Vachon and Leblac (2011) claim that reflective learning is facilitated by Critical Incident Analysis, the key components being a thorough analysis of an authentic, contextualised experience. In practise, through research, Kettle and Sellars (1996) established that peer reflection amongst groups of students, was integral to challenging preconceived ideas of their own pedagogy. In addition, Onjanen (1993), argues that the use of reflective journals, group discussion and own personal history are the most effective means to reflect, and subsequently improve on practise. A critical incident isn’t necessarily a dramatic event, usually it is an incident which has personal significance, one that makes an individual stop and think and potentially question an aspect of their values, attitude, beliefs or behaviour. It is an experience which has had a notable impact on your personal and professional learning.
The critical incident detailed throughout this report made the author stop and question her own practise and values, with this internal questioning leading to peer discussion. Some interesting discoveries and insights were then revealed, not only into Traveller education, but also into the social, economic and welfare issues affecting this group of children. The biggest revelation being that Bluebell had rarely attended formal education, and had little immersion in the school environment. With this new information came a change in thinking; whereby consideration was given to whether children should attend school just because this is a societal norm, and how little room the current system sometimes leaves in terms of meeting the cultural needs of Gypsy and Traveller children. Bluebell’s lack of attenda...
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...ation of values and identity. But this reflection also called into question the norms of society, government policy, and legislation, and the role these play in the education of Gypsy and Traveller children. In some instances there appears to be a one-size fits all mandate in terms of education; an ideology that leaves little room for an appreciation of the culture of Gypsy and Traveller children. If this kind of institutional discrimination did not exist, then there would be little need for the intervention of charities such as TS. However the overriding issue, appears to be the way that teaching as an occupation functions, or strives to function, within a marketised economy. Clearly the needs of the market economy, does not allow teachers and educators the freedom to meet the needs of all children, particularly those with a background that deviates from the norm.
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