Category Archives: 2.2 Education Systems & Prof. Responsibilities

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.

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.

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: (23th September 2018)