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Social Studies Reflection

The RRS Discovery

At the beginning of the 20th century Antarctica was still an uncharted wilderness. Exploration was a long and formidable task, the mission was to be purely exploratory but resulted in the Discovery being first to reach the South Pole. The Discovery ship was constructed in Dundee due to its expertise in whaling and was to go on three main journeys South. Firstly, was the exploration trip to the Arctic led by Lieutenant Robert Falcon Scott. The expectation was scientific, to make magnetic surveys and carry out meteorological, oceanographic, geological and biological research. The second was, the Discovery Oceanographic Expedition, this again was a research expedition and led to our understanding of the whale and saw the beginnings of conservation thinking. The final exploration was the B.A.N.Z.A.R. Expedition. This is where whole new lands were discovered and charted, and a mass of geological and zoological samples was collected, as were several chunks of territory on behalf of the British Government. (Dundee Heritage Trust, 2018)


The Discovery offers a multitude of learning opportunities for students ranging from early to second level. One workshop that is particularly tailored to first level is the “experience life as a polar explorer” workshop. This can allow children to develop knowledge and understanding about what life was like for a Polar explorer over 100 years ago. Through this workshop I see several learning intentions that are supported through Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) social studies experiences and outcomes. Firstly, to make a personal link to the past by exploring items or images connected with important individuals or special events. Second, to explore how people lived in the past and use imaginative play to show how their lives were different. Thirdly, to compare aspects of people’s daily lives in the past with their own by using historical evidence and the experience of recreating an historical setting.


The Discovery also offers a range of cross-curricular links to enrich children’s learning experience in social studies. Having a school field trip to the RRS Discovery will also support and develop children’s literacy and allow them the opportunity to practice these skills. This can be shown in the CfE literacy and English experiences and outcomes. Cross curricular learning between social studies and literacy and English can enable children to develop their skills in talking and listening, responding with respect and being enquirers in their own learning.


Interdisciplinary learning has many advantages and provides a more comprehensive learning experience for students. Education Scotland, 2012 defined interdisciplinary learning as “a planned approach to learning which uses links across different subjects or disciplines to enhance learning.” Interdisciplinary learning can be very exciting to students as a learning opportunity. This is supported by Barnes who states “cross curricular learning is often used as a motivator, or to offer more depth to a theme than than a single subject could do.” (2018, p. xv)



Barnes, J. (2018) Applying Cross-curricular Approaches Creatively. Abingdon: Routledge.

Dundee Heritage Trust (2018) Royal Research Ship Discovery, Learning. Available at: https://www.rrsdiscovery.com/learn/  (Accessed: 28 October 2018).

Education Scotland (2018) Curriculum for Excellence: literacy and English  experiences and outcomes. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/literacy-english-eo.pdf (Accessed: 29 October 2018).

Education Scotland (2018) Curriculum for Excellence: social studies experiences and outcomes. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf (Accessed: 29 October 2018).

Education Scotland (2012) CfE briefing 4: Interdisciplinary Learning. Available at: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-briefing-4.pdf (Accessed: 31 October 2018).

The Importance of Early Year Relationships

During our health and wellbeing lecture, we were learning about relationships and how important these relationships are to children. I have been asked to write about the importance of children’s early years and what this means for us as practitioners.

Dr Suzanna Zeedyk discusses how human babies are born much earlier than other mammals this means that their brains aren’t fully developed and are therefore ‘premature.’ This causes the human brain to be more fragile. The brain then starts to develop as they are outside the womb and this is susceptible to the their environment and relationships and therefore the first 3 years of a child’s life are crucial.

Suzanne further develops the link between the babies’ brain and the environment they grow up in. Sadly, not all children grow up in a happy, safe and nurturing environment and this can ultimately have a major effect on a child’s brain development and later life. Suzanne states how domestic violence in a home can have an adverse effect on a child’s brain development. A young child that is constantly around violence, their brain will adapt to help them cope with that situation. The brain does this by constantly monitoring for threats and therefore this means that the child cannot focus on other important aspects of their life, such as education. For a young child experiencing domestic abuse in the family home, this leads the body to produce cortisol which is a hormone to help cope with immediate stress. However, that child’s brain is developing to cope with constant stress and their brain will always look for the ‘threat’ in a situation. Moreover, due to this constant threat children cannot form close relationships which can have a damaging impact.

John Carnochan talks about how important the first three years of a child’s life are and how they can have an impact on their future. Both videos agree that if a child grows up in a threatening environment this can hinder their development. John Carnochan talks about how young children need consistency in their life and if they can’t get this at home then as practitioners we must provide consistency and continuity of care. It is vital that children feel like the classroom is a safe space for them.

It is very important as a teacher to build relationships with your pupils. These videos have made me more aware of how a young child’s brain develops, how vital the early years are and how environment can have a major impact on their future if they do not have consistency. Every child has a different set of needs and as practitioners we must ensure they all receive the same care and education. These videos have shown me that I should ensure to create a safe and nurturing environment for the children in my class in case they do not have that at home.




Reflection on Semester 1

Semester one of university consisted of several important moments on my path to becoming a teacher. The values module made me think and in certain aspects re-evaluate my personal and professional values and beliefs. However, it was the working together module and how it taught me to be reflective that was one of the most important moments of semester one for me.

I was initially hesitant about the working together module as I was eager to dive straight into teaching however on reflection I can see how this module was important. During this module we had to work with people from teaching, CLD and social work and ultimately give a group presentation on an agency visit related to one of the key professions. Initially, I was shy and rather reserved, not offering my opinions however as time progressed and our group started to bond I became more comfortable with expressing my opinions.

Before this module I didn’t fully understand how all these different professions were interconnected however on reflection I can see how different professionals need to work together for the benefit of the child. The working together module has taught me that even though it may be difficult for the different professions (teaching, CLD and social work) to find the time and resources to work together, it will ultimately benefit the child. It is important to put the needs of the child above your own personal opinions and compromising is vital in order for all the professions to work collaboratively and effectively.

The working together module has highlighted how important reflection is to my professional development. Reflection allows you to assess what went well, what could’ve been better and it allows you to set goals in order to improve in the future. This will be vital for me as I develop as a teacher.


Why Teaching?

I can’t remember the exact moment that I knew I wanted to become a teacher but it was always a career I have seriously considered. As a young child I was extremely shy but it was my primary school teachers’ that made me develop a passion for learning. These teachers’ where kind, caring, compassionate and most importantly helped me to discover a true love for learning. The idea of working with children to help them reach their full potential has always greatly appealed to me.

Through my experience in a classroom setting I believe teaching is one of the most challenging but also one of the most rewarding jobs possible. Being heavily involved in outreach work in Warsaw, Poland has developed and encouraged me when working with children in such a diverse world. This experience not only challenged my thinking but as a leader within the local schools and orphanages, I was able to use my knowledge and past experience to overcome the language barrier and creatively promote learning and development to suit their needs and abilities. Today’s children are growing up in a multilingual world and the ability to communicate effectively in social, academic and commercial settings is crucial if they are to play their full part as global citizens.

Teaching requires enthusiasm, leadership, teamwork and ability to be flexible. From volunteering in Sunday school and Bible Clubs I have been involved in delivering structured lessons in a short time frame. This experience has given me the chance to be creative and use my initiative and imagination to teach a subject to young children to ensure that the main focus and message is being taught; skills which are vital for a good teacher. Other key aspects of teaching are commitment, good organisational skills and the ability to build positive relationships with both students and parents. Through helping in creche and children’s church and being an active member of St. John’s Ambulance I feel more competent to face the challenges which teaching presents.

Teachers play a crucial role in shaping children’s’ futures. It is imperative that children have hardworking, motivated and devoted teachers educating them. I believe that I have these necessary skills to be a great a teacher and will continue to improve upon them throughout my degree.