Learning shouldn’t be limited

As part of the Values module in the Education and Social work course, I participated in an activity to do with inequalities. This activity was very insightful into the lives of children which will be experiencing deprivation. We were split into four groups and we were given little information about the end outcome of this activity. Once we had been assigned an envelope with materials inside, we were then asked to come up with an innovative product which would be beneficial to a university student just starting university. At this point we hadn’t realised that everyone was given different materials. Even when we were asked to present our idea to the rest of the groups, we were still clueless that others were given less materials. This explains some of the reasoning behind discrimination and poverty; children experiencing deprivation will be looking at those who aren’t and wondering why they’ve been given this life. Whereas, children which come from wealthy or middle-class families may not have any idea that other children aren’t receiving the same opportunities; which comes with their wealth.

After we had presented our idea, we then went on to creating the idea. As soon as we were scored for the idea we had created and had looked around at the other creations. It became evident that some groups had very few materials. The creations were then marked from 1 being poor to 10 being really good. When the groups were asked to reflect on this activity; some were happy with their efforts due to the lack of materials which they had been given. Others felt it was unfair and they didn’t believe it was right to be marked so low, when they had so little materials to work with. They felt they had been harshly marked and they felt disadvantaged by the activity. This goes to show how a child must feel when they don’t have the correct materials to participate fully. For instance, if a child has been asked to participate in a P.E. lesson and their parent has been unable to afford new trainers. This will result in the child having to come to P.E. with shoes which have holes in them and then they will have to face being ridiculed by their peers. Should income really have such a detrimental effect on the child’s ability to participate or affect their self-esteem.

Throughout the task I began to understand that as a teacher, I will be faced with the effects of the children who don’t have the same opportunities as others. As a future teacher I believe we shouldn’t allow any child to be disadvantaged due to their background which is of no fault of their own. There may be a child who doesn’t turn up on time, or doesn’t understand the lesson first time. It is the teacher’s job to find a way to make learning diverse and ensure each and every pupil is inspired to learn. This means teachers shouldn’t be setting homework tasks online, if the child can’t access the internet at home or any other way. By providing opportunities for all, we are creating a diverse classroom which means that everyone is included. Is it fair that a child’s learning is limited due to their background? I believe not.

This activity was very thought provoking because it changed the way I view society and education. Nobody should be limited due to their status or rather their parent’s status in society. I believe we need to create an equal learning environment for all and not allow any child to feel devalued or demoralised due to their family’s income. Resources such as stationary may need to be provided for the child. From experience I have seen teachers providing the stationary for these pupils. Nothing should be a barrier to a child’s learning or development.

1 thought on “Learning shouldn’t be limited

  1. Michelle Cassidy

    Hi Lucy

    I have enjoyed reading your evaluation of the sessions you have been engaging with. It sounds like this activity has met the aim of providing (if only a slight) insight into the world of some of our disadvantaged young people and how barriers can be created due to family circumstances. By having an understanding of this so early in your career, you will be able to support our young people well. I too believe it is our job as teachers to ensure we are removing barriers – whatever they may be – to allow all to access the curriculum. Keep up the good work.

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