Community Project: Care home

We were tasked with organsing our own community project as a voluntary experience for this module. Despite the fact- we will be working with children majority of the time- we will also be working closely alongside the community/ elderly/ nurseries and other organizations. I set up my placement in a care home socializing with elderly people who have learning disabilities and dementia. Our brains help us to function everyday through virtually everything we think/do/ say etc. Certain illnesses can affect our brains functioning in a normal form such as dementia. There are different types of dementia that affect specific parts of the brain which can result in: memory loss/ limited communication and not being able to rationalise situations etc. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimers dementia- shockingly- it is possible to have more than one type of dementia. (Alzheimers Research UK) Myself and one of the co-horts completed this experience together at ”Nightingale Care home” situated in Paisley. There are 50 residents spanning two floors: the ground floor is EMI ( Elderly mentally infirm) and first floor is frail elderly.

I spent half a day there on Monday 14th Oct. I helped by assisting activities such as bingo where I was the caller and majority of the residents participated. To support everyone we used cards with larger print and incorporated animals and colours into a few rounds of the game instead of using numbers and letters continuously.  Bingo has profound effects on the mind as it keeps it active and can help short term memory loss. It can help instigate past memories and help the brain rationalise various situations. ( The Davis Community,2017.) During this experience, we also got the chance to speak to the residents on a one to one basis.  It was encouraging to hear some of their past life experiences and get an insight into their true personalities. From this, I grasped the importance of not speaking to the residents in a patronising tone (infantile manner) as it can offend the patients- they deserve respect and for their dignity to be maintained. Many of the residents are over 80 years of age and have served their time in world wars for our country- some of the stories are horrific.

Although- majority of the residents are suffering from the same illness- it suprised me how differently it affects everyone. There was one lady in-particular who stood out for me. As well as dementia, she is also suffering from dysphagia (an illness affecting speech.) When she communicates verbally, she is consciously aware of what she is saying but it can be very difficult to understand her at times. However, she comprehends everything you say to her. In order to support her needs, I had to speak clearly and remain patient when she was replying without any interruption as this can trigger frustration for her. There is a sense of community in the home as the relatives of the residents also get involved in activities within the home and help out with days out. They also seemed to have a close bond with the staff which is key as then they will know their family members are being provided with the correct love and care.

From volunteering in the care home- i have realised i am definitely in the correct career. Despite the fact, nurses and teachers have very similar roles. I would find it very challenging to do essentially everything for some of the patients. This experience has been a learning curve and opened up my eyes as to how difficult it must be living with this dreadful illness. Especially for loved ones and carers, we also observed how hard it can be to maintain a safe environment hence why they require supervision 24/7 and assistance when needed. Nurses and teachers have very similar duties of care- both professions have to have a natural ability to show empathy and communicate well with others. Research has been implemented to try and create a cure for this fatal illness by 2025. (Alzhmiers Research UK) I will continue to volunteer in care homes supporting the elderly as it is something different and the residents love having visitors.



Alzheimer’s Research UK (N/D) Types of Dementia [online] available:

The Davis Community (2017) The Suprising Benefits of Bingo [online] available:



When teaching energy, it is important we have a clear understanding ourselves of the topic to then teach this confidently. To be able to deliver this lesson: we have to accommodate all learners and remain sensitive. Some children will not react well to this subject as it is potentially affecting their futures. However, we need to make all aware of the damage we have caused that could be prevented in other situations.

Personally, I wasn’t aware of how often we utilise energy- it surrounds us yet we can’t always see it- majority of us would struggle to function without it. It is essentially the ability to do work! (US Energy Information Administration) To begin this topic, Andrew asked us to consider how we used energy this morning. This morning alone I used energy whilst: sitting with the car ignition on to heat the car up, having a shower with hot water, leaving switches on etc. It is vital for us as teachers to raise awareness to children of the underlying issues such as the rapid decrease of non-renewable energy for instance: fossil fuels that will inevitably run out. Despite numerous reports of how quickly we are burning through our natural resources, many are still in denial that climate change is occurring. It took over 200 years to develop fossil fuels-yet- man is using natural resources 1.7 times faster than the Eco-system can regenerate them which has caused mass destruction to our planet.  (Dalton, 2018)) Below are some pictures for anyone who is in disbelief about climate change:


Glaciers melting due to increasing temperatures resulting in the destruction of natural habitats



cliffs eroded by rising sea levels.

Loss of crops due to drought resulting in no profits for the farmer.









We have already started eating away at our future supply of natural resources which places us in a worse situation. In order to save what is remaining of our planet we all need to adapt our habits quickly to a cleaner, renewable society to help produce the energy we need and then conserve it- emphasise the importance of this as practitioners to children. Encourage children to use alternative renewable energy such as wind, heat, solar, water and plants.

This topic has to be taught in schools so children are not oblivious to real life scenarios. However- on a more positive note- we live in a country which is in one of the best states when it comes to climate change. The aim for our country is to use 100% renewable energy by 2020. (Hirsh, 2019) There is next to no countries in the same situation which is astounding for Scotland. Our pupils will be pleased to hear that Scotland is on the correct path to creating a sustainable future for our next generation (which I am technically included in.) I will definitely be heavily involved within this area in school and hope to make a difference to our future learners and encourage them to make more environmentally friendly choices!

I engaged well with Louises’ workshop today: we had a debate on-

” Are wind turbines a viable alternative to fossil fuels ?”

Debating interlinks to political literacy and is a skill a child will utilise throughout their life. In the classroom, debate as a pedagogy can be very creative and effective – as you can potentially use it for any topic- as long as it is not too controversial. We could also incorporate role play when completing this task in the classroom as they usually engage well with this. During Andrews science workshop, we completed a selection of tasks linked to a range of energy sources. When taking part in science experiments in the classroom- health and safety is always key! we need to stress this as teachers to our class. Children are often inquisitive and want to try new things that they are not familiar with. This would be a perfect opportunity to organise someone from a company to come out and have a chat with the class about the dangers of electricity such as someone from the local council or Scottish power. I enjoyed participating in all tasks. However, I would probably do the marble activity when teaching this topic as it allows children to use their collaborative skills to make this activity work through the help of peers. It would help to process the ability of powered energy through a running tap as they are able to watch this happen for themselves. Children love interacting with this type of experiment as the results often fascinate them!

To conclude, I must say that I was a lot more familiar with concepts of ‘energy’ than I was aware. Majority of the topics we have studied while on this module all interlink such as climate change, disasters and todays topic of energy. Therefore, i already had a bit of previous knowledge on issues raised such as the excessive amount of fossil fuels being used by man that is destroying our planet and the various types of energy. UWS students have many graduate attributes- I noticed two in particular i used frequently over the last few weeks- influential and driven. I was driven to learn new things to be able to provide the best quality education for my students and to influence them to make more conscious decisions about what is beneficial for our planet- after all there only is one!






Dalton. J, (2018) Humans have used a years’ worth of Earth’s resources in just seven months [online] available:

Hirsh. S, (2019) Scotlands new target: 100% renewable electricity in 2020 [online] available:

US energy information administration. (2019) What is energy?  [online] available:

Natural Disasters




Natural Disasters (Week 7 & 8)


Todays lecture in Sustainable Development was focused on disasters. As teachers, I think it is crucial we teach this subject – although it is a sensitive subject- we have to ensure children are not completely sheltered from real life situations which we cannot avoid. It is important to steer clear of using words such as ‘death’ when discussing this as some children will not react well to this and worry it is going to happen to them.

What is a natural disaster? A disaster can be clarified as a sudden catastrophic event that has a serious impact on the functioning of a community/ country. We need to emphasise to pupils to make the appropriate link between disasters and climate change.

(Elsevier, BV.)

Before, todays lecture I was unaware there was different levels of a disaster. We watched a few videos on YouTube to begin the topic. I feel ‘Newsround’ would be a useful website to use for children when explaining disasters as it does not have explicit content.

To begin, we did some science experiments with Andrew. The first station for us was geology (the study of rocks). The main objective was to study how various rocks reacted to different interactions such as trying to break it with a hammer. This activity would perhaps not be appropriate for the classroom as I wouldn’t feel comfortable providing children with tools. ‘A world of disasters’ would be the most suitable task in my opinion as this activity permits children to gain vital skills such as teamwork/ leadership and critical thinking skills through researching disasters and where they occur in the world. If you had the correct apparatus, I think children could interact best with the volcano experiment. This provides a visual aid of how quickly a volcano can cause destruction. This might provoke children to feel sympathy for other countries who experience this trauma.


The second workshop was based on the political perspective of disasters. We discussed what people can do:

  • Prepare
  • Respond
  • Recover

For children it can be a shock to hear the challenges other countries face. We are very fortunate to live where we do where we are unlikely to experience a disaster. The first task we completed was to look at a picture of the aftermath of a disaster and write down our initial thoughts. This is ideal for in the classroom as it gives the children a chance to write their previous knowledge. This task could be used a lesson starter once they are familiar with the topic to then convey to the teacher what they have picked up on over the last few lessons.

We discussed ‘Social capital’ which I believe is a very relevant term when discussing topics such as this. A perfect way to describe this to children could be to discuss a town/village they might be familiar with. Giffnock, for example, is well looked after with beautiful, tidy flower displays and no visible graffiti etc. However, if you drive somewhere within a 5-mile radius such as Darnley, you will then notice that Giffnock has more social capital. The local governments regularly try to maintain Giffnocks cleanliness, whereas, Darnley wouldn’t have the same treatment. This provides children with a real-life example which they can then relate to and perhaps comprehend more.

We then, scrutinised two case studies in Louise’s workshop about two earthquakes that happened in two contrasting locations. Both earthquakes happened around similar periods. One earthquake took place in Haiti, Africa in 2010- the other- in 2011, situated in Japan. This task would be convenient to complete with children as it emphasises the difference it can make to live in a wealthy country when disasters occur compared to a poorer nation with less government support. You need a reliable, close community to be able to bounce back from disasters.

We were then tasked with creating a presentation for the following week based on a specific natural disaster. My group were allocated- floods. Throughout the week we met as a team to create the presentation and practice who was going to say what. Our presentation included relevant experiences and outcomes. We then presented to the rest of the cohort on Friday. Personally, I found this microteaching experience very useful as it allowed us to get a feel for being the teacher. I found it helpful watching the rest of our sections presentations as this provided me with ideas on how to deliver this topic to children in the most suitable way to accommodate specific learners.

Natural Disasters is a topic I will ensure children are familiar with in the most appropriate form to suit the year group. It is important, everyone has an awareness of what is happening in other countries. This has expanded my knowledge on natural disasters, specifically- the political impacts and how much of a say the government has.



Elsevier, B.V. (2019) Natural Disasters [online] available:


Interdependence (Week 3 & 4)

Before today, I had no idea what ‘Interdependence’ was and how it linked to teaching. In simple terms-interdependence- is the way in which living and non-living things depend on each other to grow and remain healthy. (Palhelke, 2009). For instance: we rely on food to keep us alive and a shelter to keep us safe and warm. In return, it is man who builds our homes and grow crops to produce food which keeps us alive.

There are three main ways in which we are interdependent:

  • Economic- world trade, multinational financial organizations and legislation within the EU.
  • Social- dominance of technology, cultural integration and pollution
  • Environmental- climate change, global actions and consequences and decreasing numbers of natural resources.

As part of this module- we were fortunate enough to visit two dairy farms. I was looking forward to experiencing a dairy farm as I had never visited one previously. The first farm we visited today was called ‘Strathhead farm’. This was a large intensive farm dependent on technology.  After having a discussion with the farmer, I grasped the main objective of this farm was to produce large quantities of milk as cheap and economically as possible. In reference to social interdependence- farmers are under extreme stress due to the increasing population of vegans in the United Kingdom. (BBC news) Many people have the false perception that all animals are treated unfairly in farms which is not the case.

Some pics of Strathead Farm:












This process consists of the farmer breeding the cows to produce large quantities of milk.  The consumer buys the milk in bulk at a lower price to then be sold in supermarkets.  The cows are kept indoors which appears against nature without a deeper understanding of the situation-however- the farmer believes it is beneficial for the cows as they can put themselves under more distress in the wild. Typically, when they have been let out, they return shortly after, as they prefer being in the barn than out in the wild. Their diet is crucial as they need to stay large in order to provide pure quality milk. At this farm, the cows can be milked up to 5 times a day! It amazed me how reliant this farm is on technology. The cows have collars attached to their necks which monitor everything they do through robots. The collar sends signals to the robot- that can track if the cows are under abnormal stress or if they are unwell etc. The robot sends info to the farmer for them to monitor and decide if there’s any implications. Similarly, they are fed and milked through machines. I was stunned at how advanced this farm was- and how economical it is– as it would cost the farmer more to hire farmers to: feed/milk/ monitor the cows 24 hours a day.  However, this farm has a negative impact on environmental interdependence as it produces an exceeding amount of greenhouse gases which is polluting the earth and resulting in more climate change which is destroying our planet.

The second farm we visited was also a dairy farm-but- this farm was a small organic farm. Interestingly, this farm was originally founded by Robert burns brother. It was then taken over in 1993 by another family. Everything is completed on the farm (milking/ pasteurising etc.) This specific farm focused on economical interdependence. Bryce who owns the farm is very passionate about his job and maintaining the family name within the farm. He is very knowledgeable about the detrimental impact of livestock farming on the environment (global warming). Therefore, he has tried to reduce the number of chemical fertilisers and pesticides used including those discovered in their food. As an alternative, they use organic fertilisers and the soil is regularly checked.





Our independent study task was to create an info graph using Piktochart based on ‘Sustainable Seas.’ I focused on WWF when participating in this task. I was not aware of how many small, coastal communities could be out of business if we don’t stop polluting the sea and causing the extinction of multiple species and destroying their natural habitats. Encouragingly, Piktochart would be an excellent software to use with the upper school to display their findings on any given topic. I can’t wait to experiment this software with my own class.

Overall, the farm experience would be hugely beneficial for children as it provides a chance for them to see where their food comes from. This lesson would be very hard to explain without a visual explanation. The trip allowed us to put interdependence into a context. As a teacher, I believe outdoor learning is vital as it provides a learning experience we can not give in the classroom through interaction with nature.

To conclude, I believe after the last couple of weeks I have become more ‘ethnically minded’ about the part I play in interdependence as a whole. I would love to be able to promote organic farming as it is more economically and socially friendly. However, this is not always feasible as organic products are often more expensive. On the other hand, I will now be able to support my pupils in making the correct decisions around interdependence.



BBC news (2017) Welsh farmers raise concerns over veganism  [online] available:

Pahelke, R. (2009) Introduction to Sustainable Development: Globalization, Interdependence and Sustainability. UNESCO ELOSS available: [online] Accessed 15th October 2019

Climate Change

Sustainable Development- Blog 2 (Climate Change)


Week 3

We were introduced to the theme of:


There can be confusion about the exact definition of ‘climate change.’ In simple terms- when referring to climate change- it is when we are discussing a period of weather at a specific point in the year. Furthermore, when the weather doesn’t remain consistent (usually climate change is mentioned for periods longer than 30 years). Climate change incorporates a wide range of areas, for example:

  • Fossil Fuels
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Global warming

We discussed the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ in the lecture. This refers to the way the earths atmosphere conceals some of the energy produced from the sunlight.  Then, some solar energy is produced back to space. A small amount is absorbed by greenhouse gases and retained as heat which is then reflected in all directions to warm the planet. Without this process, the planet would be approximately 30 degrees cooler. This effect can be explained through a diagram or a video to children- encouraging multi modal texts.

I am very interested in this topic as I believe it’s so relevant in our current generation. Our planet is going to continue deteriorating unless we all make a small difference. Over the last century, the temp of our planet has risen by 0.6% mainly due to increasing emissions of carbon dioxide from man-made activities.


Factory farming has a huge influence on the current situation as well as this release’s potential harmful fumes to the environment- large quantities of greenhouse gases-. Flooding could destroy crops in low lying areas. In addition, increasing temperatures in low water areas could make it more difficult to grow crops due to shortage of water, possibly encouraging pests and diseases. Strong winds can also lead to soil erosion which will interrupt the plantation process. (Compassion in world farming)

The government have tried to take action to tackle climate change, however, it requires a whole team effort (everyone.) People take part in protests all over the world to prevent climate change.








In the workshop, we completed a task collaboratively which consisted of us rearranging statements in order of importance about climate change from a politician’s perspective. If I was completing this task with my own class, I would allow them to have the independence of assigning roles to give them more freedom within their learning. Perhaps, this would inspire ideas for a debate. From completing this activity, I developed my critical thinking skills as I was having to make crucial decisions based on facts in my team to accommodate everyone’s needs.

We are all guilty of not doing all we could to prevent harm to the planet. Politics have implemented initiatives to try reduce the large amount of waste products. For example: In 2015, the ‘5p bag’ policy was implemented- every plastic bag costs 5 pence. This was to try encourage customers to use boxes or bags created from raw materials to reduce the amount large amount of plastic used causing damage to the environment. However, the process of creating a law is not simple. An MP can create a bill but this bill must pass both stages of parliament before becoming a law. There is always controversial views and opinions- this makes it difficult for everyone to agree on an idea.

Last week, me and my cohorts took part in science experiments linked to climate change. Our lecturer had set out stations for us to work around. To begin, our first activity included using one beaker of hot water from the tap and a beaker of cold water from the fridge. We also had a tank filled with room temperature water. Next, a few drops of food colouring (blue for cold and red for hot) were added to each beaker. Both beakers were placed in the tank and tipped over. What happened next amazed me. The different temperatures cause the molecules to circulate differently. The hot water remains at the top of the tank and the cold water went to the bottom. This produced a layer of red at the top and blue on the bottom. Our experiment was completed successfully- we were very precise with the advised instructions. Therefore, I can’t wait to complete this task with my own class. A minimal amount of resources were required which makes it very convenient to complete in schools.

Climate change is a reoccurring topic of conversation due to changes happening everywhere to our planet. This topic will be taught in my classroom as I am very passionate about this topic. I now have a wider understanding of what I can do to make a difference. Hopefully, I can encourage children to do the same!



BBC News (2018)  What is Climate Change [online] available:

Compassion in world farming

Diversity Blog

Hiya! I’m Niamh- welcome to my blog. Over the upcoming months; this blog will help provide a deeper insight into my ‘Sustainable Development’ (LFS) journey.

Our first week contained a brief overview of the course and what we will need to do in able to succeed at this module. In addition, we discussed the benefits of this for children, our community and the global community. LFS is becoming widely recognised and promoted throughout schools in all areas of work. When a whole school gets involved, this can encourage skills, knowledge and confidence to make wise decisions to create a more sustainable, equity world. (General Teaching Scotland) For example: community litter picks/ beach or river clean ups etc is an excellent way to keep our community tidy where everyone can take part free of charge. I will also continue to encourage recycling more in the classroom (get rid of plastic!)

The Vision for 2030 is for all pupils to be familiar with ‘Learning for Sustainability’ in schools and appreciate the natural surroundings of their environment, culture and heritage. (Education Scotland,2019) When on placement, during inspections, we might get asked what is being referenced about sustainability in the classroom. I wasn’t completely sure what sustainable development actually involved until today. I was feeling a little apprehensive about how I would teach this to children. However, I was a lot more familiar with the concepts of this than I realised:





After today’s first lecture with Louise, I am very eager to begin this module – mindful of the fact science is not my area of expertise- I am keen to further develop my knowledge of all 3 areas interlinked: Science/ technologies and Social Studies. This module focuses on 6 main areas of sustainable development:

  • Diversity
  • Climate Change
  • Interdependence
  • Energy use
  • Disasters
  • The environments

Each area will be covered over a period of two weeks. Afterwards, we will then complete a blog post as a reflection of our knowledge on each theme.

In the workshop today, two ladies came in from WOSDEC to inform us about what they do in the workplace. They work alongside teachers in Scotland purely focusing on LFS. They discussed with us the importance of celebrating diversity and embracing everyone’s differences. In groups, we completed different tasks about poverty/ natural disasters/ climate change etc and had a plenary afterwards to identify what we learned. Using the ‘Graduate attributes table’ I feel after this lesson, I am more ethnically- minded of other cultures and have a clearer understanding of where our clothes and food actually comes from. This makes me appreciate what I have and feel very sympathetic for the people making a very low income for doing such complex trades. ‘The global goals for Sustainable Development’ is a plan set up that we want to achieve in the future to create a more stable, positive world for everyone where we value our planet more and treat it with a little more care.


Week 2

We were introduced to the controversial topic of ‘Diversity’ in today’s lecture. It is such a prevalent topic today in the classroom. It should not be something we avoid speaking about as everyone is entitled to freedom of speech (as long as they are still respecting others in the process.) ‘Rights Respecting School’ is reinforced throughout the curriculum to ensure all childrens rights are being considered.

‘Whiteness/ Values/ Gender/ Race/ Sexuality/ Religion’

It is vital, we as teachers, become more mindful of these factors within ‘Diversity’ as a whole. Notice the dominance of white people. I didn’t even realise ‘whiteness’ was a thing until it was mentioned. No person should be made to feel excluded due to the colour of their skin/ what they want to assign their selves as or who they want to be in a relationship with. Each individual is unique and that’s what makes our classrooms different.

‘Safe space’- we were made familiar with this term at the beginning of the lecture so everyone felt comfortable speaking aloud about their personal opinions. This is crucial as we need to be able to accept an opposing view, in contrast, to what we are familiar with. Our role as teachers in the classroom is to try remove preconceived opinions children have formed of specific religions. Allowing them to form factual opinions of their own without an input from someone else.

We should all appreciate the vast range of foreign languages spoken in Scotland as it has multiple benefits to our society: culturally, historically, socially etc. Encouraging a diverse nation is so vital in schools as everyone should feel respected and included even if their mother tongue is not English. ‘Respected’ and ‘Included’ are two indicators from the ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) well-being indicators. I feel very passionately towards they two indicators specifically. In my classroom, I will always find a way to involve everyone and ensure everyone is being respectful. GIRFEC was implemented to ensure every child’s needs were being fulfilled and that is my main aim as a teacher.

Finally, in the workshop, me and my cohorts discussed various statements- put on the board- in a non biased form to raise topics for discussion:

‘In Uganda, it is illegal to be gay’

This makes me feel physically sick. As a teacher, it is crucial we erase all prejudices from our heads and look at everything with a non-biased point of view to ensure every child in our class is participating and feels welcomed by all.

I am keen to explore more of this module. It is very interesting and appealing to me as a student teacher. This is something I want to be confident teaching in the classroom as it is vital issues children need to be aware of.



Education Scotland (2019) A summary of learning for sustainability resources [online] Available:

Scottish Government (2014) Getting it right for every child [online] Available:

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2019) Learning For Sustainability [Online] Available:

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