Category Archives: 1.3 Trust & Respect

The Impact of Relationships on a Child’s Brain Development

In relation to the video entitled, “Pre-Birth to Three: Doctor Suzanne Zeedyk – Brain development,” Doctor Suzanne Zeedyk outlines the importance associated with relationships, as a baby’s brain will develop as a consequence of the relationships that they maintain.  Their brains develop based on the various kinds of relationships that babies have with other individuals and the responses that they receive in return.  One of the main aspects that Doctor Suzanne Zeedyk referred to, was the importance regarding the environment that a young child resides in.  She used the example of domestic abuse.  If a baby was brought up in an environment where domestic abuse was a regular occurrence, the baby’s brain would soon learn to associate other environments, such as the classroom, as a threat.  As a result, a young child at school may be constantly focused on detecting threat rather than learning new things.  However, babies’ brains are very flexible, they continue to develop after a child turns three, which many people are unaware of.  Therefore, a child can still be positively influenced in a positive environment, such as within the primary school.  When key pathways are established in childhood, especially as a baby, these are carried on throughout a child’s life and as a result, is why so much more attention is now given to individuals in their early childhood.  Children react to the environment that we give them to react to, therefore as primary practitioners, one of our most important roles involves creating a safe, happy and inclusive environment for all children within the classroom.  We can aim to build positive relationships with the children and act as a role model, positively influencing the pupils.  Due to gaining the pupil’s trust and creating strong relationships, it allows for a more harmonious and encouraging atmosphere within the classroom.

Structural Inequalities within the Classroom

Following our workshop on Tuesday, we were asked to reflect upon the task we were set and how it displayed the structural inequalities present within the classroom.  The task involved being split into five groups, where we were all given an envelope containing resources such as card, pens, paperclips etc.  We were asked to make a resource that would aid in facilitating a first year student’s transition into university.

Within our group, we collectively decided that we would construct a poster containing helpful sources of information, such as a campus map, matriculation events and city bus times, all within one place.  The aim of the poster was for all first year students to find the information they required in one compact resource.  As first year students ourselves, we understood the difficulty involved in our first week and managing to attend the correct events in the most efficient way.  Also, whilst creating our resources, we designed an ice-breaker game out of the leftover card for students to play in order to get to know one another better.

Once we had completed our resources, we were each asked in turn, as a group, to present our ideas to the rest of our peers.  As our group presented our ideas to the class, we noticed that the lecturer did not seem overly enthusiastic with our idea, unlike how she acted with other groups.  We were later graded on the activity and were very disappointed in the results, as a group whose idea was very similar to our own, scored quite highly.

We later learned that the workshop had an underlying purpose.  As each group was so invested in their activity, they did not recognise the structural inequalities happening around them.  Two of the groups actually had more resources than anyone else, and as a result, the lecturer purposely helped them a lot more and showed more enthusiasm whilst they displayed their ideas.

The purpose of the workshop was to indicate the inequality that can sometimes take place within a classroom.  The workshop directly relates to the GTCS SPR’s four main areas including Social Justice, Integrity, Trust and Respect and Professional Commitment.  Social Justice reflects how we should treat everyone  equally and be inclusive within society. Integrity refers to how we should demonstrate traits such as openness and honesty.  In reference to Trust and Respect, the workshop highlights the importance of the commitment a teacher must have in order to inspire and encourage all pupils to succeed, regardless of their individual needs and barriers.  The final area relates to  Professional Commitment, which addresses how we must engage with all members of the educational society, which was particularly emphasised within the workshop activity.