Category Archives: edushare

Mathematics and Art

You can either be mathematically minded or creatively minded, you can’t possibly be both, right?


Maths and art go hand in hand, they’re like apple and cinnamon or cheese and crackers.

Throughout school maths and art were always completely separate subjects, they took place in completely different parts of the school and even in primary school they were taught by different teachers. I could never have imagined them going together. That was until a very eye-opening input about their connections throughout time.

Artists have been using maths to create masterpieces for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Ancient Greeks used the Golden Ratio to ensure buildings and sculptures were pleasing to the eye. Renaissance painters used mathematical  to ensure facial features and body parts were in proportion and a lot of religious art in heavily mathematical with tessellation and geometric shapes featuring heavily.

Islamic art is possibly my favourite kind of mathematical art, so far… I think it’s eye catching and beautiful. Islamic art uses tessellation to create stunning images which paint the walls and ceilings of buildings.

Tessellation is the arrangement of shapes closely fitted together to create repetitive patterns. However, tessellation can not be done with any shape, it can only work if all of the angles of the shape add to make 360° such as squares, hexagons and equilateral triangles.


Languages- Scary or Intriguing?


Did the language change scare you away from this blog post or intrigue you? Did it make you want to hide, never to hear another language again or did it make you want to continue and learn more? What if you were a young child in school- then how would it make you feel?

This is a subject brought up during a recent German workshop. How should children be welcomed into a modern foreign languages classroom? Should they be welcomed with a cheery “Guten Tag!” or “Bonjour!” or just a simple “hello”?- What do you think?

Before being in a room of completely mixed ability German speakers I would have said “yes! Use the language as much as you can, it can’t do any harm, right?” I believed hearing a language regularly, even something simple such as hello, would help children feel more comfortable with learning and speaking the language. I would have thought; if they hear and see it regularly they’ll be able to pick up the pronunciation and see which letters make which sounds.

However, the tutor of our German class decided not to welcome us all in the language, instead opting for a simple “good morning”- why? She didn’t want to scare anyone. At first I thought the idea of being ‘scared’ by language to be silly but maybe that’s because I spent six years learning German. Through discussion within the group, I soon learned that not everyone had such an extensive background and some had none at all. This made me think back to when I first started secondary and first walking into a German classroom, after having spent three years at primary studying French and hearing my teacher welcome us in a language I had never heard, did it make me feel anxious? Yes. So imagine how it could make a primary 1 child feel.

With the introduction of the 1 + 2 modern foreign languages scheme, I feel it is even more important not to scare the children with language. With children starting learning languages at a younger age than ever before, I believe it is important to settle them in. Begin by having words in the language dotted around the classroom, beside their English translations and images or real life objects of the word. For example, labelling the scissor box with both the English and foreign language word for ‘scissors’. This way the child will begin word association and may become curious about the language. Continue to work your way from there, insuring differentiation so that every child is able to take part. I believe it is the role of the teacher to ensure no child is ever scared of learning, no matter what the subject may be. It is the teacher’s responsibility to encourage positive learning throughout the class and ensure progression and depth- two of the main principles of Curriculum for Excellence.

So I ask you again, is learning a new language scary or exciting? And what do you think we, as teachers, could do to make it less scary for children?

My Relationship with Mathematics- Maths Anxiety

I’ve always had a very love/hate relationship with mathematics. Throughout primary school I was always in the top maths group, coped well with the work I was given and, as far as I can remember, thoroughly enjoyed the work I was doing. Upon entering secondary school, I still felt confident with my maths abilities however I think some of the enjoyment started to die down, this may have been due to the work I was given or the way it was being taught in a secondary school setting. Despite this, I still felt very confident throughout my first and second year.

Going into third year, I was put into a credit/general Standard Grade class. Again, I felt very confident throughout my third and fourth year studies and began to enjoy it more which I believe was due to my teacher’s style of teaching. Admittedly, there were some aspects of the course which took me longer to grasp than others but I managed finish the two years with a credit grade 1.

My time in Higher Maths is where I believe my maths anxiety began. During Higher Maths we would be given a homework worksheet most weeks which we would have a week to complete and were not allowed to leave any questions unanswered without a valid reason (“I couldn’t do it” was not a valid reason). So, every week I found myself at my maths teacher’s classroom door asking for help with one or two questions on that week’s homework. A vast majority of the time, once the method had been clearly explained to me I managed to solve the equation myself. Looking back, this makes me think it wasn’t the numbers and equations I found difficult but the problem solving and the words used in the questions. Despite my difficulties throughout Higher Maths I did manage to pass all three NABS and was able to sit the exam. I think this also proves that I do have skills in maths and I am able to do the arithmetic I just need to build my confidence within the subject.

But how do I build my confidence? One of my goals for this year is to build my confidence in mathematics so I do not feel high levels of anxiety when teaching it in the classroom. I aim to do this by completing the Online Maths Assessment multiple times throughout the year, hopefully improving each time. Additionally, I plan to do some reading around the subject in order to familiarise myself with some of the vocabulary used.



My Educational Philosophy

I believe education is a tool to be valued across the world, it should be available to every child, teenager and adult who wants and needs it. I think education should be centred around the pupil and their needs. I greatly value the skills education brings to the world, without it we would have no doctors, no lawyers, no politicians, no shopkeepers, no farmers and no society.

In my interview for the University of Dundee, I was asked to prepare a presentation based on a quote from Malala Yousafzai’s UN speech. This quote was: “one child, one teacher, one pen and one book. Can change the world.” My interpretation of this was that she believed that no matter what race, gender, religion, etc. a child is, they should all have the right to an education and, if they are given this right, they will be able to do whatever they please, even change the world. I did, and still do, agree with this statement and believe Education is a powerful tool which, if given correctly and universally, can be used to achieve anything.

I think children should have a say in their learning and that their ideas and interests should be taken on board within the classroom. Children can be very creative and I believe this should be encouraged and they should come up with their own ways of taking in and sharing knowledge. In my opinion, it is important for children to work together within the classroom as this does not only help them accumulate knowledge but it gives them vital skills for later in life. Collaborative working will help the children gain confidence and prepare them for working in teams when they have left education and entered the working world. Not only does working together help the children but it will also benefit the teacher. Through my time in the Working Together social work module in first year, I learnt the importance of collaborative working between professionals such as teachers, social workers, health workers and the police. Despite this, I also believe independent working is also very important as it teaches the children not to rely on others and helps them build confidence in themselves.  Therefore, I believe it is important for teachers and pupils to be able to enter an equilibrium of independent and team working.

In my opinion, discipline is very important within the school, without it there would constantly be disorder and disruption. I think it is important to find the correct form of discipline and I believe it should be implemented throughout the entire school. However, I also believe it is important to look at each child individually and find a form of discipline that suits them. I believe the best form of discipline is positive reinforcement. I think it is much better to reward the good than to punish the bad as this means the well behaved children are getting the majority of the attention rather than the misbehaved ones. This would hopefully encourage the misbehaved children to behave well in order to gain attention from their peers and from the teacher. I attended two different primary schools as a child, both of which had very different ideas towards discipline. My first school was very much focussed around a reward system, we had a whole school star chart and the class with the most stars at the end of the week were given 5 minutes extra playtime on a Friday morning. My second school was much more focussed around a punishment system. Each class had a behaviour sheet and for every time your name was written on this sheet you would lose 5 minutes of golden time on a Friday afternoon. I think the star chart system was a much better way of dealing with behaviour, not only did it include whole class achievements but also personal achievements. I think it also encouraged good behaviour as nobody wanted to get no stars and possibly cost their class extra playtime. I think this also encouraged teamwork and friendly competition between classes.