Category Archives: 1 Prof. Values & Personal Commitment

Different Understanding of Childhood?

The first lecture of the year really got me thinking about the differences between childhood 20 years ago to childhood in the present day. On first thought childhood for most people carries the reminder of being carefree, having no stress and being able to play outside after school until the street lights turn on. However is this still the case today?

Today, society is the safest it has been in 39 years but it seems apparent that in the present day more and more parents will hesitate to let children play outdoors, on the streets around them (BBC, 2013). The shocking results of a survey taken in March of this year have reported that prisoners in the UK spend more time outdoors than three quarters of the child population (Carrington, 2016). The question is why is this? Why is this the shocking reality of todays society especially if the crime rate is at a 39 year low? Is it the media? Technology?



Picture taken from Google

The media have a huge impact on the world around us and can have a massive impact on the way people see the world around us. Dowler (2003) goes as far as stating that most of our knowledge on the subject of crime is derived from what we see on the tv, read in newspapers or see online. When I think about just how many times a day we see news headlines flashed around on our televisions, phone screens, billboards and in the papers, it is obvious just how much of an effect this can have on us, without us necessarily knowing it.  Seeing these negative, crime-filled headlines so many times on a daily basis can reduce the persons ability to feel safe in their surroundings. Dowler (2003) exemplifies the strong links in which the average persons daily media viewing’s  can effect their sense of safety.

Personally, I agree with Dowler, although statistically speaking the UK has the lowest crime rate  it has ever had in 39 years, the negative media coverage will not reinforce the idea of a safe environment for children to play. This, therefore, may go hand in hand with Carrington (2016) as although the facts state that safety is on the rise in society today, the negative media coverage will not back this up giving parents reason to keep their children indoors.


As well as the changes in media coverage, the technology has improved significantly since the days when I grew up also. Twenty years ago when I began my childhood mobile phones were almost unheard of…now pupils of all ages are walking around with the latest Iphone?!


Picture taken from Google Images –

I still remember my first phone (pictured above), which I was given in Primary 7 for emergency use only. This phone  had been passed through the family from grandparents, to my mother, then my eldest sister before making its way to me. Nowadays it seems a lot more common for children in the younger school years to have, or have access too, the latest mobile technology. The American survey found that over half of children will be given a mobile phone at the age of 6 years old (KTRK,2015). Khan (2015) has explored the advantages to this, one being a safety factor and the other being convenience. However downsides are also outlined, for example, dangers and disruption (Khan, 2013). Advantages to phone technology are phenomenal and extremely helpful to us if used correctly. However, in my opinion at the age of 6 a child does not necessarily need to be this connected in the technical world. Parents will always have ways to contact their child if needs be, especially when the child is in a school setting. Therefore, the child as young as 6 does not need the latest mobile technology.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand…

Is the advance in technology the reason why children do not explore the outdoors like we used to?

I feel technology definitely plays a great part in the reason why children are not outside as much anymore. The advances in technology with televisions, computers, gaming software and, again, mobile phones should be used in a balance along with casual play. Technology has been blamed for the decrease in outdoor play many times but people fail to understand the importance of a balance between them (Rethinking Childhood, 2013). Although there are many things which children can fixate on Television is one which is most apparent. Television can be an educational resource when used correctly however too much television at a young age has also been shown to contribute to hyperactivity and attention difficulties in those children (Rethinking Childhood, 2013).

 I suppose there is not an exact answer to determine what keeps children indoors more so present day than 20 years ago but more just contributing factors. Times have changed but maybe a step back from technology would do present day children some good.


BBC (2013) Recorded crime at 39-year-low in Scotland. Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2016).
Carrington, D. (2016) Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates – survey. Available at: https://www. (Accessed: 13 September 2016).
Dowler, K. (2003) Media consumption and public attitudes toward crime and justice- JCJPC, volume 10, issue 2. Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2016).
Khan, F. (2015) Pros & cons of children having mobile phones. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2016)
KTRK (2015) Study: 53% of kids get a cell phone at age 6. Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2016).
Rethinking Childhood (2013) Is technology the enemy of an outdoor childhood? Available at: (Accessed: 14 September 2016).

My Reflection On Being An Undergraduate!

I am Samantha Macdonald in the University of Dundee studying for an MA (Hons) in Education. I arrived here by, first of all checking all of my available options for the Higher grades I achieved in my penultimate year of high school. I was then given an offer from my depute head teacher,  to go on further work experience at a different primary school as I had previously volunteered at in my 3rd year of school. I took her up on the offer and loved every minute, from that moment on I knew that education was the route I wanted to go down.

After researching my options further, now narrowed down to my course of choice, Primary Education. I decided to apply to all Scottish Universities with Dundee being my first choice as it is close to home. Following my UCAS application I continued to go on school placements to build my experience working with children in a school environment. I went on placement at two local schools, one of which was a school that incorporated children with additional support needs. I learned so much on this placement and gained a whole new understanding of the importance and effectiveness of the inclusion of students suffering with these difficulties. By the end of my year long placement here, I had already received my interview for my first choice university. At the interview, I had to give a presentation explaining, “The teacher that I would like to become…”. Immediately I was swarmed with ideas about how I could portray my response in the most effective way possible. I prepared a poster and asked the children from my Primary 3 placement class of their own ideas of what a good teacher would be. I then incorporated them into my poster and took it along to my interview to present to the university panel and other eager applicants. After the long and worthwhile wait for a response and offer from the university I received a conditional offer to study my dream course at my first choice university. This is what pushed me to achieve my condition of one higher A in my last year of school. I was determined.

After completing my sixth year of high school in 2013 I decided to defer my entry for a year so I would be able to take part in FLAGs transatlantic student exchange. I lived in the USA for the whole school year attending an American High School and living with a typical all American family. Throughout the year I travelled to over twelve different states and experienced so many once in a lifetime opportunities. Aswell as all of this, I made lifelong friends with so many people from all around the globe and enjoyed learning about their amazing way of life and extremely different cultures.

My goal is now to continue working hard and to keep learning about all different walks of life so that in the long run I can become an enthusiastic teacher who can influence future generations in a positive way. I want to help make a change in the world for the better. My main aim is to hopefully teach children abroad or children with additional support needs.

Integration of Special Needs in the Classroom

Integration within the primary school is a big concern for many people in our society, children and adults, but I do not see the issue with it. In my opinion, I feel that children from the age of 5-12  need to be able to see the world for what it is. They need to realise and understand that there are children, just like themselves, that face extreme struggles every single day. These by mental difficulties or physical disabilities some of which are long term.  However, that does not necessarily mean that problems will not occur with this. Sometimes we can notice that other children look at the Additional Support Needs children differently simply because of their disability. This is why I feel that inclusion of special needs should happen very early on in the children’s school experience, as by the later years of their education they will be looked at as no different from anyone else.image036

Picture found on Google Images from

On my MA1 placement  and my previous experiences in the primary school, it is clear to see  that with inclusion of ASN children they are still looked at by their peers  as “different” but we can not make this any worse by not including these children in “normal”activities which could make them stand out more. Yes we will come across certain activities that these children will not be able to do but there will still be some way in which they could take part. For example, a disabled child that is in a wheelchair will not be able to take part in a class game of rounders on either the batting or fielding team. However, this child can still be made to feel important by giving the child the role of time keeper or score taker, therefore working on other skills which are just as important in a team sport. This way they will not be made to feel discouraged as they are still a valued member of the class game.


Picture found on Google Images from

“Special” schools are looked at as a good thing, for better use of money/ shared resources, but i do not necessarily see them as beneficial to all children either. Although the pros of this could be one to one support? …but would children really achieve the one to one support they need in a school of this kind, where all children have a need for extra help?

However, putting my views aside, research shows that sometimes the inclusion of pupils with additional support needs can have non-inclusive outcomes. (Dyson and Millward, 2001)   When Inclusion fails it can be down to the lack of training for teachers on how to handle and prepare for children, of all abilities, inside the classroom, as well as limited funding for resources. (SEDL,1995) This is where the need for specialist teachers come in. Again on my placement the class teacher was appointed an ASNA who was in the class to aid the ASN children. All children bonded with her, even more so the ASN children. She was a huge asset to the class and the class teacher, although I realise that due to staff shortages this will not be the case in all schools.

Although I realise that cost, training would be factors for inclusion to not take place everywhere. I think inclusion of these children pose many benefits to other children and teachers. We can learn a lot from their strengths and teach to their weaknesses.

Me, I would hope that if my child was born with special needs they would not be made to feel singled out, discouraged, disheartened or looked at as different in anyway. My child would be loved for who he or she was, their strengths, weaknesses and personality just like any other child in their school or community.


Dyson, A. and Millward, A. (2001) Schools and Special Needs: Issues of Innovation and Inclusion. 1st edn. United Kingdom: Paul Chapman Educational Publishing.

SEDL (1995) Concerns About and Arguments Against Inclusion and/or Full Inclusion – Issues …about Change, Inclusion: The Pros and Cons, Volume 4, Number 3. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2015).