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Can animals count?

Can animals count is one of those questions that to me, is alongside can animals talk? Well it certainly was until after leaving a recent input on the question. It seems ridiculous to say that animals can count although upon further research I think it may seem ridiculous to say that they have no number sense at all.

imageThe clever hans effect is something that we came across in today’s input. This input is all to do with a horse named hands who’s owner, believed that they had trained him to add, multiply, subtract, understand fractions and other mathematical things. He would be asked a question by his owner and would respond his answer with the tapping of his hoof. Scientists were amazed at this discovery as It was observed through experiments that hans would answer correctly 89% of the time which is a pretty amazing figure for a horse.
It was then found upon further tests and discoveries that hans in fact was not responding to the maths question but to his owners reactions. He knew when to gradually slow down the tapping of his hoof and to eventually stop.

Although not responding to the mathematical questions, this was still a very clever horse as he knew what was expected off him and how to react to things. This though put a doubt into mind wether I think animals can count or not.

When I came home I then read into an article on the BBC website as to wether or not animals can count and found out some interesting stuff.

An interesting read I found was that Serengeti lions and their ability to look at smaller and large groups and know what one is the biggest. This ultimately is a basic maths skill as it is something that we teach within a classroom. We teach children to look at quantities and to know which one is largest and smallest.

Another interesting read within this article was about animals when they mate. It can be difficult for animals to mate as many of them look very similar. Frogs as an animal, help find a mate by the pulses in their croak. They need to count the number of pulses in their croak and can do so in phrases of up to 10 notes long. It is believed that they measure the volume and length of the others croak.
Again this shows that animals do have a sense of numeracy and maths.

For one I am still dubious as to my answer on this particular subject, although the after some research I am swaying more towards believing that they can. Is has been a to
If that has very much interested me and is something that I would again, look into in the future.

Finger Counting?

As a topic, this has always been one that I am willing to debate. It goes without saying, all of us will probably have been told off once or twice for using our fingers to count. But why is this an issue?
As an adult I still find myself from time to time using my hands for maths, hiding my hands under the table trying not to get embarrassed by it. Personally, I believe that as teachers we should be encouraging the use of hands in maths. They are tools that we have right in front of us, so why not!
For some, the use of their hands in maths is a sort of comfort zone. It helps with confidence levels in ensuring that they are doing their maths and counting correct. It can also make maths easier for people.
The above video was something I found recently, and had never in fact seen or heard of before, and I certainly wish I had. The six, seven and eight times tables were always ones that I struggled with in school and now wish I knew this trick to help me with them. It is so easy and simple to use and takes less than a minute to do. This could make so many children’s life’s easier and boost their confidence in maths. It also makes maths seem even so slightly more fun.
This is not the only trick out there we can do with our fingers in maths. Simply type in finger counting and millions come up on YouTube. It should be essential that teachers teach and utilise these within their lessons as it may just make a difference to some of their students. They would certainly have made a difference to myself.



Self-esteem is something that in life, makes us who we are. Some people have a really high self-esteem where as others, struggle with their self-esteem. Self-esteem itself, is a person’s own emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is their confidence within themselves and also their attitude towards themselves.self-esteem (1)

Self-esteem is something that as student teachers, we really need to think about. For us as teachers, we need to make sure we have a lot of self-esteem to portray it to our pupils. We need to be confident in our work and with ourselves to demonstrate a good example to our students. If we can do this then our students will notice and will perhaps begin to see the importance with having a good self-esteem.

Having a healthy self-esteem.

There are many things that having good confidence Self-Esteemwithin yourself has proven to have effect on. For example, people with high self-esteem when going through a bad time in their life, are more likely to come through that stage easier compared to those with a low self-esteem. People with high self-esteem are also more likely to achieve things successfully that they may have felt slightly apprehensive about trying, for example stepping out-with their comfort zone. Having a high self-esteem can also impact a person’s academics, as a person is more likely to do better with their work if they are confident in themselves, compared to someone who is not confident in themselves. This shows the importance of having a healthy self-esteem, and shows us as teachers, how vital it is that we pay attention to children and their self-esteem.

Having a low self-esteem.

It is also proven that having a low self-esteem cancookie_low_self_esteem_2 have an effect on you and the person that you are. People with low self-esteem think badly on themselves and also think that others also think badly of them. This can impact a person dramatically, and can also eventually impact ones health in more serious cases. People with low self-esteem, although maybe not on purpose, are often very negative people. This may only be the case with themselves, and not towards others, however it plays a dramatic part on their life. People with low self-esteem can often find it hard to concentrate on other things such as their school work. With this said, it clearly highlights the importance in our roles as teachers that we pay attention to a child’s self-esteem and that we try and help our students with their self-esteem.

As teachers we need to be careful with a lot of our methods as they may have an impact on a child’s self-esteem and how they value themselves. One of the most important things we as teachers need to look at is our feedback to pupils. We cannot be constantly giving the same pupil the exact same feedback or even giving all the students the same feedback. If we are doing so the pupils will become confused and could start to doubt themselves. Also if we are giving all the children the same feedback they may begin to question whether or not they are doing well or if the teacher ‘is just saying that.’ Also if children are split into set ability groups, we need to be careful with the way we are teaching the two groups. If we begin to teach and act in a superior way with one group, we need to consider how the children in the other group are feeling and how that may impact the way they view themselves. Separate groups for learning can have a huge impact on a child’s self-confidence and can dramatically knock a child’s confidence down. However it also works the other way. It simply would not be fair to children who excel in certain subjects to not have separate groups, as the children may not realise that they are excelling compared to if they are aware of it, they will grow a sort of good confidence in themselves. It is also important that we do not always spend a little extra time with certain students or are constantly picking the same students to answer questions, hand out recourses or to go on messages. Even though these are very simple things, they are things that children will notice, and if they are not one of those kids, then it will have an effect on them and how they view themselves.


Self-esteem overall is something that we as teachers need to value with every child. Every child that we come across will be very different, and we need to be prepared to work with each of these children and be prepared for any challenges that we may be faced with. As teachers, it is vital that we pay attention to each child and try to make an attempt to have a positive impact on each child that we work with self-esteem.

Languages within the classroom

Languages have always been something that I have been very passionate about, after studying them in high school from first to sixth year. I studied both French and Italian from standard grade right up until higher. Despite the fact I have studied languages for so long, I personally feel like my French and Italian is still not at a level in which I could have a conversation with someone from France or Italy and this got me thinking.

I began to do a lot of research into languages and how others learn them, and one thing I constantly kept seeing over and over again is that we learn languages easier when we are really young, compared to when we are older. So the question I would like to ask, is why are we not enforcing languages upon primary schools from as young as primary one? If it is proven that children pick up languages easier compared to teenagers then why are we waiting until high school to teach them languages. Personally I even feel that we should be teaching the basics of languages such as numbers and colours to children in nurseries so that they are beginning to pick things up.

I then looked in to the 1 + 2 system being brought in to primary schools and it made me intrigued in to what languages would be getting taught and how they would be getting taught. The first language I came across that was being taught was French, and this slightly annoyed me. It got me thinking why we are always teaching French. Why French? As a country we are no longer doing as much trade with France as we used to. We used to do a lot of trade with France before we have things such as planes and trains, as we only had boats, so then it made sense for us to be learning French. However this is no longer the case. Since we now have various modes of transport we now do most of our trade with countries such as japan and china, therefore it would make sense for us now to be teaching languages such as mandarin, Japanese etc. It is clear that if a child is learning languages as such, and they were able to gain such qualifications, then it will massively impact their futures as big companies will be looking for people who can speak these languages.

Another thing I began to think about is our ignorance as a country with languages. It almost appears as if Britain has a fear of learning languages. When we go abroad we almost expect to speak to a foreign person and for them to know English, although when a tourist comes here we expect them to speak English to us, and do not make an attempt to speak their language. It is ignorant as a country, as personally, I believe that this is an issue that the government need to look further in to.

Languages have always played a big part in my life and they are something that I constantly wish I was better at. This year I am sitting a language module and I am hoping to see an improvement with myself. In the years to come, as a teacher, I hope to have make a huge impact on children’s lives with languages and it is something that I cannot wait to teach within my classroom.


The SPR part 2;


* Demonstrating openness, honesty, courage and wisdom.

This first point explains that as teachers, we have got to be approachable and open with students so that they sense from you that they are able to approach you and speak to you about anything they would like to talk to someone about. This also applies to staff, as staff should also feel comfortable that they can approach you with any matters they may have. We need to be honest as teachers although especially when it comes to younger years, we cannot open up and be too honest about everything. It is important to find the right balance. With this said, I personally feel that it is important to set realistic goals for students and be honest with the goals we set, so that no one ends up with goals, far out of their reach, or goals that are too easy to reach. When it comes to courage and wisdom, it refers to us as teachers being able to take risks within the classroom and being able to try new things with the children. Being wise enough to know what is right and wrong, but not being scared to make mistakes with in the classroom which is vital as we will then learn from our own mistakes. It is also very important for us as teachers to remember that life goes beyond the classroom and that students not only learn English and maths with us, but hey learn important life lessons from us, thus we have to have a simple sense of wisdom on things such as manners etc. for children to learn these things in the correct way.

* Critically examining personal and professional attitudes and beliefs and challenging assumptions and professional practice.

This statement sort of summarises deciding how you want to be as a professional, the way you want to be in the classroom. Looking at yourself and deciding what type of teacher you want to be. You shouldn’t be scared to stand up for yourself if a college questions you on your teaching methods etc. Making sure that you are achieving your personal goals and goals within the classroom so that you are gaining from them. If you are setting goals for yourself and the class before the day begins and they are achieved, then it shows that you are a dedicated teacher.

* Critically examining the connections between personal and professional attitudes and beliefs, values and practices to effect improvement and, when appropriate, bring about transformative change in practice.

This third point, develops on the second point. You can have your own personality as a teacher and bring that in to the classroom, however if you have a certain belief then you cannot bring that in to the classroom and attempt to be persuasive over the children with your beliefs. It refers to you thinking about how you can improve your teaching as a whole and thinking about how you can change things in the classroom and make them better as a whole.

Online 2


Although I had never really thought about reflection in my learning before, I now have come to understand that reflection is a crucial part of our learning process, and is something that can make an impact on our learning. Through reflection we need to be critical with ourselves as it will help up to learn from our own mistakes. If we were not to reflect back on to our work, we would be continuously making the same mistakes over and over again. Reflection is crucial in teaching, especially as students when we are on placement. When on placement we should be reflecting back on our day and looking at certain methods that we used through-out it to see what works and what does not work in a classroom.

Through reflection we are able to see any areas in our leaning which we may need to change or any areas that are in need of improvement. One of the most important things we need to remember when reflecting, is to be crucial and honest with ourselves, as if we were not there would be no point in us reflecting. If we do not identify any areas that we have failed in or not done particularly well in, then we cannot expect to do well the next time we come to do it. Although it is also crucial that we pay attention to the things that we have done well so that we fully understand what is was we done well, so that we can do it again.

Overall I believe that refection is a very important part of our learning process and it is something that as student teachers, we should be doing almost on a daily basis, if we want to improve our work and learning.


Why am I here?

So why is it that I am here, studying education at The University of Dundee? I have always been aware of how satisfying teaching is, growing up in a teaching environment. From being at school, to attending my aunties dance classes, five times a week, I was constantly surrounded by teachers. They all seemed so happy at their jobs, and I knew all I wanted to be, was happy. My mum then went on to have my three younger siblings, of whom I was a sort of ‘teacher,’ if you like to them. They followed my every move, done what ever I done, and they looked up to me. It has been such a satisfying experience so far having three younger siblings who look up to me, who think the world of me, and I know that this is a feeling that I never want to go away. From spending time with them, I have began to notice that they are constantly talking about their teachers, as they look up to them as well. Their teacher is the center of their world at times. I started to read some posts online from teachers, to try and get a real feel for the job. All i kept reading was how satisfying the job was, and how incredible it is, to be such a big impact on someones life.

Then came the all important time when I had to start applying for colleges and universities. I knew that i wanted to have a satisfying career, although the one though of ‘am i right for this’ kept going through my mind. I started volunteering at my local dance classes to see if I could experience the real satisfaction from being a teacher that every teacher seems to  be raving about – and it happened. I was taking one of the students privately to help her with her dance, and she was continuously beating her self up if she could not remember what move came next. I suggested writing the dance down, or practicing at home. A few weeks later she came running in to the class bursting with joy as she had took my advice, and she done her dance perfectly. I then had that feeling of great satisfaction. It was such an incredible feeling that this young girl had done something I simply suggested she do, and got a great experience from it. From then on, I guess I just knew, and that this is why I am here.

For me, the kind of teacher I want to become, is one just like my primary five teacher. I have never had a teaching experience like the one she gave me. She made such a huge impact on me, and to this day I can still remember her classes. She is still my inspiration in the type of teacher I would like to be. She was outgoing, creative and knew exactly how to relate to children. My whole class loved her, and only know I can understand how good a feeling that must be, having such an impact on so many children’s lifes. I want to be that teacher, who children respect, talk about and are inspired by – the teacher that she was. I know that in ten years time, that if I am even half the teacher she is, I will have succeeded.