Tag Archives: UoDEdushare

Interdisciplinary Learning: A Reflection from my Childhood

Today we got an introductory lecture to our ‘Developing Effective Teaching and Learning‘ module. The module aims to explore and show us how subjects can take learning beyond it’s barriers and involve Interdisciplinary Learning (IDL) – making connections between different areas of the curriculum. It’s all about making appropriate links and showing these to the children so they gain an understanding and learning experience.

We were asked to think about the topics that we did in Primary school. The normal responses sounded out the topics of WW2, The Victorians, Vikings, Egyptians, etc. We discussed how much interdisciplinary learning went into each topic or were they purely based on, for example, history with little to no mathematics or english studying within them.

One of my most memorable experiences at primary school was a topic I did in my P6 class. Firstly a bit of background. My class was a very close class, we were pretty much all together in the same class all the way through the stages of primary school and our school was also a small village school. We had a strong bond and – if i am biased – favourited by our depute head, Mr Still. In primary 6 we studied the topic of Mary Queen of Scots. Along with our newly qualified, enthusiastic class teacher, Mrs Anderson, we created a professional movie. This same year we also hosted and preformed a knock off Mary Queen of Scots pantomime, “Mary Queen of Chocs”. But I’m going to focus on the movie.

This experience was truly special as no other class had got given this opportunity. As a class we worked with our class and depute teacher and a professional movie crew. Each week we dedicated an afternoon to this project with the additional out of school trips to filming locations in the local area. Our school was lucky enough to be in a great countryside location that we had amazing filming spots, these included; a few castles, lakes, walled gardens and countryside land and views.

The class got casted and put into film crew and acting groups so every pupil had a part in creating the movie. We were also put into separate groups and each group was in-charge of a specific scene. I was in charge of the locations of where the filming took place in my group. Other jobs included; costume, makeup, story boarding, camera directors, sound and music, editing, lighting, etc. This was very exciting for all of us as we got taught how to take the role of each job and how to go about them. This was a great learning opportunity to learn things that are not the learning norm in the classroom, for example, how to storyboard.

This topic involved a lot of IDL. As a class we created the soundtrack for the movie using our music lessons in school. With our music teacher we created and recorded the music using school equipment. We had a talented musical class which helped. We used mathematical subject learning when working with camera angles, timings and when it came to selling DVDs and tickets to our premier night. English subject learning when writing our scripts of each scene. Geography subject learning when choosing the locations for filming. History subject learning, pre-movie when we learnt about the history of Mary Queen of Scots and the timeline of her life events. Expressive arts subject learning when acting the parts of characters and creating costumes.

The aim of this topic was not only to give an unreal primary school experience but to link lots of curricular subjects together and show us, as the pupils, how you can link subjects. It’s not only now that I can see the real benefit of IDL as a student teacher and how good my Mary Queen of Scots topic was in relation to this. It also was a great topic for building relationships with peers in the class and bonding us even more as a unit.



Education Scotland. (2012). CFE Briefings, 4 Interdisciplinary Learning. Availible at: https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/CfE%20Briefings. Accessed 18/08/18.


The Empowerment of a Child’s Voice

Our geography lecture today was all about enquiry and planning with children. We did a few activities which involved looking at a first lesson on a topic the children hadn’t studied before in social subjects. We discussed and planned how you would get out this lesson – how would you entice the children into the new topic – and which e’s and o’s/benchmarks you would follow for a first lesson. This was helpful for us to discuss as teachers what to put and what not to put in a first lesson, as well as motivational elements to excite the children with their new topic.

Our TDT involved reading an article concerned with the child’s voice in the classroom.

What are the arguments for encouraging children’s voice in the primary classroom?

  • The engage more with their teachers as co-learners.
  • The can be ‘co-teachers’, working with and for each other. Aids and adds to teachers learning too.
  • Many teachers lack understanding of geographical topics. Therefore a child’s knowledge can help boost a teachers confidence.
  • Giving children a voice will enhance geographical learning, understanding and values for all in any primary classroom.
  • Children can draw on own experiences, very real encounters and what they have witnessed in the world or in the media.
  • Children’s voice can have impacts on future developments.
  • Their voice can educate others, who then can educate more people – which can be in some instances, life saving.
  • ‘Children’s voice’ can life changing to a generation.
  • Increases personal development and confidence.

(Catling, 2014)

How can we do this?

  • Let children lead the development of a topic.
  • Let children be co-teachers.
  • Encourage children’s voices to be heard beyond the classroom.
  • Ask children what they want to learn or get out of a topic.
  • Ask children if they know more about a certain topic.

(Catling, 2014)

Are there arguments against this approach?

  • Some children may lack the competence and experience/knowledge to participate.
  • Giving a child the right to be heard can take away their childhood.
  • It will lead to a lack of respect towards parents.
  • Children may become too confident and not respect the voice of adults.

(Lansdown, 2011)

How does a teacher’s educational philosophy influence the implementation of approaches in the classroom?

If a teacher is for children using their voice to share their experiences and opinions in the classroom then a feel the children will be more confident around their peers and not afraid and participate in class discussions as the teacher will encourage this ‘classroom voice’.

Depending on how much a teacher knows about a topic depends on how much pupil voice is wanted/needed. A teacher also might be very knowledgeable about a particular subject so therefore will ask for pupils what they want to know about the topic, knowing that they as the teacher can answer these questions.

A teachers patience also influences the approaches used in the classroom. If a teacher is patient  they will encourage pupil questions and opinions to be heard. Whereas alternatively an impatient teacher may just want to voice their knowledge to their pupils and not ask for any input from them.

A teacher may feel greatly about the need for children to develop personally and children voicing their opinions is a great way to do this.

If a teacher also feel in the education philosophy that children need to be active participate in their learning, then they will also encourage children to use their voice.



S, Catling. (2014). Giving younger children voice in primary geography: Empowering pedagogy – A personal perspective. Article. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271753614/download

G, Lansdown. (2011). Every Child’s Right To Be Heard. PDF. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/french/adolescence/files/Every_Childs_Right_to_be_Heard.pdf