Thinking about scenarios for the future

The first scenario I considered and wrote a response to:

Scenario 3: It is 2063 and owing to climate change, cultural tension and increased terrorism, there have been significant movements of world populations. Australia, in a dramatic u-turn from the start of the century, has opened its doors to these displaced global citizens. Sydney, and its surrounds, is now a cultural hub. Your brief is to design a classroom that will cater for the varied styles of education these refugees are used. In particular the class you are concerned with has a high percentage of students from the African continent and Afghanistan.

Creating a learning area that accommodates for refugees will need to be carefully planned as an ESL classroom. Students from war-torn/conflict areas such as Afghanistan and Africa most likely did not have the opportunity to learn at a level which is conductive to their age or have resources, classrooms, stationary, etc. so the first step would be to make the new environment welcoming and acknowledge that many of the students would have English as their second language which will require extra support to determine what learning level they are on in order to start from what they know and build up.

Once this has been established with the children the next step is to enhance the learning area to cater for their needs, having a literature rich classroom will help by immersing them in words and writing to familiarise them with English as they learn. Also having technology used in many learning areas will help them to understand the use and give them skills to help them adapt to a technology based world in Australia. Another important aspect of creating the learning area would be to encourage group work and a big sense of community in the classroom by providing group working spaces, online sharing forums, team work and collaboration. Moving to a new country and learning everything new that comes with that is a big culture and lifestyle change for the students and establishing friends and making connections with others in a similar situation would provide the support and relationships they need to make the transition a more stable and enjoyable one.

The second scenario I considered and wrote a response to:

Scenario 4: It’s 2063 and the last of the 1960’s prefab classrooms are being decommissioned. You have been given the brief to redesign a classroom that has direct access to the school yard, veggie patch and chooks.

Asbestos in schools

Asbestos was used as a strong, durable insulator in many buildings built around the time period of the 1950’s onward to the 1980’s. Many old schools, houses, hospitals were fitted with asbestos and as we now know the long term health risks associated with it the removal of the asbestos is something that should be undertaken by an organization or home owner and done so carefully by a professional. In a school environment the removal of asbestos would ideally be done during the school holidays to ensure no students are at a risk or come in any contact with the material.

Pets in the classroom

As shown on the website Pets in the Classroom created by the South Australian Government, pets can provide many benefits to the classroom if managed well. Pets can provide a sense of responsibility for the students, a sense of ownership, builds a community atmosphere in the classroom, inclusion, motivation, can be a learning experience and build social and emotional wellbeing through the care and empathy it takes to look after another living being. I have seen many pets used in the classroom throughout my time on prac and all have been well looked after and managed and a great learning tool. One example was for Year 3 students learning about life cycles the Teacher brought in a pregnant mouse and the students were able to learn and watch as the babies were born and grew literally in front of them and the students were so engaged and took such a high level of responsibility and care of the mouse and babies.

Veggie patches in school

Having a veggie patch, a compost heap, worm farm and recycling program in a school is such an effective way to teach the value of being self-sustainable to the students. I have been at schools where this has worked fantastically and a rotating roster ensures that each class gets a turn to tend to the veggie patch, to collect the recycling from each class, to check on the worms, etc. Having a veggie patch is not only a learning experience in itself that can provide lifelong skills it can also be used to encourage healthy eating. A school I attended on prac had a fresh food Friday kitchen in which the years 6’s and 7’s used the veggies from the veggie patch to create healthy options for the tuckshop on a Friday which were sold for a donation price to encourage healthy options. The students embraced this as the sense of inclusion and community was encouraged and being able to buy food that the students (with the help of a teacher and parents) had created was a highlight.

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