Category Archives: 3.4 Prof. Reflection & Commitment

Field Trips Within Social Education

Thinking back to my own primary school experience, school field trips were a rarity and at the time I seen them as a free day, in many ways completely unlinked from learning and school.  At the time 9 year old me thought this was great however, thinking back now with my teacher hat on, I can see the problem with this thinking.  If all children believe that school trips are not linked to the learning taking place within the classroom, are they even learning anything at all?  However, after discussing the benefits of field trips in the teaching of social subjects during lectures and workshops and by even going on one myself to Verdant Works in Dundee, I have began to realise the sheer importance of these practical experiences on the learning of social studies within the primary curriculum.  In addition to this, I feel it is essential to emphasise the importance of the link between the field trip and the learning within the classroom.  If this link is not meaningful and relevant, the field trip may not reach its full learning potential.

Through my own experience of the university field trip to Verdant Works, which is an old jute mill which has been converted into a museum which exhibits information on how the jute mills were ran, the machinery involved, the transportation of jute and even the social history of the time within Dundee, I feel as though I had the opportunity to look at the learning opportunities through the eyes of both a learner and teacher.  Due to the fact I had not visited this attraction for many years, I found much of it had been renovated which meant in addition to the information that I could remember there were also many new learning opportunities for me to expand my own knowledge.  Through gaining this knowledge I was also able to begin thinking about how I can include aspects into my teaching.  The rich environment allowed me to ask questions about what could be used within a classroom and what links could be made in order to make the learning as meaningful and relevant as possible.  A place like this can be used in a multiple of ways and can also be a good starting point for a variety of activities.  While I was walking around the grounds of Verdant Works I began to think about what topics or activities I could devise linking to the available resources.  One idea I explored was the possibility of a scavenger hunt where the children have to search throughout the museum for the answers to the clues they have on a worksheet.  I feel as though this sort of activity can be particularly beneficial because it allows the children to independently investigate and find out information as well as giving them a goal to aim for which could be a form of motivation.

I personally feel that field trips are a great form of learning as getting out of the classroom can be an effective way to getting children motivated and engaged with the learning.  It also provides a real life context in which children can gain and improve on a variety of skills such as analysing, investigating and exploring (Catling and Willy, 2009).  I particularly feel as though Verdant Works is a great resource to take classes to due to its Dundee location and history which makes it local for the children and therefore, makes it more relevant and relateable to them which is suggested by Turner-Bisset (2005) as an important factor in fieldtrips.

In addition to this, the Verdant Works website also provides a large variety of different workshops which can be used within the classroom which link to the Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes which can be found at  I believe this could be a very beneficial resource for teachers wanting to extend the learning of the field trip.


Catling, S. and Willy, T. (2009) Teaching Primary Geography. London: Sage Publications.

Turner-Bissett, R. (2005) Creative Teaching: History in the Primary Classroom. London: Routledge.

My Most Memorable Learning Experience

As a result of today’s first inputs on the ‘Developing Effectiveness in Learning and Teaching’ module, I began reminiscing back to my own primary school experience and asking myself the question, what was most memorable for me?  In all honestly, from this I came up rather short, I cannot really remember any particular lessons or topics where I felt truly encapsulated or 100% engaged.  During the process of wracking my brain and asking my primary school friends about their memories I finally remembered something, one of the only times learning seemed interactive and fun.  It was in Primary 6 and we had been talking about news articles and recent events which lead on to us organising our own new shows within our groups.  Our task was within our groups to each take up a role within a news show such as the anchors, sports reporter, weather person etc.  We then had to work to gather to collect all the news and information we would need ready to present our news shows to the other groups at the end of the week.  I still remember the excitement that it brought purely because it was one of the first time we, as pupils, had been completely in charge of our learning.  We could decide how we were going to structure our news show, we could decide what research we were going to do and what topics we were going to cover as well as what roles we were going to adopt.  Everyone in the class appeared to enjoy the experience and as a result this became a monthly thing.

At the time this whole experience purely seemed like a bit of fun and a way of getting away from the textbooks.  I never thought I was actually learning.  However, looking back now I can see the amount of skills and knowledge I gained from this experience.  We were learning co-operation skills from working in our groups as well as the organisation and delegation skills which go along side this.  We were learning how to independently research our specific news stories which in turn gave us the knowledge to know what was going on in the world and the real life issues that were being faced in different areas of the world as well as our own country.

Overall, I believe that this experience within the classroom is so memorable purely because it was something completely different to what we usually done within the classroom and something which helped me gain an array of skills.  Also I feel that because this task was very much pupil led it added to the memorability because as a pupil I felt as though I had an important role to play and it allowed me to take ownership of my own learning.

Placement Jitters

The idea of going on placement and getting fully involved with the primary setting is something which always excited me even before my start at university.  It was always something which I looked forward to.  I would not say that my excitement has dulled in anyway however, I would say that the nerves have began to creep in along side my excitement as the placement date becomes ever closer.  However, I feel that my observation day, last Tuesday has definitely put my nerves at ease.  I feel that getting to meet the class teacher, the class and other staff within the school has made me feel a lot more comfortable.  My teacher is very helpful and very open to me contributing as much as I can to the class, which I am very thankful for as I believe that with this support in place I can really achieve something and grow in my profession on my placement.  I really enjoyed the opportunity of getting to know the pupils in my class and finding out their personalities and interests, something which I wish to develop on when I start my placement.  At first when I found out I had a primary 7 class, I was quite apprehensive but since visiting the class I think I have began to embrace this.  I feel that some of the topics that are covered and the discussions which are held can be exceptionally interesting and detailed to a level that you could only get with a primary 7 class.  For example the class’s current theme is renewable energy something which I have limited knowledge on, therefore I had the chance of learning from the children.  This was an experience I very much enjoyed as I felt I had the opportunity to interact  while teaching the children and learning information for myself.  The width of knowledge in the classroom was astounding.  I can safely say that my observation day and helped to extinguish many of my pre-conceived nerves of placement and made me extremely excited to get involved and get started.

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Reflection on Examples

I put my hands up and admit that over the assignment and Christmas break period I started lagging behind on posting in my ePortfolio.  However, we were encouraged to read and reflect on our fellow students posts.  I feel like this really gave me the push of encouragement I needed to get back into the swing of posting, commenting and reflecting.  After reading my peers’ posts I noticed that each post was written in a way which provided a great amount of depth on the topic of the post.  In many cases the posts were written in such a detailed way that even as a reader you could get a vast amount of knowledge and information out of it.  On the more visual aspect, I noticed that a variety of media such as images, videos and hyperlinks had been used which I feel made the posts even more intriguing and interesting as it provided a visual aspect.  I feel that the hyperlinks were particularly helpful as they gave me the opportunity to read up further on the issues raised within the posts.

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After reading everyone’s posts it as given me a lot of information on how I can improve my own posts and what I can add in to increase the interest of my posts.  I also noticed that a lot of the posts I read were on topics which the writer found interesting and relevant and were not necessarily TDT posts.  This has inspired me to put forward my own opinions on topical issues in my own blogposts.