Teaching Across the Curriculum – Drama

Earlier this week I took part in a drama workshop which gave me more of an insight into how I could use drama when out on placement. We were set the task of watching a video on a drama workshop and reviewing aspects of this. The workshop was set up by two teachers to help show a group of teachers how they could plan a drama lesson for their class.

The video showed how a drama lesson could be structured, linking it into other areas of the curriculum. The teachers in the video talked about how they would agree a set of rules with the students before going into the lesson, therefore enabling the lesson to begin quickly and efficiently. I found this interesting as it allowed both the teachers and pupils to know what is expected of them when they begin the lesson. As they agreed the set of rules in partnership with the students they are therefore more likely to be willing to follow them and participate in the lesson. The workshop started with the teachers all sitting in a circle allowing for more open lines of communication as each individual can be seen and therefore heard by all.

The lesson continued with a few warm-up activities such as groupings or organising themselves into a line or scale depending on the instructions/answers to the questions. These types of activities are a great way to get the pupils talking to one another, moving around and using their problem solving skills. The teachers would then ask the students why they chose to position themselves where they did, allowing each other to listen to the different views and opinions of their peers.

The lesson moved onto the main body of work which consisted of creating a few snapshots of a story inspired by a range of stimuli. The use of stimuli allows the lesson to have a focus and can also link into the different topics the pupils are studying across the curriculum. By getting the students to respond to the stimuli in small groups encourages them to listen to each others ideas and compromise to create their story. The students then take 3 key aspects of their story and  create a freeze-frame/snapshot of these using bodyscaping (physically creating the impression of a scene with their bodies, e.g. creating a party scene through frozen dance moved, drinking with peers, etc). These can then be performed in front of the rest of the class, allowing the children’s confidence to grow. To further this the teachers can ask the children to think about what their character might be saying/doing and ask the pupils to either unfreeze for a few seconds acting out what moves their character is making. Or to say something that their character might say int he scene, before freezing again. This allows the rest of the class to get  better idea of what the scene is about.

The last part of the lesson was more of an evaluation/reflection of what they did, as they all sat round and discussed what they had learned and what they were just doing. It is a good opportunity for the pupils to practice giving and receiving feedback, as well as having the chance to influence their own learning. This reflection also allows the students to calm down again and prepare for going back to class.

The teachers who participated within this workshop said that it was a great opportunity to see just how relatable drama is to the rest of the curriculum. It showed that drama could be used to reenact key scenes from the books the pupils are reading in class. Drama can also be linked into aspects of history lessons where the children create scenes depicting key aspects of their history topics. It can also be a key lesson for health and wellbeing as the students can use it to show different kinds or relationships or healthy lifestyles, creating scenarios that they can then discuss and pick apart the key learning aspects from this.

The video and workshop that I took part in helped my to understand that drama doesn’t always have to be a stand alone subject, or just used for the school show/assembly. It also allowed me to learn some techniques which in turn improved my confidence in my ability to lead a drama lesson in placement.

Teaching Across the Curriculum – Health and Wellbeing

As part of the health and wellbeing inputs I have watched some videos surrounding early years development and relationship building. The first video discussed how babies brains are very flexible in the fist stage of their life and the experiences they have here shape what kind of pathways are made in their brain for their future development and life. The video also discusses how children react to the environments we surround them with and the affects these environments have on their development. The second video focused more on the importance of these early years experiences and how they can affect the decisions that child makes in adulthood.

It is important as teachers to understand how the brain develops, in order to help every child have the best start in life. It is only through an understanding of a child’s need for a constant, supportive environment that they can produce not only their best work but  also develop the key skills they will need for later life. It is important for us as teachers to create an environment for the children in our class which allows them to build resilience and ability to take positive risks. As a teacher it is also important to understand each of your children as an individual and be able to know what their needs are and how you can help support them to achieve in all areas of the curriculum. It is important for children to build strong positive relationships with their family, friends and teachers in order to have a network that supports them in their learning and life.

As a professional I aim to support every child as an individual, allowing their needs to be met. To do this I will strive to create a welcoming and nurturing environment that the children can feel safe and supported in. I will also aim to have open lines of communication between myself the children, their families and colleagues to allow every individual child to gain the support they need in order to develop holistically. The videos have made me realise and think about the affect the environment a child grows up in has on their development and needs within a school environment. As well as the impact I have on that child as a teacher, not only for their curriculum development but their ability to develop the skills they need to create positive relationships within all aspects of their life.

Teaching Across the Curriculum – Dance TDT

Today I had my first Dance workshop for the ‘Teaching Across the Curriculum’ module. At first I found it a bit uncomfortable as I wasn’t sure what we would be asked to do. However by the end of the session I found that I was more comfortable in the group and had a clearer understanding of how this links into the professional practice module. At the start of the session we were asked to stand in a circle and copy what the lecturer did as a warm-up exercise. I found this section a bit daunting as the lecturer explained that she would pass the responsibility of leading the warm-up onto someone else. Through doing this exercise I was able to relax a bit more within the group as everyone was doing the same things as me.

We were then asked to pair up and think of different ways to travel around the room, this proved challenging at the stars as no one wanted to be the first to move. After a couple of minuted I found that I was making multiple suggestions to my partner and we would carry these different movements out. This activity allowed me to build my confidence in participating within the activity as I saw what other movements everyone was doing and it made me more comfortable to carry out mine. We then used these movements to swap positions with our partner in a class circle, this allowed everyone to see each others moves.

Following on from this we paired up into groups of 4 and combined our different travelling moves together to create a sequence. We also added a start and finishing pose to create a quick routine. We then presented these routines to the rest of the class.

I found that this workshop allowed me to see what kind of things can go into a dance lesson. It also allowed me to build my confidence in my own ability to lead a lesson on dance. The workshop also sowed me that anyone can participate in a dance lesson and it changed my views on what a dance lesson is. It also showed me some of the range or resources available to aid a lesson in dance. I will be able to use the skills and resource inspiration from this workshop to help me within my placement to carry out my own lessons on dance.

How racism and sexism affect our society

On Tuesday 25th, week 3 we had a lecture for our Values module. Within this we explored racism and patriarchy. Both of which linked back to developing our sociological imaginations and how they affect us as teahers.

At the start of the session we were looking into Racism and its history. The idea that racism is still engraved into the cultures around us surprised me. Further research in to this topic showed that the ideologies surrounding this can be linked back to old views and opinions of people based on the colour of their skin. I was shocked to hear about Emmet Till’s story and the effect it had on society at that time. The way that Emmet was killed over false accusations and his attackers not being charged, all because they had different skin colours really struck me. I was, however, more shocked to hear that this kind of behaviour was still going on in our country in the late 20th century. Stephen Lawrence’s story highlighted how the Metropolitan Police deemed his case and others unworthy of their full attention. A later investigation showed that this was a result of the culture institution racism within the police fource. From this processes have been instigated within public bodies to persure race equality. It is important for us as teachers to understand this and link it to the standards set out by the GTC Scotland (General Teaching Council for Scotland).

The second half of the lecture was spent looking at Patriarchy. What struck me most in this section was when we looked at sexism, as it made me look back at my past experiences and the culture I was brought up in and analyse where sexism was present within this. One of the things that I remembered was the school uniforms we wore in primary and high school and how they differed for male and female students. Within primary boys were given the option of trousers or shorts, where many chose trousers everyday. However girls primarily wore skirts and only a select few wore trousers, but this wasn’t the suggested uniform guidelines. I have to say at the time I didn’t think much of this. Although when I was in high school things stared to even out more and while boys still had the same two options it was more common for girls to wear trousers at school. In saying this my school had two manikins that they linked to show at the front door and bring out for any parent teacher events. The manikins were dressed in the ideal school uniform one for girls and one for boys. While the boys was standard; shirt, tie, trousers and a blazer. The girls one was wearing a; shirt, tie, skirt and blazer. While there was nothing to say that a girl couldn’t wear trousers, the subliminal message was given that boys wore trousers and girls wore skirts, this is strengthening the message that boys and girls are different in many ways, segregating them by what they wear.

The other thing I picked up on was how the media portrays women and men has changed over the years. Before women were thought of as being less important as a man and that they should devote their life to serving the men of the world. This was seen through product advertisements that were centred around the home and always depicted the woman of the house using these products, getting the home ready for the man returning from work. It can also be seen through TV and films, in which the woman was seen as weak and in need of saving, and played second fiddle to the muscular man coming to her rescue. This leaves children with the impression that the boys must grow up to be big and strong, saving the day, while the girls cant achieve anything and should stay at home with the children. While there are still gender stereotypes in the media today there is a growing sense of men and woman being viewed as equal. This can be seen in recent films such as ‘Marvels recent film Black Panther or upcoming film Captain Marvel’, or ‘DC’s Wonder Woman’, or some of the Disney films which are watched by millions around the world. They all show strong female characters as a lead role and achieving success in their goals through hard work and determination. In ‘Black Panther the Wakandan army, ‘Dora Milaje’ is solely made up of women, this helps promotes the idea that women are equal to men and they can do anything they want. The Wakandan Princess ‘Shuri’ is also a strong role model for young girls as she is the head of the technology and science labs in Wakanda, and develops all the machinery used in Wakanda. this helps to enforce the message that girls can also be good at science and mathematics and that they can chose any career they want. This point links back to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programmes that are being emphasised throughout Scottish schools.

Overall this lecture highlighted some key areas to think about when going forth in my teaching career, as it is important to give off the right message to children, especially as they are influenced heavily by the cultures and ideas that surround them everyday. I feel that with more research and reading into these areas I will be able to understand how they link into teaching and what I can do to ensure that I adhere to the GTC standards and current policies surrounding these areas.

Values Workshop – Week 2

On Tuesday of week two, we had our first workshop for the Values module. When we arrived we split into four groups and were set a task of creating something useful to new students, using the materials provided within our packs. Each group got given a different set of materials in their pack, some containing more than others. My group didn’t have much in our pack but created a leaflet on ‘Decoding Dalhousie’ to help new students find their way to the rooms in the building. When we were presenting our ideas to the lecturer he didn’t pay much attention and was very closed off with his body language. Similarly he did this with the other group who had limited resources. When he gave us a low score he made a comment about our product being bad, which made us feel inadequate as we did the best with what we had. His whole demeanour changed when listening to the groups with more resources, as he offered them praise and encouragement.

We discussed how his actions impacted us and he explained that it was an experiment to show how important equality is within our profession. This lead to a discussion on how you would treat different pupils depending on their backgrounds. this experiment enabled us as a class to see the effects of inequality first hand and made me realise just how important it is for children to be treated equally. This allowed us to participate in a discussion about the Social Justice aspect of The Standards for Registration as set out by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The equality aspect of social justice was our primary focus in this workshop as it allowed us to understand its impact on a child. It is important ot ensure that all children are treated equaly in a class to allow them the best chance to get the most out of their education despite their background.

What brought me to teaching?

I look back on my primary experience and realise that there are some teachers that I can still remember exactly what they taught and how they taught it. I soon realised that I wanted to be able to have that same affect on someone. To be able to teach children key skills that they will use throughout their whole life gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I enjoy seeing people learn and to have some part in that fills me with pride.

This was later confirmed when I carried out work experience in a nursery, where I saw just how important these practitioners were in affecting young peoples lives. The children trust that they will not only be looked after but be taught the skills they need later on to achieve their dreams.

Teaching has come a long way in the past few years, with technology advancing and becoming more readily used. I believe that teachers have to adapt with the times and use these advances in technology to benefit the pupils education and their own teaching style.

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.

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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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