When I seen we had an experiment to prepare for the first day of semester two I panicked, thinking back to science at school I remember all the experiments taking a lot of planning and time in the lesson to try out. I started googling ‘simple science experiments’ and seen a lot of really good ideas to use in the classroom with children that actually aren’t so complex after all.
During my search to find one that I could easily take into uni and do I came across one which made me think to myself, that surely doesn’t work? So I decided to give this one a bash as it required very little money and time.
A food bag, pencils and water – the only three things I needed for the experiment. The idea of the experiment is that if you fill a food bag with water and seal the top, when you stick a pencil right through the bag that the water will in fact not leak. Having no pencils I decided to try the experiment the night before I planned to get pencils by using a knife instead of a pencil. This was a stupid idea that only resulted in my jumper getting covered in water. As soon as I stuck the knife through water just began to pour out.
I finally had the pencils and was ready to try the experiment, first try and my experiment worked. No water at all leaked out when the pencil was stuck through the bag. The reason being that the food bag is made up of polymers which are long chains of molecules, so when the sharpened pencil is inserted you are separating the polymer chains without breaking then because the long chains of molecules squeeze around the surface of the pencil resulting in no leak.
So this made me think how science doesn’t have to be complicated to a point where we cant understand and that with a simple visual experiment children can grasp an understanding of science. I as a teacher could take in this experiment but before hand get the children to discuss what they think is going to happen when a knife is put through and then if a pencil is put through, this would get the children engaged in a discussion before actually seeing the experiment.
To develop my knowledge of science I need to become more engaged with concepts I will be teaching in the classroom, one thing I plan on doing in watching some documentaries that will build up my knowledge of certain areas I intend to teach in the classroom as there are many great documentaries out there that would benefit my knowledge.
The thought of having to read through someone’s work and comment on it critically is something which I found both beneficial and difficult.
I think peer review is definitely a really positive thing however it’s hard to do publically for the first time. I found it hard to word things especially when it came to someone else’s work so I felt myself reading my comments over and over thinking if it sounded ok before I posted it, however being able to read other peoples comments was helpful as it allowed me to see other people’s views and also I was able to see if I agreed/disagreed with what people had said. I think finding the balance in your comments between positive things and things to work on is difficult especially when some people may take something in the wrong way however it is something that will get easier as we continue our eportfolio’s.
Reading comments on my post has been something that has been really helpful because when I was writing my posts I wasn’t sure if I was on track or if I was just rambling on about things completely off topic, so reading positive comments on my post made me feel more confident. Also it is good for people to take a second look at your post and comment on any errors made or things on which to improve because that’s something I find will positively impact learning.
Peer feedback is something I think will benefit me both now as a student teacher and in the future because it’s giving me practice at looking at things with a critical eye and being able to comment things that have been done well and also what could be done to improve it.
Overall peer feedback is a positive process which will help everyone on the course both now and in the future.
The GTCS website clearly states that ‘Practitioner enquiry, as defined by Menter et al (2011), is a ‘finding out’ or an investigation with a rationale and approach that can be explained or defended. The findings can then be shared so it becomes more than reflection or personal enquiry.’. This to me conveys that an enquiring practitioner in terms of teaching is someone who does further research on topics so that it can ultimately impact both their own and children’s learning and development for the better. Following my reading on the GTCS website I feel what follows fits in with my opinion of what an enquiring practitioner is: ‘argued by McLaughlin et al (2004) that teachers who engage in research have ‘better’ understanding of their practice and ways to it.’. This highlights the idea that by doing further research a teacher gets a much better understanding of what they are going on to discuss with their pupils and also how they can build on the way they are teaching the children to maximise their learning.
The idea that teachers can work collaboratively to develop the curriculum is definitely a benefit of practitioner enquiry because together teachers can discuss ideas they have found and think about how they could include this in their practice. Also this gives them the opportunity to listen to each other and develop a deeper understanding of different point of views. GTCS stated ‘Staff are able to work individually and collectively to investigate, question, consider and plan for change and development. This kind of school improvement is evidence-informed and critically justified.’, this demonstrates that teachers have a solid understanding of their research to ensure it will positively impact both them and the children.
However being an enquiring practitioner can have challenges. Due to teachers working collaboratively, this could turn in to a disagreement because they all may have different views which they then have a debate about but in reality they may drift off the real topic resulting in no clear way of how it will positively impact their class. This is why they need to aim to minimise these challenges to avoid a less effective practice.
Being an enquiring practitioner at this stage as a student teacher is something I feel is essential in furthering my learning. After lectures I can go through my notes and find points which I could develop and do further research on. I also need to be more aware that not everything may be a set answer but something I could actually question and find different views on. Not being afraid to speak up and question things is something I feel will positively benefit me both at university and when I go out on placement. This makes it evident that being more aware of being an enquiring practitioner at this early stage will benefit my learning both now as a student teacher and in the future as a qualified teacher.
Reflection is crucial in teaching. If we don’t reflect then how can we progress and change the way in which we teach? Having the ability as a teacher to look back at your lessons and problems within the class to then critically reflect on them is something which will benefit both you and the children’s learning and understanding.
I found Gibbs’ Model of Reflection (1988) really useful to understand what reflection really is, I’d say it’s almost like a cycle which ultimately ends in you knowing what you would do different when the problem/situation happens again. If there is a problem and you ignore it and move on you won’t help yourself at all as the problem will still be there and could occur again, however if there is a problem and you reflect on it deeply you will therefore have a clear understand on your emotions and understanding of the problem in a better sense for the next time.
I feel reflection is something you do in your life all the time without even realising it, when you do something wrong you remember it and the next time it happens you know what you can do differently to get it right. So by reflecting more deeply on placement and when I become a teacher this will allow me to have control of my learning and understanding which will help me move forward in a positive way.
I think a challenge of marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media is making sure nothing you post online could affect your career. Being a teacher and being so involved with social media is something I see to be quite scary, how one simple mistake online could be taken totally wrong and could have serious consequences for your career. I use a lot of social media and although i am happy and confident i have nothing to hide online, i still need to watch what i do. However i feel that making sure all your personal accounts are totally private is something that will keep your personal life separate from your professional career. One thing i didn’t know you could do was be in control of what you get tagged in on facebook, because although it may be something that someone else is totally fine with having on social media it could again be something that could be taken the wrong way and affect your career.
I think social media is something that can be twisted very quickly and teachers are often all over the papers for something negative they have done online, which sometimes tends to be an innocent mistake which is then published so publically. I feel like the way to avoid this is definitely thinking very carefully before you post anything on social media and if you have any doubt about it affecting your career then simply don’t post it.
Although this all seems so negative i think social media is a great way to further the education of children, and on things like twitter it can be very helpful in keeping parents and pupils up to date with everything happening in the school. As long as we as teachers show children how to be safe online and we make sure we are careful online then social media is definetly a great source in education.
I always get asked the same question of why I wanted to become a teacher and I always answer the same thing; it’s all I can ever remember wanting to be. People think that’s just an easy answer but even from when I was in primary school the only thing I ever wanted to do was become a teacher. I would always be the annoying person who would want to help the teacher mark the work and do everything I could in class, and even at home when I would be playing a game with my sister or friends I would never settle to play the part of a student but always demanded on being the teacher. I always thought when I got to high school and started studying a wider range of subjects that I would change my mind and I would have a new dream but as I have now left high school and am sitting in university my goal is still the same, to become a teacher.
After doing work experience in a nursery I had even more of an adrenaline to become a teacher, even though the children were younger than primary school age it was still the most amazing thing to watch them learn and grasp different ideas. I was only there for one week but watching how much you can influence a child’s life in that time is mind blowing, knowing you have taught them even one thing is rewarding.
When I started sixth year I went back to my old primary school twice a week to help out in the classroom. This was probably the best decision I made that year because it gave me a real insight to what it was like to be a teacher as I got to watch how the teachers constructed their lessons and how the children responded, it was really weird thinking that in five years’ time that could be me standing up there. I also got one-to-one time with children who were struggling with their reading, I would go through their book with them and assist them in their reading. Watching the child’s face when they went from having no idea what a word said and not being able to get it out, to confidently saying the word was unreal. I just knew at this point there was really nothing else I wanted to be.
I want to become the kind of teacher who children feel happy to approach and know that it is someone to look up too, I want children to enjoy coming to school and being in my class every day. I would hate the idea of a child being afraid to ask a question or come speak to me with a problem they might have. Or being the teacher all the children see as the ‘crabbit one’.
I don’t exactly know how I will be as a teacher as I’m not at that stage yet but when I do become a teacher all I hope is that I am a really good, successful one.