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Dance is a universal language…

Increasingly, I am becoming more and more passionate about incorporating dance into the curriculum in new and inspiring ways. Dance really is a universal language, anyone can dance – any where, any place, any time – and I find there is something beautiful about the telling of a story without the need for words.

I feel that within the curriculum, Expressive Arts are greatly overlooked and considered to be of minimal importance in comparison to areas such as Literacy or the STEM subjects. In my opinion, the role of the teacher is to engage pupils in their learning and to help them to ENJOY what they are studying and by regularly incorporating Dance, Drama, Art and Music into everyday lessons that key enjoyment can be readily achieved.

During the dance workshops, I was pleased to realise that all my previous experience in teaching dance was pretty spot on in terms of what we are expected to do as a teacher – pat on the back for Miss Petrie. I’m not really scared to teach dance in the primary schools, in fact it’s probably the are I’m most comfortable with. I have always loved teaching and learning in relation to literacy through dance; unpicking the key elements of a story, poem or play and recreating it to make a short, stimulating dance drama piece.

My favourite experience as a dance leader was creating a short dance-drama piece on the poem Havisham by Carol-Ann Duffy. I studied Duffy at both Higher and Advanced Higher level in English and LOVED her work and the prospect of bringing her words to life inspired me. I worked with around 40 girls from 1st year to 6th year, presenting the poem in a new & exciting way – bringing the words out of the paper and making sense of them on the stage. By the end of one month of practice, we all knew the poem word for word and the story behind the words inside-out. The best part for me was seeing young girls who ‘HATED’ English, actively engaging with and enjoying great Scottish literature. How many English teachers could have inspired that simply with a few annotations to the side of each verse on a page?

I’m a huge advocate for literature through dance, anything through dance for that matter! I would really encourage any one who feels they couldn’t teach a dance lesson to give it a go. In my opinion, there is no ‘right’ way to dance – you just go with the flow and do what you feel. I find it empowering to express my thoughts and ideas in creative ways, and I would love to encourage my pupils to feel the same.





Things that help/hinder my success…

Complete the table below to identify and reflect on those helping and hindering factors and plan actions for each. Record this in your eportfolio or professional learning journal.

Download document: Unit 1_B_managing my learning.docx (Word 15.8KB)


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
 Keeping organised notes on lectures  – print off slides prior to lecture

– create a system to be followed for all lectures so that it is easy to understand notes. For example, using different codes etc.

 Having appropriate knowledge of subject ares to be discussed in lectures.  – set aside a set time for use of the library

– engage with set reading lists and extra reading of diverse sources.

 Being in ‘the right place’ for successful learning.  – Big one for me. Get in the zone; eating well, sleeping well etc.


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
 I sometimes concentrate too much on work rather than studies.  – Have set times to deal with work marketing & emails etc.

– Turn off phone during set study periods, so I have shorter but more focussed time.

 I leave everything until the last minute.  – Create visual to do list.

– Complete tasks as soon as possible and prioritise by importance. (UNI FIRST)


The desire to teach and be taught…

On leaving school, I had it all planned out – the business degree, the highflying job, the house, the car, the kids & the man of my dreams all by 25. That was the plan and that was how I saw things panning out. I was raring to go with my course, ready to learn about the inner workings of business; economics, accounting, management, enterprise – the lot. But the first thing I was going to learn at university and stepping out into the ‘real world’ was that life rarely goes to plan.

To cut a long story short, I found myself packing all my belongings back into the boxes they came from and I waved goodbye to Heriot-Watt University and my dream of being the female version of Lord Sugar. The days and months that followed were some of the hardest I’d experienced, essentially I felt like I’d failed myself and at that time, positivity and motivation were hard to come by. I knew I had to do something. I had so much potential, I had been the girl that was ‘going somewhere’ and I couldn’t let a minor bump in the road stop that. 

Prior to attending university, I’d travelled to Rwanda on a volunteering trip. It was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. My mind kept coming back to this, how much I enjoyed it, how alive it had meet me feel, the way really making a difference to the lives of others reminded me of the value of my own. The more I thought about it, the more my experiences spurred me on to become a teacher. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, I had seen this first hand in Rwanda and it opened me up to the idea of how rewarding a career in education could be.


So, I applied for university. I dedicated myself to getting rich experience in a variety of learning environments and as I progressed through my – very unintentional- gap year, it became clear to me that this was definitely what I wanted to be doing with my life. That year, from then to now sitting writing this blog post as a student of The University of Dundee, flew by. Summer 2015 saw me travel to Africa to volunteer as a teacher in Cape Town and it showed me the beauty of being an educator; while you are there to change the lives of others, it is highly likely that in turn they will in fact change yours.


As a teacher, I want to continue to travel the world, to work and learn in different cultures and to continually keep in mind that you can be the difference between a child achieving their full potential and not. I want to inspire a love of learning in all children, to motivate children to pursue a career that empowers them, to create learning environments that allow each child to engage. Most importantly, I want to be part of an education system that works towards promoting the positives of learning for each and every child, that allows each young person to reach their true potential. So now, the dream for me is to teach & continue to be taught all through my life. And for me, that’s a much better dream.



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.