From Naughty Boy to ‘Outstanding’ Head Teacher; A Reflection on Educating Drew.

I put ‘Outstanding’ in quote marks as Harrop Fold, from the Povey’s book, has yet to be given Ofsted’s outstanding seal of approval. Nevertheless, I believe Povey to be an outstanding head teacher from what I have watched and read. He is committed to making ‘the’ difference to his school and it seems through this book and the Educating Greater Manchester series to be working.

I had fallen in love with the team and the teaching styles of Harrop Fold School in Little Hutton from the Educating Greater Manchester series and when I found out head teacher Drew Povey had written a book, it was the first thing on my Christmas list (alongside a guillotine paper cutter and a laminator – nothing screams soon to be Newly Qualified Teacher and broke student more). Fast forward to the day before my placement and I have finally finished reading the book. Personal commitments and university assignments overtook the importance of the book but nevertheless it was fantastic and I could not recommend it enough to anyone and when I got the chance, I simply could not put it down.

Drew Povey had inspired me from the minute I set eyes on Harrop Fold in Educating Greater Manchester but what was clear from the book is the are many of others who inspire him from his brothers and his teachers to people he quotes in his books such as Obama, Churchill, EM Kelly or Spiderman. There were many messages in the book anyone could relate to; business leaders, head teachers or school teachers. However, in this short post I wanted to pick out a few parts of the book I related to most and the messages that were prominent to me.

Anyone who knows me will know me as quite a sporty person growing up (ok that hasn’t stuck too much throughout university but I am known as the sporty one in my friend group) and the links Povey makes between education and school including a chapter on having a playbook as probably the message that rings through the whole book to me. Povey’s leadership style often comes back to what he had learnt from rugby training and coaching. He uses tactics from rugby to get the ‘difficult children’ on side, he set up a rugby team at Harrop Fold to give these something to commit to at school; having the ‘hard lads’ onside rippled through the school and there was a murmur that Mr Povey was a ’sound guy’. Povey noted the importance of keeping these students onside and committed to creating a no exclusion policy, he wanted to ensure no child was written off which was an incredibly warming feeling. The importance of understanding the student’s behaviour, the root problem and not just looking at the bad behaviour was something perhaps I overlooked the significance of before and I was quick when faced with challenging behaviour to look at this as a personal attack and deal with the behaviour and not seek out the issue behind it all. In all honestly, the last time I remember dealing with significantly challenging behaviour, which did not stem from an additional support need, was in first year of university and thus reflecting back I did not really know much at all at the time of the placement although it was a great learning curve.

Throughout university, any assignment has told me to reflect more which I have tried so hard over the last two years particularly to work on. I probably took it too far when I had five page weekly reflections on my third year placement and it is still a goal going into my final placement to work on. Throughout the last chapter of the book it was evident how reflective the whole book had been. The process Povey suggests at Harrop Fold is that the teachers take on a new challenge for a certain period of time, reflect and review. If the challenge is making a difference they continue to monitor but Povey makes clear not all of the challenges were worth the time and energy put that the school team put into them. The open and honest dialogue between the different teams in Povey’s four types of meetings are what I aspire to achieve to make sure I am not wasting time and energy on strategies that are not working but continuing to reflect and notice the positives in my practice as well.

Although this post only picked out two things, I wouldn’t want to give too much away about the book. However, this book made me think deeper about my practice; about different techniques and pedagogical strategies I perhaps never have come across otherwise. I am very intrigued for the second series of Educating Greater Manchester. I am ready to see if there is any more inspiration Povey and his team at Harrop Fold can continue to develop in me as a teacher and I am excited to see how the school is getting on. Mostly, I am excited to see how these inspirations can play out in my practice as an NQT. If you haven’t already, I would recommend any teacher to read Povey’s story.

Povey also talks about Harrop Fold’s no exclusion policy to the Education Select Committee in this short video; https://twitter.com/HarropFold/status/965159166997422080.

Reference:

Povey, D. (2017) Educating Drew: The Real Story of Harrop Fold School Woodbridge: John Catt Educational Limited.

Take a Wonder into the Woods

As the old favourite goes – if you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise.

After missing my placement lifestyle of being so relaxed and enjoying nature, that and after reading ‘Nearby Nature: A Buffer of Life Stress Among Rural Children’ (Wells and Evans, 2003) – I decided to drag my flat mate, Steph, on a stroll around the country park nearest our flat. What I anticipated to just be a wonder around a picturesque park was quite different. I did not realise all of the different activities the country parks had to offer for families/children.

The first weekend, we visited Crombie Country Park. Crombie Country Park had multiple different walking routes the longest walk being around the loch and only at a distance of 2 and 3/4 miles with another 3 slightly shorter routes as well. Before we went off on our walk, I was not aware of what Crombie had to offer, especially for children, even the spectacular scenic views surprised me. Amongst the beautiful scenery however there were a host of surprises to keep the children entertained. There were activities such as find the giants, an orienteering course with different levels and little woodland “animals” hidden around our walk.

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Find the Giants in the trees

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Part of the orienteering course for the children

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The hidden animals

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No excuse to not take the children here!

Crombie Country Park also had the facilities for tree top trails, a play park, a young naturalist programme on a Saturday and a picnic/bbq area. Amongst this, there ranger team are on hand for activities such as arts and crafts or guided walks as well as school trips from nursery through to secondary to assist teachers and lead outdoor activities in the park.

A week later, after still being in awe at Crombie, Steph and I headed out to Monikie Country Park just across from Crombie. Whilst Monikie has less trails to offer that we could find, they were currently hosting the Dragon Matrix, which I am devastated I never managed to go to, which took up a lot of the park forrest areas. However, Monikie had a beautiful walk around the lake, a play park for children, a huge green space and lots of picnic tables where a few families were enjoying a picnic. Even with all of these facilities and resources, there were only two or three families at Monikie as well.

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The Dragon Matrix – cross curricular learning – outdoor education, art and technology!

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Perfect for the family – a beautiful walk and a great play park.

However, even with all of these different activities and play parks for the children, both Monikie and Crombie Country Parks were surprisingly quiet. There were only one or maybe two families that Steph and I noticed in either of the two parks. Considering the fact we went on a weekend, during the afternoon, once I realised all of the activities and the park, I did expect there to be more families at the parks. As after Steph and I had discussed, this is what my of our parents would have taken us to do on a weekend when we were younger. This made me really reflect on my recent reading about outdoor education particularly this quote below from Adam (2013, p.524).

“Accompanying the obesity concerns are fears for children’s safety which are leading to increased indoor activities (Jenkinson 2001; Palmer 2006; Coster 2007; Waller 2007; Alexander 2008). This trend towards children being ushered indoors has occurred despite the fact that statistics about risk outside the home are relatively small compared to parental fears (Coster 2007; Waller 2007; Alexander 2008; Layard and Dunn 2009).”

This shows thimg_2558at due to parents fears in this contemporary society and the desire to keep their children safe, they’re wrapping their children up in cotton wool and not allowing/taking them outside to experience these amazing resources and opportunities that the Country Parks offer.

Steph and I are determined to make these walks a weekly event with Forfar Loch Country Park next on our list. I would definitely recommend taking a break from all of the assignment or work and getting yourself to one of the country park to see all of the fantastic natural resources and activities they can offer for yourself or for your class. Why be stressed when you can go play outside and call it educational?

 

References 

Adam, K. (2013) ‘Childhood in Crisis? Perceptions of 7-11 year olds on being a child and the implications for education’s well-being agenda’ in Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 41(3) pp.523-537 London: Routledge

Outdoor play in Early Years

For my second week back at nursery, I was asked to spend my afternoon outdoors. This request was met by my delight at the chance to have a look into some more learning in the outdoor particularly as this is an age that I have had no experience working outdoors with.

In the nursery there are no set lessons or plans for the children and they are free to play how they want, it was a chance to see what the children would do with their outdoor free play opportunities. Due to the fact that parents in this contemporary society are trying to protect their children as best as possible, this unfortunately means that children are not getting the opportunities to “exercise their bodies or to encounter the excitement and challenges of the outdoors. As a consequence an increasing number of children have weight problems. Current figures suggest that 22.9 per cent of four- and five-year-olds are either overweight or obese” (Dowling, 2010, p.172-3).

Whilst I was outside with the other practitioner, Mrs H, we got chatting about the limitations of outdoor play in the primary setting. Mrs H and myself discussed the fact that the children whilst in nursery had the choice to play outdoors in all weather conditions and the nursery practitioners had no choice but to be outdoors as well in all conditions. The only thing the children were told on this particular day was that they had to have a jacket on to play outside. However, on the other side of a fence, life for the children in the primary school was much different. Children were running round in the cold without jackets on but the minute the slightest bit of rain came on, the children were ushered indoors for the last ten minutes of lunch break. This is very common primary schools. It is almost as if teachers are worried of children getting cold whereas from what I can remember as a child as well as from the experience I had today, children tend to want to be outside regardless of the weather conditions. It was really important for me to see the difference between the nurseries practice and the primary stage practice.

This made me reflect on the idea of learning in the outdoors and the fact that the majority of teachers, regardless of this being a vital part of the CfE, only viewing outdoor education as a one of lesson when the weather is nice.  However, as the nursery children proved to me – they do not care what the weather is like, as long as they are having fun, enjoying themselves and getting to play, they are more than happy to be outdoors in the rain. Robertson (2014) stated weather as one of the common reasons that teachers worry about before they start outdoor learning. This should not be a worry for teachers as on my Learning from Life placement with Adventure Aberdeen there was not a single session we considered cancelling due to the weather – the students were just equipped by the centre with appropriate clothing for the activity and weather. Therefore, when teachers are planning for an outdoor education lesson, they should advise parents in advance that the class will be going outdoors and that children will need the appropriate clothing for this and remind them we are in Scotland. Teachers also need a degree of flexibility when planning for learning outdoors as Robertson (2014) suggests as the weather may not allow for one activity but this does not mean the lesson should be cancelled but simply adapted to fit with the weather

With weather, I have experienced both extremes whilst at camp and whilst on placement. As already stated on placement, the children were out in all weather conditions from sunny days in the sea to snow sand sledging. However, at camp, the as soon as it rained – in a little bit – the children’s activities were changed from normal schedule to rainy day schedule. This meant that the children were kept indoors even when it was just drizzling. You could tell from the children that this was frustrating for them as they looked forward to the activities they had selected and these were often cancelled, normally these days were back to back. In my views, if Scandinavians countries can have children out in all weathers and this clearly has an impact on their children’s wellbeing and education then we should follow the lead of Adventure Aberdeen and the Scandinavian countries and try to get our children out in all weather conditions.  In contrast to the nursery and the primary setting this is two extremes on the scale although it rather remarkably shows the same point – a little bit of rain can totally hinder the joy the children are having outdoors.

Children, in my view, should, like in the nursery, have the opportunity to have their voice heard and make decisions for themselves as to whether or not during their free play time they would like to stay outdoors in any weather, as long as they have appropriate clothing for the weather on, or if they would prefer to go inside. I understand that this is not always possible as the children need to be supervised and this would be stretching the playground assistance, there could possibly be solutions, for example the children who want to play indoors go to the games hall instead of their classrooms.

Reference

Dowling, M (2010) Young Children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development 3rd Edn. London: Sage Publications

Robertson, J. (2014) Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors Wales: Independent Thinking Press

Dyslexia: A Break Down

After an input from one of our lecturers, Will, where he state that if we aren’t aware of the different Additional Support Needs (ASN) then we were being ignorant. Two of my friends and I have decided to look into Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. As normally if you have one of these ASN then there is a stronger chance you will have another, if not all three as these come as a family of ASN. Through this blog post I am going to briefly give some information on Dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

“The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’.” (British Dyslexia Associations, no date)

Dyslexia is a common addition support need – a person who has dyslexia struggles with reading, writing and spelling. It is a lifelong problem for those who have dyslexia but there is support out there for them.

1 in 10-20 people have Dyslexia – therefore in a common sized primary school class in Scotland, it is more than likely that teachers will have at least one child who struggles with dyslexia if not more.

Unlike many ASN, Dyslexia has no impact on intelligence.

Dyslexia mainly affects the person’s ability to processing and remembering information that see and hear which can impact upon the person’s learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. 

The Signs of Dyslexia

The signs of dyslexia are for the majority, spotted when they are in primary school and begin to focus on reading and writing.

The NHS (no date) states that the signs of dyslexia may include:

  • “read and write very slowly
  • confuse the order of letters in words
  • put letters the wrong way round – such as writing “b” instead of “d”
  • have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
  • find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • struggle with planning and organisation”.

Dyslexia and The Eyes

The reason I had chosen to look into Dyslexia is that I have a form on dyslexia called Irlen’s Syndrome (which is commonly known as visual stress) which affects how you see text which is common with people with dyslexia. Below is an example of visual stress.

Dyslexia

People with dyslexia often cannot focus when reading standard black writing on white paper. People with dyslexia tend to prefer to have the paper a different colour – the colour of the paper depends on the person. I prefer grey paper which is very uncommon whereas yellow can be very common. There are things called overlays which are coloured plastic sheets for people who have Dyslexia or Irlen’s syndrome to place over paper to filter the paper to the colour they need. Below I have included a yellow and grey overlay but there are multiple different colours which can be seen at the Dyslexia website (ADD hyperlink). For some even the overlays are not even and they have tinted glasses to the colour they need.

Dyslexia and the eyes, Irlen’s syndrome or visual stress can cause symptoms such as the following:

  • “Blurred letters or words which go out of focus.
  • Letters which move or present with back to front appearance or shimmering or shaking.
  • Headaches from reading.
  • Words or letters which break into two and appear as double.
  • Find it easier to read large, widely spaced print, than small and crowded.
  • Difficulty with tracking across the page.
  • Upset by glare on the page or oversensitive to bright lights.”

(British Dyslexia Association, no date).

This can affect the child’s reading ability, making reading very tiring and a chore for children who suffer from it. However, in my own experience after getting the appropriate support, through my grey overlay, I found my love of reading come back.

What can a teacher do to help?

The following advice I have taken from dyslexia.com (Hodge, 2000).

  • Make sure anything that needs to go home, for example messages about when they need to take their physical education kit in, when parents even is. their homework etc, is all written down in a diary and checked before they leave, The advice also suggests getting them to have a couple of friends phone numbers at the front of the diary in case they are confused by what they are to do they can phone and check.
  • Break down tasks and instructions into short chunks of information that is easy to remember.
  • When they are copying from the board, try writing every line in a different colour of every second word underlined. With the technology these days, if you are using power point or interactive smart boards if you have a child who needs a yellow overlay, make the slides have a yellow background – this does not make a difference for anyone else in the classroom but makes it easier for the person who needs the overlay.
  • Make sure the reading stays on the board long enough for the children to read (and if necessary copy it down) it thoroughly and not rush.

The website has lots of advice on different areas including: reading, writing, copying from the board, spelling, maths, homework among others.

 

 

 

More information

Irlen’s Syndrome http://www.irlen.org.uk/

Dyslexia Shop http://www.thedyslexiashop.co.uk/stationery-for-dyslexics/specialist-paper.html

Advice for in the classroom http://www.dyslexia.com/library/classroom.htm

 

 

 

References

British Dyslexia Association (No Date) Dyslexia and Specific Difficulties: Overview Available at: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic/dyslexia-and-specific-difficulties-overview Accessed on: 23/01/16

Hodge, P. (2000) A Dyslexia Child in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers and Parents Available at: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/classroom.htm Accessed on: 27/01/16

National Health Service (No Date) Dyslexia Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Dyslexia/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed on: 23/01/16

 

The Right to Play – Are Scotland Doing Enough?

In 1989, the United Nations introduced the Convention on the Rights of the Child which was ratified by the United Kingdom in 1991.

In the Convention on the Rights of the Child article 31 states that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” (Unicef, No Date Given, p.9). I am interested to investigate if Scotland are doing enough in the early stages of a child’s life to allow them to engage in play. I have recently been looking at Sweden’s education system for the early years and their outlook on childhood and play. I am going to compare the two systems to see if Scotland are doing enough to allow children to play.

The first crucial difference in the two educational systems is the school starting stage. In Scotland children start school between the ages of 4 and 5 where as in Sweden children do not start school until the age of 7. In Sweden, the children however do go to preschool from a very early age – this is heavily funded by the government to support parents who are working or in education themselves – it roughly costs around £7.50 per day including food per child. The children leave preschool with no knowledge or learning of reading and writing at the age of 7 however by the age of 10 there is no difference in the league tables for reading and writing in Sweden with any other country. Parents and the Government believe that children should have the chance to play and develop before they begin school which is why they go to preschool to develop their social skills.

On the other hand, in Scotland, from as early as possible children are sent to school to learn to read and write. The government suggest they do this to allow parents to go back to work/education as early as possible. However, this means that from an early age children are taking away from the right to play and are made to begin their learning through planned lessons where as in the early years in Sweden the children have no planned lessons giving them the freedom to play and explore, particularly in the outdoors – a huge part of the Swedish Education system is based upon their push for outdoor education and play. Comparing this to Sweden and the league table results suggests immediately we are not doing enough to encourage play in the early years of childhood which is a right of the child.

However, in the Early Learning and Childcare Entitlement produced by the Scottish Government (No Date Given, No Page) it states that the Scottish Government are continually trying to improve the standard of early learning as well as its flexibility and cost for all families. Since August 2014, children, aged between 3 and 4/5 years old (for the majority of children – there are cases where it is from the age of 2 years old), in Scotland are entitled to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare. This gives children the chance for meaningful play to encourage children socialising from a young age before going to school. However, in comparison to Sweden although they have to pay for their preschool, it is a small expense as it is heavily subsidised by their government, children can attend preschool to play for a much longer period from as early as a parent wants to the age of 7. This gives the child more opportunity and time for meaningful play before entering school than there is in Scotland.

There are opportunities for play in the Scottish Education System, enough to meet the right of the child in article 31. However, I personally feel that the Scottish Government could be doing more to encourage play particularly at a young age especially in comparison to the Swedish Education System.

 

References

Scottish Government (No Date Given) Early Learning and Childcare Available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Young-People/early-years/parenting-early-learning/childcare (Accessed on 20/01/16)

Unicef (No Date Given) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Available at: http://www.unicef.org.uk/Documents/Publication-pdfs/UNCRC_PRESS200910web.pdf (Accessed on 20/01/16)

Learning to Unlearn

When I first heard the phrase “learning to unlearn” I was immediately thinking what on earth. Why would we want to unlearn? Where can the benefit on unlearning things? However, it turns out there are lots of benefits. Driving is an easy one – we learn bad habits, become lazy, stop checking mirrors not long after passing our tests and it only takes one accident to make people think I need to go back to my standard of driving when I passed my test. This is unlearning. It is unlearning bad habits.

Something crucial that I took away from one of our lectures from Professor John Baldacchino on “Learning, Education and schooling” today was that we constantly drill many things into children that they are losing their individual personality and their ability to interpret things differently or as Professor John put it – we are teaching children to think to a standardised model. I began to question why we teach children to be this way. Professor John compare this to art and when we go into an art gallery as a child we are told what to see in a painting. We are told what the painting must be. Why can’t we allow children to use their imagination of what a picture may be?

My former flat mate and fantastic artist drew a picture for one of her briefing which I have included underneath. I will not immediately include the briefing or title of the picture and allow you to imagine what this picture might represent.

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I am sure there are many ideas of what this picture could mean or represent. This picture is a self- portrait. Although when I think of the word self-portrait I assume it means a picture of the artists face and what they look like. To me (and I also assume many other people would think this as well), that is also standardised thinking, it is what I have been taught or told the word self-portrait means. On the other hand, Claire has done exactly what we spoke about in our lecture today. Claire has unlearnt what she has been told a self-portrait is. She has not gone away and spent hours perfecting a drawing of her face. She has taken a new meaning to self-portrait. The drawing itself and Claire’s thought process behind the drawing has inspired me to stop being so conformist and thinking everything for face value.

Claire has taken her briefing to do a self-portrait and instead taking into account the factor in her life that make Claire, Claire as an individual. Claire (who I am not going to attach a picture of yet – I will let you imagine and take as much as you can from her drawing just now) believes that the thing that make her an individual and what she has convey in the drawing is her ginger hair and her love of tea. She has incorporated two big things her life and used this to show herself in a self-portrait. This to me shows Claire as a person and not just by the way she looks.

On my first year professional practice I had done an art lesson on portraits. The art lesson wasn’t just to get the children to draw pictures of their peers. There was a message behind the lesson after getting to know my class. When I was planning for my lesson – I shared it on facebook for others on the course which I captioned “In an attempt to inspire my class that art can be for everyone and there is no wrong answer in art, my wonderful flat mates” (yes one being Claire) “and I (one art student, one English student and one teaching student) have drawn portraits… to show them there is always a range in abilities in art like any subject so we shouldn’t be disheartened. I have a range of abilities in my portraits to show them… and a range of abilities in acrostics… to try and show them we all have our own talents but we should always at least give it a shot, like my very willing flat mates have” who have also agreed to let me put them into my blog!

portrait 1 portrait 2 portrait 3

All of the portraits that were drawn by my flat mates, my class and myself were of course from the standardisation of thinking a portrait had to be of another person’s looks. In fact so standardised that the portrait only included their face not even a portrait of what the person looks like from head to toe.

If I were to do this lesson again, after reflecting on what I have learnt about standardised thinking and learning to unlearn. I would more than likely do a series of lessons: firstly getting them to do the same exercise again with the “standard portrait”; then have a brain storm of what else we think portrait could mean; and then have them create a portrait without anything to do with the person or their own face/look and see how differently we can show a portrait of someone.

 

(Big thank you once again to my willing flat mates for letting me including their personal art into my blog and lessons!)

Is Teaching A Profession?

I recently came across a photo on an educational page I follow on facebook which I absolutely loved and linked very well with a few news articles lately. I felt this following blog might be of some interest (and help) especially to the MA1 who will writing their essay on professional now or in the near future.

The quote (of Donald D. Quinn) came from the Education to the Core’s facebook page (this does not mean I endorse or support this facebook page at all). “If a doctor, lawyer or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble and the doctor, lawyer or dentist without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job”.

Now, I am not all one hundred percent in favour of this quote as it seems to dismay how much work doctors, lawyers and dentists do. I have never been either of those or studied any of their professions in depth but I am sure they are very hard working people from those I have had the pleasure meeting whilst at university.

However, there are a few sources out there that also seem to think that teacher do not quite make it as professionals or teaching does not quite make it as a profession. Teachers compared to doctors, lawyers and dentists seem to the least trusted – the government hold a lot more power over teachers than these other professions. A Guardian Education Correspondent, Sally Weale, summed up that the teaching profession is very closely monitored by the government by saying in her article “despite Michael Gove’s intentions, teaching has become a profession monitored to within an inch of its life. Weale links this to the reason for the huge drop out of newly qualified teachers very early in their career. This is something that doctors, lawyers or dentists do not have as much pressure on them as teachers.

There has been a record number of teachers leaving their profession due to the amount of work and stress they are under. “A combination of unacceptable number of hours worked, a punitive accountability system, the introduction of performance-related pay and being expected to work until 68 for a pension has turned teaching into a less than attractive career choice” (Blower, Quoted in The TES, 2015). I personally believe that teacher work just as hard as any other professional in professions such as medicine or law. However, due to quotes such as “He who can does. He who cannot teaches,” we do not get the same trust from the government or same respect as other professionals. Shaw (quoted in The Importance of Teaching, Volume 70 No. 5) rebuts this by stating that “teachers can do something, and do do something; they teach. Like any other professional activity, teaching requires a cultivated ability. To be done exceptionally well, it also requires a special talent and a sense of vocation”

Additionally, Quinn’s quote suggests that teachers have an incredibly hard job which most of the time goes unappreciated. Teachers work under many pressure listed in Quinn’s quote as well as the Guardian article which many other professions and professionals do not have. I believe this makes a good stance as to why teachers should be deemed as professionals and the job we do a profession.

I hope this has sparked some thoughts on teaching being a profession and teachers are professionals. However, in my own opinion, I clearly still believe that yes we are professionals for reasons such as those stated in Quinn’s quote and many more.

The “Running Revolution” in Stirling.

For this blog post, I am going to look at Outdoor Education in particular comparing Sweden and the UK (in particular St Ninians, Stirling).

After our lecture inputs Brenda, I found myself in awe at Sweden and their approach to learning. I am very keen to learn more about outdoor education and this is what I intend to do with my learning from life placement this year hopefully as well as just getting a part time job with links to outdoor learning.

I found myself eager to complete the TDT tasks for the comparative education with Sweden yesterday and realised how far behind the UK actually are in terms of outdoor education. I remember being in primary seven and the class asking to go and learn outside about a topic and being told we couldn’t as it hadn’t been risk assessed. However, Sweden on the other hand, totally trust their system, pupils and most importantly the teachers to not do anything that would cause huge amounts of risk.

Today however, I just read an article (The Running Revolution) about a school in Stirling, Scotland which prompted this blog post. St Ninians School have recently made the news around Scotland for the fact they now have no children with childhood obesity and they have also managed to increase concentration in class. Their secret. The great outdoors. As cringey as that sounds – it works in Sweden and it is clearly working in Stirling. In Sweden, the teachers state that getting outdoors for at least half of the school day in preschool Runningbuilds good health in children. Whilst at St Ninians this has proved that even getting outdoor for a small part of the day has improved the health of children by reducing the amount of children with childhood obesity to zero. St Ninians have spent the last three years having a daily mile – this is where they get their children outside to walk or run a mile every day. The teachers choose when in the day they do it, whenever fits best with their timetable for the day.  The only thing that stops the classes doing their daily mile is heavy rain or ice.

The teachers and the children both clearly benefit from this scheme – the teachers have commented on how much the children enjoy going out for the daily mile or it would not be maintainable with their enjoyment. The teachers and children both benefit from the increased focus and concentration in the classroom as well. Therefore it shows that taking 15 minutes away from teaching time can clearly impact positively on the learning time in the class. In Sweden, the teachers cannot believe that the children especially in early years education are not getting outdoors to play and enjoy childhood. St Ninians, Stirling clearly are edging towards this aspect of outdoor education and enjoyment with the children at their school with even just a very small proportion of the day.

In my opinion, I believe that this shows that outdoor education clearly positively impacts on the learning, health and concentration of children at school. Both Sweden and Stirling have been able to prove this statement. Sweden tops European League tables in literacy by the age of 10 and Stirling have been able to banish childhood obesity from their schools. Other schools in the UK are beginning to take notice to Outdoor Learning, more now due to the success at St Ninians which is a positive but slow start compared to Sweden.

I have left a link to the Guardian newspaper in a hyperlink above in case anyone wishes to find up a little bit more about St Ninians and their daily mile.