A question upon concept-based learning

The scope for further exploration when using a concept-based approach is endless – there is always somewhere to go, and some way to expand. So how does a teacher decide when too ‘move on’? 

Children in the same class will always be working at different levels. Does this approach not favour the best learners in the class? How can we stop this approach from leading to the attainment gap (between students in the same class) from growing?

Reflection into my Teaching Philosophy

Above is my reflection into my teaching philosophy. I struggled with the size of the files (hence the quality and the fact there is two files).

Inquiry Diary

Inquiry Diary

What are your experiences of inquiry?

I think I am immediately drawn to thinking about my time at college, and my graded unit. I had to choose 2 different monologues, using inquiry skills to choose ones that are to develop them. I think this is a great way to learn, it gives a sense of hones and autonomy onto the learning.  I feel good about it, I think it’s a positive way to learn.

What are your questions about inquiry?

How can it be properly implemented in a classroom? Especially a younger years classroom. How does it fit into time constraits?

Sorting out

Resource:          https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-inquiry-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron


Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity


transfers some responsibilities from teachers to students



Frayer model




An investigation. Asking the right questions that are going to help your investigation.


Inquiry is in the hands of the investigator. Whether it is a pupil or an official.

Inquiry is a process.

Open questioning



My time at college doing my graded unit

Open questioning

Online resources





Non examples

Heinemann text books

Spelling test

An assignment?





Chapter 6 ‘How do we establish a culture of inquiry in classrooms?’ in McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2013) Essential Questions: Opening doors to student understanding. Alexandria: ASCD. Available online from the library..


New questions

What are some of the drawbacks on inquiry learning?

Why dosen’t my university course offer more inquiry learning?

But why…?

  1. Who is disadvantaged with this approach and how?
  2. Who is advantaged and how?
  3. What am I challenged by?
  4. What am I curious about?


  1. The enquiry bases disadvantages children that are shyer, particularly children that have special needs. It isn’t scaffolded enough to teach the skills that are necessary, and in some ways already expects a lot of the children. However, it could be argued that children develop at their own pace, and that with support enquiry-based learning can be great for children of this nature.


  1. I think confident and inquisitive learners are advantaged by this. As they carry out this type of learning they grow their independence. They develop many different skills through this.


3/4. I am challenged and curious by thinking how this works in practice. I am trying to think of what types of activities would be implemented.

Values in Early Years Education

  • What values are present within Early Years Education?​

One value that I believe everything is based around is making everything child-centred. During this age children develop enormously; and making things child-centred enables this development. Play in the classroom is fundamentally, and is valued very high in Early Years Education. I think that creating a valuable play experience for children is very valued. Creating meaning in their play that enables them to create their own discoveries.

  • What practices are promoted to enact or realise these values?​

There is a pedagogical cycle that best represents the way that these values are enacted. There is no first stage of this cycle but one stage is observation. Teachers need to ‘listen with their eyes and their ears’. They need to ask themselves what these behaviours, actions and emotions mean about a child’s development. Documenting these is important. The cycle can then move onto the responsive and intentional planning. Taking these observations and deciding what parts of their learning are working well, and need to stay. Also deciding which parts need to change. The final part of the cycle, and arguably the most important is the facilitation. Notice that the word is not teaching, as we in keep with the values. Children need a variety of spaces (including outdoor). Experiences should also be flexible and sensitive; reconginziing that every child is different.

IB Introduction – Reflections

One – summary of aims

The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, is a global curriculum that offers four education programmes for learners aged 3 to 19.

The IB is primarily learner focused. It gives learners the tools to achieve autonomous learning. Using effective teaching, significant contents and global contexts to do so.

Something that runs true with me is the relevance that the programme has to the modern world. Some syllabus’ are dated but the IB seems not to be. Learning focus on things like the environment, rights, conflict and governance to create well rounded learners.

I want to know more about how they keep IB consistent across the world, about the choices and the freedom that teachers have – and how this can tie in to the things mentioned above.



Two – a) differences and similarities between IB and CfE b) My own experience and the IB learner profile attributes

a) It seems that both IB and CfE want to create a well rounded individual. A learner that is responsible, aware of the world around them. Both programmes mention creating a confident individual. One difference is I think that the IB profile mentions the skills that are to be developed, where as CfE mentions the outcomes AFTER development. I think that on the whole CfE is perhaps more outcome based.

b) I have never worked in an IB school, or had much to do with an IB school. I have however worked in schools in Scotland and in Italy. I think during my time in Scottish schools I have seen a lot of focus on reflection. There is now a push to encourage self-assessment which in turn creates reflection. Also things like ‘Friday Reflection’ have been observed. This is an example of creating a reflective learner.

During my time teaching in English in Italy I chose to create a serious of lesson on the millennium development goals. This helped create knowledgeable and caring learners. They were also invited to use their own form of communication to develop a presentation as part of this. This encourages learners to be thinkers and communicators. I have also seen and taught this in Scottish schools. Giving learners the opportunity to use their own form of communication. This also promotes autonomy in learning.

Three – Progressive trends and how they match with CfE

Again I want to think about autonomy in learning. This is something that is a funding principle of CfE and that seems to be evident in IB. I think these fit into the Student Choice and the Child-centred parts of the document. I believe that CfE’s focus on STEM subjects fits well with inter-disciplinary learning and multiple perspectives.

Four – similarities and differences between CfE and PYP

One obvious similarity is the way that both programmes are trying to make things more student centred. Making things flexible so that learning can be about what the child wants it to be about. The freedom the teachers have seems to be a similarity, although I think with the PYP programme teachers seem to work more collaboratively together.

I think one stark difference is the way that the CfE is so outcome based whereas the PYP is much more skills based. In those short videos the CfE teachers make many many references to different areas of the curriculum. Whereas the PYP  docent as much. I also think there seems to be more trans-disciplinary learning with PYP.

My philosophy is torn. When I see CfE being implemented I still often think it is quite archaic. Contexts that things like Maths and Language are taught in are often boring, dated and aren’t necessarily engaging. However perhaps this has nothing to do with CfE itself. I like the idea of making things much more trans-disciplinary within PYP, and of using new and relvant (to the day) contexts. I also like and of the collaboration teachers have with each other. I often wonder why there isn’t a massive data base of teaching resources as part of the Education programmes we use. If Mrs X in Sweden has spent a whole weekend creating an engaging and current lesson, that uses Mathematics skills as well as other areas, then surely she should be able to share this?

Teaching Across the Curriculum, a breakdown over the early weeks

One of my three modules this semester is Teaching across the Curriculum. A bit chaotic at the first look of the timetable- this module consists of lectures, workshops and TDT’s across all of the eight curricular areas: Health & Wellbeing; Mathematics; Technologies; Language; Expressive Arts; Social Sciences and RME.

This post really constists of my thoughts and feelings about the areas within the module that I have started to take – as well as some TDT tasks that the module tutors have asked me to do.  I will continue to update this post as I continue through the module.



I had great fun in Sharon’s ICT Animation class- it was very engaging and creative.


  • Spend one hour going through the animation presentation and spend time looking at some of the resources and reflecting on how you could use these to teach animation.
  • Spend one hour getting to know how to use the online software Pivot.  Create a Pivot animation and think about what key skills you would be teaching children.
  • For both tasks, place evidence in your ePortfolio and reflect on your learning as a learner, what ICT skills you would need to teach children when creating an animation. Also, reflect upon where animation sits in the ICT experiences and outcomes. Finally, you may wish to consider what style of learning is associated with creating animations through reference to different theorists.


– The presentation was full of brilliant resources used in creative ways. I was really taken by the use of the video in the start of the presentation. It engaged us all straight away- and created a dialogue immediately by using questions based up on it. Some practicioners may consider this a lazy method; but the use of a video as a lead in is genuis. I have often used it as an EFL teacher- and seeing it used inside this lesson made we want to continue to use it. Sharon used a great task to help us all understand what an ‘Onion Leaf’ is. It was simple, using paper and pen. It was a quick, easy task that did more than explaining, or even visualising what an ‘Onion Leaf’ is; but actually gave us the practical experince of creating one.
The main software that was used for the bulk of the lesson was- Zuedem. This teamed with a camera, a large piece of paper and some objects; and boom! We’re animators. I loved the entrustment that this software and this part of the lesson gave us. As well as allowing, and enabliing us to creatively use our ideas in making our own animation- it also created a personal space for us; alikened to our own studio. I would love to use this software in future lessons.

-Pivot! The hours I spent on this game during my early years of high school are probably quite embarassing. In addition to being one of the only games downloaded on our School computers, I also had it at home. I use the term game beacuse it is so much fun. Its basic essence allows us to use our imagination to create basically anything. I was so impressed with what I had made, but looking on YouTube showed me that the options are really limitless. I think it is a good piece of software to use for many reasons. Firstly the nature of it really improves, what I call, our cognitive ICT skills- working on pivot dramtically and quickly improves ones work with the mouse or trackpad. For this reason I think it could even be appropriate for early years. The endless possibilities of Pivot also make it appealing as a tool to teachin with- children can really make anything, even a christmas lesson could be based around this software.



The Reasons Why.

Primary School Teacher

Primary school teachers, also known as national school teachers, are involved in the social, intellectual, physical and moral development of pupils in their class. A teacher works with one single class for an entire academic year and is responsible for teaching a wide range of subjects on the National Curriculum.”


Tell someone you are studying History and they won’t bat an eyelid; tell someone you are studying Psychology- they’ll smile maybe raise an eyebrow; tell someone you are studying medicine and they’ll reply wow! But tell someone you are studying Education and that you are going to become a Primary School Teacher they’ll say ‘really?’-  they’ll ask you ‘why are you going to doing that?’

I am now studying to become a Primary School Teacher, and replying to that question is more difficult than one might think. My instant honest reaction is I love kids, and I love being able to make them think, and I love being able to see them think. That electric flicker in a child’s eye when they begin to understand something is a reward that I don’t think other professions can match. Throughout my twenty-two years I have wanted for many things, and been down different paths in search of them. Although teaching may have always been in the back of my mind, it has only recently made its way to the front. When fifteen year old me was faced with the guidance interview in which I had to answer the question ‘What do you want to do with your life?’ I wasn’t sure what to reply. That age is far too young to know what I wanted to do with my life- but I knew that I wanted of me to continue my studies. I was interested in Modern Studies (I had a particular love for debating and could be argumentative- and I was interested in Drama. I applied to University and chose the Modern Studies route instead of the Drama route- and I spent a year (four years ago) beginning to study Politics and Psychology. What an awful year. I hated my studies (bar one tutorial class) and ended up addicted to narcotics, lonely, in debt, malnourished and like many before me- depressed. I completed my exams but became a ‘Beauty School Drop Out’- and moved home.

I’ve always been active and never did like being idle- I’ve had more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners; from working in the bank, to pulling pints; from delivering your Chinese food to working with Transport Scotland; from chopping in a sweaty kitchen to working in children’s theatre. I understood that I wanted to continue in Education, and probably rather hastily (but without any regrets) I started my HND in Acting & Performance. I had always been a performer and knew that I liked making people think- I liked writing and the political part of the Art was so attractive to me. I adore Acting and found it very natural. Something I fell into very naturally, and something adored as part of my course was the community module. We created a curriculum around raising the confidence of young people- and used drama games and exercises to do so. Going out to the schools was magical. The ease and the joy I felt when working with those classes wasn’t like anything I’ve experienced before; the hilarity of the children and their absolute transformation inside an hour was heart warming. At this point I think the idea of teaching began to move forward in my mind.

The political part of theatre was (and still is) very important to me. I was lucky to be chosen for a brilliant Fringe opportunity. I and seven others were given the opportunity to work with a great director and create a piece of politically driven theatre. This dream of making a difference was real. This is an extract of something I wrote for the play:

Welcome six year olds to your first careers appointment. Now I know you’re young but pretty soon your gunna have to be making some tough decisions
What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s your dream? You dreaming of building a rocket bob? Don’t dream of that your fucking snob, be more realistic dream that you might eventually get a job that pays enough for you to eat, sleep, drink, live, clothe, socialize, Christmas, holiday, entertain yourself, commute, blah blah blah blah blah blah
So chase that dream, something that fulfills you as a person 6 year olds.

Too LATE TIME DOSENT WAIT IT DISSIPATES WELCOME TO THE 21st Century mate, can’t get money you fucked up now shrew, don’t you dare join the claiming class crew. Don’t want to end up like sharon, her mum can’t even get her new clothes and she’s in actual poverty HAHAHAHHA

You turn on angry but it’s rightfully on.
Cos they tell you to Work the night shift instead of signing on
It’s No more than the social gives you true
yeah you’ll Losing your days and your social life too
but that’s how you get on, that’s how you become part of society and that’s how you get strong

They tell you That’s how you get stable so you can lead the life adults have
Do some shagging name some kids or try your heart at love

So we get pissed because we’re pissed, because our generations the first to be worse off than our parent is. Less opportunities than they had this is true, and that’s just us being selfish too.
What about sharon, her family has no food, barely has shelter let alone opportunities

The show was a success, but was it? Although I enjoyed it I had a sense that we were tickling our own ego’s. That we were appeasing  a small amount of middle class, leftist theatre folk- and that although we could create something powerful there was no actual change, no impact on anyone’s lives. After this worked, as well as being in the catering business at the time I was helping run a small children’s theatre group. We put on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Those two hours a week were magnificent. That group of twenty-five children had an incredible time, and so did I. Although it was difficult at times, creating this enthusiasms and seeing the way the children responded was just incredible. Here I was making a difference, here I was in my local community center, playing Splat and this had been what I was looking for!

I decided that I would try my hand at teaching, after completing my CELTA course I headed to Milan, in response to the first job I was offered. I began Teaching all over the city- I worked hard, I commuted hard and partied hard; but I fell in love. I fell in love with my job. There were difficult classes, challenging things to teach and challenging  children but I felt very alive in my classes. There is one student that will always stay with me- Arianna, only four years old. She had no English and I had no Italian and she was a little rouge. She was the ‘bogey’ child of the school, I had She would hide under the tables, she would run out the class and disrupt herself and everyone around her- fighting other children and even self-harming, at four years old. I tried so hard with her, and I began to see a change. She was by no means perfect but she was able to sit at her desk, and even able to do her work- and able to connect with her fellow class mates and communicate with them. I really felt like I made a difference to that four year olds life- and at that point I thought; ‘yeah, I’m going to be a teacher’.

I applied for MA Education at Dundee University; attended the interview and managed to get in. I want to continue to be politically active, to write and to make theatre and film- but I want to be a Primary School Teacher. Here I am now in the library; thinking to myself if I can have an impact on more children’s life in the same way I did with Arianna- then I will be a happy man. This has been a long winded and ungraceful blog post. Completely off task and more about my life rather than my reasons, but I hope if you read this you get a sense of who I am and why I want to become a teacher.

My Learning: Stengths Weaknesses and my Timeline

What helps my learning?
How can I utilise this?
Thinking and learning about recent and relevant examples around the topic.
Doing my own research into the topic
Regularly reading the news
Watching educational programs

Explaining to outsiders (not learning the same thing as me) about the topic and telling them what I understand about it.
Having good friends that will tell me about what they are learning, and will listen to what I have to say
Keeping in contact with my family and explaining what I am doing

Working without music or distractions
Putting my mobile phone away when studying
Going into the library (top floor)

What hinders my learning?
How can I address this factor?
Too much caffeine
Drinking tea without caffeine
Taking advantage of the boiling water tap in the library.

Not enough food
Eating well and regularly.
Keeping hydrated

Working on something that is a massive task.
Splitting my work into manageable chunks.
Using coping mechanisms to make sure I don’t become stressed