Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

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.

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.


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.


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.

Enquiring Practitioner

An enquiring practitioner is someone that engages in research to support their learning and also pupil’s learning. For me being an enquiring practitioner is a really important part of being a teacher as it allows you to expand on your knowledge and develop your practice. It also allows you to evaluate and reflect on your practice.

Being an enquiring practitioner also allows you to work collaboratively with others as you share your experiences and ideas. It also allows the research topic area to be looked at through different perspectives and then the ideas shared to the group; this expands your knowledge even further. There may be challenges when working with others as some practitioners may not want to share their ideas, conflict could occur and ineffective communication. If these challenges occur in your team this could hinder the work completed and you would not be getting the overall experience to share and communicate your ideas.

Being an enquiring practitioner creates an opportunity for you to stop and look at the different ways of working and teaching. By doing this it allows you to adapt the way you teach in order for your pupils to be more engaged in their learning and to get the best possible experiences. People who engage in research have a better understanding of their practice and ways that they could improve it. An enquiring practitioner becomes more aware of their pupils and the difficulties they may have and how they can help them.

I feel that being an enquiring practitioner is important to consider as a student teacher as it allows you to collaboratively work with others. It allows you to develop your knowledge and observe teachers taking lessons and carrying out lesson planning.

There are challenges that could occur as an enquiring practitioner for example some enquiries could simply be to prove the best practice or test the latest initiatives.

Overall being an enquiring practitioner is extremely important and it is definitely something I will be doing as a teacher.