Author Archives: Lillian Harle

My Aims for Placement

I aim to build up trusting relationships with the pupils in my class so, if they have a problem, they can come to me. I would also like to become an active member in the school, both with the children and staff. I want to be an enthusiastic teacher who motivates and engages my pupils, also challenging them to become more effective learners. I also want to further my knowledge of the curriculum and be able to adapt different lessons for different subjects to suit what I am teaching- while also bringing in new methods and teaching styles to my lessons in order to engage the pupils- e.g. bring in relatable and relevant content for the children to my lessons. I would like to put the foundation steps to becoming a well-rounded and enthusiastic trainee teacher. I want to have my first exposure to training to be a teacher. To be honest, I really aim to survive the workload and pressure that comes with placement.

Reflections for Me…

One of the most important moments in semester one for my professional development was actually at the beginning of semester two when we received our results for the values essay. For me, semester one was full different emotions. In the beginning, I was quite relaxed, I understood the majority of what was said in the lectures. However, it was clouded by the fact that the essay I would be submitting in December was my first university level, academic piece of writing I would have submitted. I was a confident enough writer- when I knew what I would be writing exactly and when the topic of the essay was one that I found remotely interesting. There was a lack of control and uncertainty surrounding this essay which really daunted me, so put me off writing straight away. I lacked an enjoyment of the values essay as I felt like there was little to no link to primary education because of the vagueness and variety of stuff we covered. I was not used to having to make vague connections between my learning and my chosen career path which is probably why I found the particular module quite difficult, although this may be my own fault for just expecting things to be really simple and in black and white for me. However, once I made the connections and started to link what was being covered in the lectures to what may be happening in a child’s life and how, as a primary teacher, I would deal with this, I began to enjoy the module more. This, therefore, pushed me to do further in-depth reading into my chosen area of study and through an extensive planning stage, I felt more confident with what I was writing. It was this uncertainty and insecurity of mine that pushed me to take more responsibility towards my own reading and learning. However, I was doing this to purely get through the module. I did care in some way what grade I received as it was my first academic piece and wanted to make a good ‘impression’, however, by the point of submission, I felt defeated and uncaring towards the essay. I was then very surprised by the grade I got back. At first and as cheesy as it sounds, I thought there had been a mistake. I was reading it on my phone so thought there was an error with my phone and it was only by checking with my flatmates and double checking on my laptop that I saw that it was correct. When I saw the mark, I was overwhelmed by it. There was confusion but there was also a huge sense of pride. I had outdone what I expected to get- I expected to barely pass let alone receive a high grade. After everything had been confirmed, I took a minute to reflect on everything that had led to this grade. I realised that even if I don’t like or find it difficult, I need to carry on with the reading I am set and become a more active learner because if I put the time and effort in I will learn to enjoy what I am doing as I am linking it to what I do enjoy. I have learned about the value of reading, determination, and engagement because of my journey through the values module.

By taking the time to reflect on my grade, I learned about what had led me to success and what I needed to continue this semester. To me, reflection is the process of evaluating what went right and what went wrong and determining what you will carry forward. It has to be highlighted that I am not reflecting on this because I did well, I am reflecting on this because I needed to see what I did well in order to try and continue this on.

The Structure of a Drama Lesson

The video lesson was structured into 10 parts. The first section was establishing an agreement- the rules and aims of the lesson. The video used the 3 Cs (concentration, cooperation, and communication) which I thought was an interesting idea as they provide the children with a structure and set of guidelines that they need to adhere. It also gives the teacher a base point for reflection when a lesson goes right or wrong, while also being a point that they can use keep the class on task (linking back to it throughout the lesson). I would definitely use this part of the structure as it provides a focus for the class and me, as a trainee teacher, throughout the lesson. By discussing my expectations for the class during the lesson and asking for their lesson rules, I think the children will engage in the lesson more actively while also adhering to the class-made rules. A warmup was then used in the video to get the children warm and ready for the rest of the lesson. I find that because drama is a more active and physical type of lesson, the children need to warm up both physically and mentally. A warmup is also a chance for me to introduce any drama skills that are planned to be introduced in the upcoming lesson. This is then followed on by the focus aspect of the lesson, where the key learning points and topics of the lesson will be first introduced and explored. This is an aspect of the lesson that I think is key because it allows the children to primarily explore what will be developed in the rest of the lesson. By using the lesson’s key points of learning and letting the children discuss what they first think of, the teacher is allowed to draw the children’s focus on the learning outcomes of the lesson. There are many different methods that allow the teacher to draw the class’s focus. In the video, pictures are used and the class is asked to brainstorm their initial responses to them. I found this effective way as it allows the children to explore what they think of a situation and engaging in the selected topic. I think that these first three stages of this lesson structure are applicable in any order and to any subject as they provide a possible introduction point for the teacher to introduce the learning outcomes. The development stage of the lesson is shown in the video to be a teacher-led workshop about the discussion the class had had previously about the stimulus they were given. This further provides pupils with a chance to develop and examine their thoughts and ideas as they are questioned on their thoughts. Through this development stage, the lesson moves onto the visualisation aspect of the lesson where the children are asked what they visualise to be happening in a specific situation given to them by the leader, in order to push the children to think creatively about the specific situation. Such creative thinking allows children to explore and navigate descriptions and emotions- key social skills that a child is to develop. Through visualisation the teacher moves on to what is called Soundscape. This is where the children envisage the sounds they would hear in their situation and using their voice and body they express this. From this, children are able to express sounds that they would hear without the aid of musical instruments which allows them to get creative and examine sounds and how they are used to tell a story. This then can lead the children on to performing what they had come up with or by using what they had learned about in the past two sections to come up with their story/performance-based piece. The video highlights that within a drama lesson the performance stage is key as the pupils see it as the outcome of the lesson and are therefore important to them. I agree with this because throughout the rest of the lesson the children have been developing and learning about different skills and ideas through the drama exercises and would consequently want to show this off. From a teacher’s perspective, I would say the next stage is very important as thought tracking allows a child’s interpretation of the lesson and the scene they are presenting. This then leads on to the children evaluating what they took from the lesson. I definitely would use this stage within my lessons as it allows me to be able to reflect on my targets for the lesson.

Structuring a lesson like this provides both the teacher and the class a step by step guide to a lesson with targets throughout. As a trainee teacher, I would definitely enforce this structure to a lesson as it gives me a good structure and basis for any type of lesson as it can be adapted and used throughout the curriculum. However, as the video reflects, drama can be used to learn about the different parts of the curriculum. Throughout the video, I was brainstorming ideas of ways to incorporate drama into my lessons in placement. I thought that I could adopt a drama lesson into the different areas of the curriculum. For example, we could try to recreate an important event in history through mime or still images. Another idea I came up with was furthering on from a literacy and art lessons examining comic strips and stories, the children could act out the stories they had come up with. I think this would engage the class as they could become active learners that are engaged in what they are doing and learning about. I would also find this quite interesting to teach, so, therefore, would be enthusiastic and engaging with my demeanor and classroom presence. Hopefully, the children would respect and mirror my enthusiasm.

I hope to bring forward all ideas discussed in the video and in my reflection towards my placement and in my future career.

Dance is Diverse

Going into this dance workshop I was nervous- to say the least. It was my first workshop this semester, therefore didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know whether we were going to have to learn and perform a dance routine or learn dance steps and moves that we could teach the class. On reflection, the whole workshop was a combination of both of these ideas. I have realised that teaching dance in a classroom setting doesn’t have to be learning a dance or a style of dance.

Education Scotland states: the inspiration and power of the arts play a vital role in enabling our children and young people to enhance their creative talent and develop their artistic skills. From the workshop, I have realised that dance is a base for enabling and allowing children to develop a wide range of social, physical and emotional skills.

Throughout the workshop, we were shown that there is a wide range of dance resources available to access that aid lessons or class management. Interactive web-based dance resources like Trolls- Go Noodle, The Sid Shuffle, and Just Dance- Ghost Busters are all great to either warm up or engage a class before or during a lesson. They could be used as both brain and body warm-up which could consequently energise the children, engaging them in the lesson. As having danced as a child, I think this would be a great way to build a good and energetic rapport with the children. They will see you as enthusiastic and therefore want to mirror this enthusiasm because if the teacher is excited about a lesson; the pupils will get excited about it too.

As Eilidh demonstrated, dance lessons don’t have to be named purely a dance lesson, they can be woven into different aspects of the curriculum. We were given the example of a class studying Buddhism and they explored the Buddha with 1000 hands through a movement and shape activity. In groups, the pupils stood one behind the other and based on height- with the smallest being at the front and the tallest at the back. They then experimented with different hand and arm patterns in order to mirror the 1000 handed Buddha. I feel that this wide variety and range of dance allows lessons to be educational while also being highly interactive. Throughout my placement, I hope to be able to incorporate this element of dance throughout my lessons. From the workshop, I brainstormed a vague idea of a lesson that incorporates shapes in maths (this is however determined by what the class is learning about) and dance. I personally wouldn’t find a lesson interesting if I was just copying steps that the teacher was showing us and therefore I believe that by using dance as a wide and versatile term- instead maybe calling it movement activities- we could merge different aspects of the curriculum together.

I believe that because dance is so widespread and diverse, it can link all over the curriculum without being specifically labeled dance. It links and encompasses a variety of elements of the curriculum and the standards. Through this diverse nature towards dance lessons, I need to be conscious of my critical thinking towards the lessons. I need to know and understand what dance adds to the lesson; what are the children meant to take from this lesson? However, this I believe is the case for all aspects of the curriculum- you need to reflect on why you are doing what you are doing and what the children are going to take from it.

Managing My Learning…

  1. Managing My Learning

  Activity 1

Complete the table below to identify and reflect on those factors and plan actions for each.

Recognition/ Reflection Action
What helps my learning? How can I utilise this?
Example: “Discussing the topic with others” ·         Set up a study group of like-minded peers

·         Engage with the online community

Researching the topic ·         Discuss the topic with like-minded students.

·         Go online and look into the topic.

·         Reading extra notes on the topic.

Organising and having clear notes ·         Have one notebook that has quick scribbles for lectures and then another for clear and concise that you have put into your own words and made sense of.
Writing things out in my own words ·         After each lecture write a reflection of what I took from it.

·         Re-write lecture notes in another notebook

Limiting the amount of background noise ·         Listen to music that is good for studying.

·         Put headphones in.

·         Work in silence

 

 

Recognition/Reflection Action
What hinders my learning? How can I address this factor?
Example: “I’m easily distracted” ·         Study in a place where distractions are minimal

·         Read lecture notes before the lecture and then take notes lectures to keep me focused

I procrastinate ·         Study in a place with minimal distractions.

·         Make a studying timetable that has set times for breaks.

Being distracted by my phone or social media. ·         Turn off the notifications.

·         Put it upside down on the other side of the room

·         Do not have it right next to me.

Leaving things to the last minute ·         Make sure I make a plan of when I am going to do the work and stick to it.

·         Make sure that my work is at the top of my priorities.

Agreeing to go out instead of doing work ·         Use going out as a reward for completing work.

·         Have definite and set aside times of spending with friends

·         Stick to work timetables so I can go out at night

 

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My first exposure to the values unit and it’s harsh realities…

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)

Personal audit & transferable skills

WEEK 1 A_Identifying Skills and Abilities

Activities for unit 1 Personal and Interpersonal Skills and Abilities
A. Identifying Skills and Abilities
Activity 1

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
Self-discipline 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

Activity 2
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 was wrong…

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.

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.