Author Archives: Kathleen Mullen

Smart Target

Today I’ve come up with a SMART target that relates to science. A SMART target is a good way to accomplish targets and to get the done in time.
SMART stands for:
In our science lecture we were talking about famous scientists. We got asked if we have a favourite scientist and if not we should have one. That made me think that I children should have a broad understanding of famous scientist and maybe have a favourite one. So that is what my SMART target will be based upon.
Specific – we will research famous scientists in class. By the end of the lesion the children should choose their favourite and explain why.
Measurable – I will develop a lesson plan
Achievable – I will beforehand research into famous scientists. This will help my knowledge and understanding and it will also help me to choose the resources for the children to use.
Relevant – I will link this to the Curriculum for excellence: experience and outcomes.
Timed – By the end of semester one I will have planned my lesson

Reflecting on blog posts

I have recently been reading through other people’s blog posts. They are all very informative and interesting to read. I realize this is because they all posting on relevant information they have come across.  Even if it’s from their day to day life, e.g. a conversation or a video from Facebook. Looking back at my own work I now know there are many more things I could have posted.  I think I just never realized that what kind of things I could post.  These blog posts also stand out because there is a depth of knowledge.  Either people have had previous experience with children or they have read a lot.  Even though I have reflected on my own work, I think I could have down more.  I could have spent more time reflecting and this would have enabled me to reflect more deeply. If I am truthful I haven’t posted lots because I did think I had enough knowledge to. But I realize now I could draw on relevant experience from my HNC last year.You would benefit from reading these posts as it give you more insight into: teaching, the author and professional reflection.So now saying all this I hope to write a lot more blog posts in the future.


These are links to good blog posts:


Fear of Feedback

The ability grouping debate continues

Children are the real teachers

My Tired

Problematic problems

Longitudinal coherence and the conceptual knot

There’s been a breakthrough

Insecurity’s about mathematics

We recently had a maths lecture pointing out everybody’s feelings towards maths. What became clear was that there was a theme. Everybody had at some point had a bad experience about maths; that therefore affected their confidence. There is the overall view that a lot of people were ‘bad at maths’ and that was ‘ok’ because everybody is. It makes you wonder where we get this view point from.

In the lecture we pointed out that this opinion started when we were taught maths. So this anxiety from maths came because of the way we were taught. Our lecturer said if we are anxious about something we often teach it the way we were taught; and so the cycle continues.

From further reading (Haylock 2014) I found out even teachers have anxiety about teaching maths. They had the same worries that I have. For example:

  • They were frightened of maths
  • Often found it frustrating
  • Only thought there was one correct answer
  • Was told they were bad a maths
  • Only remembered things by rote

This made be relived to realize that I was not the only one. So I feel we need to change the way we teach maths. Allow children to understand that its ok it get an answer wrong. What matters most is that you understand the process and not the end result. Overall we should try and make maths fun, so that children look back with happiness and not fear.



Haylock, D. (2014) Mathematics explained for primary teachers. 5th edn. London: Sage Publications


When I first thought about reflection I thought it was about looking back and thinking what you could do better. I thought it was a good way to assess what you have done. However after reading about it there is a lot more to it; you have to look back at your feelings, look at it from a different perspective and also reflection on how you reflected. I never realized how your looking into your emotions could help you to assess yourself. You have to think deeper and go into a lot of detail. Something that reflecting can make you do is thinking from a different perspective. You might think that an activity has gone horribly wrong. But upon reflection you realize that other people did get something from it and your intentions were there, you might just have to improve. You can sometimes get caught up in your own emotion. So stepping back and looking at from a different angle can help you understand.

To reflect you first must understand why you are reflecting. What is it that you are going to reflect on? Then as you recall the event you must think about your thoughts and feelings during the event. Then you should evaluate; think what areas were good and what areas were bad and what to improve on. Be critical. It is important to analyse. Can you comprehend what happened and what is the importance of it? Look at past experience, can that help you reflect? Then in conclusion you must look at what you might do differently next time and what are your next steps.

So as you can see reflection is a lot more than just what you could do better. Go deeper into the situation.

Reflection on the process of giving and receiving feedback

To begin with when we were told to give feedback I was nervous. I didn’t want to receive bad feedback and I also didn’t want to offend anybody. But overall I feel I can look back on the experience in a positive light.

The feedback I received was very helpful. There was some constructive criticism. But the comments weren’t too mean. They in fact really helped me, they made me think how I can improve. They brought up points that I never thought of and made me question myself. Which is good, it means that I’m always learning. I also received some lovely comments, which really boosted my confidence. Overall I am now not so worried to receive feedback!

I was also a bit nervous to give feedback, as I did not want hurt anybody’s feelings. But after reading the ‘Guidelines for giving and receiving feedback’ I realized you need to be critical to give good feedback. But being critical does not mean being mean. It means giving the person something to work or improve on. But it also reminded me you have to say what you liked about the piece of work. But you have to pick out why, so don’t just generalize.

So overall I feel the experience was very useful as learnt to give useful feedback. I also have learnt to receive feedback positively. To take criticism on board and use it to improve my work.

What it means to be an enquiring practitioner

Student teachers should reflect all the time and being an enquiring practitioner will help to do this. So what is an enquiring practitioner?

It is about investigating a rational approach that can be explained or defended. This is normally done within the practitioners own practice or in a group with others. Being an enquiring practitioner’s means that you are constantly evaluating and reflecting on your teaching, which is fundamental for teachers. This should become an integral aspect of our day-to-day practise. Enquiring is about knowing deeply. We should be questioning ourselves all the time. Doing all of this means that teachers should have a better understanding of their practise and ways in which to improve it.

There are numerous benefits to being and enquiring practitioner. For example it helps to empower teachers and it encourages them to challenge and transform education. It is a good way to provide teachers to monitor and develop their own practise. It allows people to investigate new strategies and initiatives. Overall it increases teacher’s knowledge of learning, which enables them to be more professional and to have higher confidence in their self and their professional identity.

However it does come with some challenges. For example it can be uncomfortable to challenge people. So we need to be sensitive and supportive. It does challenge the traditional way of being a teacher which means people might need to learn a new set of skills. It can sometime be lonely sometimes. For some people this whole process can be a little overwhelming.

For me as a student teacher I feel this all means that I should be constantly questioning myself. I should listen to others and constructively criticise them. I should be learning all the time and to not be afraid to challenge myself and others.


The virtues of teaching


To me this is about being truthful. Not lying to your pupils. Telling them yes the work might be hard but with practice you will get there. Being honest means being real; if you are honest with your pupils you will build up trust.



Teachers should wait and show perseverance. If a child does not get the answer the first time a teacher should not get angry. They should stay calm and explain then question in a different way. A teacher should help the child at their speed. As rushing them could mean that the child has not actually learned anything.



This is having a sense of worth. A teacher should have respect for their pupils and their self. It is a teacher developing high esteem for that child or praising them. It’s a teacher thinking that a child’s work or personality is of excellence.



This is a teacher showing; generosity, humanity, empathy and tenderness. A teacher will have a gentle manner towards their pupils and they will take the child’s feelings into consideration. A teacher will not want to hurt the child, but will want them to feel better.



A teacher might be fair in allowing the children to take their turn. He/she will give the children all equal attention. The teacher will make sure the children all share and are disciplined consistently.

Professionalism vs. the online world

Discuss what challenges/opportunities you may be faced with when marrying the personal vs the professional presence on social media.

I big challenge when marrying the personal and the professional presence on social media is privacy. We as teachers must be mindful of the professional boundaries and remember not to over step the mark. With social media it is easy to share information and opinions but as teachers we should never attempt to establish inappropriate relationship’s with children. However the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) do realize that teachers do have private lives and we should not put them on hold. But we should maybe show more discretion. For example having separate profiles, one which is private and the other for teaching. We should not misuse any electronic communication and maintain a formal and professional tone. Technology can enhance the curriculum. We want to use this to our advantage.


How are the challenges/opportunities afforded by social media framed? How will you frame things – positive or deficit viewpoint?

Generally social media can sometimes be seen as a bad thing in education. But personally I think it can enhance children’s learning.   I think the public are wary of it, which they have every right to be as we sometimes see horrible stories in the media. But if we use it correctly it can help teachers and children to work. We know live in a world surrounded my social media. The children that we will be teaching have grown up with it. It could be a good way of understanding children, who they are as people and how they learn.       

How did your gender affect you when you were a child?

I suppose you could say my gender had a big impact on my schooling. When I was a child I went to an all-girls school. I attended the school all through primary and the first three years of secondary. So because of this as I female I always felt encouraged. I was always told boys were just a distraction. My school gave me such confidence to be a female. We were told we could be anything we wanted to be. Gender did not affect our future. We didn’t care about looking good, there was no one to impress. Instead we just got on with our work. However with all these positive messages there were still some old fashioned views. In primary six we had a school dance with the all-boys school we were linked to. I remember being told that the boys will ask you to dance; and to just accept as it took them a lot of courage to ask. There was no mention of the girls being able to ask the boys. We just had to stand and wait until a boy asked you to dance. This was a very old fashioned view.

Then from senior four upwards I attended two mixed schools. The classes were louder and more disruptive. The girls wore more make-up and dressed to impress. This was something I was not used to. When it came to sports the girls and the boys were always separated. The girls did hockey and the boys did rugby or football. There was no choice in the matter. The girls could not choose to do rugby and the boys could not choose to do hockey. This only changed when I moved to my last school. There was a less gender stereotyping there. You were free to choose any sport you wanted. The girls could fix a car motor and the boys could play hockey or make a dress. Yet when it came to the Christmas balls it was still expected that the boys were to ask the girls to be their date. If a boy did not ask you then you had to go alone. Which was not frowned upon, however most people did have dates.

So my gender mostly only affected me positively throughout my childhood. Being at all-girls was very empowering. I was and still am very happy to be a female.

Why I picked teaching

What made me want to become a teacher?

I think it was many things really. When I was little I always ‘played teacher’ at home. But I never really thought of becoming a teacher until I was a little bit older. When I was in primary four I had the most awful teacher. One day I sat thinking I could do a better job than her! So when I was older I did my work experience in a primary school. It was wonderful! For the first time I felt at home in the classroom. This got me thinking more and more that maybe I could do this! When I went to college that’s when I realized that I could become a teacher. Working with children was something I enjoyed doing and now it’s the only thing I want to do.

The kind of teacher I want to be?

I would like to be kind and caring. However I will be firm and discipline when it is needed. I want to be the kind of teacher children are not afraid to talk to. I want children to be free to ask questions and know that I will do my best to listen and answer them. Children should feel encouraged and happy in my classroom. I will be patient and listen to any problems any child may have.