Category Archives: 1 Prof. Values & Personal Commitment

My personal views about children’s rights. Do teachers have the right to express a moral viewpoint?

We live in a society where all human beings having rights which must be respected by others. This of course is not always the case however. There are differing opinions about children’s rights. Some people believe that children should have rights just like everyone else, but others believe they are still dependent on teachers and parents so should not be full right bearers. I can see why both arguments could be valid.

There have been two main theories looking at rights, which can be linked directly to children. The choice theory is self-explanatory and discusses how everyone has rights, whereas the interest theory also believes everyone has rights but there must also be an interest group there to protect wellbeing. In my opinion, children should have their rights, but at an early age be given as much support as possible. Children will be able to make choices from very early in their life, but they will have no concept of what that choice could mean for themselves and others around them. Brighthouse and McAvvoy (2010) discuss that children have the potential to improve their skills and personality in such a way that will enable them to deal with the world, physically and socially on their own in the future, without being dependent. Therefore, it is vital for the children to have teachers and parents etc guiding them. The main role for teachers regarding rights for children is to support them in order for them to be independent with their rights in the future.

I believe that teachers can express a moral view point however it has become increasingly difficult to do this. This ‘expressing a moral view point’ can be looked at in two ways. If a student makes a decision that the teacher may believe is wrong, the teacher can only express a moral view point in my opinion if there is permission to do so from family and only if they feel the decision being made could have negative consequences on the student. They should never force their viewpoint on the student. If the moral viewpoint concerns what they are teaching in class or how they are being made to teach, this is completely different. Due to teachers lack of freedom and autonomy in the classroom, they have no choice in how and what they teach due to the curriculum and Scottish education compared to other countries. This leads to a lack of motivation from teachers in Scotland.

Teachers do have the right to express a moral viewpoint in terms of children and their rights but only in a way that will not make students feel uncomfortable or that it is being forced upon them. This links back to teachers being the supportive adult for children outside of their home environment. Teachers can give their opinions on matters in children’s lives and convey their view, but at the end of the day if a student is going to engage in any sort of activity, it is irrelevant what a teacher says, as they cannot stop them from doing it.

SMART Targets for Science.

As part of our Science input, we were asked to consider the future and our SMART targets for our development:


  1. I have to be willing to commit to constantly improve my subject knowledge of science. I plan to do this by researching all the main documents for science and through relevant subject reading.
  2. I want to be constantly collecting resources and experiments that can be used in my classroom.
  3. By the end of 1st year, I want to have gained a broad knowledge of the science subject.
  4. As I have only ever done biology in school, I will have to study the areas of chemistry and physics to fully understand how to teach science as a whole to my class in primary school.
  5. I will be looking out for current scientific issues and how science is portrayed in the media.

These targets will be worked on continuously. I can start to collect reading, not only from the reading list, but from a wider range of sources. I can be researching in my spare time and be looking for scientific issues on the news or in newspapers.

This will help me when trying to create engaging lessons on lots of different topics and will broaden my knowledge of the subject.


An important moment for me in Semester 1

As part of my continual development and professional reflection, I have been asked to choose one particular moment of semester 1 that was important to me as a professional and what I learned from the experience.

I have chosen the experience of visiting a school in Dundee for the working together module. The module visits didn’t just involve schools, but I found the visit to an actual school very beneficial for my own personal development and it proved to be a very positive experience.

I learned all about the ways in which the school worked together in general,  and specifically ‘the toast room’ which was for children to come during lunch to relax and talk to the support workers if they had any issues to discuss, or if they just wanted company and a chat. I also began to experience how the school worked collaboratively with outside agencies as well as how they cooperate with social workers and CLD workers to provide children with the best help and support. This links perfectly with the ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ or ‘GIRFEC’ approach which is at the centre of everything schools and teachers do and is vital in the development of children.

It was clear by the enjoyment and development of the children that the impact of the work being done was huge and, although it sounds cliché, it made me want to be a teacher even more.

I felt this experience has helped me broaden my understanding of the working together and cooperative aspect of the profession and it has improved my knowledge and developing my thinking further of just how important it is.


I have started to gauge how important and essential being an reflective practitioner is and how it can improve your chances of being a successful teacher.

It is crucial for teachers to be constantly reflecting on their practice to always be able to improve. There is always something to improve and if you can’t find anything to improve on then you’re probably in the wrong profession. It will not only improve your practice but it supports the development of the children in your class and the education profession in general. If every teacher shows professional commitment in order to reflect on the profession and their individual practice, it can only bring positive outcomes.

When I was at Baldragon Academy on my visit, we learned the importance of reflection as they looked at the ways they attempted to support children and realised some problems that may be affecting the support that they were offering. One area which was highlighted was that during ‘team around the child meetings’ there was too many adults associated with one child, which created fear and intimidation for the child so they reflected on this and now there is only a small group or even 1 or 2 adults who talk to children about issues they may have. This has improved the support available for children and is a positive example of reflection.

I believe that during my placements and thereafter in my career as a primary school teacher, being reflective constantly will aid my professional development and will help me grow as a person and a professional. I will be able to improve all the time, and will always be learning, in order to give myself and my children a better chance of being successful in school and during adulthood in the future.

We have to reflect on every experience, good or bad, to see what went well and why, and what needs improved upon and how we can do that.


Importance of the first 3 years of child’s life.

After watching videos from John Carnochan and Suzanne Zeedyk explaining the importance of children’s development and more specifically the importance of the first 3-4 years of a child’s life.


One of the main reasons for this is due to the fact, children are born earlier than most other species and animals. This is because if the child is left in the womb any longer they will become too big, more specifically the brain (as they are still developing), to be born healthy. This can cause deaths if the baby got too big, both to the baby and mother. Due to the early birth, they need to develop, so the first few years are vital in ensuring the baby grows to be an adult and have a good life and positive relationships. Interactions with the baby can be vital.

As professionals, we have a duty to help children develop and give them the best chance of a good start in life. Our role is vital.

We can do this in many ways, one of these ways can be simply to form a warm caring relationship with the child, ensuring that they feel nurtured, which is one of the key wellbeing factors. It is also vastly important to be there for the child and be responsive to their individual needs to matter who they are, as every child is different.

One other way that teachers can do to help children develop is encouraging as much exploration as possible, as by doing this, the children will be able to open their eyes to new experiences and in turn develop themselves as people.

As teachers, we should be promoting health and wellbeing and encouraging children to be as healthy as possible and to look after their bodies. This will obviously aid development, but not just physically, but mentally and socially too, making them more confident as a person.


To add to my earlier point about different experiences, teachers should be constantly surrounding children with stimulating experiences such as singing songs or playing music or performing. This will allow children to experience new experiences and learn new skills that will help them develop and will affect their lives positively in the future.

Establishing routines can be essential in allowing children to develop as constantly changing routines can have a significantly negative impact on the development of a child and can lead to potential bad behaviour.

Finally, educational practitioners must be able to work effectively in partnership with parents and families of children and must be willing to get to know every child and their personal situations. This partnership with families can give the child the best chance of being successful and positively developing. This is part of the getting it right for every child approach which is at the centre of everything teachers do. By getting it right for every child and committing to getting to know each child individually, you will be able to strive to meet their individual needs which will help them learn more effectively and develop.

So, in conclusion, by watching the videos, I have realised that the first few years of a child’s life are vastly important and can in a way decide what kind of life they are going to have. That is why teachers must focus on allowing children to develop in a positive way and must aim to transform children’s life chances.


Let’s Reflect….on Reflection!

Reflection overall can help us look at experiences we have had and evaluate exactly what happened and we can learn a lot from them through evaluation. We can also consider why events happened, what caused it to happen and how we can make changes to stop it from happening again. Overall it can help us develop and move forward our understanding.


Reflection is massively important in life, especially in professions such as teaching. You have to be a reflective practitioner if you are to continually improve yourself as a person, a teacher and as a professional. As professionals, we are always reflecting. We will most likely have to reflect every day as teachers about lessons, children’s individual behaviour and collaborative working with colleagues and other agencies. For example, if you have taught your class and you realise your pupils are not understanding what you are teaching them or just not picking it up as fast as you thought they would, you then have to reflect on certain things: what is the reason for them not understanding: was your teaching of the lesson too difficult for your students to understand? Is it just the kids who need extra support that haven’t quite grasped the concept? If it is your teaching, how can you make changes to improve the children’s learning and understanding? The reason that you have to ask yourself these types of questions is because reflection can’t just be from one person’s perspective. It must be from varying opinions and viewpoints from everyone involved as this will ensure that your reflections have the best chance at making a difference.

We have to reflect in order to make children and young people’s school experience as enjoyable as possible. This will give them a better chance of achieving their potential. This can only be done if we reflect in order to make sure the whole class is learning in the correct way for them personally so that they can engage in learning more effectively.



My First Values Module Workshop – My Opinions!

On Tuesday 20th September, I had my very first workshop of the Values module. I found this to be a very interesting and fun first workshop of my University career. It felt like I was going into the unknown, but everyone was in the same boat as no one knew what to expect.

We first got split into two groups and went to two different rooms. Once there we were placed at tables based on numbers from 1-4 which is a basic method which would most likely come in very handy in our profession of being a primary teacher. I myself was in group 3. We were told to introduce ourselves to everyone and get to know people. Each group was handed an envelope and were told whatever was in the envelope was all we could use to make something that could be given to a new student of Dundee University as a guide. This instantly made us excited to see the contents of the mystery envelope and made the task relatable straight away as we were all new students too. Our first reaction when opening the envelope was that of surprise of what we had or indeed the lack of what we had. All we had was pieces of paper, a pencil, a pen, a few paper clips, rubber bands and post-it notes. We all had the same thought which was, how are we going to make something useful with these materials. Having a quick look around we noticed that some other groups had a lot more than us. This made me think already that there was something about this task that didn’t meet the eye. While the groups were working, it was clear to see that the lecturer was full of enthusiasm for the ideas that groups 1 and 2 had and on the other hand didn’t seem to care much about the other two groups. As a group, we all noticed this and began to wonder what was going on and why the task had been made so unfair for us. Again, after everyone’s ideas were created, each group took it in turns to present. During each presentation, groups 1 and 2 were greeted with praise while my group were just told to sit down after we presented and the lecturer was sitting checking the clock and not even looking at the group talking when group 4 presented.

After all the presentations were over, we were all informed that the lecturer was told to act the way she was for a very good reason. It was all done to show us about inequality in society. I believe that the whole task was set out very cleverly and really did make me think that this does happen in real life. It gave me more knowledge and understanding of how people do live in society, ranging from the wealthiest more well off people (group 1) and the most deprived people (group 4). The materials we had were to represent how much some people have and how little others have. This was very evident during the task as group 4 would try and trade with other groups but soon realised that the things they were offering to trade were already on the table of the other groups so there was no point. This can be transferred to people that have so little that they try and steal just to make ends meet and put food on the table. It’s horrible to think but its true that some people haven’t got enough to survive when others have enough to last them a lifetime and longer. The society we live in is not a fair one when there are people in countries who have nothing, not even clean water, something that in this country we take far too much for granted and even thinking about that sickens me. This task was to broaden our understanding about not only this sort of inequality, but inequality in Education and the effects it can cause. Through my experience, I have seen that some children will simply not have as much as their class mates and it does make you stop and think what could be done to stop this horrendous issue. The answer of course is not simple by any stretch of the imagination and that is the harsh, sad but very, very real truth.

Overall this was done incredibly well and I feel like it will help me throughout this module.