Category Archives: Contemporary issues

Enhancing Digital Technology

Would you accept children being failed to be educated on maths or language?  Although they are being brought up/growing up surrounded by it and to have a successful, positive experience within and out with school they must have developing knowledge and skills of these subjects.  I’m assuming your answers would be no, therefore, why do you sit back and accept the fact the majority of children are being failed to be educated on technology.  Why is this the case when children are completely surrounded by digital content whether that’s; television, mobile phones, games, tablets, kindles, laptops…etc.  These are all digital tools which children will see within their everyday life yet it gets pushed away within the classroom.  By doing so children are merely consuming the content of the TV, game, kindle etc. rather than learning about HOW the content is created, why do we not teach children these skills and promote the creation to allow children ownership of what they are growing up admiring.

When exploring the different website’s Derek shared with us my brother was sitting in his bedroom playing Minecraft in his own little bubble.  My brother is someone who loves to learn, as soon as he finds something he is interested in he researches it meaning he knows SO much about Minecraft where he has a number of books he’s read inside out, a huge youtube playlist with a number of videos of Minecraft and a notebook with a number of notes he’s taking when watching his friends play Minecraft.  My brother is 9 years old.  If someone this young is so interested in learning about this game it would make perfect sense if he was taught a little about it.  Therefore I sat with him and we went through the website  which explains how Minecraft is coded.  He was stunned at how HE could code and make the game work exactly like it does when he plays it.  He was so engrossed in the whole process that he completed all the challenges and watched every single video intently.  Seeing him so inspired and enthusiastic to create something which he and all his friends play every other day was very rewarding.  The next day I came downstairs to witness my brother sitting with 4 of his friends (of various ages and genders) going through the challenges learning how to code.  Honestly i was amazed and my eyes were opened to how much children are actually interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ of games they play.

After exploring coding and sharing it with my brother I showed him Mozilla and the features of X-Ray Goggles and Thimble.  We explored these together and learned how to use these together, it was a great experience as I realised he actually knew a lot more than me about digital tools  and he actually educated me on different factors as I was educating him.  During these activities I realised we were actually learning collaboratively as he and his friends were.  We were also sharing our; learning, knowledge and skills.  This highlighted to me that this could easily be adapted to a collegiate learning culture if it was introduced into schools.

In this video it is stated that learners are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities offered by technologies and by doing so it will help raise attainment, ambition and opportunities.  This is stated for digital learning week however from this video it is clear this should be the case for the whole year through and when looking at the principles and practice of technologies this is also the case.  Angela Constance also discusses the fact that schools should embrace digital technologies and I think that with most/if not all schools have access to digital tools therefore we should continuously embrace this fact and take advantage of it.

As a developing student teacher I feel it is essential to reflect on how we are embracing digital technology within the classroom.  I think this is something which is advancing and improving within schools however I think it is essential that we introduce different ways of using and developing digital technology in teaching and learning.  As I stated before children are growing up surrounded by digital technology therefore I believe their interest and enthusiasm for using and learning about digital technology is there embedded in them, it is up to us as teachers to enhance this and take advantage of the children’s interests to allow teaching and learning to be the best it can be within the classroom.  I think there are many possibilities and opportunities when looking at technology and I am very excited to be part of the growing/developing teaching and learning of technologies.

 


The website’s I used to form these opinions are;

https://teach.mozilla.org/tools/

https://code.org/learn

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/Schools/ICTinLearning/DLTStrategy

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/resources/d/digitallearningweek.asp?strReferringChannel=educationscotland&strReferringPageID=tcm:4-615801-64&class=l1+d86716

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningandteaching/curriculumareas/technologies/principlesandpractice/index.asp

 

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Tricia asked us as part of our questioning and discussion to come prepared to the second workshop with a context and questions to follow this context.  When looking at this I felt extremely nervous as it looked a lot more difficult than she had explained.  However as I got started it was such a straight forward, helpful aid to use which allowed me to think of very in depth questions that would make the children think and learn in a wider context than just the topic.  For this I chose children of primary 4/5 and a book called Wonder by R.J.Palacio which can link in with a variety of curricular areas.  I think this would be a wonderful class book to read together as a class as there are so many different learning points within the book.  This book can link to; language, health and wellbeing, religious and moral education, drama and art and design.  I used the Bloom’s Taxonomy to aid me in thinking of my questions and I found this the most helpful process for questioning.  It allows you to start off with simple, easy questions which you can come up with on the spot which you then take and explore deeper with the questions linking.

PBWorks (no date) Bloom’s Taxonomy (Revised) [online]. Available at: http://pcs2ndgrade.pbworks.com/f/1318607148/RBT.PNG (accessed 23/02/15)

RBT

Remembering – Ask the children;

  • Do they remember the key points in the chapter?
  • Do  they remember a time they felt the same way as some of the characters at these key points?
  • Do they remember ever experiencing anything that the similar to the key points?

Understanding – Do the children understand;

  • Bullying?
  • Exclusion?
  • That people are different i.e look different, have different personalities etc
  • That bullying etc. have an effect on other people as well not just the individual who is being bullied
  • Friendships and relationships- can be good and bad…

Applying – The children could put themselves in the position of either the main character or another character from the book, they could write a short story or produce a comic book strip (or something similar) which can show what is happening and how they are feeling about the situation as that person.

Analysing – The children could have a discussion where they can explore the reasons why certain people act/react differently.  Is it possible they’re doing so because their home life and experiences or because peer pressure from friends etc..

Evaluating – The children could put themselves in one of the characters positions and defend their actions which could bring a debate into their discussions.

Creating – The children could create; a comic book strip, story, piece of art, pivot animation or a range of other things which expresses their feelings and point of view of the book.  The children could then work in pairs to have 10 minutes to look and jot down questions they have.  They could then ask those questions and have a discussion with their partner exploring their thoughts and feelings.

 

Control, control, control…

As a pupil and a sibling I feel as though it’s often portrayed that teachers must be in control of the classroom and the children.  I always remember being in certain classes where my peers would have commented on the fact the teacher couldn’t control them therefore they would play up and misbehave.  I also remember my parents commenting on how certain teachers just have no control because they have no discipline within their classroom.  However this semester has really opened my mind to all these comments which I’ve been surrounded by.  As a teacher I am not controlling children therefore I’m not controlling the class.  As a teacher I will be (from day one) building positive, strong relationships with all the pupils in my class where we will gain mutual respect.  Yes there will be set out rules within the classroom however they will not be set in stone by myself as the classroom isn’t mine, it’s ours – mine and the pupils.  Boundaries must be set my myself as I am the teacher however in my experience children understand this and they actually want the teacher to have those set boundaries so they have a clear understanding of their expectations within the classroom which sets a positive atmosphere.  Children/pupils need a certain level of strictness within the classroom to allow them to feel safe and secure, this will allow positive attitudes from both myself and the pupils which then leads to positive behaviour.  Being a teacher isn’t about controlling your classroom, it’s about setting fair rules and boundaries with the pupils to allow; clear understanding, mutual respect, positive attitudes and positive behaviours which ultimately leads to a fantastic running classroom with a brilliant classroom ethos set by everyone within it.

Building Confidence and Competence…

4 blog posts which are different and unique but fantastic in their own ways;

  1. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/cebeportfolio/2016/01/06/180/
  2. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/myunieportfoliorb/2015/11/18/children-are-the-real-teachers/
  3. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/uodeportfoliommackie/2016/01/17/problematic-problems/
  4. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/myuniversityeportfoliolayla/2015/11/03/fear-of-feedback/

These blogs have really inspired me to do some more work here on my blog and to allow my work to vary.  From reading these blogs it occurred to me that they aren’t all TDT’s but they’re posts about topics which have arose in lectures or posts on interesting topics which have came from social media.  Yes some are TDT’s but they’re not just answering the question which is proposed to us, they’re posts which explore the question linking wider reading and personal thoughts and feelings.  I have noticed when reflecting on my own blog posts that I do not do a lot of this.  I feel personally that I could put a lot more work into my blog I just need to alter the way I’m currently posting.  Personally it takes me a very long time when working on a post, time which I usually spend doing written work and reading, often I forget about my blog when doing other work.  As I am someone who writes with pen and paper, all my TDT’s are done in my notebook where I link the pages together with my notes I’ve written from books I’ve read.  However I’ve realised that my blog posts do not have to be big essay like posts which are all TDT’s.  I always new I could write about any news articles or videos I watch which link with anything in this course or if something arose which I found interesting and others may find interesting however I was never confident enough to post my opinions on topics which weren’t TDT’s.  I am now going to attempt to build my confidence with writing more posts on varying topics which I find interesting and important.  I have also realised that I do not have to wait until I’ve fully formed my view on a topic.  I can have multiple posts which link together showing my journey through the topic, this would ensure I’m reflecting on my progress as I can have an overall post which reflects back on my first thought and feeling of an area and where it has developed to.  I’m setting personal goals for myself and for this blog in my diary which I can work towards and ensure I’m taking the opportunity to use my blog to advance my overall confidence and competence.

Here is a video which I related to a lot and have given me a few ideas which I can use to help me with this blog.  Some of these tips don’t relate to this blog but others really do and have helped me greatly.

5 Attributes..

These 5 attributes are some which I believe are very important in terms of being  teacher.

Integrity

Official definition; 1- The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

2- The state of being whole and undivided.

My view of this is:

 To be professional you must have integrity as it important to be open and honest with your class as they ask difficult questions or challenge your own person views.  It is being open to change with your techniques, attitudes and beliefs.  It is also being open and honest in terms of asking for help when it’s required or seeking advice on issues which you thought maybe didn’t go so well and there’s possibility for change.  It’s also using your own experiences to help within the school environment, whether it being in the classroom or in the staff room etc.  I think integrity is having the confidence and the courage to speak up when problems arise and support is essential.  It’s also having the confidence and courage to voice your views (appropriately and where necessary) on different topics which you teach with the children however doing it in a way in which you aren’t persuading the children to think the same way, making it clear that these thoughts are purely personal.

Patience

Official Definition: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

My view of this is:

To be a professional teacher you must have patience as it is important in all aspects of your job; within and out with the classroom.  Children will be very challenging with your patience as a teacher as some individuals will take longer to grasp certain aspects of the course where others will fly through certain work.  Also many children will challenge your patience as a teacher as they will become unmotivated and distracted easily where they won’t want to do their work therefore it is your responsibility to keep them on track.  However if a child continues to do this it will become very irritating and disruptive, being a professional with patience will allow you to deal with these situations appropriately.  Also within the staff room if a class with personalities occur patience is essential to avoid confrontation and allow a healthy, comfortable work environment.  Moving onto parents, having patience with parents is important as they should be comfortable with asking both simple and complex questions in which you have the patience to; answer, discuss and explain to them anything they may not understand.

Empathy

Official Definition: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

My view of this is:

To be a professional teacher it is important to have empathy as children will normally be more comfortable and work best when the teacher can relate to them.  It’s important when a child doesn’t understand the work given to them that you understand their struggle and you can relate to them as this will help you have the appropriate approach when discussing any issues with them.  Having empathy will also allow children to be more comfortable in exploring ideas where they’ll ask more questions and feel at ease when making mistakes that they can then learn from.  It is also important to have empathy when talking with parents if there has been an issue with their child.  It’s important to understand where the parent may be in terms of their emotions and their understanding of the issue which is of concern therefore it is essential to approach them with the appropriate manner.

Tolerance

Official definition; 1- The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

 

2- the capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as a drug or environmental conditions without adverse reaction.

My view of this is:

Tolerance is very beneficial to a professional teacher as they will be challenged very single day where their tolerance within the classroom will be pushed to the limit.  Being a teacher is often a challenge where children’s behaviours can be very unruly and it is difficult to get them back on track with the appropriate behaviour.  Children will also have opinions on certain work where it’s possibly even the opinion of ‘what’s the point in this I’m never going to need this… I’m not doing this’ which proves to be a struggle when keeping children on task.  Therefore having tolerance is very significant.  It is needed in order to deal with situations without ‘loosing it’ and shouting at the children as this has no real benefit.  Having tolerance within the classroom will help to provide a happy, controlled and relaxing environment where tempers are kept at a minimum and children don’t waste their time ‘winding up’ their teacher.

Fairness

Official Definition: is the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.

My view of this is:

 

To be a professional teacher fairness is one of the most important attribute’s as each and every child should be treated with equal opportunities within the classroom.  Education is something which should be provided to all children will the same level of quality whether it be in a deprived area or a very developed area.  Whether a child comes from a rough/working class background or a wealthy/middle class background their education and the attitude shown from the teacher should be no different.  This is also important in terms of gender and ethnicity where a child should never be treated any different due to something which is out with their own control.  This is essential  for children to experience during school and it is essential for teachers to provide this to each child throughout their school experience where they should reinforce this to the children and stop any behaviour which shows any form of discrimination.   

 

 

 

Professionalism: My Views…

After watching these videos and taking my own notes on the different opinions/views on professionalism I have gathered some of my own thoughts on them…

I completely agreed with everything that was brought up in this video. I think it’s making a very strong, powerful point when looking at professionalism.  How the doctor and nurse explained their jobs are very similar to teaching, in my opinion.  We take a child who has a certain level of knowledge and skills where we then work with them to develop them further as individuals, this brings the great satisfaction which is felt by the doctors and nurses when taking in a patient and making them better.  I think that when you have had a significant impact on a child’s life where they’re grown and developed as individuals who are equipped to move on and develop even further what you’ve taught them in your year of working with them a great satisfaction will be felt.  Passion, dedication, loving your job, team work, commitment, enthusiasm, being reachable etc. is what professionalism looks like according to some of the teachers in the video.  I feel strongly about all of these factors as I think they all make such a huge different to treating teaching as your job; something that needs to be done for a couple of hours and being professional where you’ll see teaching as more than just a job, more than just a couple of hours in the classroom.  Being a teacher means going above and beyond your duties; it’s caring for the whole community and taking into account the difference you’re making in it and not just the children.  Being a professionalism means always staying informed with the; new curriculum, new discussions, new issues and new teaching methods.  To be professional we must be aiming to meet/going beyond the quality and the standard of which society expects us to guarantee the children.  It’s mentioned in the video that teachers aren’t just the educator of the child but the educator of the community, they have such a wider impact than only the child sitting in their classroom.  Therefore being a professional is taking this into consideration and putting in extra effort out of school hours and out of the school.  In saying this though it’s important to have an aim in your efforts, it’s important to know what you’re doing and what you want the outcome to be in the end as this will allow you to help spread your knowledge and skills throughout many people’s lives.

I split this video up into 5 sections for the different teachers opinions on professionalism;

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The notes I took from the Miss Catherine Long were points which conflicted with some of my personal views.  Personally I don’t feel as though professionalism is becoming more noticed within society this present day.  I find it has always been noticed merely the concept of professionalism has changed.  When you look back 40 odd years now you find teachers were professional in terms of;  their classroom environment, their delivery of information, the methods of teaching, working with the pupils, teacher/pupil relationships and their involvement with children at break times etc.  For all teachers these factors were to be addressed in the same manner therefore they approached these in professional ways.  However in the 21 century professionalism has changed and adapted for the new education system.  These days their are big differences on what is classed as professionalism.  Teachers have varieties in their classrooms environments, methods of teaching due to the new outlook on teaching.  Working with the pupils is approached in a number of different ways and the teacher/pupil relationship has changed dramatically as they must adapt with society and the changes which occur in it, taking into consideration the new attitudes of children and their development.  Teachers involvements at break times have changed as aspects of behaviour were highlighted and must be monitored etc.  There are many changes which I feel has altered our view of professionalism and therefore I feel society has more of a voice now because everyone has different view points.

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I agreed with everything Mrs Nursen Chemmi explained in the video.  I feel teachers have a huge role to play as children will use them as role models where they will copy the way in which you speak/act.  Professionalism should mean you’re continuously being a positive role model in their lives are many children will either be missing a mother/father figure or not have positive role models in their lives.  Children are influenced very easily therefore as a teacher you should take this into consideration and ensure you’re influencing them appropriately.

IMG_4944

The first part Mrs Coleen Walsh spoke about is the same as Mrs Nursen Chemmi, however the second part was very interesting for me as it is something that I find is affecting children more often.  Children should never be judge by their home life as it’s something which they have no control over.  If children were judged on their home lives and parents then there would be extremely unfair judgements both positive and negative.  Every single child should be treated equally and given the same chance with their education.

IMG_4945

Mrs Erin Smith raised the point that professionalism should be used differently with different groups of people, to a certain extent I agree with this.  Professionalism should vary slightly depending on who you are communicating with however your communication should still be clear and you should still have appropriate attitudes towards each individual the same.  I find that when communicating with different individuals it’s important to keep your key values of professionalism therefore you’ll always respect and approach them appropriately.

IMG_4946

Miss Catherine Long describes here essentially that teachers should be engaging with what I just learned to be an enquiring practitioner.  As from my previous blog post I have explained why it is important to be involved in practitioner enquiry.  I feel these are very important and significant words which I strongly agree with in terms of professionalism.

Chris

I think that Chris had a very positive message about teachers!  I enjoyed listening to him and felt as though he had an important, inspiring speech.  Chris’s passion really shone through in his message where he believes teachers are ver important and should be treating well while being payed well.  I agree with him as he describes how teachers should valued as we care for kids.  This is such a true statement which I feel is overlooked a lot.  Teachers care for every single child in their class and in their school, hence the reason most teachers go above and beyond to help their children learn and develop.  It was very refreshing and I think many teachers would agree with Chris’s words here.  

Karen

I disliked Karens statement and I disagreed with it hugely.  Karen states that she is an educational worker who merely punches a clock, I think this is a hugely negative view on being a teacher which will have a very negative impact on her work as a teacher.  Personally I do not feel that being a teacher is a job in which you can punch a clock as you must dedicate so much of your time and energy into it.  In my opinion Karen is not a professional teacher, nor is she someone who is taking her job serious enough.  She has a variety of children of different ages and different abilities who are all counting on her support to aid them with their development however with this negative attitude Karen will not be able to do this effectively.  I think it’s a very irresponsible and selfish view she has on her job.   

 

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.   

teachers-engaging-in-pe-570x428

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.