Category Archives: 3.1 Teaching & Learning

Learning in Drama

Drama is an exciting and fun lesson for most children, there are many different ways to make each lesson engaging, interesting and worthwhile, a Drama lesson should not simply be ‘doing a play.’

1. Hot-seating

Hot-seating is an excellent exercise to try during a drama lesson, the pupils are asked either in small groups or as a whole class to direct questions to an individual who has to answer the hot seatquestions playing a character, for example a pupil could answer questions as the wolf from the story of the three little pigs. This drama convention means that pupils have to put some serious thought into the character they are playing and therefore will have a better understanding of how to play the character when performing.

2. Freeze-frame

This convention is when the pupils are in groups and have to break a story down into a series of still images, for example they could break down the story of Jack and Jill into five still scenes. This exercise helps the pupils to break a story down into the key moments and will aid their language skills as they will be working on beginnings, middles and ends. It also, like hot seating, encourages the pupils to put more careful thought into what they are creating.

3. Improvisation

Improvisations is the process of creating something spontaneously and without preparation. This is a good exercise during drama as you will encourage the pupils to be creative and inventive. They can be given a scenario and then asked to come up with a quick performance based around this idea. This will ensure that the pupils are being properly involved with the drama lesson and engaged with what they are doing as they are creating the performance completely on their own.



Lesson planning

Today was my first attempt at lesson planning, and despite having an input on lesson planning earlier today and doing some extra reading on the subject it was still surprisingly more difficult than I was expecting as although I was aware it wasn’t going to be completely simple there was much more to think about than I previously thouappleght. Instead of simply deciding what I needed to teach and how I was going to present my lesson in a fun and engaging way I also had to consider how I would assess whether or not each stage of my lesson was working to the standard I wanted and then evaluate what the next steps for my pupils needs to be. As I never actually got to teach this lesson I could not complete the ‘Evaluating my practice’ section however I looked at the questions and considered how I would have to be constantly reviewing myself as I taught the lesson. I like the format of the lesson planning sheet we were given as I felt that it was very clear and supported me a great deal. Although it did take me longer than expected to complete the sheet I am not concerned as I am sure that the longer I am on this course and the more I try lesson planning the faster I will be and once I have more teaching experience I will need less detailed lesson plans.


This is my lesson plan: Spooky story writing lesson plan

To complete the experience I decided to also create a power point which I would put onto the interactive white board and use as a teaching tool which would make my lesson much more engaging and interesting for the pupils.

This is my power point:  Spooky story writing power point


Although it was more of a challenge than I expected I thoroughly enjoyed making both my lesson plan and the accompanying power point, and it has helped my confidence when thinking about teaching on placement.

Internet safety- Prezi presentation

prezi– internet saftey (TDT)Computer

The purpose of this ‘Prezi’ presentation is to use as a tool for teaching pupils about internet safety and it meets certain skills outlined within the Curriculum for Excellence ‘Experiences and Outcomes.’

I can access, retrieve and use information from electronic sources to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts.

TCH 1-03b

This outcome is met as the skill of accessing information is being addressed as the presentation discusses not using any websites which the pupil is unsure of and this means that the pupils learn to access safe information to support, enrich and extend their learning.

I enjoy exploring and using technologies to communicate with others within and beyond my place of learning.

Zip it, Block it, Flag itTCH 0-04a

This outcome is also addressed by the presentation as pupil safety while using resources such as social media is discussed. Social media is a hugely useful tool for communicating with others however as the presentation discusses it can also be a dangerous activity especially for young children. Therefore pupils need to be taught the skill of using technologies for communication while being responsible and keeping both their identities and personality safe.

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

This is an outcome contains skills which are taught through the form of presentation rather than the content, to teach these skills you could get the pupils to create their own ‘Prezi’ presentations to show each other, or another class of the same age group if the school has one, they could use the information discussed as a class and then extra information they have found using safe internet searching to create a more in depth presentation. A more advanced class would be able to add music or videos to show theSocial mediair grasp on more difficult ICT skills.


How I feel about my own maths ability

Maths has always been a struggle for me, I never managed to find very much enjoyment or understand it very well and therefore I never thought it would be a subject I would enjoy teaching. I think my main issue with maths was my complete lack of faith in my own mathematical ability, this began in primary school which was a time in which I struggled with most of my subjects but especially maths. However one of the main cMaths 1auses of my low confidence in my own ability was my teachers. I was placed in the bottom set in maths once I reached secondary school and had to work incredibly hard to move up to a level which would allow me to be physically able to attain a grade higher than a C at GCSE. My maths teacher at the time was not very supportive, he agreed to give me additional work to help me improve but this turned out to mean giving me work sheets similar to those in primary school, he even gave me a colouring sheet once. There was a complete lack of faith in the bottom sets, the message that we were not good at maths was very clear and that no one expected us to be able to attain a good maths grade. This lack of support of interest in our maths education resulted in classes of disinterested pupils who will never believe they are capable of doing maths. Once leaving GCSE level with a B grade I moved into the Scottish system and although I was not in the bottom set of maths I was faced with a lack of support from a new teacher who, like the others, didn’t believe I could achieve a good maths grade to such an extent that he told me on my last lesson that I wouldn’t pass the exam. I was thankfully not put off by this comment and managed to get a B in higher maths. However putting all these experiences together it is easy to see why I am apprehensive over teaching maths to my pupils, I’m not only afraid of being unable to provide a thorough and useful level of teaching, I am also afraid of holding pupils back and not allowing them to enjoy maths and reach their full potentials.

However the maths input we received on the 14th helped relax me slightly and made me feel a little more confident about teaching maths. The discussion over what made people anxious about maths was very encouraging as I found that many of my own fears were shared by others. This made me feel a little more confident as I realised that maths anxiety is not my personal issue but a nationwide problem, this showed that, although it will take more work for me to feel fully comfortable about teaching maths, a huge number of teachers have gone before me also unsure of their own maths ability and have been capable and successful maths teachers. Another point which increased my confidence slightly was that we will improve the more we teach as the information will become more and more embedded within our brain meaning that Maths 2although I am not comfortable with my maths ability now it will change and my mathematical capability will increase. The input also helped me as it helped me realise that maths can actually be a hugely creative lesson, I was afraid that I would struggle to find different ways to teach maths as my own memories of maths lessons are not overly inspired or creative. However the input discussed ‘doing, talking and thinking maths’ which involve a variety of learning styles. The input was useful as through discussing these different styles of maths I found I could think of many more ways to teach maths creatively and how to incorporate maths into other curricular areas in an interesting and relevant way.

The reading following up the input was also hugely helpful and interesting, it was Haylocks ‘Mathematics explained for primary teachers’ and I found it a very easy to read text which was hugely engaging.  This text, like the input, helped relax some of my anxiety over maths as it includes fears from other trainee teachers which were often very similar to my own fears and concerns. It was also interesting as it explained why maths is such an important subject for primary schools to teach, the text states “We teach mathematics because it has an inherent beauty that can provide the learner with delight and enjoyment.” I found that this sentence changed the way I felt about maths I had never thought about maths as beautiful but once I considered the sense of pride and pleasure I feel when I finish a maths problem correctly I could see how it could provide ‘delight’ or ‘enjoyment’, furthermore as I carried on reading the passage and was introduced to the idea of how maths isMaths 3 made up of patterns and shapes from the world around us I began to see that maths can be a beautiful and necessary  to our lives. The text claims that through teaching mathematics in the primary school successfully we will encourage a generation of children with a true appreciation for the complexity and ‘beauty’ of maths.

The maths input and the reading have both helped me to begin to warm to the idea of teaching maths, I no longer feel that I am inadequate as I know that although it will take work and I will never find teaching maths completely easy as long as I teach it in a passionate and engaging fashion ensuring that I make each lesson as creative as possible I will hopefully help my pupils develop a love of maths and ensure that maths anxiety is a thing of the past. The main message which I have taken away from thinking about how I feel about maths is that I do not want to be the reason a child says ‘I can’t do maths.’

What does being an Enquiring Practitioner mean?

The GTCS website defines a Practitioner Enquiry as a ‘finding out’ of information and then a reflection on these findings. It is a vital part of modern teaching practice as it allows the teacher to evaluate their own teaching performance and correct any areas which need developing to ensure they are providing the best education possible for their pupils. Their are clear benefits of Practitioner Enquiry, it provides a method of monitoring and evaluating your own work as a teacher while also empowering teachers to take control of their profession, through challenging and transforming the education system around them. It also enables teachers to increase their knowledge of the teaching profession and boost their professional confidence and self-esteem. GTCS also believe that through Practitioner Enquiry the ‘quality of professional discourse in schools about educational problems and issues’ is improved as teachers are more informed of their profession and more inclined to make pReflectionolicy changing decisions and stances. However there are some challenges, GTCS raised concerns over how theoretical the concept was and are unsure whether the policy would with stand the school environment, they are also concerned that the enquiry may become superficial and those taking part will simply see it as an exercise taking up their own teaching time rather than an opportunity to better their own performance.

As a student teacher the idea of Practitioner Enquiry is interesting and a little daunting. As someone who strongly dislikes seeing myself on film or hearing my own voice on recordings, the reports of filming yourself teaching to see where you can improve  do not appeal at all. However I can see the obvious benefits to my teaching career which could be gained by stepping back and reflecting on my technique. Therefore I plan to start reviewing my own progress as soon as I enter a classroom whether that is part of a placement or at the end of my degree when I begin my probation yea, or even during my time as a student reviewing my academic work.

What is Reflection?

Reflection is a process which allows a learners to evaluate their work and improve what they have been doing. The video provided on Blackboard defines reflection as a process which allows us to challenge our existing beliefs in order to learn from a situation, and a process which allows us to take control of our learning. It can be simply talking with someone, perhaps a tutor, and discussing what you have done and how you could have done it better; or it could be writing a blog post in which you assess your progress and spend some time considering what you can do to move on and be more successful. It should be done in a professional way and should not be a string of complaints about other people or the situation you are in. This is a way for you acknowledge your own successes and faults and therefore you must be honest and critical of yourself without being churlish or offensive, especially when reflecting on feedback from peers or tutors. The purpose of reflection is to improve on your work so you can not refuse to accept that you have faults or treat any issues as someone else’s fault. You also can not be purely negative as you have to acknowledge what you have done right so that you can ensure you do that again. Without effective reflection it is almost impossible to be an effective learner and you will not be able to improve your standard of work to a good level.



What are the benefits of active learning and cooperative working?

Active learning and cooperative working are two very important skills to have both as a university student and as a member of the teaching profession.

Active learning is important as it stops you from being complacent during lectures and will help to improve your ability and achievements. Active learning is a process which allows you to engage with your study and get much more out of lectures and reading. It can come in many forms; taking notes as you listen or read, taking part in discussions, going away and re-writing the lecture slides in your own words. By doing this you engage with the topic and consolidate your learning, it also helps you to identify which areas you are struggling with allowing you to go away and work on these areas which will result in you coming away with a higher mark and a better understanding of the subject. It will also save you time in the long run as you will be learning and revising through out the year meaning when you come to exam time you will have been preparing for months, this means instead of a rapid session of panicked revision which will result in a lower grade and higher stress levels, you will be aware of which topics need more focus and you will be able to give yourself much more time resulting in a calmer and easier process.

Cooperative working is also vitally important as it applies both to student life and your later life as a primary teacher where almost all work will be done cooperatively between you and your pupils. It has many benefits as it allows you to come together with your peers and share ideas and thoughts, this is useful as it will allow you to build upon your original thoughts and develop a stronger knowledge base. As we all have different strengths it will also improve the quality of work being produced as instead of having to only use the skills you have you can use the wide variety of skills the people around you have giving the work a depth you could not attain with just one persons input. However cooperative working can have some negative points, for it to be a truly successful activity all the members of the group must be providing the same level of input, as if one person is overpowering the group it is unfair on everyone else as they do not get a chance to provide their own ideas and input. However on the other hand if one member of the group is not providing their own ideas or taking part in the discussions then this is also unfair as they are benefiting from the hard work of the people around them without helping them. On a whole the idea of cooperative working is a positive one as it allows a group of people to improve their knowledge and produces a higher quality of work, while teaching people how to work as a team effectively which is a hugely important skill for teachers to have.

Managing my learning- What helps and hinders me?

Recognition/Reflection Action
What helps my learning?Example: “Discussing the topic with others” How can I utilise this

  • Set up a study group of like-minded peers
  • Engage with the online community
 Writing things down in my own words.
  •  Take notes during lectures and workshops etc
  • Write blog posts about what I have been learning.
 Expanding my understanding of a topic.
  •  Read around the subject in my spare time.
  • Watch relevant documentaries.
  • Listen to radio programs.
  • Read newspaper reports to do with teaching.
 Working with other people.
  •  Study in groups.
  • Discuss the days work with other people.
  • Working in groups when possible.
 Taking regular breaks to keep focused.
  •  Take part in a sports team.
  • Join an unrelated club or society to have a break.
  • Going for daily exercise as a study break.
 Having quiet background music to help keep me focused.
  •  Make a study playlist to put me in the right frame of mind to work.
  • Wear head phones to block out other distractions.
 Having set study periods during the day.
  •  Have a regular bed time and waking up time.
  • Have a timetable to keep me on track.
  • Having scheduled study time and break times.


Recognition/Reflection Action
What hinders my learning?Example: “I am easily distracted” How can I address this factor?

  • Study in a place were distractions are minimal
  • Read lecture notes before the lecture and then take notes lectures to keep me focused
 Being distracted but other people around me.
  •  Unless working in a group try and avoid talking to other people who are not doing the same work as me.
 Being distracted by my phone etc.
  •  Stay off social media when working.
  • Put my phone on the other side of the room.
  • Turn my phone onto silent to stop it distracting me.
  • Have scheduled periods when I am allowed to check my phone or facebook.
 Agreeing to going out when I should be working.
  • Have a set timetable when I am meant to be working.
  • Use social events as rewards for working which I can only go to if I have finished the days work.
  • Restrict the amount of nights I can go out on to ensure I am able to sleep enough to maintain a high level of work.
  •  Don’t use cleaning as an excuse not to do work.
  • Have a set schedule for doing cleaning, laundry and food shopping.
 Not being organised.
  •  Keep my work space clean and tidy.
  • Have a set schedule for when things are to be done.
  • Keep up to date with any work or events by checking my emails and blackboard everyday.
  • Check my timetable everyday.
 Becoming too stressed to complete work properly.
  •  Stay on top of everything so nothing is being done at the last minute.