Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

A Victorian for a Day

“Make sure you remember to put that scarf on!” shouted my mum as I left her to start the walk into the school playground, “You won’t look like a Victorian if you don’t put it around you like a shawl!”. Months of hard work and dedication had led to this day, the day where we finally got to showcase all of our work on the Victorians to our parents and carers. My whole family was involved by this stage – my gran had sown an outfit together for me, my mum had taken time off work to come and see our presentation, my dad had raided the garage to find parts for the Victorian house we made as a group – so there was a lot riding on this to go well. I could not wait to showcase all of our hard work we had put into creating our props and speech for the presentation – our Victorian house we made from a show box, our letters written from the perspective of a Victorian man or lady, our poster of all the inventors we had learnt about from the era, and the rest. We had even transformed the classroom into a class from the Victorian times so you were transported into the era as soon as you walked through the door – it was so realistic!

I remember this day in Primary 7 so vividly as the sharing of our learning to parents and carers was made into such a big deal that it was difficult not to get excited about it. I recall being so happy to be able to share my learning with my family that it made me more motivated to learn as much as I could in the lead up to the shared afternoon.

My teacher was super enthusiastic about the topic and really made it come to life through the stories she told us, the case studies she shared and the transforming of the classroom. We even had to sit in rows one day and call our teacher ‘Miss’ – it felt as if I had been transported back in time as everyone played their part in creating the context. I even recall our Head Teacher getting involved and pretending to be really really strict! The context of the learning was so engaging and stimulating that it became something that I looked forward to learning about everyday.

My teacher would also present problems to us from different characters or real life people we had been learning about such as Ebenezer Scrooge. One of the challenges I recall was to create a timeline of events during Queen Victoria’s reign. Before we did this, we decided as a class that it would be best to create timelines of our own lives first so that we understood how to apply it to a context such as the Victorians. Because the teacher let us lead the learning during most of the topic, it felt as if we had responsibility over what we were learning, thus making it more relevant and engaging for us as a class. She was also extremely flexible in letting us direct the learning as she would encourage the class to investigate questions they had and supported them in doing so.

Overall, I feel that this experience was so memorable for me as it gave me the opportunity to share and develop my knowledge and understanding with my family, direct the learning taking place, and be fully emerged in the learning through the engaging context that my teacher created.

Maths can be… creative?

Creativity and mathematics are words which I did not associate with one another until recently. I believed that there was no room for creativity in mathematics as, after all, how can it be creative when it involves answering questions and problems which all have a ‘right’ answer? Oh how wrong I was.

Maths is all around us, from the parallel lines running through your carpet, to the tessellating tiles on your kitchen floor. It is not all about numbers, equations and ‘right’ answers, as shape, symmetry and proportion all come under the broad heading of mathematics. It is these areas which artists have been using for thousands of years to create beautiful patterns and images which form the basis of some of their artwork.

Islamic art in particular showcases how imaginative and creative maths can really be. Tessellation forms the basis of this type of artwork, allowing artists to create extraordinary repeat patterns from one simple shape.

One thing I find particularly interesting about tessellation is the ability to begin with one simple shape and transform it into another completely different one. Escher demonstrates this ability within his own work as a renowned graphic artist (see video of how he forms the basic unit of his patterns).

The video shows how something as simple as a hexagon can be transformed into a completely different shape altogether, just by chopping and changing parts of the shape (being a little creative with it!). The fact that this shape still tessellates even after being modified suggests the power of mathematics. Isn’t it amazing what we can achieve by experimenting and playing around with maths as we know it?

Price (2006) suggests that when we think of creativity, the expressive arts comes to mind due to our current curriculum restricting and confining what and how maths is taught within our schools. Should we, as teachers, be encouraging our students to experiment and take more risks within their maths – like Escher did – rather than teaching towards an objective? I believe that this would allow our children to see a different side to maths – like I have – rather than just the numbers, equations and ‘right’ answers that we (including myself) commonly think of when we hear the word maths.

As a student teacher now equipped with the knowledge of how important developing creativity within maths is for young children to be able to understand its purpose in society, I hope to provide my pupils with a range of opportunities within mathematics which will aid them in also  recognising this. I aim to carry out professional reading about the teaching of maths in the primary school so that I can then demonstrate my own flexible understanding of maths with them, and thus become more confident in my own ability.

As, after all, why can’t maths be beautiful, creative and imaginative just like the expressive arts?



Giganti, P (2010) Anatomy of an Escher Lizard. Available at: (Accessed: 26 September 2018).

Price, A. (2006) Creative Maths Activities for Able Students : Ideas for Working with Children Aged 11 to 14. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.




Critical Reflection on Semester 1

Semester 1 was a whole new learning curve for me, especially working with other prospective students in the Social Work and Community Learning and Development courses for the ‘Working Together’ module.

Myself and seven others from the 3 professions came together to produce a presentation based on our visit to a Social Work agency and how well we thought we worked together as a group throughout the module. I was a bit timid to begin with in the group. I think this was because I came straight from school to University where I sat exams which assessed me purely on my own capabilities. This put me at a disadvantage when it came to collaborating within my group as it felt unusual to me to be challenged on my views as I had never really experienced this before, whereas others in my group had much more experience of working in a collaborative environment.

After some time in the group, I quickly began to contribute more to discussions as I saw the benefits of bringing everyone’s views together but also challenging them. I learnt to listen and take into consideration the views of others in my group and use it to develop my own views. This allowed us to come to varied and diverse answers and conclusions to different topics.

Moving forward, I will use this experience to engage with professions outside of the teaching community when on my Professional Practice, and to share my professional learning and development with colleagues as directed by section 3.4.2 of the Standards for Provisional Registration (The General Teaching Council for Scotland, 2012).


The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012). The Standards for Registration: mandatory requirements for Registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Available at: (Accessed: 19 January 2018).

A Poor View on Society

After a recent lecture on Socio-Political Perspectives on Poverty, I realised how wrong I was about the ‘type’ of people who find themselves in the ‘lower class’ bracket of society.

Before going to the lecture, I was asked to write down my views on those who experience poverty; their characteristics, lifestyle, attitude to life etc. I found myself writing words such as ‘scrounger’, ‘homeless’, ‘stealing’, ‘unintellectual’ and the list went on. As I sat up from writing these words, I shocked myself about how easily these demeaning and negative attributes had come from the tip of my pen. I began to feel ashamed as I had always considered myself an open-minded person, able to form my own opinions, and thoughts  about society after considering the perspectives of those within it. How had I come to such a harsh conclusion? Why did these terms appear on the paper without any second thought? Was this really my view of potentially the most vulnerable members of  our society?

After considering my approach to the task for a while, I soon realised that actually, these were NOT my own views; these were my learned views.  But what do I mean by ‘learned views’? I believe that another source has had such prominent views about poorer members of the community that I have unconsciously accepted or abided by these generalisations and stereotypes that they outwardly portray on a daily basis. But what is this incredibly influential source that has dominated my own personal thoughts and beliefs I hear you ask. It is something that is present even when I do not want to look at it, something that is alert even when I am not, something that preys on the weakest and most vulnerable members of  society, and that something is… the media.

The media is notorious for producing ridiculous, one-sided headlines which primarily focus on people who ‘steal’ benefits which they are not entitled to, or are too lazy to go out and find ‘real jobs’. Headlines such as ‘Is Britain a nation of lazy scroungers?’ (2013)and ‘Mother-of-five who pockets £18,000 a year in benefits says she needs MORE handouts because she can’t afford to buy school uniforms for her children (but still manages to spend £20 a week on cigarettes)’ (2016) further the stereotypical view which I adopted in the task around people in poverty, devaluing those who are actually in need and are trying their best to provide for their family.

One particular video which I came across during my research into poverty was ‘I live in real poverty, and it’s not what you think’ in which Kathleen Kerridge illustrates the real life difficulties faced by her and her family in our modern day society.

Kathleen demonstrates how easily it is to fall into poverty without any warning. She challenges people like me who have followed the media’s views and have been coerced into believing that it is their own fault that they are in this situation, that she was to blame. She goes on to explain how none of the events which led to her poverty-stricken status were caused by her actions; her heart attack, losing her job, mastectomy and a bankrupt landlord. I think that this shows that this could happen to any of us, at any time, as she was once in a financially stable position.

Another video which I found which shocked me was that focussing on Shelby’s Story, titled ‘Teenage poverty in the UK’.

I was totally shocked when Shelby revealed she was 17 due to her living AND providing for herself. Being 17 myself, I could NEVER imagine coming home from my work (which I get paid over the minimum wage for) to my home with 2 rooms, no cooker and no bed. It made me realise that anyone can be a victim of poverty – poverty does not discriminate against age, gender or race.

I sat down again after researching Poverty in the UK and wrote down my revised perspective on poverty after seeing and hearing what poverty means to those who experience it daily. ‘Misunderstood’, ‘ordinary’ ‘unfortunate’ and ‘hard working’ were a few that I came up with, what I should of come up with to begin with.

As I sit typing on my laptop that I got for my 14th birthday, in my University flat, with my family and my dog in my 4 bedroom home 40 minutes away, I start to wonder what I will have for my tea. This is not because my cupboards are bare, or because I cannot afford to buy another meal like Kathleen or Shelby, but because I bought too much food when moving into my flat… and this is when I realised what real poverty is.

Poverty isn’t being ‘too lazy’ to go out and get a job. Poverty isn’t people who have spent their live scrounging off of the benefit system. Poverty is ordinary people. Ordinary people who have to count their pennies to see whether they can afford their next meal. Ordinary people who have to sleep on a broken bed because they cannot afford to replace it. Poverty is REAL and it is EVERYWHERE, and it most certainly should not be defined by what we see in the media.