Category Archives: 1.3 Trust & Respect

Structural inequalities beyond the classroom

Following on from Tuesday’s workshop, I have since been reflecting upon structural inequalities not only in the classroom but also beyond within our own society.

As part of the workshop we were split into four groups with two groups given very basic and minimal supply packs and the remaining groups given many varied and advanced supply packs. All groups were asked to make and present something in which would be useful for a new fresher student at the University of Dundee. I was in a group with very basic materials which included a sheet of A4 white paper, a pen, some paperclips and rubber bands. Other groups were given many different coloured pens and paper, scissors, glue, tape and other materials. Our group decided to make a freshers week planner which contained information about where to pick up halls keys, when and where matriculation was and other essential events. The planner was personalised to the specific student.

Throughout the task and presentation of our ideas, our group had noticed that we were given very little attention and encouragement by the leader of the workshop whereas other groups were fortunate in this field. It was a shock to our group when we were given a final grade of 2/10 for our ideas and presentation with the other groups scoring 3/10, 8/10 and 9/10. After the initial upset it was soon revealed to us that our low score and minimal supplies was deliberate and not representative of our own performance-phew!

The task left me with thoughts of how this is an example and reality of different aspects and areas of our own society today. Personally, I saw the task as an example of how with little encouragement, help and attention it is very easy to under perform and be disappointed. It can also cause resentment, annoyance and a lack of full respect (which as a group we experienced to an extremely minor extent) towards the assessor. This is an area in which I feel is especially important and relevant to teaching. The difference in terms of quality and quantity of supplies between groups also highlights the still very much prevalent gap between rich and poor within our classrooms and society beyond. Generally speaking, those from richer backgrounds with wide access to quality resources are more likely to achieve high whereas, those from more disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have equal resources hence, putting them at high risk of under achieving. This is an issue in which I firmly believe professionals from all areas of social care should be challenging and aiming to address.