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EDN550 E-Portfolio: Assignment 2A

By Melissa Da Silva

DAY 1 Monday 13th February 2017

Lecture 1/Workshop:
The first lecture delved into Churchill and Fergusons concept of the
Reflexive Practitioner. It provided me with a foundation to begin
thinking about:
- The importance of being a critically reflexive teacher.
- What influence I would have as an educator on my students.
- The value of being passionate about my work and having energy
when I teach.
- Emphasised that as Churchill and Ferguson note, a Reflexive
Practitioner is self aware of their surroundings (socio-economic,
cultural, political).

The workshop put into practise how one could be a Reflexive

Practitioner and made me reflect:
- Why, not only I wanted to become a teacher, but also what kind
of teacher would I become?
- Reflect on the history of teaching. What can/can't be changed?
- How we can use our reflection to better help students learn, and
be motivated to work.

Lecture 2/3:
Demonstrates the importance of wording a question or statement
based on the child's age and background.
Understand that how I as a teacher, communicate non-verbally with
my students, is just as influential and important as my verbal
The lecture on Ethics presented me with:
- Real life examples of where Groundwater-smiths code of ethics
come into practise.
- Understanding the difference between an ethical and legal
dilemma and how to approach this.
When I first entered the lecture theatre this morning, I reminded
myself of why I wanted to become a teacher: because it meant that
I got to pass on my knowledge of what I love to younger
generations. By the time I got to the first workshop, my reasons
began to broaden.
In Churchill and Fergusons reading, they note the importance of
pre-service teachers constantly reflecting on their practise by
seeing their job through the eyes of the student.
What resonated most with me during our first workshop, was what
Sir Ken Robinson said in his Ted Talk Bring on the Learning
Revolution. He noted 3 major points which stuck in my mind. He
stated how vital it was to go into the teaching profession with a
passion. Do what you love and what feeds and energises your soul.
At that moment I reflected on all the moments I got to teach
someone something, and how happy that made me. Then, he got
me to think about each childs dreams and aspirations as something
which they place at my feetso tread lightly. With that analogy, I
thought about how individual each student is. I even remarked to
one of my peers that his talk made me reflect on my experiences at
school and note the significant teachers who had an impact on my
life and why.
By the afternoons lecture, I was filled with a new sense of purpose
behind why I wanted to teach. The lecture on communication only
strengthened this as I mused: how could I use communication to
help each child to strive and achieve their dreams?
The Ethics lecture threw me off a bit. I was frightened initially by
the prospect of ethical dilemmas I may be faced with at some point
in my teaching career. Then I remembered the story of Jonah, in
Groundwater-smiths article. And I left with a sense of relief. I learnt
that each issue must be dealt with individually and considerately. I
realised that a problem child is someone to nurture and not to
further neglect. I may not be able to fix their problems, and I know it
is not my responsibility, but the least I can do is leave a positive
impact on these children and brighten their future. With that in
mind, I have confidence to move forward with positivity and
willingness to learn and improve.

DAY 2 Tuesday 14th February 2017

Lecture 1:
The first lecture focused on understanding classroom management.
I was made to consider:
- Why manage behaviour? What benefits does this have?
- The spectrum of behavioural management approaches from the
Humanist to Behavioural approach and the benefits/problems
with each.
We touched on Kosniks reasons behind the importance of
behavioural management. The most notable being that a positive
classroom supports the healthy wellbeing of both student and
teacher alike.
Discussed the various levels of behaviour management techniques
from low key strategies such as proximity, to expulsion. Theory of
The workshop focused primarily on yesterday's topic of good
communication skills. We conducted a paired exercise which had a
valuable purpose:
- By one person discussing a topic while the other listened, I was
given an understanding of what it means to be a good listener.
- Non-verbal communication is a valuable tool for good listeners.
Group discussion where we consider the ethical dilemmas of
hypothetical scenarios. Allowed me to consider the broader context
and complexity of ethics.
Lecture 2/3:
Consider the wide array of factors which make our classrooms
diverse. E.g. Gender/sex, disability, socio-economic, cultural and
political/religious backgrounds.
Provocative open discussion on the levels of equity/equality in a
- How and when to treat students with equity, and equality. Not the
same thing.
- Do we do this? How accepting/tolerant are we of diversity?
The rewards/punishment process, delving into:
- Extrinsic/intrinsic rewards. What are the differences? When is it
best to use each kind?
- How persistent should I be with extrinsic rewards? At what point
does it become problematic and thus need to change?
As I sat in the first lecture this morning, listening to the lecture on
behaviour management skills, I reflected upon the spectrum of motivation
management types and thought about what approach I would use.
Initially, I considered a humanist outlook. I would look into the reasons
underlying a childs behaviour (if negative) and strategise ways to help
with their welfare. But I know that I am not a counsellor, so a lot of issues
are out of my control. So I considered Kosniks points of managing the
classroom environment. His suggestion, of focusing on creating a positive
community environment in class, resonated with me. Deep in thought, I
was snapped out of concentration when I found I was growing hungry. And
just when I needed it, the lecturer suggested we all take a five minute
break. Just with a quick break, I was able to go back to the lecture more
energised and ready to focus. Then I thought, why don't I use this
approach with students? No doubt when I was a child, there were many
times where I struggled to focus on class purely because I was hungry.
Feeling positive, I went to the workshop sure that I would come up with
solutions to any potential dilemma (realistic or hypothetical). Then we
conducted a pairing exercise where one person discusses their views on a
topic whilst the other listens, and I realised two things: that I struggled to
be quiet while my partner spoke, especially when I had something I really
wanted to say. The other being the fact that Ethics is a really grey area
that I struggle with as I found myself contradicting my own views.
By the time the afternoon arrived, I was more confused then I had been all
morning. And the provocative lecture only led me further down this path
as I was made to think about the ethical way in which to deal with the
diverse range of children in a classroom. Even now I find myself
questioning whether or not I should treat my students with equity or
But there is one thing I have taken away from today. Initially, I believed
that most minor issues (like incomplete work), can be solved by extrinsic
rewards. Yet after reading Clarke and Pittaways article, I learned that
even these rewards are problematic. They work best as a short term
solution, but after a while it will promote the wrong reasons for completing
work. For example if I hurry up and get this done, miss will give me a
chocolate. Thus their minds will rush through the work, distracted by
chocolate, that hey don't learn anything. So I left this afternoon
contemplating what would be good intrinsic rewards to use. I went back to
the Churchill and Ferguson article and reconsidered the humanist
approach: promote mastery motivation rather than performance
DAY 3 Wednesday 15th February 2017
Lecture 1 (which Curriculum was discussed into the afternoon Lecture)::
Before moving forward with content, it was valuable for me when we
discussed ethics a bit further. We considered three major forms:
Applied, Meta-ethics and Normative.
In doing this we gained a better view of the multi-layered complexities of
Curriculum is not a tangible, unchangeable entity. It is ever-changing
and under constant re-construction to suit our societal changes.
Ewing notes in his article, a couple of different ways to approach
- Ralph Tylers concept of the linear sequenced recipe that
defines Curriculum.
- Wheelers more structured view of deliberately formed
The focus was then drawn deeper into the types of Curriculum that
- Explicit. Where information is clear and concise. Outlined.
- Implicit. How explicit curriculum invites the implicit or unwritten
aims/objectives or expectations. Much like Ewings critical
Curriculum. Almost endless.
- Null. The non-existent. What we don't teach in the Curriculum.
On reflection of what we learned over the past three days, I noted
the following:
- Reflexive practise refers to the way in which I would be critical of
the way I teach.
- Communication. The most important thing to remember: find
ways to appropriately engage with students clearly and
Motivation is a broad spectrum which has a variety of factors which
effect it:
- Environment. External sources which affect a child's
physical/mental state.
- Subject/task itself. How engaging it is.
Lecture 2/3:
Much like the complexities of ethics, the school system is trusted
upon society views as the norm and what is valued.
The school structure is constructed. Tension and debate.
Groundwater-smith argues that the learning programs and their
environment need changing.
Family/school partnership is vital for a child to succeed in education.
Positive relationships must therefore be formed with good
communication and respect.
Coming into the third day of this course, and having an
overwhelming amount of information given to me in this time, I was
starting to feel a bit exhausted. Although this mornings brief
lecture on Ethics made me relax a little, the fact still remains.
Almost everything I will encounter in this profession cannot be
achieved/solved by a concrete protocol, but rather, that every
scenario/issue is circumstantial. No two situations are the same,
just like no two students are the same. And I guess that the issue I
am having then is realising that this grey area way of approaching
the profession is sending my thoughts down the rabbit hole a bit.
However, I found today's workshop to be particularly enriching as it
presented me with some things to ground my thoughts on, by
reflecting on what motivates/demotivates me as a student. I was
able to brainstorm some strategies to keep my class motivated one
day. Like it has been suggested multiple times through lectures and
previous workshops, a negative can almost always be flipped into a
positive. And I found that to be exactly what happened for me
today. By reminding myself that I too was a school student once, I
was able to gather my thoughts and consider what struggles I had
in school and apply it to my teaching strategies to help future
Lastly, I found myself being extra observant of how the workshop
ran today. I noted that my tutor so far has used multiple strategies
to get our attention as a class. From counting down from five, to
responding in a different language and even simply placing her
hand upon a clock drawing on the board, I was able to gain some
new strategies to get a students attention and analyse how
successful each technique was for us. And I reflected on the fact
that counting down from five was the most effective for me, as the
numbers were a quick audio queue for me to register, whereas the
hand on the board didn't work so well if I wasn't looking up from my
So for me, the most valuable part of today was being reflexive of
my learning and noting what worked and what didn't, and how I can
apply this knowledge to my teaching.

DAY 4 Thursday 16th February 2017

Workshops this morning:
Reflected on strategies for keeping a child motivated.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies Ted Talk on The Dangers of a Single
Story paved the way for some interesting discussions:
- Where have I fallen into the trap of viewing a diverse group from
a single story lens? Have I myself, as an immigrant, fallen
victim to this lens under someone else's judgement?
Our discussion on diversity was a valuable tool for us to consider
Clarke and Pittaways point that It is essential to be aware as a
teacher, that every student has a different background.
Our considerations/contemplations of all the ways in which we as
pre service teachers can promote an inclusive classroom
Interesting task of creating a hypothetical diverse group in the
classroom, while thinking about how as a teacher we could respond
to covert/overt discrimination:
- Gave us perspective on communicating with a diverse group of
students. Allowed us to reflect on appropriate methods for social
Sir Ken Robinsons Ted Talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? gave me
great insight into:
- The education system of the past and present and the issues
surroundings the academic hierarchy of maths/sciences being
favoured over arts/humanities.
- Underpinned how vital parental encouragement is for a child's
For the last part of the workshops, the reading comprehension of 2
major articles allowed me to further contemplate: 1) The
development of the education system over the years. Whats
changed? 2) The impact of families and a child's background (socio-
economic, cultural, political), on their education.
Lectures (afternoon):
Breakdown of lesson planning. Went beyond the Curriculum and into
- Aims/objectives for the students to gain from the lesson.
- Learning experiences. Sequence of how the lesson will occur.
- An evaluation of what the teacher hopes the student will
gain/what students hope to gain. And how the teacher will gauge
this. Also, catering for diversity.
I found today's set up of the workshops to be the most enriching part of
my day. I think that by having two workshops back to back (with a short
tea break) allowed me to delve deeper in my reflections on concepts/ideas
we discussed in class.
There were three parts off the workshop which I was highly engaged with
and even moved by. The first was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies talk on
The Dangers of the Single Story. It made me self reflexive as I thought
about any time in my life where I judged a group based on the single
story stereotype. And I remember when I once assumed all Japanese ate
Dolphin after watching a documentary entitled The Cove. But I also
looked inwardly, to a time in my life where I fell victim to this kind of
judgement as people would remark why are you white? when I told them
I was from South Africa. And it made me definitely take a step back into
my own beliefs and reconsider any judgements I have since made that
needed reconsideration.
The second Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson entitled Do Schools Kill
Creativity? and particularly, the story of the little girl who fidgeted in
school and with the support of her therapist and parents went on to be a
world famous dancer instead of an ADHD sufferer, moved me. It made
me reconsider what I thought about the education system and motivated
me to be aware of a child's perks and find hidden talents to be nurtured
and not ignored. The articles on the education system that we read and
discussed in class later today only supplemented these motivations.
Finally, I found the inclusivity activity, where I imagined myself as a blind
child in a classroom, really gave me perspective into two things: it gave
me insight into what life might be like (even from a superficial view) for a
child who is blind. Although this task only ran for a few minutes, my
struggles with writing and even hearing over the noise, made for a difficult
lesson. Also, I was able to understand the value of having a good family
/school support system to ensure that every child within a diverse group
not only feels a sense of community and belonging, but also that they
have the necessary support to thrive and flourish in their strengths and
overcome their weaknesses.

DAY 5 Friday 17th February 2017

Today was the exciting day where we got to present our five minute
lessons to the rest of the class.
After each lesson, we discussed what worked well during the lesson.
We reflected on the following aspects:
- How engaging the topic and content was.
- Was the topic content easy to understand?
- Behaviour management skills.
- How clear the topic was taught and how clear the instructions
Also, when reflecting on people's lessons, we considered as Killen
notes, the importance of mental scripting and if it shows in a
peers delivery of their lesson, that they were well organised and
knew their content well.
Today was an excellent opportunity for me to have a dry run of what
teaching lessons will be like at my placement school next week, and for
the weeks to follow. On a side note, I was rather pleased when I received
an email response from my mentor teacher, answering my query of what
year groups I would be dealing with and what each class was covering. I
was thrilled to learn that the year 8 Drama class particularly, were looking
into Improvisational Theatre. By sheer luck, that was exactly the concept I
had decided and planned to cover for my lesson today, which I initially
directed at a year 7 class. So it added new meaning to my lesson when I
delivered it.
In reflection of how the lesson actually went, I was happy with a few
aspects but also felt that a few things could use some
improvement/reconsideration. The bell, as an example, I found was a good
behaviour management tool to get the students attention. However, in
retrospect, I should've established my use of the bell before I launched
into the lesson itself. I also realised that this tool should only be used
temporarily, as it could get a bit tedious after a while. But like every
aspect in a child's learning, from tasks, to content and behaviour
management, I think variety is necessary to keep a child engaged and
motivated to learn.
Lastly, there was one particular point I would've improved on (if time
wasn't so restrained). I would have began the lesson with a bit more into
the theory behind Improv theatre and given a variety of features and
tasks to demonstrate the depth of this form of theatre. However, this is
something to consider for my future at placement schools and in my
career, when I will be teaching a much longer lesson. Overall, I was
pleased with how the lesson went as a whole and how engaged the class