I need a the views of teachers please

(29 Posts)
joshandjamie Mon 22-Apr-13 07:10:11

My son is 7. He's in year 2, a September baby so one of the oldest in the year group. He's also big physically for his age and an old soul with a very adult view on life. He is bright and is at least a year above where he should be in maths. He is a strong reader and has an inquiring, logical mind. His handwriting is a disaster though as is anything that requires him to sit still or require fine motor skills.

He is at a private school. The school is lovely and from what I can see, the teaching style is great - lots of really fun learning, not just sitting at a desk doing stuff by rote.

But my son hates it. He says school is boring. I am trying to figure out whether he is just being a monkey who doesn't like having to sit at school and work or whether he needs to be challenged more.

His BIG issue is maths. He does get more challenging work than the other children in his class but his teacher still insists that he has to do some of the stuff which he finds very easy and therefore boring. Her argument is that he needs to practice the processes / methodology e.g. using number lines (?) to work out sums so that when they get to more difficult stuff, he has the process down pat. I see her rationale, but my son's response to this was:

'I can do these sums in my head and I will never use this process. It is stupid.'

I am not a teacher. To me it makes sense to get the processes completely sorted so that more complicated stuff can be built on later, but he is becoming so distressed (crying/refusing to go to school) about it that I am now wondering whether he has a point and that he does find the work boring.

I guess my question to teachers is: if you have a bright child, is it necessary to make them do the same processes over and over (the school policy is to cover each thing up to six times so that it is firmly embedded in the child's head but they cover it in different ways) or if a child seems to have got a concept down, can they then move on? Same goes for reading books - he hates that he has to work his way through the 'boring' school books (the different colour reading schemes) when he wants to read more interesting stuff.

I want to talk to the school about what to do for him but am genuinely not sure if he is bored because he's a boy and would rather be playing vs bored as he's not challenged.

Any advice appreciated

1charlie1 Mon 22-Apr-13 18:21:51

have been enhanced

cansu Mon 22-Apr-13 19:25:33

I have to say that your description of your ds screaming and refusing to go to school does not sound like the behaviour of a child who is finding his maths lessons boring. He does sound like he is acting up to get attention whether this is because he is unhappy generally I don't know but I think the challenging work sounds like a red herring. That might be hard to hear but it might be worth considering.

joshandjamie Mon 22-Apr-13 20:22:43

Had a long chat to the head. He is convinced that he is simply doing this for attention and that as you say cansu, the work being boring is just a red herring. The head feels that my DS is basically blaming me for moving him (we moved house, cities, schools mid last year) and so he is playing up as a result. He was really understanding and I think gave my son a LOT to think about in his little chat. My son has been very sheepish this afternoon knowing that he has been caught out. I still don't think he's a massive fan of school, but we have a new gameplan to get him into school without a fuss in the morning. So here's hoping!

SE13Mummy Mon 22-Apr-13 20:44:17

I'm a KS2 teacher and am responding to the, "if you have a bright child, is it necessary to make them do the same processes over and over or, if a child seems to have got a concept down, can they then move on?" rather than anything else...

When children in my class are reluctant to use a particular method that we're working on in class I often encourage them to have a go at 'my' method and to use their preferred method to check the answer. That way they have the satisfaction of being able to use the method they are most comfortable with and can use that to unpick the new method. Children who are adept problem-solvers, pattern-spotters, logic-lovers etc.will use it as an opportunity to work out how 'my' method fits in with theirs. Some children will discover that the two methods have resulted in a different answer which then <hopefully> leads them to question why that has happened.

If your son was in my class I would expect him to show that he could accurately use any method that I was teaching but wouldn't expect him to use it ad nauseum if I was confident that he had demonstrated the understanding of the processes involved (including using different numbers to work with e.g. decimals, negative numbers, larger numbers etc.). I would expect him to show evidence of checking his solution regardless of the method he uses.

As they move through KS2 children are meant to be able to select the most appropriate method of calculation for any given task. Having a number of different methods up their sleeves helps with this.

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