Category Archives: 3.1 Teaching & Learning

Emotive and Controversial History

In the Social Studies elective, we were asked to read the T.E.A.C.H report (Historical Association, 2007). I found this report extremely interesting to read because it focused on how teachers fail to focus on emotive and controversial history. I had never really thought of this as an area in history that would be so important as I felt teachers were covering this without realising it. The report also gives examples of topics that integrate emotive and controversial history which will be extremely helpful when teaching.

The report states that many teachers avoid teaching history topics that are too controversial and emotive because they do not know how to address the issues with the children (Historical Association, 2007). Looking back on my experience in the primary school I could see this. Many teachers would do a topic with the children but did not fully go into detail of the controversial and emotive issues within the topic they were teaching. I taught World War 2 to primary 7 in first year and I feel I did not fully cover the controversial and emotive issues. I feel this was because I did not know how to approach them and feared what questions the children would ask just in case I could not answer them or did not know what to say. After reading more into this and attending lectures on it I feel a lot more confident to teach the controversial and emotive parts of a history topic.

Going forward as a professional I will ensure when teaching a topic, the controversial and emotive issues are covered as I feel children benefit from talking and learning about the issues, as it gives them a better understanding of historical interpretations. It also builds on their knowledge and questioning skills as they will ask questions based on what is being discussed and learn more about the history topic they are covering. However, it is important emotive and controversial history is taught at the correct level suitable for the children. If it is taught the children will become disengaged and may upset them emotionally.


Historical Association (2007) The T.E.A.C.H Report. Available at: (Accessed: 16 Sep 2017).

Four Friends in the Garden: Sue Heap (2005)

This book could be used to explore the mathematical concept of capacity through the size of the jugs and cups used at the picnic. To introduce and develop this concept with the children different jugs and cups could be put on the table with water. The children would then explore how each jug or cup holds different or the same volume of water. Water does not have to be used, sand could be used instead. To develop the children’s mathematical vocabulary through this activity the words more than, less than, the same, more or less will be used. The questions that could be asked during this activity are:four-friends-in-the-garden

          Which jug/cup holds more water?

          How can you measure which cup/jug holds more water?

          Which jug/cup holds less water?

You could also get the children to describe the jugs/cups using the mathematical language.

The jugs and cups could be left in the water tray for the children to continue to experiment with.

The story can be used to explore mathematical language with the children. For example, shape, pattern and time. There are many different activities that the children can participate in that will develop the different mathematical language. All the activities must be active and hands on for the children to be engaged and understand the different mathematical language.

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.

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


As my elective I chose the Working Together module. I have really enjoyed this module so far and have noticed how it could be used in practice already. The term collaboration comes up a lot in the lectures and we were given as essay to write on the term.

I have always been intrigued to find out more about collaboration so I did some research. I found that collaboration is when a group of people work together to complete a task and there are two types of collaboration:

– Synchronous collaboration- people meet at the same time for example in a room together or on Skype

– Asynchronous collaboration- not everyone is available so work is discussed by uploading documents or discussions online (aiim, 2005).

I noticed from research that there are various theories on collaboration: Huxham and Vangen (2005) and Frost. Frost identifies four different ways of working together and has identified them in levels. The theory I found most interesting was Huxham and Vangen (2005) as I could really relate and see their ideas in practice. Huxham and Vangen (2005) developed a theory of collaborative practice. They developed a ‘trust building loop’ which aimed to get everyone that was involved in collaboration to trust each other in order to initiate the collaboration. However they also stated that trust can take a while to develop.

Since reading into collaboration I can see that it is everywhere. As part of this module we are split into peer learning groups and in these groups we collaborate. We share ideas and develop each others. Out of the two types of collaboration we use both as we meet everyone Monday to work on our essays and tasks that have to be completed. We also have a facebook chat where we communicate with each other regarding information needed for our essays. I feel that we collaborate effectively as we all work well together. Everyone has a say in the group and disputes are always resolved.

Sources used

aiim (2015) What is Collaboration? Available online at: (Accessed: 29th November 2015).

Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. (2005) Managing to Collaborate: The Theory and Practice of Collaborative Advantage. London: Routledge.