Category Archives: Professional Studies

Effective or Ineffective?

What is effective feedback? What are the processes I need to follow? How can this benefit the person receiving the feedback? How can this benefit me?

These, I feel, are questions that you should consider when thinking of peer review. Not only are they questions that you should personally try and connect with, but I believe that they should be questions that continue on with me throughout my career as a teacher.

What is effective feedback?

Well, lets think about what ineffective feedback is. During an input at university, we watched an interesting video that I felt really helped to show us what ineffective feedback is:

Negative feedback can have a significant impact on a person and can really knock their confidence. It can discourage someone from continuing to do something that they may love if they have been given feedback that has not been of any use or has been offensive to them.

Effective feedback is being able to provide critical points that are positive and give support as to what that person could develop and become better at. Effective feedback needs to have a direction and it is also important to try and look at the strengths as well as the points that could be developed.

What are the processes I need to follow?

It is always important to keep feedback relevant to the success criteria. For example, if someone has given a presentation on the history of the Second World War, then it would only make sense to provide most of your feedback on what they have worked on.

You should ensure that you understand exactly what the person is talking about because any information that is missing can make it difficult to form an understanding of what they have worked on.

Be sure to try and give strengths as well as points that could be worked on. I think that is one of my weaknesses when giving feedback. I tend to keep what I believe was good within their work but make them aware of what they need to work on in order to get better. Sometimes it is just enough to say that their work is great and that they should just keep doing what they are doing.

How can this benefit the person giving feedback?

I find that if you are giving feedback on something that you have also been tasked on, then it can really help to develop your understanding of the work further. For example, our TDT was to write a post about practitioner enquiry and then to give feedback on each others posts. This really helped me to see other viewpoints about practitioner enquiry and allowed me to retain more information that I may not have been able to do before hand.

How can this benefit the person receiving the feedback?

Effective feedback can benefit people as it allows them to realize that there are strengths within what they have presented. It allows you to openly listen to what the person giving feedback is telling you and you can decide whether you agree or disagree within your own thoughts. This then allows you to react to the points and improve or you can decide to leave it if you feel that your work is alright.

My thoughts…

I think that it is important to know the difference between effective and ineffective feedback. Although I believe that both giving and receiving feedback is a daunting process, it can really help you to develop you as a person and can make you aware of what you should be confident with and what you should maybe improve.

A classroom environment…

Peer review is something that many pupils will be aware of or become aware of throughout their time in education. It is a process that needs to be taught and practiced correctly within the classroom. It’s important to make children aware that feedback is not just about the negatives and what they should work on. However, it is equally important that as the teacher, you ensure that you are providing effective feedback to help your pupils.

In the words of Education Scotland: “Assessment is for learning.” The only way that pupils can enhance their learning experiences is through engaging with peer review and through being given constructive praise from you as their educator.

The Online World

Being a Professional in Society Today

It is clear how much the society we live in is changing and adapting to the new technologies that are providing many benefits for loads around the world. Social media has been on the rise since the 1990s with the introduction of SixDegress.com allowing people to connect with family and friends. This networking service lasted for only four years (1997-2001) but it sparked the development of successful services we know today such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

I believe that social media is a very powerful tool that gives us the opportunity to enhance our creativity, share experiences and exchange information within the virtual community. It has become a major part of life and continues to do so as we move through the generations. Social networking sites dominate the communities we live in today and have become widely accessible to many worldwide.

Personal Versus Professional Presence on Social Media

Opportunities:

It is clear that social networking is not for everyone, however, I believe it shouldn’t be seen in a negative way as it is mostly portrayed these days.

Marrying your personal life to the professional side via social media allows people to gather a better understanding about who you are as a person and yet still express and show interesting articles that can relate to your profession. It also gives you the opportunity to form friendships and links that can be used to connect with not only the local but the global teaching community. I believe that is a fundamental part of the teaching profession: creating links.

It wasn’t that long ago that it was difficult to connect with people like we do now. When mobile phones were introduced it did help change the challenge and allowed you to connect with your friends more efficiently. The rise of social media, I believe, has changed the way we see friendship and the way in which we connect with people. It isn’t just about the “inner circle” as people would say, but it is about connecting globally with people that have similar interests as you and being able to form such friendships that can last a lifetime in really help with your professional development.

Challenges:

For me, it can be difficult to trust the information that appears and can make you more skeptical about what you are viewing. I also feel that some content is inappropriate but it seems easily accessible to the younger generations which is quite a worry.

A huge challenge of social media that many argue is privacy. Although there are ways that can change your settings on social networking sites, it is not always guaranteed that they will stay that way. Whether we like it or not, there are people out there who can find methods of obtaining information that we don’t want others to know about.

How will I frame social media within an educational setting?

I believe that social media is a very powerful tool and is something that will only continue to grow within our society. Therefore, I believe that social media is something that should be spoken about with a positive viewpoint but you should always keep make sure they are aware of the risks involved.

The advancement of new technologies and social networking services is contributing to the transformation of education and the way in which people perceive it. However, it is important that we are informed and aware of how such things are used in regards to our professional decisions.

Sometimes it can seem easier to separate your personal life from your professional life, creating new usernames that prevent children from being able to find you because lets face it, they know how to do that. Although I think it’s great to encourage children of the use of new technologies and social networking to a certain extent, thinking about your own perspectives is crucial. For me, keeping the two accounts separate seems easier and safer.

Reflection

What is reflection?

Reflection allows us to think critically about an event or experience that we were part of. It involves looking at not just what happened but also at our thoughts and feelings when we are evaluating.

For me, reflection is very important within a profession such as teaching because it allows us to improve upon the education that we provide for the children. If we do not reflect and evaluate our ways of teaching then the matter of improving the system for children becomes irrelevant.

Going into such a profession without having a knowledge and understanding of reflection, I believe, is a bizarre thing to do because you will not be able to get better at what you want to provide. Reflection is an integral part of your professional practice not just as a student but as a qualified teacher too.

Reflection is about being able to look at your lesson and consider what went well and what could have been better and acting upon those thoughts. There is no use in reflecting on what you have delivered to your pupils but not improving it in order to provide the best possible learning experiences for children.

 

Gender and My Experiences At School

There are many discussion points around gender which I discovered through my Higher Modern Studies course in sixth year. This includes the pay rates for women, top positions in jobs and the typical careers most commonly known for women.

However, during our input from Jill regarding gender, she asked us questions which really got me thinking. I suppose I hadn’t really ever thought about it before but how exactly did gender affect me as a child growing up?

My answer is that I believe it never really had a major affect on me. My primary school always encouraged equality and opportunity or everyone, no matter who they were. The only difference for gender I can remember is the separate toilets and changing rooms that we used. But when I discussed this with peer sit gave me a different perspective and really made me think.

A typical sports day: races for boys, races for girls; having to partner up with a boy for Scottish Country Dancing; asking for boys for task that involved lifting heavy objects. One thing that really stood out, however, was the fact that boys always seemed to get into more trouble than girls. After some thought, I agree with the last point. Many boys in my class got into more trouble than girls did and so the stereotyping seems to be true of both sides.

Overall, my gender and experiences of school weren’t really affected as I still got an education which has gotten me to the place that I am today.

An Understanding of My Academic Skills

Getting the Basics

Punctuation has always been part of education for me and probably the majority of people reading this too. Reading ‘The Study Skills Book’ by McMillan K and Weyers, J has really helped me to further my understanding of the importance of punctuation and how it can really effect your writing.

Looking at a University situation, it is extremely important to get punctuation and grammar correct for your writing to make sense, especially with assignments and essays that you will have to complete. I believe that grammar and punctuation is not only important for your studies but also for taking part in your ePortfolio. Although it is, I feel, slightly more relaxed and gives you more freedom to express your thoughts in your own way, it is still relevant to have correct grammar and punctuation.

Vocabulary, I believe, is also an important factor to add to your academic skills. Having a variety in your vocabulary can really benefit you. I admit that vocabulary is probably something I should look at and develop more as my studies continue over the next four years at University.

Having a basic understanding of punctuation, grammar, spelling and vocabulary is extremely important with a profession such as teaching because a lot of their learning is focused around developing their literacy skills. If I have difficulty with spelling or explaining grammar and punctuation, it would make it far more demanding and tough to teach young children as they will get confused and will not develop the right understanding.

It is crucial to have a good knowledge and understanding of the above topics in order to teach children correctly and to make things a lot less demanding within your profession.

Important Factors to Consider

Engaging With Learning

Cooperative Learning:

Cooperative learning is something that I have always been aware of as it was included from a young age at Primary school. At University there is an expectation for you to take control of your own study and learn things for yourself based on what a lecturer has used in an input. However, this doesn’t always mean that you have to be completely by yourself and I agree that it can sometimes be easier to work in a group of peers from your course.

I believe, and I’m sure many others will as well, that working as a group is an effective way of learning because of the many different personalities that there are and the learning styles can be varying too. There are many advantages of working in a group and incorporating cooperative learning within your studies.

  1. Learning from one another: This is very beneficial as you are able to identify how other people learn and it may help to clear any difficulties that you may have had before.
  2. Opens up debates that you would not have thought of before: This allows you to see what other ideas people have and also lets you develop other ideas that you hadn’t thought of during an input or lecture.
  3. Additional notes: Working in group and getting other ideas from peers will allow you to take additional notes that will complement what you have taken down in your lectures. This also allows you to use additional ideas to do further research helping with any individual tasks or assessments.

However, it is important to remember that you are a member of a group and so you should respect the views and opinions that are stated. It is also extremely important to ensure that no one person is dominating the discussion. After all, this a group task and so everyone has to have an equal opportunity to express their views.

Active Learning:

I believe that active learning is important at all stages of your education. It is particularly useful when you are teaching young children as it allows them to engage with what they are being taught. Active learning is also important for splitting up a child’s day rather than having them sit in the classroom not paying attention and struggling.

Much of the active learning in Primary schools, I have witnessed, is used to support and extend the children’s education and is supported through the Curriculum for Excellence system throughout Scotland.

Active learning allows children to develop their imaginations and creativity and encourages them to develop new skills which will benefit them when it comes to literacy and numeracy in particular.

Overall, cooperative working and active learning are two extremely important factors to keep in mind when thinking about the way in which we learn.