Category Archives: 2.1 Curriculum

Can you teach creativity?


This is a question I have begun to ask myself after reading Elisabeth Gilbert’s (the author of Eat, Pray, Love) 11 ways to think smartly about creativity (2015). Creativity is an area which I personally want to develop within myself which is why I initially began reading this article. However, it sparked this question about how to enhance creativity in my classroom. I believe that encouraging children’s creativity is an exceptionally important aspect of education as it is all too easy for teachers to destroy this and something which children may never get back.

Gilbert (2015) believes that “if you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” Through coming to university and encouraging myself to try new things (such as blogging) I agree with this statement, you just need to find the medium of creativity for you. Although, as a child I may not have agreed with Gilbert like I didn’t agree with my music teacher who believes everyone can sing (though I certainly can’t). However, as a teacher I have said very similar things to kids in my class about their creative work.

Ted TalkMy thought process through doing this, as every time I say this I think back to my music teacher, is that I am trying to maintain a positive belief in every child about their own work. Although I know that not all creative mediums may be a child’s forte I think it is important to encourage them to look positively on their work and maintain an attitude of trying.

Colin Barras (2014) concludes his article discussing creativity by stating that “everyone accepts you can’t teach genius” so suggesting that you can’t teach creativity either as amazing art skills are innate within certain people and you can’t create this. However, he believes that developing creativity is more about encouraging day-to-day creative thinking in all aspects of life. Thus suggesting that creativity should factor into every lesson in my class and not be confined to a set lesson time such as art class.

Gilbert (2015) continues this argument to suggest that we need to remove the idea that creativity needs to be perfect and that we need to move away from the anxiety created when thinking that something needs to be perfect and that creativity is something that only ‘gifted people’ have. Ken Robinson (2006) believes that f you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original.

This encourages me to develop an ethos in my class which encourages mistakes as I believe mistakes are as influential in learning as getting things right. Although, this is possibly an outlook on life I have developed over time as I have made ‘mistakes’ through my own education. However, as a child all I could see were the people in my class always getting it right, and this discouraged me from making mistakes as I felt that mistakes meant that I was wrong and less able than the others in my class.

Gilbert (2015) further suggests that creativity should be encouraged through curiosity as all creativity begins with an interest in something. She develops this argument to say that inspiration isn’t created within you but actually comes to you, and this is possible through being curious and exploring new avenues.

Education Scotland (No date) have launched a ‘Creative Learning Plan’ developing creativity skills in every child, as this is to prepare them for life and work. They encourage 4 main skills which are applied across Curriculum for Excellence to encourage creativity; curiosity, open mindedness, imagination and problem solving. So suggesting the many avenues which a classroom teacher can use to encourage creative thinking and to change the idea that you either are or aren’t creative.

At the same time, there is an argument suggesting that schools are killing creativity within their classrooms. Barras (2014) suggests that this is due to standardised testing as they encourage children to conform rather than to value thinking differently. Back in 2006, Ken Robinson argued that schools do in fact kill creative spirit. He believes that creativity is as important in education as literacy is, as it is becoming an important skill to have in the work place. Further supporting the argument that creativity should be a core aspect of any school day and curriculum, as children should be allowed to explore their imagination and the different mediums to do this.

Robinson (2006) goes on to state how every curriculum has the same hierarchy of subjects, maths and languages at the top and arts at the bottom. This suggests how creativity can be seen as a less important skill to develop within education as there is not the same emphasis of it in any curriculum model. In some ways it can be seen as a less academically challenging choice to choose art or something similar as an exam subject. Further supporting the argument that testing ruins creativity in pupils as there is more focus on the ‘academic’ subjects to pass at an exam level and entry into further education courses. Maybe this idea about creative subjects is initially developed in the primary school though?

In conclusion, I feel that schools need to nurture children’s creativity through giving them ample opportunity and a variety of ways to express themselves in the classroom and core curriculum. I also feel that an ethos of making mistakes needs to be created within the classroom to encourage risk taking and using a variety of methods to achieve a goal. From this research I would also like to encourage an ethos of doing something for enjoyment than necessarily for the future academic benefit in order to help creativity thrive.


Barras, C (2014), Can you learn to be creative?, (Accessed at: (Accessed on: 2/04/16)

Education Scotland (No date), (Accessed at: (Accessed on: 2/04/2016)

Gilbert, E, (2015), Fear is boring, and other tips for living a creative life, (Accessed at: (Accessed on: 2/04/16)

Robinson, K (2006), Do schools kills creativity?. Available at: (Accessed on: 2/04/16)

¡Hablando y escuchando en una clase de lengua moderna!


Copy right of Education Scotland

Modern language teaching has become a very important aspect of education today. This is particularly seen in the Curriculum for Excellence’s 1+2 approach to modern language teaching in todays classrooms. This approach allows for schools to teach a variety of languages from German and Spanish to Chinese and Gaelic, depending on their resources and teacher availability.

I feel this is a great opportunity for teaching children an additional language at a young age. Although like anything there are potential problems with any scheme. Some of these problems occur through the variety of schools, through size and location, which Scotland has. For example, as highlighted in the video below, one school in the centre of Edinburgh had one teacher who could come into school to provide one hour a week of language teaching whereas in the rural school in Aberdeen the teacher was able to manipulate her timetable as she wished to provide more hours of languages.

ML 2

Screen shot of the video 

Throughout my personal education I haven grown to love languages and can not wait to be able to pass on this passion to my pupils. I was first introduced to foreign languages in primary school however I did not particularly enjoy the teaching methods of my teacher and in fact she made me quite scared to try and speak in the foreign language. This has influenced me to not create this similar environment in my own classroom and instead foster an atmosphere which encourages pupils to enjoy their learning of a foreign language.

Last week we had our first input in modern language teaching, I specifically went to the Spanish input, where we discussed methods of enhancing talking and listening skills in the classroom. This was supported through my reading of Teaching Foreign Languages in the Primary School by Kirsch (2008). This reading supported the input through the methods we can use to create a confidence in our learners to speak and listen in a foreign language. The main methods we discussed were presenting, practising, drilling and finally producing the target language.

One of the main aspects that I took away from this input was that a teacher should not introduced the visual word to the pupils until they are able to confidently reproduce this word. This is because when the pupils see the word for the first time they try and apply British pronunciation of the sounds to the word.

Finally, through my reading and the discussions in the input I have learnt ways to present the target language, but also to allow the pupils to practice it in confidence. This will help the pupils to build their confidence of using the target language pronunciation methods as if they make a mistake they are the only ones who know. Some of these methods are using a puppet or introducing the vocabulary through a familiar story or song.

From this experience I am looking forward to further inputs on modern languages.


Kirsch, C, (2008), Teaching Foreign Languages in the Primary School, London, Continuum International Pub

The Great Tug of War

Copyright of Beverely Naido with illustrations by Piet Grobler

Copyright of Beverely Naido with illustrations by Piet Grobler

*This is an old post that I created in my old blog last year*

While at uni this year I have joined a book club within the School of Education. This is a club where we discuss possible books that we would use in our classes. The first meeting we talked about “Diary of a Wimpy Kid’. We thought it was relevant and engaging to children today but it would be used as more of a lesson about bullying than a personal read for children.

Coming up to Christmas we discussed the differing representations of Santa. As a club we watched the film ‘Father Christmas’ and looked at the book alongside this. Unfortunately, due to the language, we did not feel this book would be appropriate in the classroom. However our discussion soon moved onto modern day representations and why we thought these were so appealing to children. One popular discussion point for us was ‘Arthur Christmas’ as it was a modern take on the theme and that this would appeal to children and their various ideas about Santa. The most fascinating point to me was how meeting Santa in a ‘Grotto’ has changed to being able to Skype him!

We recently met, just after our Christmas holiday, to swap books that we felt we would use in a classroom. I chose “First Term at Mallory Towers” by Enid Blytton as I personally enjoyed it as a child, and as an adult I feel that it has a lot of important lessons for children.

In this book swap I was able to read “The Great Tug of War” by Beverly Naidoo. This was a great book even if, in my opinion, some of the morals towards the end were a little questionable for a classroom. I feel that this book would appeal to children due to the characters and pictures featured in the book. In particular, Mmutla the hare as the children could relate to his cheeky personality.

I felt this book was great because of all the cross-curricular activities you could do with it. The obvious one is literacy, where the children could create their own story using the characters from the book and create their own moral, this would also link into RME. I feel that you could extend this lesson to drama or PE as you could do a creative piece to music reenacting their stories to the rest of the class. This could then incorporate peer assessment as the children could feedback on the different aspects of the piece. You would also be able to include social studies through this book as the author is South African and uses traditional words to name her characters, therefore you would be able to teach about a different culture and the significance of the language chosen.

Overall a great read for teachers and pupils!

Code Clubbing is the new thing in schools!

*This is a post I created in my old blog last year*

Through out my first term at Dundee University, there have been many new things to get to terms with. The first and most importantly the course. This has been something that has made me feel like I have 100% chosen the right degree for me. There are aspects that we have looked at that I hadn’t realised how important it was to becoming a teacher, for example the importance of child development in their first 18 months!

Alongside the academic side, I have had many opportunities to engage with other aspects of teaching, for example getting involved with Code Club. A few of my friends and I went along to this seminar being held in the University about the Code Club. This is an organisation run throughout the UK teaching children how to Code. This showed me the importance of engaging children in current affairs, as this is a skill they may need more of in the future. It is a great learning tool as it teaches the complexities of coding through small manageable chunks. This allows the children to engage with the task at hand while using their imagination to create their games.

Last Wednesday, one of my friends that went to this seminar and myself went to Glebelands Primary school in Dundee to help their code club. This was a great experience to see the club in action. When we arrived we spoke to the teacher, Harriet Brownlee, who organises this after school activity for her Y7 class. She showed us what a great tool Code Club is for incorporating various aspects of the curriculum into a simple 1 hour activity. This is because Code Club incorporates ICT through the coding, literacy through reading the instruction manual, maths and expressive arts through creating their game. Harriet also expressed how Code Club does not necessarily have to be used as an after school club only and that it can be very easily transmitted to a classroom. This is due to the setup of Code Club as the children follow the instructions which need very little help from the teacher to understand. This is shown in the picture below, as it displays the easy colour coded instructions the children are given.


It also promotes social aspects as the activities are aimed at children and, as I saw at Glebelands, the children work together to help solve other’s problems. This was one key aspect that Harriet expressed as it was child led, the teacher is really only there as a support not necessarily help. This links into my course as this term we have been learning about the different developmental theories about education. In particular this links into Vygotsky’s theory of Zone of proximal development as he believed children learn better from a more knowledgable peer. This was what I saw in the children at Glebelands as there was one child who was slightly behind the others, however her friend was helping her to understand where she was going wrong, and by the activity she was able to do it herself.

I look forward to going back this week!