Author Archives: Jade Lumsden

Why this way ?

Having been asked to design a classroom for a class of 28 pupils- 22 boys and 6 girls, my initial reaction was excitement. I then developed a sense of nerves- how will I set up a classroom with that amount of boys? What if this was the case in reality? How can I make it an appealing place to learn? I thought about my design for a long period of time wondering how I should set out the tables and what I felt was essential to have within the classroom setting. I came to the conclusion that a horseshoe design would be appropriate because no child has their back to the teacher at any point. Having a horseshoe design also allows the teacher to wander around the front of the children’s desks and present work from the board without people not being able to see. I feel that the way I have designed my classroom is practical because it promotes a positive environment for class talk and allows all children to be part of discussions. I struggled with how I was going to seat the children due to the amount of boys within the class. However, I believe the way in which I have seated the children would be effective because the girls are split equally around the room therefore creating a fair environment for everyone. Within the horseshoe design I have incorporated two resource tables, I would use these for storage of pencils, rulers and rubbers enough for one for each child.

I have incorporated four windows into my classroom design because I believe that sunlight is extremely important for children as it boosts their energy levels and increases mood. I also strongly believe that using daylight is more efficient as the lighting can sometimes create problems for children. Having a table with plants gives the children a form of responsibility and a sense of taking care of something as a class so that they all understand they are part of a network that is there to support and care for them.IMG_0524

I have designed the classroom to have interactive wall displays this is to encourage the children to complete tasks on what they have learnt which is reinforcing their learning making it more achievable to retain information. As a teacher I would change these wall displays and the interactions on a regular basis to ensure that the children did not become disengaged with the idea.

Having a bookcase in a classroom is an essential part of learning because this promotes the children to read and share their ideas and views on books. As a teacher I would ensure that it was not just novels that were available because having magazines, picture books or comics shows the children that reading in various forms is acceptable and is something we should enjoy doing. I also believe that this area of the classroom should be comfortable because this gives the children of feeling relaxed.

 

 

What does my body say ?

Having watched the video on body language it became apparent to me that there are various ways in which you can use your body to convey what you mean. The approach that the teacher used at the end of her lesson to get the children organised would be highly effective to use within my placement school. The school has a cloakroom where the children keep their coats and bags, using this technique I would ask the children a question relating to learning from that day/week and upon the response would send them to the cloakroom to get their belongings. By doing this I would be reducing the health and safety risks of having too many children in the cloakroom at one time.

As a teacher moving around the classroom can be effective as it allows you to show the children you are constantly aware of what is happening within the classroom and that you expect all children to be engaged with their learning. This also gives the teacher the opportunity to ask questions to everyone within the class and ensure the children all understand that everyone is important. Using this technique can promote children to be looking towards the teacher at all times keeping them focussed and on task. I believe I will try this technique whilst out on placement as I remember as a child my teachers always being at the front of the classroom and it was easy to drift your attention in and out. I would like the children in the class to feel that I am interested in their learning and that I believe everyone is important.

When out on placement I plan to use body language, facial expressions and tone of voice to my advantage. I believe that this is extremely important as children can read what you mean from these aspects. For example when taking a lesson you must ensure that show the children you are interested and enthusiastic otherwise you will not obtain the results you have hoped for. Even when you are not fully confident within teaching a lesson, ensuring your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice show you are confident then the children will believe that you are confident. I believe that using these 3 aspects when praising a child is essential as it gives the child a sense that you are extremely proud of their achievements and will promote confidence and self-esteem.

http://archive.teachfind.com/ttv/www.teachers.tv/videos/body-language-techniques.html

 

Scientific Literacy

Scientific literacy (National Science Education Standards, 1996, p. 22) is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in community and national affairs and economic productivity.

A scientifically literate person can ask, find or determine answers to questions, derived from curiosity about every day experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain and predict natural occurrences. Scientific literacy entails being able to read articles in the press, with understanding, about science and engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. A literate person should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.

A lack of scientific literacy can lead to inaccurate media reporting, this inaccuracy can have a detrimental impact on the lives of many people. In 1998 Dr Andrew Wakefield announced that he believed the MMR jag was directly linked to autism in children. However, there was no evidence or proof of this link. (Daily Mail, 2006) Many parents decided against their children receiving the MMR jag, ‘in 2003/4 fewer than 8 in 10 children received the jag’ (BBC, 2013). In 2008 the NHS reported that there was no link between MMR and autism (NHS, 2008). The BBC (2013) interviewed parents about their decision to not have their child vaccinated, Craig Thomas disclosed “It’s been devastating and I feel terrible guilt. My daughter lost half a stone in weight. My son’s face was swollen, he had unbelievable spots and a rash. They were pretty much bedridden for three weeks.” Whereas another parent disclosed “With the recent measles outbreak, I am relieved that he is now protected. But if it happened again I’d make the same choices,” after her son decided to get the vaccination aged 14. Dr Andrew Wakefield’s ‘work has since been completely discredited and he has been struck off as a doctor in the UK’ (NHS, no date).

When conducting an experiment in science it is important to test it fairly. It is highly important to use fair testing in order to make the experiment results reliable. To conduct a fair test you must consider changing one factor at a time while the rest are kept the exact same. An example of teaching children about fair testing may include an experiment questioning if heating a cup of water allows it to dissolve more sugar. For this you must have various cups of water all heated at different temperatures. However, to test this fairly the teacher must use the same type and size of cup, the exact same amount and brand of sugar each time along with the exact same amount of water. Doing this is demonstrating to the pupils how fair testing allows them to get a more dependable result out of an experiment. Teaching fair testing in schools links to scientific literacy as it assists the child with understanding scientific concepts and has them questioning the best ways in order to conduct different experiments. Fair testing also allows the children to develop an evidence based conclusion as they have gathered reliable information through conducting the experiment fairly and thoroughly.

 

BBC. (2008) MMR: How parents feel now about avoiding jags. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22354895 (Accessed: 5 February 2016).

Daily Mail. (2006) Scientists fear MMR link to autism. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-388051/Scientists-fear-MMR-link-autism.html (Accessed: 5 February 2016).

National Science Education Standards (1996) Scientific literacy. Available at: http://www.nap.edu/read/4962/chapter/4#22 (Accessed: 6 February 2016)

NHS. (no date) MMR Vaccine. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/mmr-vaccine.aspx (Accessed: 5 February 2016).

NHS. (2008) MMR Vaccine ‘does not cause autism’. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2007/January08/Pages/MMRvaccinedoesnotcauseautism.aspx (Accessed: 5 February 2016).

Science Buddies (2002) Variables for Beginners. Available at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_experiment_fair_test.shtml (Accessed: 11 February 2016)

Turner, J. (2012) It’s Not Fair. Available at: https://www.ase.org.uk/journals/primary-science/2012/01/121/2994/30-33.pdf (Accessed: 11 February 2016)

Written by:

Mandy Everett.

Samantha Mooney.

Jade Lumsden.

Responding to Technology

Having recently had an ICT input on searching, researching and presenting we had a discussion about how crucial it is to teach children about internet safety. Technology has grown drastically over the years. I remember as a teenager my brother and I would argue about who had been on the internet for the longest or would complain when someone phoned on the house phone as it cut the internet off. It’s incredible to think that children will not experience these things anymore and everyone can be on the internet at the same time. Bearing this in mind many parents may not always know what their children are getting up to online, which can be scary. This is why it is essential as a teacher to know the ins and outs of internet safety to ensure this is passed on to the future generations. I used the website www.animoto.com to create a short video about internet safety. I found it extremely easy to navigate my way around animoto and believe I could use this as a resource in the classroom to allow children to present work.

Throughout the ICT input I learned a lot about searching the internet and how to make my searches more relevant. I am the type of person who just types in the search bar and relies on the top hits, I believe many people are. However, reflecting on this I am going to change my habits and dig deeper into finding the information I need to know. I find it fascinating that people can make websites that are completely untrue however, still make them look real and official. This gave me insight into how my habits need to change and I need to pay more attention into what I am reading. Looking through some of these websites I think it is beneficial for my career choice to show children these websites and allow them to analyse whether or not the information is true.

Here are a few examples of untrue websites:

http://www.zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

www.martinlutherking.org

No More Boring

Having crept away from the thought of writing blog posts over the festive period, I have now taken the advice from my lecturer and looked at some of my fellow student’s blog posts. I have to admit I feel slightly embarrassed with myself in regards to the amount of blog posts others have done compared to myself. The blog posts I have read were extremely good and some lengthy compared to my own. This has given me the opportunity to evaluate my own work and realise I need to produce blog posts to a higher standard considering the profession I want to go into. I believe some of my posts have not had a great deal of thought or effort put into them, which looking back now is disappointing. I believe it is highly important to reflect upon situations whether this is a specific class that has been attended or a book that has been read. Bearing that in mind I am going to set myself the goal of creating a reflective blog post weekly and commenting on at least three fellow student’s blog posts.

Upon reading my fellow student’s blog posts I have established that my blog posts can appear to be quite boring. This is due to the fact that I have never inserted a picture or a video clip into any of my blog posts, the titles of my blog posts are uninspiring and would not appeal to people, the font and colour of the text always remains the same and I rarely use quotes or statements to support my view. My aim is to make my blog posts more appealing by changing all these aspects in order to inspire people to read my blog posts.

Bored

I believe that reading my fellow student’s blog posts has inspired me to become more creative with my blog and to engage more thoroughly. I believe that in writing a blog post weekly I can improve my confidence and prepare for assignments through reflecting on my learning.

 

 

 

Enquiring Practitioner

Menter et al (2001) defined practitioner enquiry as a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended. Practitioner enquiry is most commonly undertaken within the practitioners own practice however, it can also be collaboratively undertaken with peers. Being an enquiring practitioner you must reflect and evaluate all your work, especially lesson plans as this enhances not only your personal development as a teacher but the development of the pupils within your class and potentially your peers. Having the mind-set of an enquiring practitioner will allow you to think critically about your teaching and how to improve your teaching. Being critically reflective is not negative as it allows you to question old assumptions, look at things from new and various perspectives and develop your practice by ensuring you can make reflective decisions. Being an enquiring practitioner you should consistently ask critical questions about your professional development such as why and how am I doing this and who and how will this benefit.

There are many benefits of being an enquiring practitioner:

  • Allows teachers to challenge and transform education systems which benefits the pupils learning.
  • Allows teachers to monitor their own personal development and learning.
  • Allows teachers to work collaboratively on plans to develop pupils learning.
  • Has a lasting impact on professional development for the practitioner.
  • Allows teachers to increase their knowledge base and allows for more professional judgements to be made, which gives the practitioner a chance to build on self-esteem and professional identity.

However, there are also challenges of being an enquiring practitioner:

  • Challenges the traditional way of teaching which some teachers may find difficult if they are stuck in old habits and routines.
  • Different practices and techniques require different skills which can be challenging.
  • Some teacher may find it difficult to challenge their own assumptions or be critical.
  • It can seem like a long slow process with no end goal for some teachers.
  • It can be an overwhelming process for some teachers.

As a student teacher I feel like learning about how to become and enquiring practitioner is highly beneficial not only for my professional practice but for my journey throughout university. I feel that it is essential to learn how to critically evaluate and reflect on situations, which is a skill I need to work upon. However, I feel that learning this throughout my next for years will allow for me to have a critical approach and question what I do throughout my career. Learning about how to become an enquiring practitioner throughout university will benefit my career as I will have the knowledge base of what is expected of me and how to achieve this. Whilst out on my professional practice this will be highly beneficial as I can have discussions with other members of staff about my progress and how to improve upon my learning. I personally feel that being an enquiring practitioner is a positive development as it is not only about my personal development as a teacher but also the progress of the pupils I am teaching. I am a strong believer in the sense that you never stop learning and you are never too old to learn therefore I will develop myself into an enquiring practitioner who learns throughout my career.

žGTCS (no date) Practitioner Enquiry. Available online at: http://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/practitioner-enquiry/practitioner-enquiry.aspx [Accessed 28/10/15)

What are the Scottish Government doing to close the attainment gap?

Attainment levels in Scotland are a major issue, there are many issues which affect attainment levels such as social class, gender and ethnicity. Reading performance has decreased from 2012 to 2014. However, the Scottish Government are trying to close the attainment gap using different techniques.

  • The Scottish Attainment Challenge which has been set up to aide the learning of children and young people in the most deprived areas of Scotland. The Scottish Attainment challenge consists of two sections, attainment Scotland fund and universal support. Attainment Scotland fund is a new £100 million initiative which focuses on supporting children from extremely deprived areas, focussing mainly on literacy, numeracy and health and well-being in primary schools. Universal support is improving upon previous initiatives to try and close the attainment gap. These initiatives include raising attainment for all programme and early years collaborative, P1-3 read, write, count campaign and access to education fund.
  • The Education (Scotland) Bill which was passed in March 2015, the bill has a strong focus on improving attainment level. The Bill enhances children’s rights and requires councils and Scottish ministers to report about progress within attainment. The Bill works alongside the Scottish Governments existing efforts to improve attainment levels and education standards.