One of my biggest weaknesses currently, is my lack of knowledge about what is going on in education. What changes are happening? How do they affect us, and what should I be aware of? I’m well aware that there are amazing websites like tes.co.uk that are constantly being updated with education news, so why do I feel so uninformed? Especially when all of this information is at my fingertips. Well, I think it’s all a bit daunting for me, if I am perfectly honest. In my previous career in Advertising I was confident in my knowledge, and found it easy to breeze through articles every morning, keeping me up to date with key news. I was used to it being easy. I’m new to teaching so of course this will be difficult at first, and as much as I try to learn quickly there are lots of politicians, people, and key words that I just haven’t heard of…but this won’t stop be from being an informed PGCE student!
With that in mind, I want to try and create a new segment on my blog where I share my thoughts on any education news I have read that has interested me (wow that sounds boring! It won’t be I promise) This may not be your cup of tea, and I’m sure my opinions will be poorly constructed at first, but this will really help me progress. I’m excited and hopeful that one day I will feel confident in my understanding of the Education system in the UK, but I have to start somewhere! I hope you will support these posts and even share your thoughts on the subject in the comments 🙂
So I have been having a read of this article, all about online safety in primary and secondary schools. Recently Ofsted reports reveal that schools may not be providing adequate online safety lessons, with a quarter of secondary pupils being unable to recall whether or not they have been taught about online safety at all.
This is a topic I feel very strongly about. Most of us are fully aware of the long list of dangers online, including bullying, abuse, and even grooming from predators. This is certainly something that needs to be taken seriously in schools. From my own experience in different primary schools, I agree that although training has been provided to staff, I am not confident that the pupils would demonstrate a solid knowledge and understanding of the dangers, if questioned. In fact, some have let slip that they have Instagram accounts, and on one occasion I remember trying in vain to explain the dangers of apps like snapchat to a child. Because children are innocent minded, they are not able to preempt dangers that may be obvious to an adult.
I believe that something as important as internet safety should be introduced into the classroom on multiple occasions. It should be made a part of everyday life (as much as possible) to open up conversation. As, of course, social media has now become part of our everyday life. It’s here to stay, and we as educators need to adapt our practice to meet the needs of this generation.
The article mentioned internet safety often only being taught during ICT lessons, which does make sense. However I do not think this is often enough, and should instead be discussed in depth during different lessons. Internet safety could be taught in sections to break down different dangers, and scenarios pupils might encounter. This would be especially appropriate for older children. I also think that getting children as involved as possible with the schools safety policy would help them retain what they had been taught. They could, for example make posters or leaflets on internet safety to help other pupils/children. I also think (as with most things) teaching would be more effective if linked to a book (Jacqueline Wilson “The Worry Website” possibly, or for a clearer link between the text and the book “Clicking and Snipping with Chicken and Kittie” by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross ). This would open up the opportunities for making the teaching of online safety part of a literacy lesson, not just ICT!
I also thought this blog post featuring key objects to represent different parts of internet safety was interesting and inventive. Give it a read here if you’re curious.
I do understand that this is easier said then done, but I think the benefits of incorporating internet safety lessons into other parts of the curriculum would be great. There is a serious danger online for young people today, and therefor teaching them how to deal with this danger, should be a priority. Being creative with lessons would mean that this teaching can be incorporated into other subjects, and therefor immersed into the daily routine more easily.
If you got this far, thank you for reading my ramblings. And as I said previously I am an education novice, so I’m sure the depth of my understanding and opinions leaves a lot to be desired…but it’s a start and we must all start somewhere 🙂
I hope you are all having a good week.