Category Archives: 2.1 Curriculum

Relationships: “They’re reacting to the environment we give them to react to.”

The young children coming into a classroom all come from different households, backgrounds and families. Each child will have a different relationship with their parents or carers to the next. Listening to Dr Suzanne Zeedyk talk about brain development in babies has allowed me to look at the way in which our relationships and upbringing shape who we are from a different perspective.

I had never thought of the environment babies are born into, whether that be noisy or peaceful for example, having such a big influence on how our brains actually develop. The early years of a child’s life really shape a person’s outlook on life and their personality. This idea can be key to our progression as student teachers as it can influence how we view certain situations within our classroom on professional placement. I like the way in which Dr Zeedyk summarises her talk:

It’s different from saying “How are they reacting to the environment?” They’re reacting to the environment we give them to react to.

This statement really stuck with me from the talk as it helped me to make the connection between babies and brain development to how I can apply this to my own teaching. It’s easy to blame a misbehaving child for disrupting the class or a lesson going wrong. However we can now look at the situation from the perspective of how this child’s relationships or upbringing has brought them to feel and act this way. What kind of environment am I providing to trigger this behaviour and can I do anything to help it? I am still at the beginning of my learning journey and still have a lot to learn about behaviour management especially. However this was my immediate reaction to this video and the connections I can make from it right now. If I watch it again in the future I’m sure I could look at it with an entirely different meaning coming to mind!

Reflecting on our Dance workshop

Our first input for “Teaching across the curriculum” for Expressive Arts was a workshop with Eilidh Slattery. Before going in I did feel nervous as to what we would be tasked with however I felt I had at least an idea of dance within the classroom. My previous work experiences have involved a lot of dance activities, especially around Christmas, as I have a background in dance as a hobby. However the workshop today opened my eyes to certain aspects of planning dance activities for a class and how many different ways you can involve dance and creativity (without having to get up and perform yourself).

One thing I particularly took into consideration was the way in which Eilidh asked us to think of ways to move across the room meant that it was accessible to all learners. A dance centred lesson does not have to be learning a routine or a certain dance style but learning and creating different ways your body can move. This can also link into health and wellbeing; connecting the lesson to learning about the body or the importance of being active. There are so many opportunities for active cross-curricular learning which I didn’t quite grasp before.

I also noticed that a lot of us became more comfortable to participate as the workshop went on as we were feeling rather nervous and awkward at the beginning. This is a perfect reflection of what dance can do for children’s confidence. As they begin to enjoy themselves and focus in on creating a movement or sequence they forget about any embarrassment they may have felt.

Looking forward to placement I am now starting to understand more of the pedagogy behind the curricular areas. The small details around planning a dance lesson that allow it to run smoothly were really interesting. Moreover all the different ways it could go wrong were especially helpful!