This week we focused on interdependence, which Collins (2019) describes as groups of people or things that relying on each other.
In session one we visited two cattle farms that have very different processes of producing milk. Strandhead Farm never let the cows outside and kept them all together in large groups.
Keeping the cows indoors allowed the farmers to be more in control of the cow’s diets by tracking their eating habits using a robotic machine that fed them. This machine collected data on the different groups and what diet would benefit the cow to produce the most milk.
This farm was reliant on this machine to ensure all the cows had the diet they needed to produce lots of milk. This links in with interdependence as this farm is heavily dependent on technology to ensure that the cows get the right amount of food to make the most milk. The cows eat cereal within their diet to boost milk production. All the cows at this farm are artificially inseminated so never get to naturally have calves and when they give birth the calves are taken away immediately. This farm forced me to see the sad reality that some cow’s live. When it comes to milking the cows, it is very military operation, they all stand in line and wait their turn getting milked from a machine.
Although the farm insisted that this lifestyle was ‘happy and healthy’ for these cows and that this way of farming produces the best milk, I wanted to do my own research. Macintyre (2008) stated that studies have shown that cows who eat the outdoor grass and clover, produce more antioxidants and vitamins – for example they produce 33 percent more vitamin E- than cows that eat food that is processed. This meaning the milk production at Stranhead Farm may not be of the best quality. The General Teaching Council (2019) highlights the importance of having the ability to critically question and interrogate which was the skills I used when researching for fresh information before forming my overall opinion on this method of farming. Strengthening my knowledge is vital as when I have my own classroom It is incredibly important to use these skills so that I know the information I present to the children is unbiased and fully informative.
The Mossgiel Farm has been passed down three generations. It is an organic farm which is more sustainable than the first farm. Soil association (2019) highlights that if half of the farming industry in the EU were to go Organic by 2030, they would cut European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions by around 23%. The cows on this farm can roam more freely and are on a complete grass diet which as stated before produces a better quality of milk however the milk production is much slower than that of cows who have cereal in their diet.
This farm relied solely on individuals buying their milk as they do not produce enough to be major suppliers for stores. This links with interdependence as the farm is dependent on their regulars purchasing their milk to make profit. At milking time, the cows are separated into groups of personality bossy, mediocre and timid to make the milking procedure more comfortable for them. When a cow gives birth, the calf can stay with its mother and drink her milk. The farmer stated that only nine farms in Scotland operate this way.
This experience really benefited me as a student teacher by educating me about the different ways that the milk I drink is produced. A trip like this would be a great benefit for primary children. At the second farm a woman from the Royal Highland Education Trust spoke to us about her positive experiences taking children on trips like this and how important it is to be outdoors. These types of outdoor learning experiences educate children on where their food comes from and how animals are treated. Education Scotland (2019) states that outdoor learning allows children to make connections with the real world by learning in a more natural and relaxed environment. Reflecting on my pre-University experiences of outdoor learning and comparing them with the ones I have experienced in university thus far; I have a newfound appreciation for outdoor learning. I am becoming more aware of the importance of outdoor learning by doing my own research into policy and practise which signifies the endless benefits it has on children’s development and education. I know it deserves a critical place in the curriculum as it allows children to develop resilience, strengthen knowledge of the wider world around them, enhance problem solving skills and build confidence in a real-life context.
Education Scotland. (2019) Outdoor Learning Practical guidance, ideas and support for teachers and practitioners in Scotland. [Online] Available : https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/hwb24-ol-support.pdf [Accessed: 21 October 2019
General Teaching Council for Scotland. (2019) Overview of the Standards. Available: https://www.gtcs.org.uk/professional-standards/engaging-with-the-standards/overview-of-the-standards.aspx [Accessed: 21 October 2019].
Harper, C. (ed.) (2019) COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary [Online] Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/interdependence [Accessed 22 October 2019]
Macintyre, J. (2008) Cows That Eat Outdoor Produce Healthier Milk. The Independent. [Online] 21 October, non-paginated. Available: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cows-that-eat-outdoors-produce-healthier-milk-835188.html [Accessed: 21 October 2019].
Soil Association. (2019) Why is organic better for the planet? [Online] Available: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/why-organic/better-for-the-planet/ [Accessed: 21 October 2019].