Community blog


When preparing myself for this volunteer work, I pondered upon where to go to complete it. After searching in my local area for something suitable, I thought staying close to home and volunteering at something that directly effects my community would be the best option. Less than a mile from my home is where my local church is located, as a church they hold multiple community project and events to serve the surrounding area. On a Thursday evening, the church holds a community kids club called ‘Basement club’ (as it is held in the downstairs of the church that is nicknamed ‘the basement’) where children for the local community can come to enjoy games, activities and socialise with other children their age. Many of the children who attend are from deprived backgrounds and having a safe space to attend a free club, I think is a wonderful thing. At the club the leaders (who are all church members) plan the evening usually with a theme or message at the centre eg. friendship or honesty. This provides some purpose to each night instead of just letting the children run wild for a couple of hours.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of children who attended and the enthusiasm of parents for ‘basement club’, in recent years church has lost its image and some may think it no longer holds purpose or importance within our society.  I was encouraged by the work that this church does to serve it’s community, from having a deaf social group to a mens bowling group and even a large toddler play group. This is the case in churches around our country, they focus on serving and bringing communities together, I now think that churches play a key role in communities but the way they contribute is different to the past. (BBC bitesize, 2019)

The people who live around this church recognise the work that goes on and this reflects on the attendance and that parents are keen for the children to attend ‘basement club’. I found volunteering at ‘basement club’ a fun and enjoyable experience, especially as I was interacting with children in a different way that I am used to as a student teacher. I led a few of the games and this was well received by the children and even the adults took part too.

From this experience, I have become aware of the importance that small community clubs like ‘basement club’ hold within our communities. Children were able to enjoy interacting with new people and be in a safe and secure place, I had noted that parents appreciate the fact that the club is free and that the leaders give up their free time. The community are appreciative of and value this club, it brings children a sense of belonging where they can socialise and have fun.

Through volunteering at ‘basement club’, I was able exercise the use of my leadership, collaborative and communication skills, I did this through leading games and volunteering alongside other leaders. Moreover, I have become aware of some attributes that I used but feel I could develop further these being; listening skills,  being more enthusiastic and being able to improvise. I believe that by developing these particular attributes it will benefit me as a teacher and allow me to educate children in the best way possible. As a whole, to volunteer at a club like this some skills I recognised that are required are; communication, collaboration, leadership, listening and decision-making. These are all key to ensure the club is run smoothly , effectively and provides and enjoyable experience for the children.

Prior to attending ‘basement club’ I was unaware of the impact similar clubs/groups have on our communities. They provide a service that benefits many and give opportunity for social links and bonds to be made between people connected to the group. I have also realised how beneficial it can be for a child to take part in clubs out with the school setting, it allows them to connect with different people and make them feel part of a community other than school. This particular club has children from deprived backgrounds attend, having a free club that is child-centred is important for these children. They feel supported and safe when they are there and they can feel part of something thing, for more deprived families it can be difficult to let their children take part in expensive hobbies or clubs, but this club serves for them.

When reflecting upon my experience, I recalled the prior work we covered in our Sustainable development module that concerned rights.

article 31 (leisure, play and culture)Every child has the right to relax, play and take part in a wide range of cultural and artistic activities.


This article highlights how we should allow children to experience play and other leisure activities. I believe that at ‘basement club’ this right is at the focus and the children who attend are reaping the benefits of sharing that time of leisure together.


  • UNCRC. (n.d). A summary of the un convention on the rights of the child. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26th Nov. 2019].
  • BBC Bitesize. (2019). Role of the Church in contemporary society [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019].



Everything that happens in this world requires energy, so this topic is more than relevant to be taught in the classroom. Energy is never destroyed but is transferred, we are constantly taking part in this energy cycle too through the heat our body makes, the CO2 we produce, the food we consume and many other things. I found this video that I think we be useful in a classroom as is simplifies what energy is:

As an energy source, we are dependant upon fossil fuels, this use of fossil fuels is damaging to our environment and these resources will not last forever. This topic is well discussed and debated due to the damage is causes, however to transition into renewable energy that doesn’t harm our environment will take time and these methods also need to be developed . In Scotland, our government set a target of being 100% reliable upon renewable energy for electricity by 2020 and 50% reliable of all energy by 2030 (Scottish Government, 2018). This is encouraging to see that our country is taking action to become more environmentally responsible and I think that the changes we have made should be globally recognised and used. I think that focusing in on our own country would be an important thing to do in a classroom for this topic as it provides relevance and a realisation that this effects us and our communities. This video highlights some reasons on why Scotland is leading in the UK for renewable energy use:

To delve deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of alternative energy, with focus of wind power, we prepared for and carried out a debate as a large group. We got into small groups to research both for and against arguments concerning wind power and then joined with another group to share the points we made and note main ones. We then had two groups to begin the debate, the ‘For’ arguments were said and then as a group we had to quickly decide on a relevant ‘against’ argument using the research we had collected. This task developed communication and collaborative skills through working in groups and sharing our information with each other. I believe this would be a meaningful task to carry out in a similar way in a class room, as well as the pupils gaining knowledge and understanding of the topic they could develop as a person by gaining confidence and working within a group.

As an educator, a crucial aspect that we should engage in to ensure we are doing our job to the best standard is reflection. The theorist, Donald A Schön provides an interesting insight to ways in which we should reflect, these being reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. Reflecting-in-action focuses on considering a current situation and acting immediately, we can do this though analysing and using prior experiences to impact a situation. Secondly, the concept of reflection-on-action, this is reflection after a situation, we can reconsider the situation and realise what could have been done differently to better the outcome incase this situation occurs again. (Schön, n.d)

Another theorist who provides another outlook on reflection is Stephen Brookfield. He categorises four ‘critical lenses’ for deepening our reflection, these being; self, imagined pupils, peers and colleagues and then policy and theory. This way of reflection provides the means to consider how things are affect and are affected by each of the lenses (Brookfield, 2006). Throughout my series of blogs for this module, I have focussed on using this theory for reflecting, I have considered all four of the lenses when reflecting and have found this an effective way to do so.


  • Scottish Government, 2018. Renewable energy. [Online] Available: [Accessed 15 November 2019].
  • Schön, D. (n.d.). The reflective practitioner. arena.
  • Brookfield, S. (2006). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. 2nd ed. san francisco: Jossey-bass.



I looked forward to this topic as it has always been a subject that has interested me, especially from seeing the effects of these Natural Disasters in the media, but my knowledge and appreciation of the topic was rather minimal.

Natural disasters are catastrophic events that impact people, animals and the environment. This can result in loss of life, loss of property/destroyed buildings as well as a major negative effect of economy. Some natural disasters may be; Volcanoes, fires, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes. The topic of natural disasters is a sensitive subject to teach so caution and consideration should be taken when knowing what is appropriate for age groups and when finding resources eg. videos or news reports. I think that Disasters is a very important topic to teach as it can give pupils perspective and a sense of global responsibility.

This is an example of a primary age appropriate resource to use:

When a country has been impacted by a natural disaster or is at risk, there are 3 key considerations that can highlight how effective the situation is dealt with before and after the disaster occurs, these being; Preparedness, response and recovery.

The United states are vulnerable to natural disaster due to its location, America is impacted mainly by hurricanes fires and earthquakes. The U.S department of homeland security provides guidance and instruction upon these 3 considerations for the natural disasters they are susceptible to, to ensure their country is well equipped and given guidance if one may occur. This is an example of a developed county that has the means and money to make sure they are prepared but also to support and recover after disasters. (U.S department of Homeland Security, 2018) For example, Hurricane Katrina the hit the U.S in 2005, over $61 billion was provided for aid by the U.S government.

Destruction Hurricane Katrina caused to New Orleans.

Although, in contrast developing countries such as Haiti, that was devastated by an Earthquake in 2010, did not have the same means to support their people. Days after the incident, as there were shortages in food, water and medical supplies, there was an uproar of violence, looting and gang-related gun fire. People were in desperate situations and some were seen pushing children and elderly out of the way to get supplies from food trucks. (The Telegraph, 2010)

This clear contrast between developed and developing countries, provides opportunity within the classroom to tie in other issues such as international community response, politics and global responsibility. Personally, after inquiring further into these two situations, I was astounded by how different these disaster were prepared for, responded to and then recovered from.  This would also allow for using research skills on an academic level as well as being culturally aware in a personal sense. To highlight the importance of  making this comparison I have noted the following experiences and outcomes:

I can compare the social and economic differences between more and less economically-developed countries and can discuss the possibilities for reducing these differences.

SOC 3-11a

(Education Scotland, 2019)

As a tool for reflection and producing possible solutions to problems we were introduced to Issue trees. These are when a tree outline is drawn and then with the representation of roots being causes, the trunk being the issue, the branches being the effects and the fruit being the solutions. I think this tool could be utilised in many ways within a school, even to concern issues such as littering. In terms of Disasters, it provides a visual aid that identifies Issues that are connected to Disasters and the effects that these can have.

Personally, I found this task very helpful as it presented information in a way that made me consider what I was writing in more depth and engaged me more. I think that pupils would respond similar to myself, and find this a great tool to break down information into certain categories and deepen understanding.

To be able to bring the topic of Disasters into the classroom, especially as in Scotland the likeliness of our country being impacted by a natural disaster is rather slim, is key to allowing learners to fully understand and see how these disasters occur and what they may look like. Through science lessons, we can conducted small scale experiments that imitate how certain disasters look.

An example of a disaster that can be easily mimicked in small experiments is volcanoes. Firstly, we can use baking soda and vinegar to produce a reaction that resembles a volvano eruption, here is a video example of this experiment:


Secondly, a beaker layered with wax, sand then water and heated by a bunsen burner, can also illustate how a volcano erupts, this experiment would be conducted by the teacher and if the school does not have the facilities to do this experiment a possible visit to the local high school could be suggested.

I was initially hesitant before conducting these experiments as I don’t think of myself as ‘science minded’ and have never always engaged with or had a lot of interest in science. However, after conducting these experiments, and others in the session, I feel more confident to do them in a class setting and I now realise the importance of doing them and providing that visual and interactive example.

To enhance our knowledge, we were asked to conduct a micro-teaching lesson in groups about specific disasters, my groups topic was Tsunami’s. We explored how the teaching of this topic would be approached, what specifics may be best to focus on when teaching it and gave examples of tasks and experiments that can be carried out to aid the teaching. As a group, I felt like we worked well when preparing for micro-teaching, through this process I feel like I developed my collaborative, communication and teamwork skills. As well as gaining more knowledge on the topic and was able to effectively analyse information to produce an informative and suitable micro-teaching presentation.

Link to Google docs (presentation for micro-teaching) :


  • U.S department of homeland security, 2018. Natural Disasters. [Online] Available: [Accessed 5th November 2019]
  • The Telegraph 2010. Haiti Earthquake: looting and gun-fights breakout.[Online] Available : [Accessed 5th November 2019]
  • Education Scotland. (2019) . Curriculum for excellence: Social studies : experiences and outcomes. [Online] Available: [Accessed 5th November 2019]