Category Archives: Contemporary issues

The Multi-Cultural Evening at ISS

On Friday (4th of May 2018), ISS held its yearly event known as the Multi-Cultural Evening. I had been waiting for this day with anticipated joy because so many people had told me in the run up to it that it was a night that could not be missed at ISS!

What the multi-cultural evening is meant to represent is that the International School of Stuttgart is, as it is appropriately named, an international environment that celebrates its differences on an equal playing field. It is also a reminder to all the students that are part of ISS that they can both celebrate themselves and their peers.

There is a seat at the table for everyone.

Each nation’s table had their own menu on offer to show people what sort of foods are found from their home country

The night began with the school’s jazz band playing the many guests, students and staff into the large assembly hall called the Aula (assembly hall) and then we were all welcomed by the school’s director, Tim Kelley, who started with a profound speech that gave the mission statement of the entire night as a whole: “This is what the world looks like and this is what we want the world to feel like. To be inclusive of all and to be able to celebrate all our differences together”. The message really lasted with me because it is the core essence that I have felt whilst being at the school for these past 2 months. Everyone, no matter their background, is encompassing of one another and we rejoice in our practice through the similarities and differences in languages, cultures and nationalities. I even believe that, because we get to celebrate the other cultures of our peers, we then begin to really have a bigger reflection on our own cultures. This placement has made me proud to be Scottish and to hold onto my traditions and be able to show them to the world in an environment where everyone is equal in merit.

The lower school children took part in a parade to show the different countries that they were from. There were children from Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, France, Germany, UK, Sweden, America, Russia, Turkey and so many more. Internationality is interwoven into the community of the school; people from around the world are part of this community of globalism and ISS has a responsibility to ensure that that community is welcoming.

This year had a slight change from the previous years in that there was now a competition for who had the best decorated table (each country gets to host a table where they display their traditions and prepare food from their home country for people to try) amongst the participating countries that had prepared their traditional delicacies. India was crowned the winner and rightfully so; not only was their table decorated in Indian art, but they themselves came in the most beautiful traditional attire in so many different variations of colours and embroidered designs.

The Winners of the Night – Some of the Indian community of the school onstage accepting their award. They were not the only ones that had came in the most exquisite traditional garments. Once again, I had wished I had packed my kilt!

Once the parade and award-giving were both finished, we got to then explore the many different tables that were set up across the two levels of the school and we got to try many different delicacies on offer.

I stuck with a few teachers that I have really made great friendships with during my time here because they told me the best route to take to get to the most popular tables first! It was a great laugh to not only be socialising with teachers that were from all across the world, but also to feel like we were in Japan, Croatia, Italy and France for the night with all the amazing stalls that were set up.

The Japanese table was first and then the Indian. We strategically went to these tables in the beginning as there are normally queues. There were so many different types of freshly prepared sushi, edamame soy beans, pork meatballs (tsukune) amongst the decorations of pikachu, dragons and kimonos. The Japanese community were very accommodating in telling us about the food that was on offer as were the Indian community in their traditional attire.

Making our way around the tables, we also saw many different examples of cultures beyond food. One in particular was on the Turkish table where the practice of Ebru art was being shown to the children and they were getting to participate in the art themselves. The Turkish Cultural Organisation (2018) explains that this form of art is paint is submerged in an oil-like substance to refrain from the paints mixing, which allows for patterns and shapes to be made with tools. Once a pattern is made, it can then be transferred onto paper and the whole process can start once again with the oily chemicals.

The Technique of Ebru – The children got to try their hand in the art that is created through creating colourful patterns on a pan of oily water and then transferring the creation onto paper to finalise the art.

Culture Extends Beyond Delicacies – examples of the finished pieces that had been transferred onto paper. It was really an art of patience and a steady hand that was able to create these masterpieces of Turkish heritage.

Whilst people were making their way around the food, the Aula was hosting different performances that were announced over the school’s speakers to say a particular traditional art was being performed. It was perfectly timed that the professional Turkish dancers began to perform when we had made our way back to the hall.

From what I’ve looked up on the internet, the Turkish dance that was performed was a “Zeybek”

There were also kung fu performances from the students that were from China and they got to show the audience their masterings in the martial arts that is famous from their home country. Cheerleading, african dance, flamenco dances and many more performances were put on by the ISS family and they were all spectacular in their own right. I felt very proud for many of the students that got up and presented their arts that are derived from their country of origin.

I also couldn’t help but seek the comforting tastes from home at the UK table:

There’s No Place Like Home – I may have eaten too many scones and pieces of shortbread

What I particularly enjoyed about this part was being able to show and explain to the children of my host family about all the different British (and Scottish) delicacies and they particularly enjoyed trying the banoffee pie and the trifle (after being able to already taste shortbread that I made at home). I also got to show the staff members what my background looks like as a menu along with my fellow British peers that work at ISS.

I was partially adopted by the French table, however, due to the mother of my host family being French and she herself had a great hand in preparing the table with her French peers.

Vive la France! – crepes, wine, macarons and quiche were some of things on offer from the French table.

The French were making freshly prepared crepes for those that wanted a taste of France and many of those that were not driving got to have a glass or two of the finest French wine. I had the car and therefore had to refuse kindly.

Even just reflecting on this night as a personal development point, I would have laughed if a person had told me I would be devouring sushi, dumplings, crepes, curries and (holding onto my traditional home favourite) shortbread – especially in one night! I want to thank all of the helpers that prepared all the meals, the tables and the decorations because without the school community coming together to host an event like this, then people like me would not be exposed to the different ways people live their lives. One of the staff members that I’ve been really supported by during my time here even told me that they had worked across the world’s network of international schools and had never seen an event like the Mulit-Cultural Evening that is hosted by ISS ever in any of the other international schools, proving that it really is a school that flagships culture celebration.

Before the crowds would make their way to their cars to head home, the oldest son and I left in the car just before the winners of the raffle baskets were announced. It was my first time driving in Germany in the dark. It has been quite an experience to take on the high-speed driving of the autobahn for 2 months but it was another to do it in darkness. I will take badly when I return to the speed-limited roads of the UK! I have been driving all over during my placement; Sindelfingen, Stuttgart, Kirchheim unter Teck and even Sillenbuch. It’s been very handy having another driver with the family and I have been very happy to take on the responsibility of taking us places when the parents have had business or the children have particular clubs or events on during the week. It has really increased my confidence in driving and confidence in my own capabilities as a whole; gone are the days when I was first picked up by the family and we were zooming to my unknown place of residence for the 2 months at 200km/h in the Audi and I thought, “how am I going to be able to handle this myself?”. Now, it is me making those trips every morning and afternoon to get to and from school and beyond!

Once we arrived home, we settled in our rooms to sleep with full stomachs and full minds of all the things that we had experienced in one night. I have to say that I felt transported with every table I visited and with every person I interacted with during the multi-cultural evening.

Truly, a one-in-a-lifetime experience: this night, this placement and the school of ISS.

I leave this post with more of the photos I took during the night, however, I believe they can never do the grand event justice. The atmosphere could never be documented:

The Italian Vespa – Italy really stood out for me with their scooter. They served the iconic dishes like pizza, pastas and cheeses.

The Taste of the Caribbean and Africa – the smells coming from this table were amazing. The spices were really aromatic and the dishes looked so tasty. The helpers were also dressed in traditional African clothing which was also great to see

Indonesia’s centrepiece was particularly rememberable.

From upstairs the Croatian table could be seen down below. Also, the usage of “lesen” on the entrance way into the school is a great form of symbolism used by the school. The verb “to read” is used in the foyer in all the different languages that are evident at ISS, which served as a great environment to be hosting such an inclusive event


The Turkish Cultural Organisation (2018) The Turkish Art of Marbling (Erbu) [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 5 May 2018).

The Constant Changes at an International School

Whilst working with the grade 5s during the final weeks of my time here in Stuttgart, I have discovered the startling fact that over 11 of the children are not moving onto the middle school with the rest of their peers in the next year. However, I have been told by my fellow practitioners that this is somewhat normal in international schools. Children and staff come and go for when they are needed…

Just as the learner profiles promote, the school itself exhibits international-mindedness with their outreach work being global.

Although 11 is a bigger number than normal, it is very common for students to move on at different stages in their learning whilst being at ISS. This might be due to the types of contracts that big companies in Stuttgart offer their employees. A staff member at ISS told me that they have friends and family that are hired on a 2 to 3 year contract basis and are offered the incentives of accommodation, a car for transport and of course education at an International school for their children coming with them.

It gives me a real representation of the point we were told in university; schools are communities themselves but they also serve communities beyond itself. Big companies in Stuttgart (such as Bosch, Daimler – parent company to Mercedes Benz and Smart, and Porsche) need to have schools that their staff member’s children can go to for formal education and that education needs to be able to be conducted across the world in similar manners. This is what the International Baccalaureate emphasises when it says that it is an international stage for learning. Although interpretation is unique, the majority of international schools will have similar frameworks and outlooks to learning which will allow companies to house families that can gain a similar education anywhere that they find themselves to be working. It links back to the idea of the International Schools themselves being businesses (although the majority being non-profit they still need to meet guidelines in order to call themselves international schools).

Therefore, a network of international systems needed to be established for businesspeople to be accommodated for a few years at a time depending on their contract before being moved – taking their families with them. Companies can send people away and they can also bring people into the country – interlinking with the overall concept that a school is more than just a place where people learn, it becomes part of a wider community that it needs to represent.

So, students at ISS may be moving for parental job opportunities whilst others may even be going back to their home country. A common theme amongst the Japanese community at ISS is that the students are put into an English school setting to improve their language and then they return to the Japanese system to gain their qualifications, which is also quite an interesting concept. It shows once again that ISS needs to be providing what their “clients” want and need. There are many students that live locally to Stuttgart and they will continue their time in education completely at ISS, whilst there will be other students that have experience a wide array of educational settings and facilitation of learning has to be seen in both scenarios.

I felt that this particular topic required further analysis through a blog post because it has given me a real-life context to see why International schools exist and why there is a real need for them. Consistency for those children of military families, footballers playing for teams abroad and workers of global companies need to have a system that can provide learning no matter where they are placed in the world, but also consistency for those students that call Stuttgart their forever home. It emphasises the mixture of backgrounds that international schools bring, just as the global workspace does in a similar fashion.

Exhibition Topics – A.Is in Education, Hacking and Warfares – My Inquiry

I have first explored what the actual purpose behind the Grade 5 exhibition is, however, I also want to write a particular entry into my portfolio where I explore some of the main topics that have interested me; the topics that the children have chosen to explore, I mean.

One of the biggest one I was drawn to was that a particular student will be examining the concept of artificial intelligences (A.I) in education.

This topic has already been introduced to me from lecturer back at the university where they told us that, in the future, people are planning to replace many jobs with machines that have an artificial intelligence and are able to communicate independently. One of the professions could even be teaching… The child wants to examine this issue that can have drastic consequences in society. Millions would be out of a job because machines do not require breaks like humans and they are capable of being programmed to follow commands from their human overseers. However, some startling videos in recent media attention towards A.I “life-forces” have been quite scary in terms of blurring the lines between what is considered human and whats not:

However, Poth (2018) finds that the majority of these artificial intelligences will be used for supportive roles in practice, such as with administration paperwork, marking and keeping track of grades. They would not completely replace the role of the classroom teacher that needs to be human in supporting children in a classroom environment emotionally. A.Is are unable to feel emotions and understand the humanity needed to be supportive of children. However this could even eventually, through time and advancement in technology, be a simple program that needs to be implemented to robots… With emotions then, they could then claim rights just like the rest of us. Sophia, the A.I in the video, was the first ever robot to be seen as a citizen by any country and that was from Saudi Arabia. Gershgorn (2017) argues back that Sophia is merely a more sophisticated chatbot robot that has a face that has been very much sensationalised by the media… For this subject, it is really relevant for me as a future teacher and I am glad that a student is taking an interest in seeing what the future of education may look like and I hope to be of assistance when they are preparing all the aspects they need to complete

Hacking was another one that was of great relevance in today’s society and was similar in the sense that it was interconnected with the advancement in our dependence on technology in our modern world. We’re all so connected to the internet world that we really have become far more vulnerable to cybercrime and cyber attacks. A key story that always sticks with me is the cybercrime attack on the National Health Service (NHS) where the company was hit by a hacker, who supposedly did not need to create such an advanced virus to break the system, out of nowhere. This meant that peoples operations were cancelled and many issues occurred with the NHS across the UK. The student in particular wants to take their action into creating a platform where they can inform people about the dangers of hacking and how people can keep themselves protected from hackers.

A relevant theme that was featured across some of the students’ topics is the concept of warfare and conflict. Some are looking into the wars in Chad, the wars in Syria and the conflicts between North and South Korea. Now, these are much harder to analyse due to the broadness of war itself. However, what makes it far more relevant is the grouping of the children when it comes to literacy circles; the children have been assigned to particular groups depending on the themes of their topic. The children focusing on warfare then come together every week to talk about their developments in their exhibition and they can gain feedback from their peers and are able to gauge where they are at in comparison to the progress of the other students. Furthermore this also allows for them to see the types of issues that might be getting a focus from particular pupils. I know that these conflicts (particularly Syria and the Koreas) are very relevant to modern society because they are still very real and happening currently. 

This, although not very in-depth research, was useful because it is in line with what the students themselves are doing. They have to go out and collect data centred around their issue in a more in-depth manner.

One really needs to get submerged into a topic wholeheartedly to truly understand it. This is where I fell the component of action really cements the exhibition process. There is one thing researching a topic but it is completely another thing to go out and try to make a change to a big issue that you are passionate about. Students are going to countries to do charity work and donate money that they have fundraised, there are students that are helping with homeless schemes in the area, there are also students that are wanting to bring awareness to a big issue that they are enthused about. It is emphasising to the pupils that they can really make a difference through doing something they are passionate about – a skill that interlinks with the learner profile that the IB wants to construct.

Personal topics such as the issue of anorexia or allergies are also going to be explored by students. Anorexia is one that is becoming ever-increasingly an issue in modern society because of our constant bombardment from social media around what we should look like or what the perfect body is. This then leads young teens and even children to feel pressured to live up to unrealistic expectations (which are most likely photoshopped and edited in the first place).

Overall, it has been quite useful to unpick some of the issues for myself, because it then allows me to see some of the issues in a more knowledgable sense. It also then allows me to see the topics and reflect on them knowing the kids that have chosen them, why have they chosen them? What has made them so passionate about this particular topic?


Gershgorn, D. (2017) Inside the Mechanical Brain of the World’s First Robot Citizen. QZ [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2018).

Poth, R. (2018) Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Education. Getting Smart [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2018).

“Maths is truth, truth maths”: Romanticism, Poetry and Mathematics

The Romantic Period, an intellectual, literary and artistic movement that swept across Europe, saw a change in the way society viewed the world during the late 1700s and early 1800s (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2005). Nature was increasingly becoming more valuable to the Romantics during a time of industrial revolution, where trade and business was becoming king.

John Keats (1795 – 1821)

John Keats, one of the most famous Romantic poets, explored the natural world within his poetry and had a great fascination and desire to immerse his own being into nature itself – removing himself from the societal pressures life brought. Keats’ life was filled with much turmoil and his only escape was his own poetry and art of writing. Unfortunately, much of Keats’ work was not valued at when he was alive and he was heavily criticised by many. Thus, resulting in him believing he had failed in the art in which he blossomed…

You may question the mathematics behind a Romantic poet, whose main ideology was to distance oneself from life’s industrial pressures and structure, however, Keats’ art seeps with fundamental mathematics (Ma, 2010) underlying his literary prowess because he meticulously planned out his art to convey a particular theme or emotion and he understood the importance of selecting his words carefully in each of his poems. This blog post will explore this within his poetry and will also see the importance of mathematical thinking within creativity as a whole.

In “To Autumn” Keats breaks down the heavily structured way of writing by including an extra line in each stanza (a verse in poetry):

“For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells” (Keats)

In his mind, autumn is a huge season filled with so much change and beauty. To convey this vast enormity, 11 lines are favoured over the traditional 10 to convey how excessive the nature of autumn is and how overwhelmingly beautiful it is to him. The extra line above even states that summer is overfilling (almost like a liquid going beyond the brim of a glass) into the orange richness of autumn, which Keats has shown through the lines literally overflowing beyond the constraints of typical poetry.

The Romantics had a key ideology of embracing self-awareness in people’s own emotions as a necessary way of improving society and bettering the human condition in a time of corruption and social class divides (Sallé, 1992). Keats effectively combines his art of poetry and his carefree beliefs with a structured and logical approach in formulation, similar to those who have the freedom to experiment and explore mathematics freely. Sadly, Keats’ work was not valued until after his death. I find this fitting very well with the mathematicians that believe that there is only one way to go about working through a problem. Multiple perspectives should be evident in both mathematics and the arts, because set rules only lead to confinement in gaining self-progress in both areas. There is more than one way to calculate a mathematical problem in the same way there is more than one way to write a poem. Keats could not reach his full potential as a writer due to the pressures placed upon him and this can be seen as an embodiment of a teacher or professional undermining the prospects of a student within mathematics – disaster will be the only outcome of negativity.

Poetry should also go beyond the words that are written on a page. During an input in Languages, about reading poetry, we were enthused to really appreciate the act of performing poetry aloud. This can be greatly identified in Keats’ poetry once more as he also saw the importance of rhythm in writing:

“Away! Away! For I will fly to thee,

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,

But on viewless wings of poesy” (Keats)

Within “Ode to a Nightingale”, Keats establishes an iambic pentameter as he picks each word systematically to follow a pattern, a key aspect within mathematical thinking (Bellos, 2010), of an unstressed syllable being preceded by a stressed syllable. Every line follows a da-dum da-dum rhythm so that the poem could be performed like a song or to a little tune. This iambic pentameter is used to symbolise the flight of a nightingale flying higher and lower, always changing and never following a set path. Keats explored the freedom of the bird and its stance in nature with its wings allowing it to go wherever its heart desire. This can also be connected with the mathematical structure of music, because songs are psychologically made to instil a mood, much like all aspects of the arts. For example, upbeat music is normally used to bring joy (Wall, 2013). This interconnects back to the Romanticism movement once more as all the arts saw a wave of change during this period, not just poetry and writing.

Friedrich, C. D. (1818) Der Wanderer über den Nebelmeer (Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog) – a Romantic painting that also explored man’s relationship with nature, showing the movement’s impact on the arts.

Delving deeper, the structuring of poetry and even language as a whole requires so many different parts (particularly within a persons time in education) to be taught and learned effectively in order for people to be able to communicate properly: spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, letters, symbols, words, paragraphs, essays… The list could go on and on. Mathematics breaths the same air in terms of its longitudinal coherence because we wouldn’t categorise the various aspects that make up language in the same way some people break mathematics down into specific topics. Teachers that make connections back to the fundamental skills of mathematics when exploring new areas with students provide the best learning experience, because students get to see the wider importance of maths (Ma, 2010). If we were to tackle language teaching in the same confining manner that maths is taught, then communication would be impossible because children wouldn’t see the importance without the contextualisation. In fictional writing, we normally get children to think outside the box and explore outlandish and creative environments, and yet, we then teach mathematics in a polar opposite manner of textbook work and worksheets (Haylock, 2014).

However, flipping the argument on its head, having too heavily a structured environment for writing could also hinder learners in the creative process (Perkins, 2012). Acrostic poems, rhyming schemes and other constraints being placed upon children when they first explore the art of poetry could paint the picture that, from the get-go, creativity and freedom to express one’s thoughts in writing has to conform to a set of rules and if it doesn’t, it isn’t valued. This can be interlinked with the emphasis on teaching through reciting formulae in order to deal with mathematical problems. Many children have experienced negative emotions with the subject when they see they have gotten a question incorrect when their mathematics might actually all be correct up until making a minor mistake.

Much like Keats’ poetry and the Romantics’ ideologies, we need to find a way of gaining a bounty of appreciation and understanding of the application of the fundamental principles of mathematics within life that go beyond the barriers that have been set by years of anxiety, years of dated practice and years of staying within the lines of convention.

The title of this blog comes from a very fitting last line of one of Keats’ poems, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”:

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

The poet proclaims that the truth in our existence should be sourced through our own individual appreciation of life and shouldn’t be hindered by pure rationale. Once again, experimentation within mathematics should be heralded over utilising purely formulae in the subject because it has more substance for a learner. Life itself would be ultimately boring if we could answer everything with one answer; having a sense of discovery about existence is far more exciting and mathematics should be viewed in the same light. The art we create can transcend experiences, emotions and events in time and thats what Keats wanted to grasp within this last line. Utilising mathematics effectively, we could potentially do the same:

“Concepts such as active literacy and the natural learning environment have proved to be powerful tools in changing attitudes and practice in the field of language arts. Properly understood and adapted, the same concepts can work just as powerfully for us, and for our students, in mathematics.” (Monroe, 1996, pg. 369)

Overall, Keats and the other Romantics were controversial in their carefree beliefs during a time of structure and order; however, they themselves formulated structures within their creative art forms to emphasis that empathy and compassion were far more important to society than money and power. I think that we can take great points from the Romantics, poetry and writing as a whole when viewing mathematics as they have parts that overlap, just like the subject of mathematics. Education is, in itself, a wholesome topic and should be viewed in such a cross-curricular manner whether in language, mathematics or any subject we learn and teach.

All the extracts of poetry sourced from:

Keats, John (1994). The Complete Poems of John Keats (Wordsworth Poetry Library) Wordsworth Editions Limited: Hertfordshire.


Bellos, Alex (2010) Alex’s Adventures in Numberland London: Bloomsbury

Sallé JC. (1992) Keats, John (1795–1821). In: Raimond J., Watson J.R. (eds) A Handbook to English Romanticism. Palgrave Macmillan: London

Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2005). Romanticism [Article] Available at: (Accessed 17th of November 2017)

Ma, Liping (2010) Knowing and Teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States New York: Routledge.

Monroe, E. E. (1996) Languages and Mathematics: a Natural Connection for Achieving Literacy Reading Horizons, 36 (5). Available from: (Accessed 17th of November 2017)

Perkins, Margaret (2012) Observing Primary Literacy London: SAGE Publications Inc.

Wall, Timothy (2013) Trying to be happier works when listening to upbeat music according to mu research [Article] Available at: (Accessed 17th of November 2017)

Images sourced from:

The Scary Side of Social Media

Over the past weekend, my friends and I watched an interesting film that sparked a critical thought process within me. The film ‘Unfriended’ sees a group of teenage friends get caught up in a horror and revenge plotline over a group Skype call. Although, the film itself was somewhat convoluted and cliché, its premise was still very original and important in our digitally dependent world.

The whole plot flourishes out of a tragedy that is hitting headlines even more so now in 2017 than when the film was released in 2015. Fictionally, Laura Barns falls victim to the hysterical mania of social media when she is recorded whilst being in an intoxicated state at a party and the embarrassing video spreads like wildfire over YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and beyond the realm of the Internet. Due to the pressure, she takes her own life and even this is documented in a video and posted anonymously online. These events in the film shroud the death of Laura with media frenzy and the culprit of the uploaded clips are not revealed until the very end.

Trailer may be deemed as offensive and disturbing to some viewers:

However, going beyond the film, these problems are very real and happen on a day-to-day basis in front of our very own newsfeeds and timelines. Recently, the tragic case of 12-year-old Katelyn Nicole Davis has sparked outrage on how explosive and unruly a single post on social media can be. Davis used a live streaming service where she recorded her own suicide. Morally, we would expect this video to be taken down right away, however the uncontrollable nature of the Internet went against our human moral code and within hours millions had watched it.

The video was viewable to all, across numerous social media platforms, for days before people’s flagging brought about action. However, much like a virus, the clip spread across the web and was reported by numerous outlets and many commented on the topic on their own social media pages. The age of the Internet has really thrown in the question: what’s truly in our control?

Delving into the issues of the worldwide web further shows us that we are all so plugged into a system that promotes connecting with people yet it leaves us truly disconnected from one another. The lines of right and wrong have been completely blurred, as it’s all so accessible. You’re just one click away from shocking images that are becoming numbingly normal to us. We can just as quickly tap out of the gore as we can into it.

What does this say to our younger generations?

People fail to realise that the Davis story wasn’t a movie. It was real. A family has lost a child and the world is watching. They aren’t getting the privacy to grieve.

The realms of cyberspace are uncontrollable and unstoppable. The smartphones we carry everywhere have the power to ruin people’s lives and careers within in seconds.


Social Media is Powerful

The General Teaching Council for Scotland obviously has understood our growing dependence on social media and built more documentation towards tackling these issues that will make their way to the classroom. The documents tell us that we need to embrace Internet in a cautious ways and put boundaries up to protect ourselves online (GTCS, 2012).

As teachers, we must lead by example of being competent in the negatives of social just as we are in the positives within the classroom and beyond. The General Teaching Council for Scotland has written about this in their guidance documents for social media usage:

“Before posting materials online stop and ask yourself:

1. Might it reflect poorly on you, your school, employer or the teaching profession?

2. Is your intention to post this material driven by personal reasons or professional reasons?

3. Are you confident that the comment or other media in question, if accessed by others, (colleagues, parents etc.) would be considered reasonable and appropriate?” (GTCS, 2012, pg.5)

If we’re smart with our social media footprint then we can instil our own values of the Internet with the pupils we teach. Utilising tragic events like the fictional story of Unfriended, and the unfortunately very real story of Katelyn Nicole Davis, we can see some good come out of the sadness plaguing social media.


GTCS (2012) Professional Guidance on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social media available at: (Accessed 22nd January 2017)