Archive for the ‘My university studies’ Category

Some very good questions- Why do I blog? What is the purpose of my blog? Do I need to make it more academic?   4 comments

As regular readers of my blog know, 2014 was a roller coaster year and if not already done so, readers can read about it HERE

However what that blog did not really explore was my actual blogging, resuming my university studies, or the discovery at almost 56, that I am dyslexic.

Just this week (week ending 15/2/15) all of the things mentioned above, suddenly all came together and have made me reflect on my blogging. So in my style – here is the story about last week and the questions in this blogs title that I have been asking myself.

Since starting university I have been keen to share my blogs with my peers on my course, but despite putting several links on Blackboard (which is the online learning environment for the university) including some that were specifically related to the modules that myself and my peers are undertaking, hardly anyone looked at them – and no one left any comments or more disappointingly for myself, engaged in any professional debate about my opinions or about the content.

Last week, I asked a direct question about if anyone did read them, and if I should actually post the links if no one was interested.

A few people did get back to me – mainly to say they did not read because a) they did not have time, b) they were not sure how would fit into the course work.

It was suggested by a peer, that maybe if there was a separate space on Blackboard for my blogs, that it would be easier for my peers to locate them.

Luckily tutors were in agreement and a separate space for my blogs was set up.

After consideration I decided not to re post blogs that are already on Blackboard, but to put links to two of the blogs that I wrote last week about working in partnership – especially as one of the was a direct link to some of the required reading for one of my modules.

So I posted this one First partnership blog

And this one Second partnership blog

A couple of peers did respond – one to say thank you and that found interesting, and another who asked questions and made suggestions – for which I am very grateful as has led to my reflection – and after stumbling across a chapter in a book that I was reading as part of my research for my dissertation (independent study) – led to the answer for the questions asked and the suggestions made.

My peer asked if I could include a few more references and link the things I write about to theory as academic support for others – such as when I say not including names to make the link to ethics. My peer was concerned about not knowing when my writing was my personal opinion, or from my practice – or was actually the words of others from books and so on.

At first I said I would try – but I reflected and said I was not sure a) because I do find academic writing so very hard, it might take away my enjoyment of writing blogs, and as a result I might avoid writing them; b) That maybe my blogs were just to share my opinion and experiences with others (I am thinking of when I write about the conferences that I have attended); c) That my regular readers who are not all studying at level 6, may not read my blogs if I started writing in an academic format.

And that was it really – apart from the fact that I also questioned why anyone needed to reference other people’s work just to validate their own work.

NB. I did not use these actual words or the ones below, as I have had time to reflect a bit more about my own views on this – but the main idea / principle is the same

My own thinking is, yes research based evidence is great and should be used and referenced as gives a much broader picture than one persons observations. However great care needs to be taken to ensure that the research that using is in fact related to your subject matter – and not taken out of context or ‘cherry picked’ so that appears to validate your work / words – when in fact it does not. In my opinion, politicians of all colours are very good at taking things out of context and in suggesting that research undertaken for one reason / criteria, also applies to another reason / criteria. As an example take the EPPE research
http://www.ioe.ac.uk/RB_pre-school_to_end_of_KS1%281%29.pdf

EPPE is based on 3 and 4 year olds following them until end of key stage one, but is now being used in relation to two year olds – and you do not need to be an academic to know that the needs of two years olds are TOTALLY different to the needs of 3 and 4 year olds.

The EPPE research is an excellent long term study and is very useful- however is does not cover all childcare settings – in particular registered childminders. Yes it does included a comparison between children who have not had any or very little pre school experience but it does not include children who attended a registered childminding setting – and so there is no data or comparison about the children who attended childminder settings.

In my opinion claims that – even for 3 and 4 year olds – that outcomes are better if attend pre school are not founded, because you can not claim that a childminder setting provides the same outcomes as a group setting but nor can you say that a group setting is better than a childminder setting.

I would also suggest that the experience of children who do not go to any setting are so varied that using a small sample of ‘home children’ is not sufficient – numbers of children should have been equal in the home children and the group attendance children – and the research should have included childminders.

IT IS ALSO VITAL THAT EVERYONE ALWAYS REMEMBERS THAT ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL – AND SO NO MATTER HOW GOOD / COMPREHENSIVE / INCLUSIVE ANY RESEARCH IS – THE CHILD’s INDIVIDUAL NEEDS MUST BE CONSIDERED AND AT THE CENTRE OF ANY PLAN OR ACTION FOR THAT CHILD

However, it is an excellent piece of research – provided that people do not ‘extend’the findings beyond the research criteria, and therefore limits.

Anyway, as I often do I have gone off in another direction – but in this case I think a very worthwhile and useful in explaining my opinion.

However, now back to the reasons why I am writing this blog – the questions in the title

As alluded to at the beginning of this blog, this morning I was reading a book as part of my research for my dissertation which is all about heutagogy and pedagogy called’ Experiences in self determined learning by L.M Blaschke, C Kenyon and S.Hase (Afraid I have no idea how to reference it – as it is a self published book by Amazon – so here is the ISBN number 9781502785305 from the back of the book-a bit confusing as 2 different ISBN numbers inside the book)

Chapter 11 – which is written by Robert Schuetz – is all about blogs – and although I did not expect to find the answers to my question this morning, reading this chapter has helped clarify my own thoughts.

Schuetz says ‘ There is little doubt that sharing thoughts in writing creates opportunities for deeper learning and understanding’

So reason one for why I blog

I do find writing my blog supports my own reflection and extends my learning.

Schuest also says ‘Shouldn’t each educational stakeholder strive to leave a legacy of his or her learning?

So that is reason two

I do want to leave a record – and not only of my own learning but also my thoughts and opinions – and my practice as a registered childminder.

Schuest then quotes Tom Whitby (2014) Can be accessed from http://www.edutopia.org who mentions a number of benefits from writing blogs – I am just highlighting those that I feel are relevant to me;

Open doors to dialogue and discussion about any topic of interest to the learner
Reason three – I do write about lots of different things – all related to children and childcare, but many topics. And many doors that I never dreamed would be opened, have opened and I now engage in daily dialogue and discussion with some of the leading names in early years field

Give the learner a voice, and also counteract isolation
Reason four – certainly since I started writing my blog I have found my voice and grown from shy, never say a word in public person to someone who dares to challenge government ministers – to their face. Plus as a childminder it can be very isolated and my blog has made me connections with thousands of other people

Improve writing skill and creative expression
Reason five – despite the extreme difficulties that I still have with words, my writing has improved – and I think my creative expression has improved as well

Allow 24 / 7 learning opportunities supporting a variety of styles
Reason 6 – as friends and close colleagues know – my life is extremely complicated and very busy – so access to my blog at any time of the day or night is essential. And my style is my own – no rules or format set by others – I just do it my way.

And finally Schuetz says ‘Comments and conversation widen one’s perspective as a blog post becomes a source for other learns. This reciprocal learning effect is an important reason why publishing a blog can become so personally enriching, whilst simultaneously supportive to a community of learners.
Which is reason 7 – and actually just confirms what I thought and what I tried to explain (all be it not very well) in my reply on the university online environment called Blackboard.

In conclusion then – I blog for my own benefit, I blog to share my learning with others (who may follow the links and sort referencing for themselves), I blog to express personal opinion, I blog to share my experiences with those who may not have the same experiences, and those who have, I blog to encourage and support discussion and debate

and the final and most important reason – I blog because I enjoy it.

Therefore, I have decided I am not going to change my blogs, and in particular I am not going to make them less enjoyable to write by adding references or academic reasoning.

I do usually say if my opinion, I do usually say if my personal experience or if sharing (with permission and within the boundaries of confidentiality) the experiences of others.

People may quote me (and one person has written their dissertation on me and my opinions around the ratio issue)either from these blogs or where quoted in publications such as Nursery World or indeed from the article that I write for example for Early Years Educator magazine or Child Care Journal.

My opinion is my opinion, my observations from my practice are my own observations, and my ethos and practice is based on my ethos and practice – and usually not on anything that I have read – because as with the chapter that I have read about the benefit of blogging – I already knew this and the chapter has just confirm my opinion. And by the way the book I am referring to was written in 2014, as was the bit by Tom Whitby – So did they ‘know’ this first, did I ‘know’ it first (as I started blogging in 2012) – or did we all reach the same conclusion from our own practice and observations?

In others words did the chapter I read validate my own work / knowledge – or did the authors just share my opinion – and just because the three of us all think the same – does it make it ‘right’?

Clearly it makes it ‘right’ for all three of us because we all think the same – but I suspect (no I know) that others will have a different opinion or experience and therefore Schuetz, Whitby and WEBB will be ‘wrong’

Oh and if interested I did publish my own ‘Theory’ back in 2012 – this is the link to those who are interested Ethos – and The Webb theory – Scroll to near the end of the blog – however you may also want to read about my ethos

Anyone want to discuss, debate, agree, disagree …..

…… over to all of you – those of you who read my blog.

Posted February 14, 2015 by psw260259 in My university studies

Continuing my look at theorists who may have influence my practice   Leave a comment

In my last blog about theorists I considered if I was a social constructivist or a behaviourist, and came to the conclusion that I am a social constructivist.

I also decided that the work of John Dewey is very much inline with my own thoughts – however as I had not read John’s work  before, I feel I  had not been influenced in my practice by his work – but I did question if my childhood was as a result of adults in my life (both direct and indirect)  had been influenced by his work .

Reading posts by my fellow students, on the universities online environment, I see they have been influenced by other theorists – and so I am now going to take a look at some of the other well know theorists and see if I agree with them or feel I have been influenced by them.

It should be remembered that I did not do any study into early years and childcare, until I was in my 40’s  – and by then I had had 4 children, and been a child minder for about 20 years – so my practice was well establish. Further it was not until 2006 that I actually read anything much about theorists (when I first started my university studies) – and by them I was grandmother and  had around 30 years experience as a practitioner and other related roles.

So dipping in and out of  my copy of How Children Learn, the next theorist that I am going to look at is Fredrick Froebel

There are certainly aspect of Froebel’s work that I like and indeed that I agree with – particularly the belief that teaching should not be by rote;but that children should learn  through play and self expression;  that   play fosters enjoyment and emotional well being; that  outside play  is important.

I think a point made by Froebel that has been ‘forgotten’ or ‘overlooked’ in this country, is that he talked about children  from age one to age seven using and enjoying the ‘garden’ experience. When I was a children children went to school the term after they were 5 and into ‘infants’ which was very much play based with stories and creative activities – and the very basics of reading and writing – once it was felt you were ‘ready’. It was only when you moved into juniors at 7 that more formal teaching started. Other countries have retained an element of this – in that formal schooling does not start until children are 7. I personally think that Froebel was right – children should learn through their play until they are 7.

However, I do not personally like Froebel’s  idea of ‘Gifts’ that were presented in structured ways. The ‘Gifts’ themselves I consider to be beneficial play materials -such as the soft ball, cubes, and wooden blocks; and certainly I provide wooden blocks and in various shapes and sizes within the environment that I provide in my setting – but I do not like the idea of adults directing how children should explore and use these items.

I think there is conflict between what Froebel said about play and the nature of how the ‘Gifts’ should be used, and I struggle to see how the two fit together. However I think that block play has developed into play that is in line with what Froebel said about play and not in line with the design and purpose of the ‘Gifts’ – and that perhaps we should value the actual ‘Gifts’ and the benefits using for free play brings to children’s play and development.

I love the work of Community Playthings – especially their wooden blocks (which I can not afford but have some similar ones) If you have not seen it before this is a lovely film about block play from Community Playthings Community Playthings film about block play and you may also be interested to take a look at a couple of blogs that I wrote in 2013 about block play in my setting Block play at Penny’s Place – one and Block play at Penny’s Place – two – the second contains more than just block play – in fact in contains another of Froebel’s ideas – that of ‘occupations’ which included cutting skills.

So, do I think my practice has been influenced by Freobel? – well from reading about his work – no – because as stated before I did not read about his work until after my practice was establish.

However I do think my childhood was influenced by his work (and therefore my views about play) – I had blocks to play with – in fact I had one of those wooden push a long trucks with blocks in it. I also  would have benefited from my mothers ideas about play and from the early Pre school Playgroup Association ethos which was based on Froebelian traditions,and which my mother was involved with in the early days of the Playgroup movement. ( And of course Froebel championed the work of mothers in educating children – which is exactly what the Playgroup movement did).

In fact you could say that Froebel’s work has influence and impacted on me all through my life because of my childhood that was influenced by his work – and as I am now a volunteer for the Pre school Learning Alliance which was formally the Pre – school learning Alliance, that involvement and influence is continuing.

If any one is interested in reading about the history of the Pre school learning Alliance, I can recommend this book which talks about their history and the influence of not just Froebel but also many other theorists. I am attempting to reference (I still struggle with this – and especially as this book is a joint effort of many and is a in house publication – so please bear with me while I work out how to reference)

Pre-School Learning Alliance 2011, Changing lives, Changing life, Pre school Learning Alliance Publications:London

As I am not at all sure that I have referenced it correctly here is the ISBN number – ISBN 978 1 873743 93 5

 

In my next blog about theorists, I am going to look at the work of John Bowlby whose work about attachments has influence my life, my practice through my childhood experience, and now through reading about his work my understanding about attachments in my professional work as a childminder and a foster carer.

 

Posted October 29, 2014 by psw260259 in My university studies

What theories inform my practice and ethos?   2 comments

This is my first post linked to my university studies – so the start of a new use of my blog. All my university inspired blogs will be within the category of .My university studies’ which should make it easier to find them.

So the question set is –  ‘ Are you a social constructivist or a behaviourist?’ 

My instinctive first response was – I am a constructivist – and maybe a social constructivist.

But am I? Do I actually have a full understanding of this issue?

In 2012, I wrote a blog about my ethos and what I think about theories – I was even bold enough to suggest that I had constructed my own theory called the ‘Webb Theory’. If you have not read that blog – or have but have forgotten what I wrote This is the link

However that was my thoughts in 2012 – a lot has happened since then – including becoming more involved with the wider early years sector through my campaigning, which in turn has led to more professional debate and examining of own views.

Therefore, now is a good time to reflect on my views and where those views come from – and to do this I have decided to go back to basics and to ensure my understanding is as good as possible at this moment in time and moment within my professional development.

So where to start?

Wikipedia – as I find this gives a good overview and links to further reading

This is the link to the Wikipedia entry on Constructivism and the one to Behaviourism

I took the time to read them both – first the general introductions – and these are my thoughts

From the general introductions – I still think I am a constructivist BUT there are elements of behaviourism that I have used within my practice at various points over my professional career and as a parent . So it is clear I need to read a bit more – maybe there is a link between them, or maybe I have established my own theory – the Webb Theory, which is a bit of this theory and that theory – plus the influence of my own practice?

Next I moved to the very helpful lists of people who are linked to both constructivism and behaviourism.

For constructivism we have;

John Dewey

Maria Montessori

Jean Piaget

Lev Vygotsky

Heniz von Forester (who? – I asked myself having not come across this name before)

George Kelly (again who?)

Jerome Bruner

Herbert Simon

Paul Watzlawick (Who?)

Ernst von Glaserfeld (Another who?)

Edgar Morin (another who?)

Humberto Maturana (yet another who?)

Quite a few names that I have heard about and read about – some more than others. Clearly I need to do a bit more research – so I consult my copies of ‘How Children Learn (Books 1 -3) by Linda Pound, which I find easy to read and understand as not too many ‘big words’. If you have not seen these books before here is a link to them on Amazon – although I am sure you can get the books elsewhere.

Book One

Book Two

Book Three

I have actually had the pleasure of having breakfast with Linda Pound – and to hearing her speak at a conference – so this is another reason why I refer to her books – I have met her and had discussions with her – so for me it makes understanding her viewpoint and writing so much easier.

If you are interested in reading the blog about the time I had breakfast with Linda This is the link – but why not look at all the links to that conference in 2012 – there are four parts in total, and there was a very good range of speakers, which I have provided an overview on. (In fact you might want to look at my blogs for the 2013 and 2014 conferences which I also attended.

As is often the case, I have digressed – but I hope this maybe useful to anyone reading this blog.

Back to my research (reading) about those names I was familiar with as a recap,  and those names that I was not familiar with

First of the unknown names –  Heniz von Forester – Actually he and other names unknown to me  are not mentioned in the ‘How Children learn’ books by Linda Pound – which is not a surprise because if they were – I would at least recognise the names, even if I could not recall anything about those people.

So I turned to the internet and a goggle search – which first brought up cybernetics! (which on reading I understand is not about robots but more to do with how the brain works / is wired – and the similarities to the wiring of robots and other programmable technology ). Anyone interested in reading more about cybernetics – here is the Wikipedia entry on it Cybernetic info on wikipedia

 

However a further search brought up this information on Wikipedia Constructivist / epistemology as follows (quite a way down the page)

  • Heinz von Foerster, invited by Jean Piaget, presented “Objects: tokens for (Eigen-)behaviours” in 1976 in Geneva at a genetic epistemology symposium, a text that would become a reference for constructivist epistemology.

Ok – so not of particular interest to me – AT THE MOMENT – but I am glad I bothered to find out

Next on the list of ‘who?’ – George Kelly – I found this entry – again on Wikipedia George Kelly info on Wikipedia. Now this was very interesting – just from a scanning of the information. I need to read it again – fully, not scanning – which I will do over the next few days. However for now and to may be spark an interest in the readers of this blog – here is a little bit from that wikipedia information

 

Kelly’s fundamental view of personality was that people are like naive scientists who see the world through a particular lens, based on their uniquely organized systems of construction, which they use to anticipate events. But because people are naive scientists, they sometimes employ systems for construing the world that are distorted by idiosyncratic experiences not applicable to their current social situation. A system of construction that chronically fails to characterize and/or predict events, and is not appropriately revised to comprehend and predict one’s changing social world, is considered to underlie psychopathology (or mental illness.)

AND

…..Kelly’s fundamental view of people as naive scientists was incorporated into most later-developed forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy that blossomed in the late 70s and early 80s and into Intersubjective psychoanalysis which leaned heavily on Kelly’s phenomenological perspective and his notion of schematic processing of social information. [3] Kelly’s personality theory was distinguished at the time he published the two volumes from drive theories (such as psychodynamic models) on the one hand, and behavioral theories on the other, in that people were not seen as solely motivated by instincts (such as sexual and aggressive drives) or learning history but by their need to characterize and predict events in their social world. Because the constructs people developed for construing experience have the potential to change, Kelly’s theory of personality is less deterministic than drive theory or learning theory. People could conceivably change their view of the world and in so doing change the way they interacted with it, felt about it, and even others’ reactions to them. For this reason, it is an existential theory, regarding humankind as having a choice to reconstrue themselves, a concept Kelly referred to as “Constructive Alternativism.” Constructs provide a certain order, clarity, and prediction to a persons world. Kelly referenced many philosophers in his two volumes but the theme of new experience being at once novel and familiar (due to the templates placed on it) is closely akin to the notion of Heraclitus: “we step and do not step in the same rivers.” Experience is new but familiar to the extent that it is construed with historically derived constructs….

So here it is then – a link to behaviourism and constructivism, in certain contexts – that I wondered if existed.  I really do need to read more!

But for now, to finish the task in hand – that of finding out more about the names on the list of people linked to constructivism that are new to me

Next is Paul Watzlawick, again Wikipedia comes ups trumps – Paul Watzlawick info on Wikipedia, the first thing I notice is Paul is linked to ‘radical constructivism – I have heard of this – but really do not fully understand. Delving a bit deeper into the article, and I read about Watzawick’s  “Interactional View”, and the five axioms – a very basic overview is that it links to communication and behaviour – in that all behaviour is a form of communication – and I certainly believe that to be true. So more further reading – as I always find – one thing leads to another, and in trying to complete a task, you end up with an even longer ‘to do list’ than you started with!

 

Now for Ernst von Glaserfeld – I look to Wikipedia again  as seems a good place to start Ernst von Glaserfeld info on Wikipedia. it seems he is a another radical constructivist, in fact it was Glaserfeld who coined the term radical constructivism (and so I must ensure I fully understand what this means)

Moving on to Edgar Morin – for a start Edgar is still alive, and there is some limited information n Wilipedia  Edgar Morin info on Wikipedia From this limited information my ‘to do list’ has just grown! I need to read up about  information theory and system theory – which I think link to cybernetics. (will up date when read a bit more)

And so to last unknown to me name on the list of constructivists –  Humberto Maturana, Wikipedia have this entry on Humberton (who is also still alive) Humberto Maturana info on wikipedia , he is another person who is connected to cybernetics and radical constructivism. I found this bit of his Wikipedia entry interesting

His inspiration for his work in cognition came while he was a medical student and became seriously ill with tuberculosis. Confined in a sanatorium with very little to read, he spent time reflecting on his condition and the nature of life. What he came to realize was “that what was peculiar to living systems was that they were discrete autonomous entities such that all the processes that they lived, they lived in reference to themselves … whether a dog bites me or doesn’t bite me, it is doing something that has to do with itself.” This paradigm of autonomy formed the basis of his studies and work.

So yet more further reading  I am beginning to realise that I won’t have time to read in depth about all this new information and ideas and so I will have to select the bits that are most interesting to me – and most related to my course.

However, I am feeling much better about my own knowledge prior to starting this blog – I was starting to think that I was not as well informed as I thought when I realised how many names on that list that I did not recognise – but I now know it is because all connected to the same area of research – and one that I had not even considered much before.

Moving on now to the list of people connected to Behaviourism

They are listed as;

Vladimir Bekhterev

Albert Bandura

Ivan Pavlou

Alan E Kazdin

Sidney W Bijou

Edwin Ray Gruthrie

Richard J Herrnstien

Clark L Hull

Fred S Keller

Neal E Miller

Marsha M Linehan

O. Hobart Mowrer

Charles E Osgood

Kenneth W Spense

BF Skinner

Edward Lee Thorndike

Edward C Tolman

Murray Didman

John B Watson

Ole Ivar Lovaas

Steven C Heyes

Donald Baer

Dermot Barnes- Holmes

 

It is actually easier to say who I have heard of rather than who I have not heard of! The only one I really know anything about is B F Skinner! Is that shocking? Or is it an indicator into the fact that I think I am a social constructivist – and so have not ‘bothered’ to read more about behaviourism? Or is there some other reason for my personal lack of knowledge in this area? – Maybe it has not been covered in training that I have undertaken? Maybe those I work in partnership do not mention these people because they do not support those theories? Maybe there is less written about them?

Whatever the reason, it is clear if I am to fully understand my own perspective and understanding on behaviourism and constructivism – I am going to have to have to do a lot more reading / research.

However, thinking about my time issues – I have decided not to find links to all those listed above in the behaviourist article at this moment in time, or to explore further – although I will revisit behaviourism in relation to my views at another point in time, because I think there are some links and I would like to have a better understanding

 

Instead, I have decided  to read the rest of the general article on Wikipedia about constructivism – which I hope will form a base level of understanding, so I can consider where my own theory has come from or is based on or is similar to; and then  I will be able undertake further research / reading  to support my university studies.

The article on Constructivism

Having read this article (and re read some of the information in the How Children learn books, about those who are seen as constructivists ) I now know that I was right- I am a social constructivist,  and this answers the question set by tutors.

However I also know that I do indeed follow the Webb Theory, as I have taken bits of different theories and adapted them to make my own theory.

To start discussion with others, and for personal reflection on my thoughts, I am going to try to link to just one of those  theories and explain why I think this links to my thoughts and practice.

From my reading – I now know that John Dewey’s theory links quite closely to my own theory – although I did not consider John Dewey’s theory in reaching the Webb theory – I think it is more a case that we both have the reached the same conclusion  (Interesting as John Dewey died before I was born, however it is possible that John’s theory had an influence on my own childhood – and therefore my views) .

My information about John Dewey is taken from Linda Pounds book How Children learn  [so attempting to reference}

Pound L (2005) How Children learn, Step forward publishing Ltd: Leamington Spa

I have to say I agree with a lot of his points. In particular;

Importance of social interaction – to me this does not mean circle time, it does not mean being told what to do and when to do it- it means ‘real’ conversations and observing other people (and copying them both in direct terms and in indirect terms)

Need to develop the curriculum from children’s interests – to me the curriculum is not a set of adult led activities and pre determined outcomes (I think there is a place for this, but not until after children are 7, and all the foundations of learning are in place), in my opinion an early years curriculum is about a carefully planned an environment based on children’s interests and stages of development. Further, I believe it takes a very skilled practitioner to set up this type of environment – and to think on their feet to adapt it as children’s interests extend and change.

As long as people are alive, they are learning – I really believe this, but need to add that people learn what could be described as ‘good things’ as well as what could be described as ‘bad things’. And in particular this relates very closely to attachments. I believe secure attachments are the most important aspect to be in place for children to be able to reach their full potential.

The value and culture of family and community should be reflected in the life of the school – or in my case the childminder setting. I think that children need to be secure in who they are, in terms of their family and community (which includes the childcare setting). In my opinion, these days we try to impart knowledge about too wide a range of ‘diversity’  to the under fives, which is why in my setting I concentrate on the culture of the families using my setting – so this does change as the children attending change.   I do not ‘cover’ festivals, and family make up or traditions that are not represented within the group of children currently attending, as topics (although I do read stories that reflect the wider society).

This does not mean I do not cover diversity issues – I most certainly do – because actually diversity is all about understanding about similarities and differences – and this can be applied to EVERYTHING. I believe if children can gain an understanding of how to think about similarities and differences, they will be able to apply this knowledge to all areas of their lives both as children and adults, which in turn will help them cope with different people and objects and beliefs about things (not just faiths). I think this leads to equality being a central part of the children’s lives now and when they are adults and will lead to less discrimination. This is because a lot of inequality and discrimination is driven by a lack of understanding and knowledge – and ability to say ‘Well that is the same, but that is different; and to cope with that difference I need to ….’

Teachers are not just teaching children as individuals – they are helping children to live in society and shaping society as a whole – and this in my opinion is what is missing from much Government policy and practice in some  early years settings and schools. In my opinion within society we need people with a range of skills, for society to flourish, and all should be valued. However the current drive to assess everyone and benchmark them against just academic skills, will lead to a society that does not flourish, and in which many people feel that they have ‘failed’, are ‘not good enough’. The drive to turn out ‘little robots’ who have the same standard skills (and dreams) is going to lead to mental health issues, a lack of social skills,  and worse of all a lack of people with caring skills who at the end of the day are in my opinion more important than the business people, the bankers and the Government – because before all the afore mentioned were ‘created by society’ we survived as a society because we had caring skills – people who looked after each other and who worked together as a community. Everyone needs someone to care for them when they are born, when they are young children, when they are ill and when they are too old to care for themselves.

 

So this blog is somewhat longer than I thought it would be, I have extended my own understanding and knowledge, but have also created a rather long ‘to do list’ of things I want to do more reading / research about – but which I have decided I don’t have the time to do at this moment in time.

I apologise for the length of the blog – and for the typo’s, spelling and grammar errors , switching between tenses, and missed words,   which I know will be within this blog – but which I find very hard to spot, due to my difficulties with the written word. Previous readers of my blog will be  used to my difficulties and  they tell me that  ‘read past them’ concentrating on the content. However, I know that for some it does ‘annoy’ or ‘gets to them’ – and new readers of my blog may fall into this group of people.

However, I have long since accepted my difficulties and decided that I would rather communicate via the written word (and in particular this blog – than not share my thoughts with others. I hope that people will accept me for who I am, and enjoy / find my ramblings useful.

 

As this is my first blog based on my university studies, I am now wondering (reflecting) on if anyone else will read it, if anyone else will find it useful – and if anyone will agree with my view – or disagree with my view.

As always comments are very welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted October 26, 2014 by psw260259 in My university studies

Why I have decided to blog about my university studies ……………   2 comments

 

…………..the reason for is because I have returned to my studies and I am  attempting to gain my early years degree. I am studying at level 6 on the ‘Integrated working with children and families’ course at Worcester University. I am doing this through the Flexible and Distributed Learning route, which in my case means that I do not go into university for lectures and do my  group work online. However, there are monthly workshops on Saturdays, and two Saturday conferences over the year.

On the problems I have quickly identified is the time delay in the online discussions. We are supposed to make them similar to face to face discussions, such as you might have in lectures (so turn taking ‘conversations) – but I find this very difficult,  as I might post a comment but then it may be days before others respond and even longer for 2 or 3 to join the discussion. With my very busy and complicated life, I find it difficult to a) pick up discussions that might take a week or more to unfold – because during that time I would have moved onto several other topics through my blogs . my campaigning and my social media groups; and b) to actually remember to go back to the discussion and see if others have commented.

I have an university online journal which I am supposed to fill in to aid reflection and which should eventually support writing my assignments and my dissertation, but the problem with this is only myself and the tutors can read this – and for me this is far to limiting. As readers of my bog or members of my social media groups will know – I share my thoughts and professional practice, and information from conferences, training and workshops that I have attended with all those who wish to read my blogs / social media posts.

In a nutshell – if I am going to get the most out of my time at university I need to find a way to overcome my personal difficulties of time issues around online discussions, and also to find ways to share my reading, reflections and professional development with others.

So through my reflections about this issue, I have come up with my own way of managing this

I have decided that I will write blogs about the tasks I am asked to complete, and discussions I take part in, and reading / research that I do as part of my university studies.

I will then have an accessible record – that is accessible not only by myself but by anyone who wishes to read the blog entries. I will be able to refer to them myself to aid completion of my assignments and dissertation: I will be able to add links to my blogs both in my university online journal, and within the discussion posts that I take part in with fellow students – so that if they wish they can access my thoughts / comments all at once if they wish to do so, (and if I forget to go back to the discussion and add further comments) but also it will enable me  to revisit discussions,  and journal entries when maybe I have moved onto other things in my everyday life, and copy and paste the next bit of my discussion comments – and of course if needed update my blog or online journal entry as a result of taking on board comments by other students.

I hope that this will work – but if it does not then I will reflect and make changes as appropriate to the reflection at that time.

As to if others will read my ramblings about my university studies – time will tell (and so will the stats from my blog) but in fact it will not make much difference to me – to me it is the fact that people can read if they want to that matters most – not if they do read my ramblings.

To help myself and others find these blogs, I have set up a new category ‘ My university studies’

Posted October 26, 2014 by psw260259 in My university studies