Category Archives: 1 Prof. Values & Personal Commitment

My Experience in Sweden

After having a lecture on Swedish education I thought it would be beneficial to share my experience of working in a pre-school in Sweden.

In 2014 I was given the opportunity to go on a two week work placement in a pre-school, in Sweden as part of my college course. This experience was incredible; giving me the opportunity to become immersed in the culture, meet new people, learn about their 100_0937education system and compare it to ours.

Children in Sweden start pre-school when they are 1 years old and then go to school when they are 7 years old. You would think that the children would not be as advanced academically as Scottish children. However, this is not the case, the older children were able to write words, write their name, sing songs in Swedish and other languages too. Some children were able to speak some English along with their own language.

The difference in education systems was huge and it enlightened me of how our education system should be more like Sweden’s. The children have more freedom in their learning and take control in the100_0953ir play. The play is not structured like what it is in Scotland and I feel this works better as the children are choosing what they would like to play with either indoors or outdoors. If the children do not want to take part in an activity they do not have to. The 100_0934children were able to go outside and play whenever they wanted even if it was raining or snowing, they would just put on more layers of clothing. I was so shocked that the children were allowed out in weather like that as in Scotland if it is raining the children 100_0932 are kept inside. The weather did not affect the children in Sweden at all, they wanted to go out and play in the rain and snow. So why in Scotland do we not allow children to have fun playing in the rain and snow?

It was exciting to see how the fun learning environment created through outdoor learning enhanced the children’s experiences. The children were outdoors for half the day regardless of 100_0941the weather. The resources the setting had was amazing and provided the children with many play opportunities. Some of the resources were swings, climbing frames, bikes, scooters, sports equipment and sand pits built into the ground. The 100_0938tarmac on the ground was a road so the children could use it when playing on the bikes, trikes and scooters. The health and safety was much less strict like what it is in Scotland. One day we went a walk in the woods where hot food was taken and we had our meal in the woods. Children were allowed to climb up trees and explore the woods. The children were having a lot of fun and I felt this is something Scottish education is missing. The staff were very relaxed and calm when the children were climbing on things and exploring. I feel when children in Scotland are taken on a trip some members of staff can get a bit stressed and worried about if a child is going to hurt themselves.  


0-3 year old room

The setting in Sweden is much homelier and had more space for children to play. They had different rooms for the different ages of children. The 0-3 year olds were in one room and the 4-6 year olds were in another room. There were two 0-3 year

part of 3-6 year old room

part of 3-6 year old room

old rooms and two 4-6year old rooms. These rooms were kept


open so the children could float between the rooms. The room doors were only closed when the little ones were having a nap. However, the room doors were never locked. The children napping were in a

napping rooms

napping rooms

different room altogether which was located just off of the 0-3 year old room. Other children could still use the main room but they just had to be quieter. All the doors had huge windows on them from top to bottom which made the setting a lot brighter. The widows were big and started


Large open space

from the floor which made it easier for the children to see out of and it made the setting a lot brighter. There was a huge open space in the middle of the setting that was used for games that took up a lot of space. For example, when playing with big blocks. There were also activities that were held every day in this space for the children. For


Wet room

example, just dance was put on for the children. The setting had a wet room where an adult would take children in and they could play with water, paint and shaving foam. The children were allowed to paint on the walls, paint each other and wet each other.


In every room there is an unfinished work tray for every child and this is where the children would put their unfinished work. The children were not put under pressure to finish their work as they knew they could come back to it. This is a great idea as it means children will not rush their work and will take greater pride in their work as they know they have spent a lot of time on it. They also know that they can come back to it and it will always be there for them to finish.

During meal times the children and staff eat together which I thought was an amazing idea and could see all the benefits. The children were learning table manners, social skills and the different types of allergies. The children would go up and get their own food from the age of 2 years old. The children were developing an awareness of some of the allergies the children had. For example, one child aged 4 told me that another child had to use a different milk, butter and cheese because it gave them a sore tummy. There were set meal times for each group of children. However, if a child did not want to eat at that particular time they were not forced to, they were allowed to eat later with another group of children.


0-3 year old room

The communication between staff and parents was excellent. When the children came in the parents would speak to the staff about anything that may have happened or information that they should know. If there was any important information this was put up on the board. When the parents came to pick up their child a member of staff would mention any information they should be aware of. For example, if children nap during the day the parent would tell the member of staff when they usually go for a nap and for how long. The member of staff writes this on the board and the child’s nap time is recorded each day and communicated to the parent(s).


0-3 year old room

All the staff are super with the children and get involved in their play. If a child asks to do something they will try their best to implement it. Meetings are carried out all the time to ensure the children are getting the best opportunities possible. All the staff know exactly what is going on in the setting and know where they are meant to be in order to provide supervision. There was no one time where there were children not supervised while playing outside or inside. If any child has difficulties at home the staff are aware of that

The children in the setting were extremely independent compared to children in Scotland. For example, children from 3 years old were able to put on their outdoor clothing without very much assistance. The children wanted to try and do it for themselves and if they couldn’t do it they wanted shown how to instead of someone doing it for them.

Something I was not aware of while working in Sweden was that they do not receive any inspections as the government trust they are doing a good job. I feel that in Scottish education we are not trusted so it is why inspections need to be carried out.

Overall, I feel that Scotland should be taken some of Sweden’s ideas of education if not all of it. I feel in Sweden children have more choice in what they do, have more freedom in their play and have better experiences of outdoor learning. Over the years Scotland have tried to implemented more outdoor learning, however I feel that this has not yet met its full potential. Children are still kept indoors when there is the smallest bit of rain or snow.

Reflection on 1PP1

Going into my first placement, I was quite nervous as I was given a primary 7 class. I had never experienced a primary 7 class before. I was always with an infant or middle class so this was slightly out of my comfort zone. However, once in the class, getting to know the children and teaching them I really enjoyed it and I started to develop confidence. I had the pleasure of working with two teachers and I took this as a positive as I was able to see two different teaching styles.

The first few lessons I delivered it quickly became clear to me that for my lessons to be more effective the children need to know what they are going to be learning at the start of the lesson. Education Scotland (no date) state that in order for children to learn better they must understand the intended learning so the learning intention must be shared with them.Through observing the teachers, they both shared the learning intention with the children. This worked well as the children were engaged from the start as they knew what they were going to be learning. After taking this feedback on board and through self reflection I started sharing the learning intention with the children. Since I did this I could see the children were more engaged than other lessons I had delivered.

During the first week of placement I realised that classroom presence is vital and I need to develop this as a teacher. Cremin and Arthur (2010) state that being able to manage a class is down to you. You need to ensure the children understand what is being said and are listening to you. The children need to know you are there and you are in charge. During the first week I felt the children were not listening to me and their was low level disruptive behaviour occurring which I was not dealing with. After carefully analysing the situation I realised that my classroom presence was not being seen by the children as important. I spoke with one of the class teachers and she explained by varying my position in the classroom will force the children to look at you and they will listen better as you move. She also explained that I need to project my voice more so the children understand what you are saying and know its you in charge. After taking the feedback on board, the next lesson I delivered I tried projecting my voice more and moving around the class while talking. I felt the low level disruptive behaviour had reduced, the children were listening to me and looking at me when I was talking. With regards to the low level disruptive behaviour I stopped this from happening by telling children to stop speaking when I was speaking. This allowed the children to see that it was not acceptable and I was in charge. These little things helped improve my classroom presence and I am able to manage the class a lot better now. As said in me lesson plans I need to keep working on this. 

By the end of the first week going on to the second I had adopted a hand clap with the children in order to get their attention. I felt that this helped my classroom presence and allowed me to get the children’s attention without having to raise my voice. In order for this to be effective I had to practice it with the children first so they understood the purpose of it.

By the third week of my placement my classroom presence was well established. Both teachers explained my classroom presence has developed hugely and my voice is well projected. With regards to projecting my voice, in the third week I found it hard to project my voice when doing athletics outside with the children. In order to overcome this I used a whistle. This helped a lot as it got the children’s attention so I was able to explain to them what they were to do next. This also meant I was not having to strain my voice. These various resources help classroom presence and gain the children’s attention. However, it is important that you explain to the children what it is for and you practice using it with the children, as if this is not done it will not be effective.

During my placement it was clear to me that planning lessons to suit every child’s needs was essential. There were a couple of children in the class with dyslexia so it was important to take their needs into consideration. Since there was a child with an additional need in the class I made it a priority to research the additional need and find out more about how to support the children. I believe that if there are additional needs in the class it is important to research the need in order to fully support the child/children. To support the children with dyslexia in writing lessons I would ensure I sat with these children and gave them support. However I was also aware that one child did not like to be treated differently and liked independence. To ensure I met this need I ensure that I provided the appropriate support for the child and then allowed them to work independently. I was also aware that other children in the class may need help and support so it was important to give them attention too and not just focus my attention on the children with an additional need.

Groupings were extremely important when planning to meet all children’s needs. I could see the benefit of using ability groups and also mixed ability groups. Ability groups worked well in maths when doing activity stations as support was able to be provide to a group of children that needed that extra support. However, it was important that the stations had differentiation, for example there was more challenge for those children that need it but they also had to be designed so the less able children were able to do the activity.  It also allowed more time to be spent with children that found things slightly more challenging. Having children seated in mix ability groups for maths worked well as the children were able to explain to others how to do things. Mix ability groups worked well in topic activities as it gave children the opportunity to work with others they may not have worked with before. It also means that children are not constantly seen as being in a specific group for everything and are not constantly seen as being in the high or low group. This then gives the children more confidence in themselves.

Overall this placement has taught me so much about teaching and I have taken many things away from it that I will continue to use in my teaching career.


Arthur, J. and Cremin, T. (2014) Learning to Teach in the Primary School. New York : Routledge.

Education Scotland (no date) Sharing Learning Intentions and Success Criteria With the Learners. Available at: (Accessed: 21st April 2016).

Pollard, A. (2008) Reflective Teaching (3rd ed.) London: Continuum.


By looking at many other people’s posts and blogs it has made me reflect on my own. At the start I was very wary of posting and people seeing my work. I felt embarrassed to post and did not feel confident. Having the various inputs with Derek on developing the blogs really enhanced my confidence to post and make my post public. He really highlightedreflection the fact that by us blogging will develop us professionally which I can really see has. I feel that I have developed my knowledge as I have researched various topics and reflected on them. Also by giving feedback to others as developed me as a professional. By being given feedback as really helped me improve my posts and make changes. However it has also highlighted the strengths I have within my posts.

When looking back on my very first post and the most recent one I have posted I can see a huge difference. I am a lot more reflective in my posts which has meant that they have increased in length. I have started to include literature to influence my opinion and ideas. By reading and expanding my knowledge it has developed me as a professional. I feel that incorporating this reading in my posts has helped me understand it better. I have started to do more than just TDT’s as I feel that by writing about various things that are going on in education and the world really helps you stay engaged with what is happening today. By blogging and reading other’s posts it has developed my use of language and the way I write things.

There are still areas that I would like to improve. By looking at other people’s blogs it has influenced what I would like to eventually achieve in my posts. I would like to be a bit more reflective as I feel I am just starting to get the hang of writing in a reflective way. I would also like to start developing the length of my blogs. In order to do this I will incorporate more reflection, include my experiences and more include more literature. Overall I fell that I have come far from when I first started blogging and it is only going to improve.

Student Teacher Code?

The Student Teacher Code was something that I was not aware of before. After reading this I believe that this code is extremely beneficial to student teachers as it establishes guidance for you as a student. The code also provides support and helps you as a student build a professional foundation which leads to a successful career as a teacher. It also contains information that student teachers need to be aware of before becoming a fully qualified teacher.

There was some content within the code that really caught my eye. I never realised that the GTC Scotland go into great depth to make sure you are fit to teach. I knew that a PVG check would be carried out but I was not aware that when you register with the GTC they look at the professional standards and principles. I strongly believe that this is a great thing for GTC to do as it makes sure that the teacher is fit to teach. The different parts of the code really help to define how you should work with others and pupils. You can see how the code links into the Code of Professionalism and Conduct as it mentions things that relate to how you should act as a professional.



As part of a tutor directed we were asked to give feedback on peers blogs. I found writing positive feedback easy as I was able to pick out the positive aspects in their work. When it came to writing constructive criticism I found this quite hard as I did not want to offend the person. I struggled with trying to put what I wanted to say in the best possible way that would not hurt the person’s feelings. However I managed to be constructive in the criticism as I believe I was positive and suggested how the improvement could be made.

By carrying out this task I feel that I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned more about my strengths and what is good in my blog but also what needs to be improved and how this could be improved. It has also allowed me to look at other students work and get ideas of different ways of writing. It has also given me ideas to start adding videos and pictures to my blogs.

The feedback I received on my blog was very helpful and highlighted improvements that could be made that I did not notice, for example breaking my sentences up so they are not as long. The feedback given was very positive and the improvements were written in a positive way that was not offending. Looking at the feedback made me read over my blog again. By reading over it again and with the improvements in my head I was able to understand what they meant and how it could be adapted.

This process of peer review has been extremely beneficial.

5 Virtues of Teaching

Respect can mean a variety of different things and is a huge concept to grasp. For me respect means looking out for each other, listening to other people’s points of views, caring about their feelings and acting in a positive away around people.

Honesty is so important in the teaching profession and being honesty sets a good example to the children. Honesty is about telling the truth and not lying to yourself and others.

Kindness in the teaching profession is extremely important as you are a role model to the children. Kindness is a gesture of goodwill and the quality of being friendly towards others.

Fairness is incredibly vital in a classroom and is an important quality for a teacher to have. Fairness is about showing equality and treating everyone how you would want to be treated.

Patience is an important quality for a teacher to have. Being patient means you are able to wait quietly and without moaning for someone to finish something or simple just waiting on someone.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your eportfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The eportfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can pull in a Flickr page

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.