Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

Peer Review- TDT Part 2

I really enjoyed receiving peer feedback on my original post titled ‘what is it to be an enquiring practitioner?’ The comments made by my colleagues were both positive and insightful, but at the same time very constructively critical.

It was the consensus of the comments that I could’ve gone into more detail in providing examples of the positives and negatives regarding being an enquiring practitioner. Prior to the comments, I hadn’t registered the fact that I needed to go deeper to really answer the question fully. Having this highlighted to me was one of the most beneficial aspects of this task.

In terms of providing feedback, I really appreciated the opportunity to read my colleagues work and see how others answered the question. Each post that I read took a slightly different approach from the next and had a unique attitude. This was really interesting and I think I will continue to use this technique to learn from my colleagues in the future.

I feel that this has been a useful task in drawing attention to the benefits of peer review. Where previously I wouldn’t have been particularly positive regarding the advantages to performing such a task, I feel that because the comments made by my peers really helped me to notice the weaknesses in my writing I will be far more inclined to continue using peer review as I continue my professional development.

A reflection of my understanding of my academic skills

Online Unit- 2B)

After spending time working on unit 2 of the online modules, it’s come to my attention that my knowledge and understanding of basic grammar is in particular need of developing. I’ve realised that although I feel confident in my writing abilities, I desperately need to address my understanding of the English language ‘rules’ when it comes to writing as well as furthering my knowledge of why things are the way they are. I found the Study Skills Book (pages 252-265) particularly useful when it came to defining common grammar terms and what they are used for.

As well as highlighting specific areas that I am in need of developing, I also found the exercises encouraging. For example, when reading the assigned pages of the Study Skills Book, I felt comfortable and confident with the information regarding sentences and paragraphs.

I think over all it was a useful exercise for me to systematically address my knowledge of the basics and I now feel more secure in my understanding of my own academic skills and abilities.

Values and Virtues

As an extension to being asked to discuss and define 5 different professional virtues, I found myself considering what I thought were some of the most important qualities to display as a teacher and why. And after spending some time on the task, it has become clear that each trait I value highly is closely linked to the other. But even more obviously, they’re all about acting and behaving in a way that I would be proud to demonstrate to my pupils.

  1. Conscience
  2. Integrity
  3. Honesty
  4. Tolerance
  5. Respect

Your conscience allows you to evaluate your actions and your thoughts with a moral sense of what is right and what is wrong, either before you act on them or after. I believe that having a professional conscience in the teaching field is vitally important-understanding that as a teacher your actions, your words and your behaviour can have serious repercussions to a child’s understanding and experiences of education is, in my opinion, central to your journey to becoming a person of educational influence.

Both in my personal life and as an aspiring professional, I feel that to have and to display integrity is crucial. To exhibit the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles in your daily proceedings shows honour and reliability. I believe that this in turn demonstrates that you are a serious professional who is willing to stick to what they believe, even if this is difficult.

Honesty is, of course, an important virtue to honour both professionally and personally. Reputation is important, and if you have one of sincerity and truthfulness people will be willing to take your word seriously. And in my opinion, trust is an incredibly important part of being respected.

To show tolerance is to demonstrate the ability and the willingness to accept opinions or behaviour that you might not agree with. If we are to teach our children to grow and develop into effective contributors and responsible citizens, we must also teach them to understand that people will not always agree with their belief or outlook. And therefore it is our responsibility as educators to illustrate the kind of behaviour we expect from our children by having an open mind and displaying tolerance when necessary.

I think that in a professional sense, to show respect is to have due regard and to value people and their work. This in many ways goes hand in hand with tolerance- even if you don’t agree with someone’s views or work ethic, it is still important to treat everyone with respect and professionally.

Is it time for a shake up?

One of the most thought provoking podcasts I’ve listened to since coming to study Education at university was one by a Sir Ken Robinson, a man who along side other things acts as an international adviser of education. During a talk titled ‘changing educations paradigms’, he compares our current education system to that of a working ‘factory’. He comments on the idea that we are still using a system designed for a completely different era to that of which we’re experiencing now- the industrial revolution- and he asks the relevant question of ‘why is it we put our children through education by their age?’ In reference to this he states ‘it’s almost like the date of their manufacture is the most important thing we have to consider!’ and for me, it was this that sparked a personal revolution in the way I view our year groups in this country.

Although it seems natural to accept the fact that different children learn at different speeds and therefor achieve milestones at different points both academically and emotionally, I’ve never considered that our education system should model this truth. Up until recently, having only ever experienced the Scottish education system, it seemed only natural to me to go through school along side children my own age. However during my year teaching in west Africa, I was exposed to another style of ‘streaming’; each year group varied in size, ability and age. Initially this struck me as being disorganised and made it even harder to set appropriate work for the whole class. However upon reflection, and considering Sir Robinson’s comments, this idea of children being grouped together by something as meaningless as age seems more and more bizarre.

Perhaps it is time to shake up the way we educate our children. As Sir Robinson states, we’re no longer living in times of industrial revolution. Does that mean our whole education system is obsolete? However if we were to stop putting children through school with their peers, would that potentially create a void for social development…would it create a system where the ‘more able’ children excelled but the ‘less academic’ were left behind?