Category Archives: Uncategorized

How do I blog again?!

It’s fair to say I am not going to win any awards for my commitment to writing blogs but as I’ve began my third year (eekk! HELP!) it’s time I got back to the keyboard!

We’ve been asked to think about a memorable experience from our own time at school. This is a tricky question. I have many fond memories so trying to pick a stand out one is tough! However there is one that springs to mind…

I lived in Germany for a few years when I was younger so went to Kindergarten and then Primary School out there. Next to my P1 classroom was a large open plan room and every 6 weeks – alongside the other younger years classes we would turn this space into a different kind of ‘shop.’ For the last 3 weeks, on a set day of each week, parents would be allowed in for an afternoon and we would take it in turns to serve them.

The shop I remember the clearest was the florists. During art lessons we made roses out of crepe paper and attached them to pipe cleaner stems. Parents were given some plastic money as they came in so they could then come to our ’til’ and buy our handcrafted flowers. The coins given to the parents were only £1 and 1€ and each flower would be to this value, thereby making it quite manageable for us.

To display the flowers, we painted and decorated little cardboard boxes – letting us loose with the glitter was a brave move by our teacher but we absolutely loved it! In the shop, little tables and chairs were laid out so that once you had worked your ‘shift’ you could go and spend some time with your customers and tell them all about what you had done.

This time was valuable. My Dad was in the RAF so it was a military school I was at and many of us would not be seeing our military parent much during the week. Despite this, the school was very much part of the camp so there was a strong connection between the two. A  real emphasis was put on trying to ensure that children could see their parents as much as possible. Therefore, the afternoon visits into the school were factored into the camps timetable where possible to maintain a strong family environment for the children.

I realise now how lucky I was to have attended a school like this and it was due to the unique environment of the camp we lived in that allowed it to work so well.  It was ambitious for the teachers to take on quite a large project that was near enough continuous but it worked so extremely well for that particular school.

It’s not like anything I have ever done since at any one of the schools I have been to so am thankful I had the opportunity to have had such a unique experience at my first! And who knows…maybe I’ll be brave enough to try it with a class of my own one day!



Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Guten tag!

Languages. We all have one but should we just stop at that?

I believe that as teachers, we would be depriving our pupils if we did not incorporate other languages of the world into our classroom. It is ever more apparent that these days huge numbers of people do not just live in the country of their birth for their entire life. So are we really equipping the children with the basic fundamentals for life if we do not grant foreign languages with a high level of importance within the classroom?

I was fortunate enough to spend time and live with Spanish students for three weeks in Edinburgh whilst they visited Scotland. I was there to teach and improve their English. In the morning they went to language school and then spent the afternoons and evenings with us- sight seeing, playing games in the park and going shopping. Whilst all the time speaking in English.  Many a time we faced difficulties where nor one or the other could understand what the other was trying to say. Which as you could imagine could be extremely frustrating! However we always got there in the end!

The thing that made this extremely difficult was the fact that I cannot speak Spanish. I could sing you the odd Spanish song from past experiences of strutting my stuff on the dance floor to them, but no where near what was needed to have a conversation! If I had been able to speak their language fluently it would have been all to easy for us to just start communicating in Spanish when they got tired of English, completely defeating the main purpose of their visit!

Speaking a second language for a long period of time can be exhausting and witnessing that first hand of the students I was with made me truly respect and appreciate what they were doing.  Many of these young people spoke more than just the two languages. When I asked why,  they explained that by having a knowledge of other languages it opens up job opportunities all round the world for them. It would enable them to travel the world to see and experience all the different cultures we have. They believe that it’s only fair that if you travel to somewhere new, you as the guest, should make the effort to know at least some of the native language.

I love to travel. Especially as I lived in Germany when I was younger I love exploring new places!  Personally, I believe it’s really important for children to have a passion and desire to want to know about the world they live in and the people living in it. Many families cannot afford to take their children abroad so as a teacher it would be my wish to bring those countries into the classroom. We don’t necessarily need an aeroplane or boat to raise awareness of the outside world to children. We just need creativeness, imagination and passion. I want to ensure that any future pupil of mine leaves my classroom having a good idea of what living in another culture would be like and for them to have the desire to maybe visit that country in the future. I want them to know phrases of languages which could then be built on as they get older and used all around the world!

This country is a great place to live but when there is so much more greatness to see, let’s not shy our children away from that. Encourage exploring. It’s a bit like trial and error- you have to try things to see if you like them. You have to try new things to learn and as teachers we are there to facilitate that learning.

Get your backpacks on, we’re going on a round the world trip..classroom style!


After a lovely day at Portobello beach in Edinburgh with my lovely Spanish and English speaking friends!



Gender in Schools

In my experience at school I feel that my gender did not have much of an impact. I was lucky enough to attend Primary and Secondary Schools that allowed their pupils to be themselves. Males and females were seen as equal. The only time there was any kind of separation due to gender was for sports. Gym classes were all inclusive but when it came to sports teams and clubs that’s where the divide came based on genders. The boys in the football and rugby teams, the girls in the netball or dance club. Only now looking back I realise this wasn’t fair and that actually children should be allowed to choose a sport that interests them, rather than them doing it just because their gender fits the stereotype for that specific sport.

We are constantly encouraging children to take part in sports and to keep themselves fit and healthy. So why are we narrowing their opportunities to do so? Any child should be able to do what sport they want. In my 5th/6th years at High School I coached the junior netball teams. Despite the fact that I couldn’t enter teams into competitions that had a male player I still made the practice sessions open to boys too. They loved it! Sport should be available to anyone, no matter what their gender is. You don’t get to decide whether you’re born a boy or girl so to be told you can’t do something because you’re one or the other is just simply not fair.

Study Skills Introduction

From reading the ‘Study Skills Handbook’ by Stella Cottrel any student would have the basic understandings of what to expect in the initial stages of University. The lead up to starting and the possible ways in which they will grow and develop throughout the duration of their University career.  Preparing for University is endless. You have to prepare yourself for the independence in the decision making for how you’re going to live your life each day. So many other factors, like whether or not you want to/can stay at home, preparing yourself mentally for the newly found independence and how not to abuse it and also the drastic change in the work regime and how you’ll adapt to that.

Preparing for University requires an open mind to change. For me personally I was looking forward to the change whilst being apprehensive of what I was letting myself in for! Starting out at University means many factors have to be considered. As a student you have get comfortable in your surroundings and settle in.  Added pressure of getting to know your peers and your peers getting to know. Whether you’re in halls or staying at home finding friends is just as important as they are the ones that will be there to help you through your studies and experience exactly what you’re going through. Not to forget when you’re starting out the endless forms to be completed and the wide range of societies and clubs that can be joined. The book also reminds us how  important it is to  think about money and whether or not we’ve put a budget in place.  There are also the general expectations the University has for you. Making sure that you try to interact with as many people as possible, making connections, ensuring communication with staff through emails and portals is consistent, keeping up to date with reading and lectures- making sure you’re organised for them and submitting work when due. Furthermore, not being afraid to seek help if unsure about anything!

What makes University Education different? start with class sizes are now drastically bigger which can be extremely intimating at first. University is a lot of self directed independent study which has to keep up with the fast pace of lectures and tutorials. Not forgetting that with University you are there by choice and selection which means that those who accepted you must think you demonstrate the ability to succeed at your chosen course.

Finally the Study Skills booked reminded me of the  graduate skills and attributes University is hoping to see you develop. Firstly, self development, to show that you can then stand up with confidence in front of people, take risks and show a great understanding of people skills. Moreover, being able to get the life balance between socialising and studying. Secondly, communication – written, visual and verbal – all extremely important in a profession to ensure that you can cooperatively work with people, whether that’s part of a team a leadership role. Being interactive with people requires you to be able to communicate clearly and easily with others.

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.