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A memorable learning experience

Thinking back to my time in primary school a learning experience which is firmly stuck in my memory is studying the Tudors in my last year of primary school. We studied what it was like to live during the Tudor times both as a peasant and a rich member of society. This experience was really memorable as we got to explore lots of different aspects of Tudor life through the different subjects. We found a traditional recipe for bread and tried to make it and then all had a slice to eat. This was really memorable as it incorporated all our senses and involved literacy and technology. We also learnt a Tudor dance which we did as a PE lesson, once we learnt it we dressed up as Tudors and performed it in an assembly for the whole school.

Through using one context, the Tudors, my teacher produced a lot of content incorporating multiple subjects which helped strengthen our learning. I really enjoyed this topic and still remember elements of what we learnt today as I felt we were thoroughly immersed within the world of the Tudors.

Reflecting on Placement

My placement experience was a hugely enjoyable one. I was working with a P5 class within Forthill Primary school in Broughty Ferry, this was a great deal of fun as it was a very nice class, in a nice school, in a nice area, which made it a very pleasant experience. My class teacher was incredibly supportive and helped me a great deal, he spent a long time helping me to improve my success criteria’s which was something I was struggling with and this boosted my confidence a great deal. He also helped me build up my confidence within the teaching environment as he always gave me very thorough and useful feedback .The class themselves were a pleasure to teach, although they were very chatty and there were a few vibrant characters within the class I still felt that we got on well and I could teach them successfully most of the time. At the beginning I found the noise level difficult to handle and this wasted a great deal of time, however I tried out some different behavior management techniques and along with some support from my class teacher I found a way to deal with the majority of the talking. However it was never perfect but we got on well and the pupils worked hard with me.

I feel that I reached a lot of my goals during placement. I wanted to improve my lesson plan making which I felt I did as my teacher gave a great deal of guidance about creating success criteria, further more I felt that I got plenty of practice and this helped me to create better plans. I also had set a goal to improve my numeracy skills, I feel that I have built up my confidence surrounding numeracy as I taught many maths lessons and realised that I do have a suitable knowledge of maths for teaching at a primary school level.

I feel that placement was a fantastic experience and I am extremely glad I got to have a placement within first year.

Looking at my reflection

In our last eportfolio input we got the opportunity to look and read a few very good examples of our peers blog posts. This really brought the nagging feeling I had that I wasn’t trying hard enough to light. I have never engaged properly with the eportfolio I don’t feel a pressing desire to write on mine when doing reading and never felt that it helped with my own professional reflection. However I have realised that I should be using this as an outlet to show others that I do genuinely care about becoming a teacher and this profession, and I am sure tchants-field-mirror-4-by-alex-baker-photographyhat when I look back at my posts in the future I will be interested and pleased to be able to see how I progressed to become the teacher I truly want to be. Therefore expect more being posted and at a much higher quality than before. I will become a much more visibly reflective practitioner.

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.

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.’

Professionalism and social media

We are living during a time ruled over by the internet and a whole host of forms of social media, this is both exciting and daunting, especially when starting out on a professional career. Social media can be incredibly useful as it allows for rapid spread of information, we find out about global events at a much faster rate than ever before, in fact in 2012 there were more than five million Instagram posts, 175 million tweets and 250 million Facebook photos being uploaded per day. This wide variety of information being available to us is extremely useful as we can now know far more about the world we live in and take part much more in a global community. Professionally social media is useful as it allows for discussion over many topics and encourages participation from many people who care about the profession, for example new teaching regulations can be discussed by the teaching professionals and this will lead to a stronger and more developed profession where all those involved have had an input. However as a professional you must keep your personal life separate from your working life, you must also always keep your professional boundaries and moral standards. Social media gives us a chance to voice any thoughts and opinions you may have and this is a fantastic opportunity but can also lead to serious issues or ruin your professional appearance. There have been many cases where an inappropriate comment made on social media or a photo showing non-professional behavior have emerged and ruined the career or reputation of a member of the teaching profession. However through careful monitoring and thought you can marry your personal and professional life online. You can share interesting ideas and news stories which you feel will enhance your professional life, sites like Pinterest are also useful as they provide a vast resource pf creative ideas and help make new and exciting ways to teach. I plan to keep social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram separate from my professional life as I feel these are more personal and I use them as a way to keep in touch with friends. However I have a Pinterest which I collect interesting teaching ideas on and if I was to get Twitter I would use it for my professional life. However all forms of social media need to be kept professional and I monitor what I allow to be put up and will never make a statement which could be deemed unprofessional or put my career at risk. They key factor when using social media as a professional is that you have to remain sensible and always be aware of how you are presenting yourself.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your eportfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The eportfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can pull in a Flickr page

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.