Category Archives: 2.3 Pedagogical Theories & Practice

Participating in Practitioner Enquiry…

So what is a Practitioner Enquiry?

A practitioner enquiry is an individual who actively engages with their own practice based research.  They will reflect on their research to help them improve/deepen their own knowledge.  Practitioner enquiry is key in when being professional as it will allow you to gain a better understanding of your practice which is essential with primary teaching as it’s a profession which is continuously changing.  Being involved in practitioner enquiry doesn’t always mean research into your profession alone, it can also be groups of individuals who come together to share their research and knowledge which they’ve learned from their reflection.  Learning and sharing within a group allows teachers to explore questions which have cropped up during their lessons or during observations in another’s lesson.   

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http://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/practitioner-enquiry/practitioner-enquiry.aspx

So why should we participate in practitioner enquiry?

Here is a list of some of the benefits;

  1. Increases the teacher’s knowledge which benefits not only them themselves but also the; children, parents, school and community.  
  2. Gaining a greater knowledge will benefit the children’s learning experiences and the learning environment of which they learn in.
  3. Sharing and discussing information with other teachers can help improve your own understanding on it while allowing you to use this appropriately.
  4. Having a deeper knowledge will improve a child’s achievements as you will be more equipped when teaching them.
  5. Also having a deeper knowledge will improve the pupils development as a greater understanding  from the teacher will allow a significant positive impact on the child.
  6. The teachers who are getting involved with practitioner enquiry are able to be greatly more involved with current challenges which are discussed within the education.
  7. Allows teachers to continuously develop and keep a record of their development.
  8. Improve techniques of research for teachers allowing them to use and manipulate these techniques within lessons or other aspects of their profession.
  9. When sharing research it allows for ideas from colleagues which can improve your understanding.

The potential gains from teachers engaging in practitioner enquiry, as noted above, offer significant value for the wider school improvement agenda. 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.

 http://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-update/practitioner-enquiry/why-practitioner-enquiry.aspx#benefits

Here is a list of some of the Challenges;

  1. Many teachers/students may find it intimidating as it will highlight areas which they thought they were comfortable with therefore it will push them out their comfort zone.
  2. It involves developing new skills for many teachers which may unsettle them.
  3. It includes seeking further knowledge on subjects which are ‘touchy’ and are often just accepted.
  4. The outcome is not always fast nor is it always clear.
  5. The research found must always relate back to education.
  6. Must plan your time when participating.
  7. You are challenging yourself which is a very difficult task for many people.

Therefore taking both the benefits and the challenges into account I feel for me as a student, being an enquiring practitioner is essential.  Personally I like to question why and find out more information on many subjects however I don’t take this approach normally when I’m looking at ‘school’ or ‘university’ topics.  I feel coming straight from school has built me up to accept information that I was taught, memorise is and re-write it in an exam. However being at university is the exact opposite.  I find that this course allows me and encourages me to question my techniques on learning and understanding.  It also encourages me to question the knowledge i’m being taught which allows me to seek further information, ensuring I’m understanding it and interpreting it in my own way.  Also using this Eportfolio is helping me record my development where I can look back at certain blog posts to find out whether my views have changed after reading something related.  It is also helping me to communicate and share my knowledge and information with me peers and allowing me to view there’s which I find to be hugely interesting and helpful as sometimes makes me question my own thoughts on parts of the course where I go back over it and discuss their thoughts with them.  I find this to be the start of my participation in being an enquiring practitioner.  It’s something I’m finding to be greatly helpful and interesting and I’m excited to take this throughout my journey into becoming a primary teacher as it will make a significant difference in terms of my impact on the; children, parents, school, community and colleagues.  

 

 

 

On Social Media…

Personally I’ve found looking at this is very different from others due of the fact I had no social media before joining university however I understand why GTC highlights and explains appropriate use of social media and I think this is a beneficial booklet.  It will aid students who are studying to join the profession because everyone is using it and many have been for years therefore may not be aware/have forgotten how important this is..

What challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media?

I understand that when bringing together a personal and professional presence on social media is difficult due to teachers being ‘normal’ human beings who go out and enjoy themselves or have challenging opinions however personally I have never felt a need in posting my life online.  I have never found an interest in posting any personal photos or personal opinions online because I feel it’s only in the interest of my friends and family to see/hear these things therefore I can; discuss topics, have debates or share photos with them. I’m also lucky where I have friends who have a similar mind set to me.  Yes they have social media but they rarely post information on it meaning I’m never tagged in anything which would be deemed inappropriate according to GTC.  For this reason I don’t find a problem with sharing my social media with pupils; of an appropriate age that is.  As a primary teacher I don’t feel it necessary for any pupils I teach to ‘follow’ me on any social media sites.  Many, if not all, pupils of the lower school will be without social media and if any of the upper school pupils are starting on social media I don’t feel it would be appropriate being ‘friends’ with me or ‘following’ me on social media.  Anything personal which I would care to share with the class I would do so in other ways, not through social media.

In saying this I find Edmodo an extremely useful tool which I used in secondary school.  I think this is a real opportunity which I would consider introducing it to children as soon as they start learning IT skills at school, they could make an account where they could discuss their learning and any problems they have came across during their use of technology.  I find this would be a way of marrying the personal and professional presence online because teachers will be discussing topics with each other which the children could read and comment on with each person (including the teacher) have profiles like Facebook therefore if there was anything significant that was worth sharing with the pupils it could be done through this.  I think this is a safe way of bringing both social media and education together so the teachers and children have an online world which they can share that is; safe, controlled and appropriate.  I also think this would excite the children from a young age as they would be learning how to use technology within the class while carrying it on at home; being able to discuss with peers and the teacher which would build enthusiasm.  I would definitely introduce this into the upper primary section as it’s a very useful tool for teachers to; post the homework tasks or small tasks which came from a lesson.  It also allows the teacher to help and support the children whilst at home.  It would allow them to find problem areas that many children are coming across where they could then take 5 minutes to write a post explaining the work for them before it’s due handing in the next day.  It would also be/is an amazing way for peers to help and support one another as i found many times when i asked a question it was not the teacher who answered me but a peer.  It also has a wonderful feature of the parent being able to have an account where they can track their child’s progress.  Personally we did not use this in secondary school as it was only in my 5th year this was introduced and by this point we were responsible for ourselves; not our parents, therefore they weren’t contacted.  However I think this would be a brilliant way of involving parents with their child’s learning and development where they can actively be aware.

How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?

The way social media is framed makes it difficult to bring through opportunities using it.  However I think that by using it positively to help and support children will eventually change the way it is framed.  Social media allows many challenges to arise, with children especially.  I don’t feel social media benefits children in primary school as I find the majority of the time it’s unnecessary however when the children are open about having social media and are discussing it within the classroom then I think it allows opportunities for teachers to then discuss it further with them making sure they understand how to use it and what to be aware of.  Websites that were linked in Derek’s power point for this were extremely interesting.  NSPCC Net Aware was a brilliant resource which I wasn’t even aware existed, after watching the videos in the lecture I decided to read more into it, I think it’s a useful tool which I then send to my mum as I have younger siblings/family members.  The website Thinkuknow I found again, to be a brilliant resource which I sent to my little brother to have a look at as he’s just turned 9 years old.  I also sent the link to the 14+ section to my sister who is 15 to allow her to get involved, reading and understanding social media a lot more. I think these websites are how the challenges social media brings should be combated.  Using these, allowing parents and children to use them so they’re aware of; the different sites, the different activities you can do on them, the problems that can arise from these, how to overcome these problems, how to be safe online, understanding the different terminology before doing anything etc.  There’s so much these websites provide, if only more people knew about them!  I think it’s important for children to visit these sites and be aware of as much as they can about online social media; the benefits and the dangers.  I think the more progress happens with social media the more the way it is framed will change.