Category Archives: 2.1 Curriculum

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.

Scientific Literacy TDT

Scientific literacy is a term that is used to describe someone who can understand science. A more elaborate explanation of that is someone whom has the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to be able to identify questions about science and to draw evidence-based conclusions from science experiments (OECD, 2003). The European Commission (1995) elaborated further ‘Clearly this does not mean turning everyone into a scientific expert, but enabling them to fulfil an enlightened role in making choices.’ This means that scientific literacy is not about everyone being able to understand everything to do with science, it is more about being able to understand a little bit of science to question and develop the world around you. Scientific literacy is having the ability to describe, explain and predict natural phenomena. It means that you can read, with understanding, articles about science and engage in social conversations about the validity of the conclusions to experiments that are written about (National Science Education Standards, page 22).

There are four types of scientific literacy and these are nominal scientific literacy, functional scientific literacy, conceptual scientific literacy and multidimensional scientific literacy. These all show a different kind of understanding towards science. Nominal scientific literacy is where the person recognises the vocabulary but does not have a clear understanding of it or they have misconceptions. Functional scientific literacy is where a person can describe the concepts of science but they cannot use the correct vocabulary and they do not understand fully what they are saying. Conceptual scientific literacy is where the person has a greater understanding or a concept and they can explain it. This person will also have a better understanding of enquiry and design in science. Lastly, there is multidimensional scientific literacy which is when the person fully understands concepts in a wider context. They can also make connections between science philosophy, history and practical applications of science.

According to Jarman and McClune (2007) without scientific literacy there would be an increase in inaccurate or misleading information, which can often result in media scares. Cases in which this has been apparent include the swine flu epidemic, and quite possibly the most known being the MMR vaccination scare.

Deer (2011) states in 1998, Andrew Wakefield, a medical researcher published that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination was linked to colitis and autism spectrum disorders. Despite this being false, it was credited as a reliable source, and people became reluctant to allow their child the vaccine and it wasn’t long before controversial articles were published in newspapers, further damaging the reputation of this vaccination.

Deer (2011) also highlighted, that it was later in 2004 that an investigation into Wakefield’s research paper was put in place and it was found that the original paper was fraudulent. The scientific consensus is that MMR is in no way linked to the development of autism. Due to this media scare, there was a great decrease in the amount of children receiving this vaccination, and therefore a rise in cases of measles. Many still refrain from this vaccination despite it being proven that its benefits hugely outweigh its risks.

Fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy as it involves recognising and communicating questions that can be investigated scientifically and knowing what is involved in such investigations. It also includes identifying or recognising evidence needed in a scientific investigation. For example, what things should be compared, what valuables should be changed or controlled, or what action should be taken so that relevant data can be collected. This is essential for ensuring that the data collected is accurate. For example, taking the example that is used on the PowerPoint. The children should be able to recognise that it is going to be an unfair test as one driver involves a man on a motorbike, whilst the other driver is a small child on a go-kart. The children will therefore identify that the man on the motorbike will have no problem in winning the race. Children should also be able to recognise what should be altered so that the race would be deemed as fair. In this case, both the vehicle and age of the person leads to an unfair test. This skill is key to a child’s scientific literacy and is therefore pivotal to teach. The children can also learn from their mistakes. If the experiment does not go the way that they had predicted, this gives them an opportunity to communicate and understand how the experiment went wrong and how they would be able to correct these mistakes. This in itself is scientific literacy.

European Commission (1995) White Paper on Education and Training Assessed 15th February 2016.

Deer, B. (2011) Exposed: Andrew Wakefield and The MMR-Autism Fraud. Available at: (Accessed: 15th Feb 2016).

Jarman, R. and McClune, B. (2007) Developing Scientific Literacy. England: Open University Press.

OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] (2003) The PISA 2003 Assessment Framework – Mathematics, Reading, Science and Problem Solving Knowledge and Skills. Paris: OECD.


Johnny, Abi, Leah, Rebecca

Music Fear

I love music in the classroom and I strongly believe children should be taught it. However, I have always dreaded the time that I will have to teach music to the children. I have no confidence in teaching music and I would not know where to start. I never have learnt to play a musical instrument because I was never be interested in it. I had always thought that to teach music you had to either have a good voice or play an instrument (how little did I know). The thought of teaching music gave me butterflies so going to my first workshop made me extremely nervous.

MusicLogoAs soon as we sat down our lecture said we do not need to play a musical instrument to teach music. I was so shocked but the more she went into it I could see that it was very true. She also said that everyone can play an instrument anyway, for example we all have voices, we all know how to play the tambourine and triangle. We also have our hands and feet to make a beat. This made me realise that this was all true. My confidence started to grow in music and the fear of teaching it began to drop.

As part of the workshop we were split into groups and had to produce music from an event in Harry Potter. At first I did not know where to start but once we got our event and instruments picked. We started to put it all together and ideas kept popping into my head. Each instrument could be used in the event. I was able to help with how many beats each instrument would play and when each instrument would come it. Working as a team really helped as ideas were mentioned that I had not thought of.

Our lecture covered sound pictures which is when pimusicctures are used to stimulate music. It involves the children deciding on characters they wish to include as a sound picture. The children then get into groups and prepare their sounds to go with the character. The children then perform there piece. This idea stimulated a lot if ideas in my head and how I could make this into a lesson.

It just goes to show that I was making an assumption about what music would be like and how I would not be able to teach it. I just got into the mind set that I was terrible at music and was not going to be good at teaching it. I am so glad that this workshop as proved me wrong and has changed my view on teaching music completely. I am now excited to get out into the primary school and deliver a music lesson.

Daunting Behaviour Management

Behaviour management is something that is always on my mind when I think about going out on placement. I have watched many teachers handle behaviour and they seem to deal with it as if it were second nature. Even with teachers given me tips on how to deal with behaviour it has only gave me a bit more confidence. My main worry is that I am not going to be able to control the class or they are not going to listen to me.

 To try and improve my conunrulyfidence before I go out on placement I have read various books and websites. Watkins (2000) stated that there are various strategies to deal with behaviour. When out on placement I have to remember that if a strategy I use doesn’t work there will always been another one, which the teacher will be able to help me with. One thing that Pollard (2014) pointed out was that you need to understand why children may behave in that way. Some children may have learning difficulties so it is important to know that and acknowledge the way their behaviour is dealt with. When out on placement if a behaviour does occur regularly I would speak to me teacher as it may be the case there is a reason for this, and a way of dealing with it. There is a behaviour policy in every school and all schools may be different depending on the type of behaviour that occurs and the area. When going into placement I will get a copy of this and familiarise myself with the procedures and make sure I go by that.

I noticed that all the literature focused on the importance of promoting positive behaviour in the classroom. This was one thing I never really associated with behaviour management. It was also something that I feel is second nature to me, as I feel that every child should be acknowledge for doing something well, trying their best and hapositiveving good behaviour. There are numerous ways this could be done, for example through verbally saying to the child, handing out stickers or putting points on their chart. Porter (2000) stated that it is important to give pupils positive recognition. She stated that by giving children positive recognition it is highlighting their behaviour to the other children, so they will learn what behaviour is acceptable. She also stated that by giving the children recognition for their behaviour they are more likely to learn the behaviour. Giving children positive recognition is something I will be more aware of out on placement. I will also be more aware of not giving out to little or too much positive recognition.

Behaviour management is something that I will make a goal when going out on placement. I feel by reading it has made be a little more confident. I feel that by observing the teacher, reading the policy and actually teaching the class I will develop and find my feet in terms of behaviour management.


Pollard, A (2014) Reflective Teaching in Schools. (4th ed.) London: Bloomsburry Publishing plc

Porter, L. (2000) Behaviour in Schools: Theory and Practice for Teachers. Australia: Open University Press

Watkins, C. (2000) Managing Classroom Behaviour. London: Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum.

Drama TDT

As part of our drama workshop we had to watch a video about structuring a drama lesson. The lesson was very interesting to watch and would be a lesson that I would deliver in the primary school. The lesson started of with an agreement. This included the children and the teacher agreeing rules which guides their behaviour. Then a warm-up activity followed which gets the children’s bodies and mind ready. The warm up could included vocal, concentration, team work or getting physically warmed up. After the warm up was complete a stimulus was put on the floor for example photos. This developed the children’s ideas of what they were going to be focussing on. It also allowed them to start thinking creatively. The main lesson would be delivered. It is important to get the children to perform their work as it allows them to feel they have achieved something out of the lesson. It is important that at the end of the lesson you evaluate it. You ask the children what they have done/learned. This allows you to see what the children have understood, learned and plan their next steps.

The benefits of structuring drama this was is that children are able to be creative and use their imagination. It also allows children to warm up at the start which gets them ready for the lesson ahead. Also having the evaluation at the end allows you to identify what the children’s next steps are and if they have met the learning intention. Since no props are used it allows children to use their bodies and voice creatively by experimenting. By introducing a stimulus is allows the children to visualise what the lesson is based on. By structuring drama this way it allows the subject to be used as a cross curricular.

The experiences and outcomes that are being used in this lesson are:

I enjoy creating, choosing and accepting roles, using movement, expression and voice. EXA 1-12a

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through drama.  EXA 1-13a

Scary ICT

As a child I loved ICT! Going on the computers was always my favourite thing to be asked to do! Now coming to teach ICT in the classroom I get butterflies in my stomach.

After my workshop today I was brought to many of the dangers involved with ICT if you do not teach children the appropriate social-networking-picway to use it. It was highlighted that internet safety needs to be taught to children in order to make sure they know how to use the internet safely and so they know the dangers involved. There are so many resources out there to teach children the correct way to use the internet and social media sites. Before showing the children the various resources out there that they can use I feel that its important to have a lesson on internet safety first.

As much as ICT needs to be used carefully there are so many opportunities to show children what you can all do using the computer and different software. The resources we were showing today over half of them I had never heard of. It really scared me as I thought I was up to date with what is new on the internet. Going forward I am going to have to pay more attention to what new technology schools are introducing and read more about the new technology that is being used today.

Prezi was one of the things I had never heard of before. It is something that I could see being a great resource in the classroom. Prezi is a way of creating eye-catching prezipresentations. It can be used for all age groups within the school. Teachers could use it for the younger children to introduce there letters or animals of the rainforest. For older children it may be used to introduce facts about world war 1. Children can also have access to prezi. This would be for the the older children p3-7. The children could create a presentation to present to the class. This could be as part of a topic they are doing.


Animation is something I had never experienced before and since having a workshop on it, it is something I would definitely want to introduce to children. Animation is becoming more popular in schools and I can see why. It is something that would very much appeal to children and they would have a lot of fun creating it. pivot-stickfigure-animator-4.jpg

Children develop many skills through creating animation. For an animation to be successful it is important for the children to work in a team as there are many jobs to be done in the process of the creation. Children develop their creativity skills as they create characters and a story for their animation. Children will develop their social skills as they will be interacting and communicating with other children. Through animation children develop their ICT skills for example as the learn to use the software to create the animation. The children will also be learning how to get a camera to work through a computer. Through animation children develop their knowledge of graphics and digital photography which enhances their ICT Skills. The children will also learn out to create sound to add to their animation.

When googling examples of animations on youtube I was quickly made aware that the animations created contained violence. I was shocked to see this and it is something that would have to be addressed in the classroom if children were to come across this.

The experiences and outcomes I acknowledge for animation was:

I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways. TCH 1-04b / TCH 2-04b

I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts. TCH 1-04a / TCH 2-04a


‘Mathematics Explained for Primary School Teachers’ by Haylock was a book recommend by one of my lectures. I read the first three chapters and I found them extremely interesting. I had no idea about the number of teachers that have insecurities about teaching maths. It was made clear that many trainee teachers have anxiety about teaching maths and most of their anxiety was based on their experience of being taught maths. It was stated that in order to come away from this feeling we need to teach children how to understand maths and explain maths to them. This got me thinking about how I was Maths icontaught at primary school. Maths was never explained to me, I was just taught how to do things and that was it. I believe that in order for children to enjoy and appreciate maths it needs to be explained to them and they need to have an understanding of why they are doing it.

The importance of relating maths to everyday life is extremely beneficial to the children as the children can see what they have learned being put into a different contexts. Maths as a subject is extremely important and every child should learn maths in primary school. Maths contributes to everyday life and without children learning maths they will not be able to: read bus time tables, tell the time, solve problems. Maths contributes to children’s intellectual development and the more that develops the more ready they will be for secondary school. With maths being taught effectively children will enjoy it.

Maths nowadays is taught differently and I feel that it is taught more successfully now. For example more resources are used to help children with their counting, ICT facilities are available, children are given the opportunity to talk about maths to their peers, show me boards are used and maths games are encouraged to teach children. The list of ways in which children can be taught maths is endless.

Maths is linked to other areas of the curriculum and can be taught with other subjects. This allows children to use skills they have to help them in another subject which shows them there skill can be used in a variety of ways. Instead of children learning something and trying to remember it for example the times table. Children are taught to connect the times table to help them understand it better.

Active Learning

Active learning is seen in many schools and in the curriculum. It is learning that challenges and engages children in their thinking using imaginary and real-life situations. Active learning is said to develop children’s skills, knowledge and opportunities. It also allows children to have a positive view on their learning. Active learning is about children being actively involved in their learning for example physically doing activities to help them learn.

Active learning is seen in the four capacities of the curriculum:

Successful learners- Active learning is seen as children use their imagination and creativity. Active learning also takes place when children have new experiences and learn from them.

Confident individuals- Active learning is seen when children succeed from doing activities and are satisfied after completing a task.

Responsible citizens- Active learning is seen here as children see the world in different ways and learn to share their ideas. Also active learning is seen when children learn to respect each other and themselves. Also as children learn to share this is seen as active learning.

Effective contributors- Active learning is seen when children play/communicate together, tackle problems and take part in thinking and talking.