Structural Inequalities Reflection

Last week got my first taster of a values seminar run by Brenda Keatch. At the start of the seminar we were split into equal numbered groups and all given an envelope with contained resources that we were to use to create a product fresher’s could use next year to help the settle to university. Our group had lots of different resources and set off working straight away. After everyone had created their product we were asked to present our product to the other groups and Brenda gave us feedback on what we had made. All the feedback from Brenda towards our group was very positive but as she went through each groups the feedback got more and more negative, I then realised that the other groups didn’t have the same resources as my group some had a little bit less and some didn’t have much at all. This is where I started to understand the reason behind this seminar.

Since our group had all the materials we needed we were so engaged we didn’t notice that the other groups were struggling through lack of materials and not because they weren’t putting in the effort. The groups that were disadvantaged had to work harder to try and produce a quality product. This helped me understand how if children are disadvantaged for whatever reason, whether it be due to lack of studying equipment or even something more extreme such as not been fed properly so lack of concentration due hunger, that it can have a major effect on their learning. It made me think more deeply about some of the children I worked with and how their learning may have been affected by the disadvantages they were dealt with. It also made me understand that it is not productive to give every child the same resources and same amount of support and expect them to have the same outcome. Not every child needs the same support, some children need less support and some need a lot more support.

After everyone had presented their products we discussed how everyone felt whilst producing their products. Due to Brenda’s positive comments I felt confident in my work and enjoyed doing the task. Although the groups who got the negative feedback felt the opposite, they felt deflated and didn’t want to even attempt the task. I then thought if teachers maintained a positive attitude towards all student in their class that learning would be more enjoyable and children would be more motivated to learn.

This seminar has been an eye opener on the challenges disadvantages children face and how positivity towards children can improve their learning.

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