There are several elements which a good science lesson should consist of.
The first is that the teacher should have a strong understanding of what they are teaching. Even if they are not confident in delivering science, their lesson should be thoroughly researched so that when they deliver it to the children they seem confident. The reason for this is that if the teacher is not enthusiastic or confident about the science lesson the children may notice and may also feel the same about science.
Science lessons should include less copying notes. Lessons should include a range of opportunities for practical work such as experiments and outdoor learning. This is not only because it is more engaging but it is better for developing skills. Sitting taking notes is beneficial in some cases but in terms of developing transferable skills it is not the most appropriate approach. Experiments and enquiries often use a wide range of numeracy skills as pupils often gather, analyse and present data. The lesson should also involve the children being actively involved in the lesson which means they are taking part and asking questions, investigating for themselves. There should also be opportunity for collaborative working as this will help to develop team working skills as well as gaining many different opinions and ideas to help solve the problem they are faced with.
This however is still not enough to create a good science lesson. There has to be a conceptual understanding of what they are learning which means being able to use what they are learning. This comes with connecting the task to the wider world. It is about connecting to the scientific issues that are present in society so that the pupils understand the purpose of what they are doing. If they have an understanding of what they are doing and are developing skills while doing it they will have the necessary tools to understand the world they live in and if they wish, explore a science related career.
I do not hate maths however I would not say that I particularly enjoyed it. I view it as something that we just have to do in order to be able to do things in life. I do believe however that maths at primary school is enjoyable.
I always loved maths at primary school. I do not know if this is because my teacher made it fun or just because it was something that I found easy to do. In primary 6 and 7 I had the same teacher and I have I had a vivid memory of the ‘times table pyramid’. This was an ongoing task in our classroom. The way it worked was the numbers from 2 to 12 were positioned in a pyramid on the wall in the classroom, every pupil in the class had their name on individual cards which they were able to stick on. You would position your own card at the times table you knew up to but you had to know all the previous tables as well. Our on going task was to learn the table above the one we were on so that we could move up. If you believed you were ready, you had to stand up and say the times table as well as answering muddled up questions in the table. If you done this successfully you moved up. I remember reaching the 12 times table and being at the top of the pyramid, this filled me with a great confidence in my timetables and I continued to love to do them. My whole class enjoyed this task because there was a sense of challenge to keep climbing the pyramid and getting better which I believe encouraged people to try. This was when I loved maths.
High school for me was when maths became less fun and less enjoyable. It became the same all of the time which was learn a topic, do a test then move on. In 4th year when I was sitting my National 5 maths I had an amazing teacher who helped me a lot. I found it really hard but her methods of learning and her positive attitude that we were able to do it made me achieve the grade that I did. As much as I still did not enjoy maths at this time, I did it all of the time because I wanted to do well. Higher maths is when I really lost all enjoyment of maths as I do not believe I fully understood any of the work that we did. I passed the unit tests but I believe it was because I memorised the process that we followed in the examples to get the answer. There was not any real understanding as when we put the maths we had learned into problem solving questions I did not know what to do. As Haylock mentions it is not about systematically solving problems the same way, it is about finding various solutions to the same problem and understanding why it is that we use these. This is what I did not experience in higher maths.
In relation to maths anxiety, I do hear often young people and many adults say that they hate maths and they cannot do it. I do not think this is the correct way to view it as like we discussed in our inputs maths is required for every day life. I believe that while I do not hate it, I do need to view it in a more positive light as I want the pupils I am teaching to be excited to learn maths and enjoy it.
During semester 1 an important aspect of my professional development stemmed from the working together module. At school I always liked to do individual, written tasks instead of group, practical tasks. The reason for this was not because I did not like working with others or because I was not good at it; it was because I believed that I learned more sitting and doing a reading or written task on my own. I liked the ‘boring’ way of learning as it is often put at school but that is what worked for me.
Considering this, the working together module filled me with a slight anxiety that I do not like to admit. However; I enjoyed working as an active member of my group during this module and my feedback from my peers was all positive in all aspects of being an active participant. I do believe that the presentation we had to create would have been quicker to do by yourself as meeting 10 other people with different schedules was exceedingly difficult. This I realised was not the point of the task. While the task was exploring the theory behind professions working together, the whole presentation was to give you a sense of what it is like to work with other individuals in a professional context.
When you take it out of the university setting and apply it to our professions in practice, the importance of communicating with social workers and community learning development workers is essential for young people’s well-being. The reason for this is because there are things that as a teacher we are not aware of and this may be impacting on a child in a school setting. To gather the information we need to support a young person we need to be able to communicate effectively with the other professions who are involved in that child’s lives. I realise that this is not something that you can do alone because as teachers we do not know most of what will be happening outside of school.
Reflecting on this, there are many aspects of my career where it will be better for me and my pupils’ for me to have worked with other colleagues or professionals. Bringing it into the context of just working with colleagues in the same school; planning can be done collaboratively. For example, if you are teaching in a big school with several teachers per year stage, it is often more beneficial to plan together as it is several ideas and opinions not just one and all children in that year group will be experiencing the same learning opportunities. It also may allow teachers to play to their strengths as you may be a specialist in music and the other class teacher PE, so you can work it so you take their class for your specialism and they take your class for theirs. This is just one example but there are many. If your class has a teaching assistance, it is extremely important to work effectively with them. This should be in terms of involving them in planning and also communicating effectively so that they are clear about what they have to do as well as having an open communication system where they feedback about pupils.
Considering all of this I recognise that my preference to work on my own was okay when I was at school and that while I participated in working with others I always knew I preferred individual task. This however, is different in a professional context. My view on working with others has changed as I would rather now work with others as that is how I am going to develop as a professional. By working alongside my peers to discuss what we are learning about as well as working closely with placement mentors and other professionals. I will learn from others and that is what I believe will assist me in my professional development.
The video discussing the best way to structure a drama lesson was extremely beneficial for me as I have not got a lot of experience in participating in or leading drama so therefore do not feel as confident in planning and teaching drama lessons as I do in other subjects. This video along with the first workshop has provided me with a range of ideas which would allow me to plan and teach a drama lesson knowing that it would meet the intended outcomes the curriculum suggests.
The video discussed how the first drama lesson should always begin with a class agreement which the pupils and the teacher agree on. This would be beneficial in terms of the pupils knowing and understanding the goals and expectations of the lesson. The video identified the three C’s; they suggested that if something goes wrong within the lesson that it would be because of a lack of one of three things: communication, co-operation and concentration. These are important to have in mind throughout the planning of the lesson as in order for children to concentrate for example; they have to be engaged which stems from what they are doing. After the agreement has been created it is important to warm-up before the main section of the lesson begins. Warm-ups should aim to get the mind and body ready for the lesson. They can take form in a variety of different ways: vocal warm-up, concentration, team working or active. Some warm ups can be a combination of many things for example; in our drama input we did a variety throughout the beginning of the session. We played a game called ‘Rubber Chicken’ which involved shaking our arms and legs individually in counts of 8, then 4, 2, then 1 and finally all together to create the ‘rubber chicken’. We all counted out loud and were encouraged to be relatively loud to warm our voices up and it was warming our body up as well. This was a combination of an active and vocal warm up. We also worked on the communication aspect of the three C’s discussed above as we also played ‘Line-up’ which is a game where you have to line up without talking in a specific order; examples are height, birthday month and hair colour. This requires the skills of non-verbal communication, team work and also problem solving. By taking part in the workshop and now having watched the video, the warm ups we participated exactly meet the theory of what a warm-up in a drama lesson should consist of as it meets what the video says.
The first task in the main part of the lesson in the video was that they were given an image to act as a stimulus which will be developed upon throughout the lesson. This is a still image which has no life but it is a great starting point for the lesson as it can be developed using a range of tools. The participants in the video stood in a circle and were asked to think about what came to mind when they thought of the image and when tapped on the shoulder had to express thoughts or feeling which came to their head. This links directly to the Curriculum for Excellence’s Experiences and Outcomes for drama as one of the outcomes for early to second level is “Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings”. This outcome is addressed in the experience of participating in this activity however it is not met simply during this one lesson but rather has been addressed. The same activity can be applied using a variety of different stimuli and performed in a variety of different ways which would develop this experience. An example from the workshop I participated in is that a piece of music was played and our tutor vocally gave us a scenario to imagine in our head. One by one we went into the middle creating a tableau. The tutor then tapped some people on the shoulder and they had to express a feeling or thought they had in that moment. This is similar to the activity in the video. This relates the drama convention of space as creating a tableau involves spacial awareness in order to communicate effectively with the audience.
The lesson in the video developed further as they asked the students to think about what they would hear in the situation they are in, they called this ‘sound scaping’. This was then performed out loud they all made the noises they imagined. The lesson then quickly developed into ‘body scaping’ which the video described as the students using a visual picture of the setting they are in and think about how they can use their bodies to create scenery in the visual. They then added both the body movements with the noises that they had thought of previously therefore creating a scene of what is going on. It was then made clear that the students should be given the opportunity to perform what they have created. This also facilitates part of the the learning outcome “I can respond to the experience of drama by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive feedback on my own and others work.” By performing to their peers they can receive positive feedback and also constructive feedback about what could have been better from their peers. By watching the rest of their peers performances they can also evaluate what they think about other people’s performances as well. When teaching drama I would give opportunity for the students to feedback on each others work. The end of the lesson should consist of an evaluation in reference to the directed video which gives the pupils a chance to further facilitate this outcome as it gives them a chance to reflect on what they thought they achieved and what they hope to achieve in the next lesson. It was also suggested that an evaluation is a great way to finish the lesson as it is calming before the pupils then return to the classroom.
One of the teachers in the video related the drama lesson to a literacy lesson by exploring how she could use the drama lesson to explore the fairy tales they were learning about in class. This can also relate to a history project for example if a P6 or 7 class were learning about World War II, the activity which we performed in our workshop would directly relate. This is because the scenario was children getting evacuated from the city where they lived during WWII. After the pupils learned about these events, this activity would be a great way of getting the pupils to visualise what occurred at that time and allow them to think about what it would feel like. This activity can be performed with many different topics to fit into the work pupils are doing in class.
Doctor Suzanne Zeedyk and John Carnochan both discussed how important the first three years of a child’s life are. Prior to our health and well-being input and watching both of the assigned videos I was not aware of how much a child’s environment at this age can influence how their brain develops. It was made clear by both speakers the importance of the early years stages of learning. We heard them speak about various examples of how the environments we present to children influence the way that there brain works and therefore the way that children act or behave. One example which was touched on by both individuals was that if a child is being brought up in a stressful environment; one where there is maybe a great deal of conflict, their brain then adapts to help them cope with that particular environment. Doctor Zeedyk makes the interesting connection that if the child is having to worry about the stress of a threatening environment; they are not worrying and exploring the wider environment as they are too busy monitoring threat. John Carnochan expands on this by saying that if children are used to coping in threatening situations they may struggle to assess risk. This may affect them when they go into the school environment as they may close off and view various different aspects of the school a threat whether that is peers, teachers or anyone else. Young people who are experiencing a threatening environment; may see conflict as a way to approach situations as that is what they have had to cope with. This matters a great deal to myself as a future teacher as each day children may come into school having dealt with a variety of different things on that day as well as what they have experienced from their early years. As a teacher you have to take into consideration that what your class have experienced and the way they think and view things may vary greatly across the entire class. This will affect the way I manage and organise my classroom as well as the way I teach lessons depending on which children I am teaching. This is why it is important for me to get to know the children in my class so that a relationship can be developed where the young person trusts me.
Through all of this, the videos are trying to communicate the importance of relationships. John Carnochan makes the statement that we are all human and therefore have the ability to establish and maintain relationships. This shows the importance of human interaction and relationships as children grow up. Young people may be quiet and try isolate themselves; maybe due to a threatening environment or maybe because they just have a shy personality. Other children may be extremely keen to talk to other children and make friends. It is important that as they go through the early years stages that they learn negotiation; this will be done through learning to share toys. It is important children learn to communicate with one another and with other adults. These are essential at this young age to progress through their education as well as into adult life as we all have such a variety of relationships as we progress through life. As a practitioner; it is important to encourage children to talk and discuss tasks therefore throughout my lessons I will incorporate time for discussion. This will not only encourage communication but also help in their ability to problem solve as often talking to others allows solutions to be found.
In our health and well-being input something stood out to me as being important to be aware of. This was that children will make friendships in different ways throughout their primary school journey. Children in the early stages of school will make friends based on what they like and what they want to play with. It was then discussed that as children reach the age of seven they are usually established into same sex friendship groups. Lastly, as children start to go through the transition from P7 to high school they may then find different friendships groups as they meet new people. As a teacher it is important to be aware that as young people change and develop so will their relationships. The example used from the input was that when children reach the age of 6 or 7 friendship starts to mean something and they will have a loyalty to the people they have built up relationships with.
My workshop experience in my dance was extremely positive. I have taught dance for many years through being a dance leader at school and I have now moved onto teaching at the studio where I was a student. This means I feel confident in teaching dance; however the workshop introduced various different aspects of dance in the primary school and the experiences of dance that myself as a practitioner has to facilitate.
The lesson that we participated in was suitable for all; as it had such a range of choice in what moves or travelling phrases you were able to choose. This made it fun and engaging as we had to think about what we wanted to do as opposed to just copying a dance that someone created. This will allow young people to be creative in their thinking and have the opportunity to perform their own ideas. There were also opportunities to come up with various solutions which shows that there are multiple possibilities not just one. We were asked to work individually, in partners and in groups which allowed group working and communication with others. Travelling was the focus of this lesson but it was not done in a way that prevented expression of participants own ideas; for example often in my dance classes I have a travelling section within my class but I give the methods of travelling. This works in some of my classes however, it is important to give young people the opportunity to create travelling phrases and short phrases using their own ideas. The lesson was structured in a way that did not make participation uncomfortable as it was built up from everyone doing movements at the same time, to then doing it in big groups to finally presenting to the class in small groups. This facilitates the experience of performing, maybe on a small scale but this was all completed in one lesson, with a serious of lessons these skills could be built on and developed.
There are key ideas which I will take from this workshop into my placement. One idea is that it is a good idea to use videos to explore dance. They can be used to provoke thinking and understanding of different styles of dance. Videos can also be used as a stimulus for the young people to then go away and create a variation on what they have saw. Another idea that I would use during my professional practice placement is that I can do a whole lesson on one skill, a lesson that can be adapted to suit all stages of primary schools. The last key message I will take forward into practice is that dance can be done widely in the classroom and as part of a PE lesson. In the classroom; it can be taking part in videos online – for example; Just Dance videos where the young people and myself take part. Dance in the gym can take part in various forms in terms of building on skills and technique or creating a big class dance.
Yesterday we had a very interesting input about the Racism and Patriarchy which is present in our society.
Racism is something that I rarely come across in day to day life. This is what I think because as I go through each day I don’t see anyone acting in a racist manner. However while I can’t recall specific examples I know at some point I have heard someone make a racist remark. The lecture made me think about all the times you read about and see on the news the issues which all stem from racism. People make out that in this day in age racism is not one of the most prominent issues in society. Yes; it does not take place in the same form as what we seen in 1995 with the Civil Rights Act in America but it is something that is more present than many people realise. The presentation made me think that maybe I don’t notice as much because I have never been the victim of any racist behaviour and because of this I can’t presume to know the extent of fear and horror many individuals all over the world have went through. Having studied higher history at the school I learned all about the Civil Rights movement and I remember then I couldn’t look at some of the videos or images that showed what went on. Emmet Till was brought up in the lecture and seeing the image again made me realise the brutality that was present because of the colour of someone’s skin. I can’t comprehend how someone could do this to a child just because of the colour of their skin; I don’t understand why people were treated in such a disgraceful manner because of this. But has this really changed? The Stephen Lawrence case of 1993 shows that black teenagers still face unprovoked brutality because they are black. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed repeatedly by a group of white youths in London. The police also made little effort to pursue the attackers and they were not convicted until 18 years later. 18 years Stephen’s parents went without any sort of closure. Stephen Lawrence’s mum said something that really startled me; she said they investigated her son’s murder “like white masters during slavery”. When I read this in the Giddens ‘Sociology’ reading, it opened my eyes as it made me ask myself if times have really moved on because if they had surely attacks like this one wouldn’t occur. Slavery was a thing of the past and it was a great oppression which black people faced across the Atlantic World and for his mum to feel that the police cared so little about his death to compare them to the white slave masters shows the extent of inequality they faced. We have to ask ourselves if it would be different if it was the other way around and a group of black youths attacked a white boy and I have to say I do think more effort would have been made. I am not saying this knowing this would certainly be the case but it is embedded in society that people assume black youths are more likely to be criminals. I do believe if it was the reverse, the case would have been handled differently. Both the lecture and reading touched on the fact that racism often takes the form of institutional racism which we seen in the police force during this case. I see racism as not being socially acceptable in the way it was in the past but still takes place often but in a more subtle way that not everyone is aware of.
I understand that as a professional I have to be aware of the forms of racism which takes place all over the world and the affect this has on different individuals. As a future teacher equality is extremely important. Everyone should be treated with equal respect but I know in many aspects of life this is not the case; but the classroom is somewhere that everyone will be treated equally. Racism is something that while I understand what it is and the many cases of when it takes place; I fail to understand how people can think and act in a racist way.
“Train your wife in 5 easy lessons”:
This was a quotation from a newspaper headline shown on the lecture presentation about patriarchy. The quote has relation to the 20th century portrayal of woman as house wives and the idea that they did what their husbands wanted and didn’t have opinions that were important. This idea to me is ridiculous and sometimes it is hard to remember their was a time when woman did not have the same rights as men. Woman were inferior to men. I am passionate about the fact both men and woman should be treated equally. Today we still see men’s achievements being more publicised than woman’s and woman’s sport not being as popular as men’s. There is still a fraction of inequality between the two genders and I feel it is important to understand that we have come a long was since how woman were portrayed in ancient Greece but it is something that has been embedded into society since then. As professionals it is important to encourage that boys and girls are equals; they can both pursue any careers they want to and there isn’t anything you can’t do just because you are a woman or just because you are a man.
I conclude by discussing the idea that men should hold the door for a woman with the “ladies first” idea. I see holding the door open for someone as a polite thing to do but have heard discussion previously that they shouldn’t need to do that because woman want to be treated equally. But wouldn’t you hold the door for anyone no matter of their gender if it was the right thing to do in that situation? I know I would hold the door for a woman or a man because it is just polite and men and woman should be respectful of each other.
The task that we were set in our values workshop earlier this week was one that sparked a great deal of realisation about the way our society works. The task itself was relatively straight forward; it involved being split into four groups and each group was given an envelope with a set of materials inside. Using these materials we were to create a resource that would be beneficial to a new student starting university. It was emphasised that we were only able to use the materials we were given – nothing else. Each group began discussing and got to work. At the time I can honestly say I thought the purpose of the workshop was to get us working together and understanding the importance of being able to work as part of a team; I didn’t see any hidden lesson. My group finished our resource and we presented what we had come up with. We were awarded nine our of ten for our idea; I remember at the time we all looked at each other quite chuffed with ourselves. The other groups then began presenting what they had made and each one seemed to get a lower and lower mark and while I noticed they didn’t seem to have used as much materials as us; it still did not occur to me that they were not given the same as we were. It wasn’t until we were told that each group was given a different envelope with different equipment inside that it became apparent that that is why their end products’ were not as good as our one was.
Someone said that it ‘wasn’t fair’ that we had got given more and better materials than they had. They would be completely right; it wasn’t fair at all. I then came to the realisation that there was more to the task than met the eye; there was a deeper idea that we were exploring without being aware. Not one person in my group had noticed that every other group had less than we did because we were so caught up in what it was that we were doing. This made me question if that is how I was all of the time; do I even notice that not everyone has the same things? While I know I do notice this; it does however raise awareness of the need to be more thoughtful in the sense of noticing that the circumstances for one person can be the complete opposite to that of another. We cannot judge everyone under the same list of criteria as we are not always aware of what is going on in everyone’s head or what their life is like outside of the establishment in which we know them. What occurred to me was that as a future teacher you cannot apply the same rules to everyone; each child will be from a different background and not all children will have access to the same things. It was raised in my workshop that you can’t set a task that requires access to the internet at home to your whole class and expect everyone to complete it if someone within the class doesn’t have it. This made me understand that as a teacher I have to respect the fact that not everyone has what we all assume everyone does. As a teacher I feel it is important to facilitate a learning environment which is inclusive for everyone and to do that it is important to think about and understand that not one person is the same or faces the same circumstances.
It wasn’t fair for us to be scored higher on what we made because we had more to work with. This can be related to wider society: if you don’t have as much, if you are from an area of deprivation; do you have access to the same opportunities than someone from a more affluent background? Statistically it is proven that people from areas of deprivation don’t have as good an education and are more likely to be unemployed. But; is this fair? Is it fair that because of the social injustice present within our society people can’t access their full potential? It is not! The reason for this is because just like that task we were given you can only work with what you have and if you don’t have what you need; how are you meant to complete each task to the best of your ability?
Teaching is a rewarding career which allows you to educate and make a positive influence on young people’s lives. Although I am not a teacher yet, the role I have as a dance teacher at my local dance studio has shown me how rewarding teaching can be. Working with young people and learning them new things is something I have always loved to do, from around the age of thirteen I volunteered at holiday camps for primary aged pupils. Working with these young people played a large part in my decision to become a teacher as coaching and leading them in different activities was something I enjoyed. The young people within our dance school now; continue to confirm my decision to become a teacher as the sense of achievement each time a student enjoys and learns from the class tasks I have set for the session; I feel as though I have accomplished something meaningful. I have put into practice many of the skills needed as a teacher such as the ability to communicate and engage a group of students which I feel will benefit me in my leaner journey to become a teacher. While teaching dance is very different from being a teacher in a classroom environment; the experience I have gained with young people has created a love for teaching within me. These experiences alongside my interest in learning about the education system are why teaching is my chosen career.
Teaching is an essential job within society and each and every child has a right to be educated which is why I feel strongly about the teaching profession. Teachers have the responsibility to influence the next generation of learners. Teachers provide children with an education; an education which will one day help them decide what career path they want to follow. This to me is something I know I need to be a part of.
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