Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice


Learning a new skill is sometimes daunting. Applying the skill gives you that wee bit more confidence then showing others gives a degree of confidence in the skill.

This week I learnt how to upload a video from my iPhone to YouTube then to my eportfolio, in a somewhat seamless manner. Although I am not scared of technology I think that I truly lack enough knowledge to say I’m an expert. Put it this way, I’m not scared to crash a few computers and reboot a couple more in my quest to become a techno master.

The video I chose was my daughter’s first ever book review. She is 5, an avid reader and I tend to buy her books from charity shops (Oxfam often have children’s books for 49p), eBay or TKMaxx. The book she picked for this review seemed to fit nicely with my current elective, Science. The book was Albie’s First Word by Tourville and Evans. The book is about Albert Einstein and how for being the father of relativity and scientist extraordinaire he did not speak till late into his childhood. It is an interesting read for children and adults alike, with a short biography about Einstein at the back. I feel it would encourage children to question the world of science and allow them to imagine they can be the next Einstein. No matter what. There is an undertone of Autistic behaviour described but in such a nonchalant way. Ruby picked up that, although he did not speak, he was trying. He communicated in his own way.

The way my own daughter reads has made me question the language I will use in a classroom. Why should I aim low or underestimate the children’s comprehension or grasp of language. Adams (1999) discussed that teachers aim to use words they believe the children will easily understand but that if they are not stretched or exposed to more subject specific language and a  wider vocabulary then teachers are doing them an injustice(pg37-38). In saying that Moyles (2003) argues that in order for children to feel confident attempting and using newly acquired vocabulary they must be put into comfortable situations where trial and error are embraced (pg40). When a challenging word is said by the teacher, it has to in turn be explored and the children’s connotations of word meaning addressed for it to be beneficial. I find reiterating the word, adding a sing song voice to it, pretending I have forgotten the meaning, using a visual prop and also parroting the word helps it sink in.

Personally, I feel that books are the door into extension, experience and engagement with new exciting words. As a teacher I hope to provide the chance to engage with the written word as often as possible and in as many medias as possible. I understand that reading a book (even if that’s make believe), is a very personal and private experience. Reading aloud to peers is daunting and often detrimental. I want them to be Charlie Cook in the Julia Donaldson novel where all they needed was to “curl up in a cosy nook to read their favourite book.”

Adams, R., Ali, S., Bassi, K.L., Hussain, N. & Brock, A., 1999. Into the enchanted forest. 1st ed. Wiltshire: Cromwell Press Ltd.

Moyles, R.J., 2003. Just playing? The role and status of play in early childhood education. 1st ed. Suffolk: St Edmundsbury Press Ltd

Aspects of a Professional


A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified activity. This could mean having a professional manner to their work or being part of what society deems a profession. Not to get into debate or start my assignment early, I am going to reflect upon 5 key aspects that help construct the teacher as a professional.


To be able to show concern for the misfortunes of others is such a meaningful attribute to have in the teaching profession. As a teacher you work and come into contact with people from all walks of life; relating to them in a compassionate manner puts yourself in a more favourable light. There is a wariness to not become condescending but this is learnt with time and I believe it is better for a teacher to show compassion than indifference. Hopefully if a child is shown compassion they are more likely to mimic and display this in their own lives and the wider community.


This is a harder characteristic to reflect upon but an incredibly important one. A teacher must first and foremost be honest with themselves, true reflection is needed to be a better teacher. To be honest with pupils and families is to give meaningful input and constructive criticism but never to pass judgement. The community needs to see a professional manner and to be brutally honest may become detrimental.

Moral Courage

This leads on well from honesty as morals can be so varied between the teacher, her class and indeed colleagues. When it comes to a child’s safety, moral courage is paramount. Being able to justifiably protect the children in our care is so important. Even if the outcome isn’t of great benefit personally, there should be no doubt when it comes to doing the right thing. Corresponding closely with the GTCS Standards for Registration and beyond.


Teachers should give respect but also hope to be treated with respect. When the teacher is treated disrespectfully it is within their power to act in a manner becoming of the profession and our regulatory body. No respect can be given if it is not deserved: it is the regards for the rights, abilities and qualities of others. Gaining respect as a teacher must be so valuable in their job and the wider community. Respected professionals are listened to, confided in, needed and trusted by those around them. It must be a very rewarding feeling.


Justice (fairness in the way people are treated), namely Social Justice (distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within society) should mean so much to today’s teacher because the world is increasingly interdependent. The GTCS standard put Social Justice at the core of Professional Values and Personal Commitment (GTCS 1.1.1). It is my hope that I can help create a Just Society; help to create an informed and Socially Just generation, so atrocities are not repeated. Teachers have to predominantly teach in a Socially Just fashion; fact independent from opinion and that is what they are entrusted to provide. As a teacher it is vital to help children act in a Just manner, therefore they must educate children with various theories and a holistic approach. The Curriculum for Excellence relates to this with the idea of a global citizen but the concept of justice resonates in the four capacities; Successful Learners (openness to new ideas), Confident Individuals (secure values and beliefs), Responsible Citizens (respect for others) and Effective Contributors (enterprising attitude). Providing a Socially Just education in a Just manner.

Me, Me, Me

Completing a questionnaire about learning styles seems borderline irrelevant when we are geared towards creating holistic individuals, however, I was keen to find out what type of learner they thought I was. I have been reading more and more about how learning styles are detrimental. One of the reasons being, you are catering to a child’s strength not improving upon a weakness. I can see how this can be a hindrance but I found it beneficial to highlight what areas I need to work on.

There are many learning style theorists; Gunn and Gunn, VAK learning styles, Gregorc’s mind styles and Kolb. The questionnaire I took was the Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire, influenced by Kolb’s experiential learning styles. The questionnaire has 4 basic experiential learning style outcomes; Activist, Reflector, Theorist and Pragmatist. Out of 80 questions I related to 34 and these are my results

Activist = 14              Reflector = 4           Theorist = 8               Pragmatist = 8

These show that I have, according to Honey and Mumford an Activist learning style. I am in short, a do-er. My criticism’s towards this sort of questionnaire were that I found the questions very non specific and they were hard to give a definite answer to. There was only one question I answered with a whole hearted YES and that was “I prefer to respond to events on a spontaneous, flexible basis rather than plan things out in advance.” Now I know very well that I cannot and do not approach my university work like this… I’d say I utilise aspects of the 4 and want everything as perfect as I can make it.  If I had answered these questions in my youth or prior to having my daughter I know my answers would be very different.  So it is correct in the sense that we all have different ways we think, regarding our overall learning style, but it is not definitive of who I am or the only way I learn. If I reflect, so far, on my time at University I know I have come into contact with at least 4 different teaching styles/methods/approaches. If I didn’t have the skills to decipher those “styles” with my learning style I would be in a pickle.

Children should be seen as individuals and exposure to varying approaches and involvement within their community will hopefully shape them to be all types of learners. They will develop, change and expand their learning the more “styles” they use in their enquiries and as they grow. If a child is solely taught in one teaching style you are not creating the opportunity for praxis and collaboration of ideas. It is imparting on the children a sense of how to do things in the wider world. Take an onus for their holistic learning, not “training” them to seek out chances to use a specific style.

This appears to be a bash at learning styles, maybe my inner Activist took hold. Joking aside, compartmentalising a child is a restriction. That restriction may also apply to the teacher if learning styles are focussed on too heavily. Understanding of learning styles should be used as a primitive base for teachers to comprehend the vast responsibility that is: teaching. We are aiming for inspirational stimulation in the classroom and I believe that concentrated focus and labelling of learning styles detracts from this.



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.