So this is my second blog post but my first proper reflection post. We had a lecture on Social injustices and the biases within our culture in the morning and then the seminar in the afternoon. I have to say the morning lecture did knock me sideways a little bit as I was not expecting to be basically called homophobic at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. However, it was that initial shock that really made me think. The Unconscious Bias was a running theme throughout the lecture and it was the definition that really stuck with me: “Regardless of how fair minded we believe ourselves to be, most people have some degree of unconscious bias. The means that we automatically respond to other (e.g. people from different racial or ethnic groups) in positive or negative ways.” (Equality Challenge Unit, 2013, p1). I realised that I hadn’t recognised what had been going on in my own mind and it took an impowering and moving speech from Panti Noble for me to see. I realised that in normal society the unconscious bias is not recognised- as it says- it’s unconscious. People are oblivious to what is actually going on. In my case this lack of awareness was highlighted in the task we were set in the seminar.
We were separated into 4 groups. A random selection, groups being chosen purely based on where you sat. Each group was given a task and one envelope to complete said task. Unbeknownst to the whole class, our lecturer had given two groups envelopes with less and inefficient items to complete the task. In my case, I was given one of the more affluent envelopes. During the presentation part of the task, it came to my attention that there was a feeling of disadvantage within two of the groups due to their lack of resources. When it was revealed to us by our lecturer that there were two groups given a considerable amount of resources less than the others, I realised I hadn’t clocked onto the inequality that had gone on right in front of me. Groups 3 and 4 (the “less affluent” groups) went onto explain how the behaviour of the lecturer and the negative feedback and body language he presented to them made them feel. As they talked, I realised that I hadn’t picked up on any of his negativity towards these groups. Like the unconscious biases within culture and people, I had become oblivious to the inequalities of the teaching setting. I am not going to lie to you, it got to me a little bit because I have always seen myself as someone who is quite perceptive and can pick up on people’s social ques easily, however I had been just shown that I was as unaware of my own unconscious bias as I was of inequalities within a situation. As a teacher, you should be seeing what other people may or may not see and so by not picking up on the inequality, I felt like I had almost failed before I had begun.
In reflection, I have concluded that people may be unable or be unwilling to recognise that there ways of combating the biases within society. As a teacher, we have to be both aware of the backgrounds children from and how that may effect their confidence and future with their own abilities. We also have to tackle any pre-existing stereotypes or preconceptions about a child do not effect their learning and your relationship with the child. In many ways, teaching is about building positive relationships with pupils in order to build a positive member of society. Through the workshop, it reiterates to me that all children must be treated the same no matter the unconscious bias that may be there. So therefore to combat this, we need to neutralise ourselves and our feelings in order to level the teaching ground.
Reference: Equality Challenge Unit (2013) Unconscious Bias and Higher Education London: Equality Challenge Unit Available at: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/unconscious-bias-in-higher-education/ (23th September 2018)
WEEK 1 A_Identifying Skills and Abilities
Activities for unit 1 Personal and Interpersonal Skills and Abilities
A. Identifying Skills and Abilities
1. Below are a list of skills and abilities. Complete an audit of where you are now. Record this in your learning journal/portfolio.
Rate yourself (1=Not very well developed; 3=very well developed)
Skills and Abilities
Self confidence 2
Team Work 3
Act as a Leader 2
Listen to others 3
Write for academic purposes 2
Computing Skills 1
Be Creative 3
Problem solving 1
2. Complete the audit below, using the information from the table above.
Recognition Reflection Action
Skills already developed, How I will use these and How do I know (evidence)**
Self confidence: When teaching a class and when in group discussions in university. I have experience working in groups and having the confidence in my abilities to lead them.
Self-discipline: Doing course work and juggling placement responsibilities and assignments. By participating in the Duke of Edinburgh
Team Work: In group discussions in university and working as part of the school when on placement and later on in my career. By participating in the Tron Ambassador Scheme, the student executive and Duke of Edinburgh, I demonstrated that I was able to work with multiples of people.
Act as a Leader: Within my role as a teacher, having to lead a class and act as a leader that the children follow. My role within Ladybirds and dancing. I provided the support when needed as well as stepping in and leading activities when needed.
Listen to others: As a teacher, you are put in a position of trust and therefore have to have the skills to be able to listen to pupils and give advice as they will see you as a role model and someone they can trust. I think this goes hand in hand with team work and that having worked in teams and listening to others when participation in Duke of Edinburgh and the Tron Ambassador Scheme.
Write for academic purposes: Throughout my whole academic career during university. By participating in, both, the Access to a Career in Teaching and Top-up, where I achieved a exceeded the basic pass mark at university level.
Computing Skills: Throughout my career as technology is always advancing. Using my laptop and hone every day.
Be Creative: As a teacher, you always have to be thinking of new and different ways to teach and being able to think of new ways to cater for different children’s learning styles. Through work placements and being in charge of multiples of different ability groups of children, I have learned how to explain things in an alternative.
Problem solving: Being a teacher you deal with different children and you have to learn how deal with their different needs.
Recognition Reflection Action
Skills to be developed, How I will develop these and How do I know (evidence) **
Act as a leader: I will push myself in group situations to take more control of conversations. During the Working Together module, I pushed myself to exert myself and my opinions as well as leading the conversation throughout the seminar session.
Organise and plan: I will take more time in order to plan and organise things. I have bought a planner and I am making time to use it every day.
Build social networks: I will become more active on social media by trying out new parts of social networks. I am planning to create and become an active member of Twitter.
Think critically: I will do research into how to critically think and analyse. I have looked into what critical thinking is and how I can apply it to my university written work.
** This section should be completed as you identify when/where/how you have used/developed these skills.
Einstein once said: “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education”. An odd quote, perhaps. However, I have never claimed to be Einstein and will never claim to be. To me, Einstein was wrong. Education inspires, enlightens and drives children to prosper and be the best they can be and as an educator, we are the driving factor that molds society’s future generation. We inspire learners to fulfill their full potential and blossom into positive contributors to society by the means of education. So therefore, in my opinion, Einstein was wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, if you had asked me when I was primary school aged whether or not I enjoyed school, you would have probably gotten a shrug of the shoulders and a “I don’t really know”. However, I did spend my evenings and weekends making class registers and preparing lessons for my sister. I was the teacher, of course. I enjoyed the learning aspect of school to an extent but it was the admiration and esteem I had for my teachers that drove me to where I am today. Take my first teacher, for example. My first bit of exposure to education-a daunting experience for a 5 year old. However within the first few moments in her class, any anxiety that I had had was gone. This was transferred throughout the rest of school career. I found school a nurturing and enabling place, although some subjects were not my favourite but that comes part in parcel with life, doesn’t it? However, even in areas that I was not the most confident, I was offered help and guidance to assist my development. Therefore, it is this guidance and positive experience that has crystallized teaching as the vocation for me.
Many aspects of teaching appeal to me, and positively influencing a child’s development is a major factor. Primary education is fundamental to a child’s intellectual and social growth and it is through their education that children develops. So therefore, Einstein was wrong about education.
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