelopes had the materials that we had to use, as part of the task, to create a useful resource for a first year student at Dundee university.

Each team opened the envelope and inside was stationary, unknowingly at the beginning some packs had a wider variety of resources than others. Our pack was very limited, as we began to work together and create ideas we came up with a planner/guide that could be useful on a students first day. Due to our limited resources, we felt more encouraged to take on the challenge using the paper, pencil, blue tac and post it notes, to create a clear and aesthetically pleasing guide.

After we had created our guide, we had to present it along with the other groups presenting their creations. It was then that we began to notice how much of an unfair advantage two of the groups had with the amount of resources given to them. After the presentation we all had to be rated out of ten, two out of the four groups were rated a lot higher than the other two and it began to feel as though those two groups were the “favourites”. This then created a lack of motivation in our group as we felt as though our efforts were not worth anything, prizes were given out to the two “better” groups and we were left without any positive feedback and no means of advice to help us improve. Our view/perspective of the task then became different in comparison to the other groups, we felt as though we were not connected to the lecturer at all and became less involved. This created a less enthusiastic environment.

We were then told it was all intentional and the task was designed to make half of us feel like we were less equal just due to a lack of resources that we had. This was a relief as we felt we had put in the same amount of effort but just because we had limitations our final creation may not have appeared as good.

This task inspired me as it highlights that it is so important as teachers to understand that some children have better privileges than others, some are not given the same support and materials at home but this does not make them any less capable. Even setting a homework task is not as simple as it seems, these tasks are crucial for their learning and growing yet it is easier for some children to complete them,  just due to a more enhanced range of resources available. It is vital as teachers to take a holistic approach to all areas of learning.

To understand the difference between being less capable and being less equipped.

This task shone some light on the conclusion that all children must feel as though they are reaching their full potential and are more than capable to reach their goals with nothing blocking their path.

Why is teaching my chosen path…

The reward in bringing creativity and learning into a child’s life has always appealed to me… I have been intrigued by the idea of educating children and pursuing a career as a Primary Teacher for many years. Having a mother who has worked in Primary schools for a long time and introducing me to the different teaching techniques and marking schemes , I have been unknowingly enhancing my interest in the career most of my life. I then developed this interest by discussing her experiences in the classroom and, latterly, spending time gaining experience supporting pupils in school. I have worked with teachers to prepare and create resources designed to deliver an engaging, quality learning experience for children. After my experiences I began to understand that a Primary Teacher must be committed, patient and organized with an understanding of the needs of individual children and how to meet these in a range of subject areas. I believe that I possess these qualities and my belief has driven me to aim for Primary Teaching as a career and Dundee University as a place to study it.

It wasn’t till the end of my own schooling that the idea of teaching formed into a firm aspiration. I have always had an affinity with children; initially with my own relatives, then working as a ‘babysitter’ for friends and family. I was a voluntary coach at my previous gymnastics club and realised how rewarding it can be to help others grow and develop.

I believe it is a privilege to be in a position to make a difference to young people’s lives, whilst experiencing the learning journey with them…and I feel as though this career is one I would be grateful to embark on as teaching is the path for me.

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.