How much sloppy work from the teacher should I tolerate before approaching the HT?

(220 Posts)
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Wed 06-Mar-13 19:51:17

DS is in Yr 3 at a good enough school! There have been 2 or 3 minor spelling or grammatical errors in homework tasks which I have (very graciously grin) overlooked.

However, last term DS had to do some time telling homework ie write down what the time is on the clock face shown. Teacher marked all of the his work correct when over half was incorrect. I wrote a note to the teacher asking about it and she apologised profusely saying that she had marked the homework but had no idea how that had happened.

This week's homework for numeracy had a number pattern that was unfathomable and the literacy homework had a grammatical error that would have made the work confusing for children.

What really pissed me off a lot was that DS's literacy homework from last week was marked all incorrect when not only was it correct, but the week before's work was very, very similar and again all correct, but this was accepted by the very same teacher. Again I made a note in DS's literacy homework book, and all she has done is initial and date my comments.

The marking is very sloppy and I wonder whether I should raise all these issues with the HT or do I let it go and see if things improve. All parents recently received a note from the HT stating that moves were afoot to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the school.

Do I put up and shut up or speak up?

(sorry, very long and rather dull...)

ElvisIsKing Wed 06-Mar-13 19:53:04

I would mention it yes, not exactly a one off is it

Hulababy Wed 06-Mar-13 19:55:45

Why not going and speak to the actual teacher?
I do thin the teacher should be the first port of call, in person face to face. And only then, move on to the HT if not satisfied.
The first thing many HT will do is ask you if you have spoken to the class teacher ime.

Greensleeves Wed 06-Mar-13 19:56:21

I wouldn't delay, if you really are seeing consistently poor marking and poor grammar. It isn't unreasonable to expect the teacher to maintain a high standard in these areas.

I do feel that sometimes teachers who make the odd mistake make up for it in spades in other areas and it isn't necessarily a deal-breaker to slip up on a letter home or whatever. But poor marking of children's work isn't acceptable.

I would email the HT tomorrow and include all of the examples you can to back up your complaint. You have tried raising it with the teacher and it hasn't helped her to raise her standards - so YANBU.

heggiehog Wed 06-Mar-13 21:28:35

Why would you go to the HT instead of speaking to the teacher?

I'd be mortified if I made an error on something I sent out to parents but when you work 12+ hours every day and you're setting/marking homework at midnight and falling asleep at the desk it happens I'm afraid.

Obviously that's not the case for every teacher, this teacher might just be "sloppy" but you ought to give them the chance to explain.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 08-Mar-13 21:04:34

Heggiehog, I had previously written a brief, informal note to her about work that was badly marked, and we talked about it - she apologised profusely saying that she had no idea how it happened. I appreciate that people make mistakes.

I have decided that I will leave things as they are at present, and if I am concerned again, I will have a word with her and if it continues after that, then I will write a letter to the HT.

Also, the one lot of marking was just bizarre: "I like food," said the dog. Teacher said that the word "said" had to start with a capital S. She marked ALL the sentences like that - the task was about "speech marks" as the school calls them (rather than quotation marks).

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:09:11

I would only be worried if she marked class work incorrectly. I wouldn't give a fig about the homework. (Homework can be a chore to mark, especially if most has been completed by parents!)

Are the books in school marked accurately and well?

Hulababy Fri 08-Mar-13 21:31:05

All primaries call them speech marks tbh, well every one I have been in have. Often introduced alongside or just after speech bubbles. Become quotation marks later in the primary years afaik.

I would still go to see the class teacher face to face now; HT if things are not dealt with satisfactory, or head of Key Stage of one exists.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:43:37

Not any more hula. They're called 'inverted commas' (a la Gove).

I do think it's VERY important to look at marking of class work before complaining.

(I do agree that it's sloppy to mark homework incorrectly, but I think you'd have a better case to put to HT if class work was marked badly.)

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Mar-13 21:48:23

I would go to the head about it.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 08-Mar-13 21:50:38

"I like food," said the dog. Teacher said that the word "said" had to start with a capital S.

This is deeply strange.

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Mar-13 21:51:28

I agree Cobbler. That did it for me.

Hulababy Fri 08-Mar-13 21:52:08

ipadquietly - not here yet - later on in school maybe, but I am in Y2. DD, in Y22m says quotation marks and speech marks still.

I do remember them being inverted commas once before.

ipadquietly Fri 08-Mar-13 22:16:57

It's in the new grammar test!

TicTacSir Fri 08-Mar-13 22:23:42

They're called inverted commas. 'Said' should absolutely not be written with a capital S. Shambolic. See HT. Completely unacceptable in the formative learning of young children. from both a primary school teacher and parent who cannot bear bad teaching

lrichmondgabber Sat 09-Mar-13 11:39:06

Yes, have a word

Euphemia Sat 09-Mar-13 12:56:56

Seriously, Michael Gove tells you what to call punctuation? hmm

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:03:49

He doesn't tell me what to call punctuation. wink

ipadquietly Sat 09-Mar-13 13:07:35

Here's a question from the sample Y6 test:

11.Which sentence uses inverted commas correctly? Tick one.
“Fortunately, Peter, you’re going after all, said Mrs. Smith.” It’s a good job, too!
”Fortunately, Peter, you’re going after all, “said Mrs Smith”. It’s a good job, too!
“Fortunately, Peter, you’re going after all,” said Mrs Smith. It’s a good job, too! “Fortunately, Peter, you’re going after all,” said Mrs Smith. “It’s a good job, too!”

No mention of speech marks! grin

But hey, I just call them 66 and 99s!

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:11:34

grin

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:12:25

Stupid multiple choice 11 plus-like bollocks, imho.

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:12:55

The SPAG test, not the speech marks. grin

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:13:35

"Michael Gove, for example, is a twat." said TeamEd

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:14:36

I really, really want a 'like' button especiallyfor your post, TeamEdward.

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:19:50

Thanks Feenie. grin

thegreylady Sat 09-Mar-13 13:19:54

I think you need to tackle this now.I would ask for an after school meeting with the teacher and show her the examples of incorrect marking. Explain that if it happens again you will have to speak to the HT.
Your child is being given incorrect information and it is ridiculous that any teacher is unable to punctuate direct speech.I would also photocopy the incorrect marking before you speak to the teacher-just so it doesn't inexplicably disappear if she is challenged.
I was a teacher for 30+ years so know all about tiredness/workload etc but that is inexcusable.

purrpurr Sat 09-Mar-13 13:20:50

Except for the grammatical error in the post. Or was that intentional? You don't follow a full stop with lower case.

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:22:56

Which post?

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:24:34

I was being ironic, but I can see that it probably didn't work!
How about this?

Which of these sentences is grammatically correct?
"Michael Gove, for example, is a twat." said TeamEd
"Michael Gove, for example, is a twat," said TeamEd
"Micheal Gove for example is a twat," said TeamEd

purrpurr Sat 09-Mar-13 13:32:59

Ahh. Apologies, TeamEdward.

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:47:11

The full stop wasn't incorrect.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/punctuation-in-direct-speech

There should, however, have been a full stop at the end. smile

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 13:47:25
TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:54:20

"Michael Gove, for example, is twat," said TeamEd. "Even adults don't educated understand English grammar." Then she went to rock quietly in the corner.

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:55:08

FFS! grin
That worked well, didn't it?

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 13:56:27

Apologies OP for the hijack.
But I will never tire of typing "Michael Gove, for example, is a twat."

Is there any chance the teacher is getting the children to do the marking? Ds3 was getting excellent results in his spelling tests, and I was very pleased, until the day when I actually saw his spelling test book (it didn't usually come home), and found out he was getting lots wrong.

His teacher was using the peer marking system, where he read out the right answers and the children marked eachother's tests - and whoever was marking ds3's was doing it incorrectly.

I complained to the school and the teacher - we needed to know that ds3 was having problems with his spelling, but both we and he had the impression that he was doing really well.

TeamEdward Sat 09-Mar-13 14:02:43

Peer marking is much more common in Yr3 than in KS1 in my experience. I think STDG may have a point...

ipadquietly Sat 09-Mar-13 14:09:21

I wonder if the homework was downloaded from the internet? There are lots of mistakes on internet resources! Perhaps the teacher didn't check it before sending it out.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 09-Mar-13 14:09:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clam Sat 09-Mar-13 14:33:01

I would say that you absolutely must speak to the HT. S/he is directly accountable for standards of teaching and learning in the school and things like this would be pounced on, quite rightly, by their School Improvement Partner (or whatever they're called now - keep changing) and Ofsted.

You've already been decent about it and mentioned it to the teacher, yet nothing much has changed. Therefore the Head needs to deal with it. We just had a lecture meeting this week about how we as teachers are responsible and accountable for any errors in understanding given/made by TAs working with groups, even when outside the classroom. I'm sorry, but "being tired" just won't cut it as an excuse nowadays - and certainly not if it's a regular thing.

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 14:40:55

I have just these sorts of misgivings about ds's school, and am debating whether to make a fuss. Am already 'that parent' though, and am not sure it would make a difference. Just this year, we have had:

A letter home from a student, with a covering letter from her supervisor, asking me to fill in a 'question air'.
A letter headed 'Assembley Group' (underlined, big letters) from the Y5 teacher.
Assembly words for ds to learn with 'practise' spelled incorrectly.
A note in the reading diary which said 'Lovely reading well done. we was look at an fiction book' hmm
A display in the library informs everyone that Roald Dahl 'past away'.
A competition inviting children to design a poster for the 'quite corner'.

And that's just off the top of my head. sad

HumphreyCobbler Sat 09-Mar-13 14:50:09

oh dear Feenie. That sounds bad.

clam Sat 09-Mar-13 15:01:42

One of our Y2 teachers (no longer in our school) put up a sign at open evening inviting parents to look through their child's 'draw.'

One of my current colleagues has a real struggle with spellings (I think she's dyslexic). When it came up (again) this week, I offered that I was more than happy to check over things if she wanted, she laughed and said that it didn't really matter!

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 15:09:04

That's the point, isn't it - that some people really believe that. I think ds's school will think I am nitpicking! But this kind of thing seems endemic.

It's annoying enough that those mistakes are made - but worse that countless people walk past the error and don't sort it out either.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 09-Mar-13 18:03:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Feenie Sat 09-Mar-13 18:15:43

We use green grin

I may have sent the student's 'question air' back corrected....and absent mindedly changed 'confectionary' to 'confectionery' in a packed lunch survey and sent it back.

You can see why I am so popular there, can't you? grin

Michael Grove does tell us exactly what to call each punctuation mark. Is there anywhere a profession so micro managed and undermined?

I am a primary teacher. Your teacher obviously doesn't know the rules of punctuating speech. Much as I am normally totally against complaining about teachers, I think she needs to be sent on a course or make better use of google.

bangwhizz Sun 10-Mar-13 11:04:46

You are not nit picking, Feenie.This is exactly what I was talking about in a thread recently (which only person replied to and disagreed with me), the threat of seeming like a pushy parent is used to browbeat parents into accepting crap for their DC.
A mistake is one thing, but in the OPs case it seems as though the teacher really does not understand the material she is trying to teach. That needs flagging up higher up the chain of command.

PastSellByDate Sun 10-Mar-13 13:12:01

Hi AIWIARS

These things are very annoying. Our school perpetually sends spelling lists home with 'sentence case' style lettering (so first letter capitalised regardless of whether it is a proper noun or not).

We had a spelling list when DD1 was in Y1 with Christmas spelled totally in lower case. This was not the first time, this kind of thing had been happening all term so I actually complained directly to the HT instantly because this is a Christian Faith School, so I felt strongly there should be no excuse. Christmas play, Christmas themed everything in December, etc....

I was told:

"I had to understand that teacher's are hard working and since I had chosen a faith school I should forgive their mistakes and respect they're trying their best."

"I had to understand that teacher was new to Word for Windows version and didn't understand how to make words all lower case."

"I should see this as a minor error and shouldn't be wasting the Head's time over this."

By they way arbitratily capitalising first letter of words not usually capitalised continues now in Year 5 for DD1 - and DD1's written work is all over the shop in terms of capitalisations but I'm wrong to see any link in presentation of spelling list words as 'sentence case' of course. I just had a parent/ teacher meeting where I was told the school wanted us to work on DD1's arbitrary captilisation of words at home. DH and I exchanged pained look and DH politely queried whether it might help to receive spelling words presented as all lower case or sentence case as appropriate?

...and so the endless arguments about 'But Mum, that's how Mrs. X spelled it on our list continues....

I can understand a misspelled word or two in a letter, happens to all of us - especially if in a rush. I just don't get the spelling list thing. Seems odd not to spell 'television' all lower case, but 'Television'.

PastSellByDate Sun 10-Mar-13 13:13:55

speaking of which

should be 'By the way...

Feenie Sun 10-Mar-13 13:56:54

And teachers, not teacher's. grin

clam Sun 10-Mar-13 15:27:57

We always ensure that spellings are given to children without capitals unless they are proper nouns, even in their word books. The child then needs to apply the capitalisation as and when appropriate in their own writing.

I must say that it hacks me off no end when I have to sit through yet another lecture in a staff meeting about using correct spelling/grammar/punctuation in everything, when it's the HT herself whose own English is pretty ropey. The newsletters home are an embarrassment.

PastSellByDate Sun 10-Mar-13 15:44:39

Indeed Feenie - should be teachers. Fair cop.

However my dear Feenie - any suggestions? Feelings on spelling list presented as such:

Reception
Addition
Division
Television

etc....

and then DD1 getting balled out in class for using random capitals?

She's totally confused because she's learning it the way the teacher first showed her - and she gets cross about my exasperation.

Apologies for spelling error - but hope my communication of frustration and plea for some ideas to help with this at home will be heard. I'm concerned about capitalisation at the moment - but agree apostrphes are also something to brush up!

Feenie Sun 10-Mar-13 15:48:02

Totally agree, PastSellByDate, there is undoubtedly a connection.

AScorpionPitForMimes Sun 10-Mar-13 18:34:36

It doesn't get any better - DD2 had the word ' proffesor' in her spellings last week (Yr7, they are doing Pygmalion). When I pointed out her teacher had put it on the blackboard wrong, she got very upset and didn't know what to do - spell it correctly or do it the way her teacher said. I hope she did the former and not the latter. sad

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 10-Mar-13 22:09:34

Thanks for all the input! I am glad that I am not alone (sadly) in my frustration with bad marking, bad grammar and sloppy homework tasks.

There were more errors in DS's homework this week. I was going to see the teacher, but after reading this I will arrange to see the Year Head. I remember during an introductory talk at the school to first approach teacher then year head then HT if there were problems.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 10:30:01

Feedback from my meeting with the Year Head:

YH has dealt with lots of parents over the years and she would rather me come to her than chat in the playground - this was in reply to my saying that I was not there to moan or to be a pest. Her discussion showed me that she certainly HAS had lots of experience in talking to parents.

1. I should look at DS's homework on the day the children receive it so that any problems (like unclear photocopying) can be attended to before the weekend - homework is due on Mondays. This will save any "panic" over the weekend.
2. Some grammatical rules are inconsistent so DS's teacher's marking may not always be consistent.
3. If there are grammatical errors in the homework assignments then it is so that the more able children can correct them.
4. DS's teacher does A LOT of marking so I should appreciate that she works hard - I assume that is what the YH intended when she told me that the class teacher does a lot of marking.
5. Some parents would struggle with the homework tasks as even some parents may not be that able so I am in fact taking the assignments to a more able level (?)
6. One lot of homework should have had the sentences rewritten by DS.
7. She queried who made the scribbles on the cover of DS's literacy homework book. (?)

I felt like I was being taken to task for being rather unreasonable.

bonzoed Tue 12-Mar-13 12:00:14

What a joke. Go to the Head Teacher. The Year Head is an idiot.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 12:06:48

Go the Head. That is an unacceptable response from the YH.

Is marking and following grammatical rules consistently not part and parcel of teaching fgs?

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 12:17:28

Just remembered YH also said that sometimes errors were not corrected because it was not part of the learning objective for that assignment.

I appreciate that it would be soul destroying for an 8 yr old to have green corrections all over his work, but surely errors are errors?

I am going to leave it for the rest of the term and then see how things transpire. YH had said to me that they were changing the way literacy homework was being done across the school (though not because of the points I had raised.)

Wonder if Mrs T is reading this?

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 12:27:49

Errors not corrected are part of the learning objective? In what way is that helpful to anyone?!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 12:33:11

Not sure if my meaning was clear, SirChenjin (hahaha at name smile ) : if the assignment was about speech marks, then the speech marks would be marked as correct or otherwise. Other stuff would not be, aside from spelling.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 12:42:06

Ahh, see what you mean now. I think I'd prefer to have everything corrected that was incorrect, but I according to my 2 teens I am very ancient and old fashioned, so what do I know grin

Lancelottie Tue 12-Mar-13 12:44:52

Ah, a thread on which I can share my unreasonably bitter according to DH distress at DD's yr 6 Framework for SPAG Tests homework, which uses 'Jones' as an example of a plural FFS.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 12:51:43

Jones - an example of a plural??? Jesus wept and I bet you did, too, Lancelottie.

So, what the fuck are we supposed to do? We tell the teachers and we get poo-pooed. Must I teach my son myself? Don't mean home schooling because that would drive us both nuts and I cannot afford not to work.

I suppose I will have to drill decent spelling and grammar in at home and hope for the best.

clam Tue 12-Mar-13 13:04:55

alliwant I am a teacher and I think your Year Head's response is the biggest load of bollocks rubbish I've heard in a long time.

Welovegrapes Tue 12-Mar-13 13:17:30

Very embarrassing response from YH - do they really think those comments are credible?

lainiekazan Tue 12-Mar-13 13:32:53

Oh, dear, but that year head sounds fairly typical.

Dd had a teacher who was the person in charge of English across the school. I tried to point out - most delicately - that homework sheets etc were rather peppered with spelling and grammatical errors. I knew she had produced them but I said that "someone" was possibly creating a bit of confusion. With a complete death stare she snapped, "How would you know what is correct? You are not a teacher ." confused

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 13:53:06

Lainiekazan, how did you reply to that idiot? Only 8 year olds think that teachers no more than everyone else?

(I am NOT teacher bashing!)

ZZZenAgain Tue 12-Mar-13 13:58:04

That's not exactly a confidence inspiring response, is it? Tbh I would be more worried after speaking to her. I suggest you go to the head about it. The problems are simply being swept under the carpet and not addressed. It is not about getting a teacher into trouble; it is about getting the problems sorted out.

I would also correct only the errors in the area which I was teaching, IYSYIM. (In teacher speak, I would mark according to the learning objective.)

So, if the exercise was about punctuating speech, I would only correct those errors. Otherwise some children would have a dispiriting sea of red (or green) marking completely obscuring their writing.

Another thing I do is to underline three incorrect spellings for the child to look up, correct and learn. Three is possible; 25 spellings in a page would just lead to despair!

The children know that I will only select certain key errors; they are not under the illusion that I think everything else is correct.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 15:33:52

I'm still not sure how this helps them learn though Belle - surely if you are marking something and it's incorrect then it's better to show that it's incorrect, rather than let them continue on their merry way thinking that everything's fine in the areas outwith the learning objective?

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 16:40:29

ARGH! Sorry, a bit of drip feeding here: She did say that she would talk to her team about the marking of the assignments. More than that, she more or less said that I was being U!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 16:41:48

SirChen, I understand that LaBelle means so I accept that - LaBelle's policy on marking is the same as DS's school so yes, that's acceptable and understandable. But to mark something patently wrong as correct and patently incorrect as correct is just bloody sloppy, I reckon.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 17:19:31

I agree absolutely that something which is incorrect shouldn't be marked as correct, but really, really can't fathom why something which is incorrect but outside the learning objective for that particular day should be ignored. How can that be helpful in any way, shape or form?

Euphemia Tue 12-Mar-13 17:31:56

How can that be helpful in any way, shape or form?

Several posters have already answered that. There are some children whose work would be covered in pen. I have pupils who would not be able to cope with that - they would just be confused. It's much better to focus on one or two learning intentions.

MortifiedAdams Tue 12-Mar-13 17:47:09

What is the point in setting homework if the teacher doesn't care if it's done correctly or not?

Euphemia Tue 12-Mar-13 17:50:19

The Year Head's response is a load of defensive drivel.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 17:51:12

So at what point do you move them on and correct the incorrect work? If the work would be covered in pen does that not indicate something has gone wrong in a previous learning objective for that child?

Euphemia Tue 12-Mar-13 18:02:21

We plan to work progressively through spelling rules, grammar, punctuation, etc.

Part of our assessment is checking for retention of previous learning, but that does not mean we need to cover work in pen.

We often show today's LIs and SCs on the board followed by "Expectations", e.g., full stops and capital letters, finger spaces, neat handwriting. These may also be printed on a separate sheet for self-assessment by the pupil (ticking or traffic lighting) and/or the teacher. That way, previous learning can be brought into the assessment without covering the work in pen.

Future teaching is then planned based on the next steps in the progression, and on what we identify needs to be revisited or re-taught.

SirChenjin Tue 12-Mar-13 18:13:46

That's very interesting, thanks Euphemia smile

Hulababy Tue 12-Mar-13 19:15:46

Agree that the YH's comments are less than helpful.

But also agree that it is not always appropriate to correct all errors in every child's work. I have several children in my Y2 class where this would be soul destroying to do so - it could feasibly be every single word in some pieces of work. There would be very limited benefit to the child to do so.

Also bear in mind that some corrections or changes to work may take place verbally and not be recorded by the teacher in the child's workbook, especially if it is something that is happening with a lot of the class. For example - maybe a big number of children are spelling the word "people" incorrectly. Instead of correcting it in several books, the teacher or TA may stop the class/group and go over it on the board instead.

And re the speech marks thing - yes, it is in the Y6 grammar test - but I'm in Y2 and for now we go with what children are comfortable and familiar with. It is not difficult to revert to inverted commas later on in juniors.

Hulababy Tue 12-Mar-13 19:23:56

Euphemia - we do similar. The basic rules/requirements are on the board, alongside the WILF, and/pr on checklists on tables. These are added to as the year goes on. There are usually a visual image to go alongside each.

So at start of year might be:

Finger spaces
Capital letter to start a sentence
Full stop at end of a sentence
Letters to sit on the line with correct ascenders/descenders
Use your phonics charts to spell out words

Later on might be added to:

Finger spaces
Capital letter to start a sentence and for names
End sentences using . ! or ?
Use commas , in lists
Joined handwriting
Use your phonics charts to spell out words

etc.

These things may not always be referred to on every piece of marking.
Not all pieces of work are "deep" marked either. Some are only marked using a tick system against a smiley, straight of downturned face - often twice (once by child, then by teacher) and refers to the specific WALT only.

Some work is deeper marked using two stars and a wish (target/reminder) and a next steps comment - with time given for children to address 1 or 2 key aspects of the work, usually linked to the WALT buy sometimes referring to the expected list (as above) or spellings.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 20:46:53

It is not that all the corrections were not made that pissed me off the most. It was correct work marked as incorrect and incorrect work marked as correct that my main gripe is.

Thanks for all the discussion from teachers! It is good to learn how things are done and also to see that in some respects my DS's school is doing the right thing.

What is WILF and WALT?

Hulababy Tue 12-Mar-13 20:50:25

WALT - what we are learning to do (the main focus of the lesson)
WILF - what I am looking for (the success criteria)

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 12-Mar-13 21:32:27

Thanks, Hulababy.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 07:29:36

UPDATE: Having been asked by the YH to check DS's homework assignments in case there are problems, I have found 3 spelling and gramatical errors in 5 lines of print.

I was also able to look at the work book of a friend whose chld is in my DS's class (with permission of both mum and child!) and marking is NOT consistent. What was marked as wrong in DS's book was correct in the other child's book - same assignment, same answers, same teacher marking.

I am rather cross (I would say fucked off, but my aforementioned friend is reading this thread and I would rather not swear like a trooper in front of her grin).

I will be emailing the school today for the attention of the YH pointing out the errors as she had requested me to!

Feenie Thu 14-Mar-13 07:50:13

graMMatical grin

toddlerama Thu 14-Mar-13 08:11:05

I can't stop smirking at the anecdote about a teacher exclaiming "How would you know? You're not a teacher!" This thread is eye opening. My children are home educated currently. They may attend school later, they may not. I am very glad they will be learning spelling and grammar before that happens though! grin

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 08:13:51

grin graMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMatical

NK366568b6X1269e5a0059 Thu 14-Mar-13 16:28:18

Just back from parent-teacher consultation. Pointed out that spelling mistakes in daughter's work were not being corrected (she's Y6 and a confident reader and writer so really I think she should be able to cope with the corrections by now). Teacher's response : computer programmes have spell checks. Seriously. Am incandescent with fury. Pointed out that people needed to be able to WRITE and SPELL properly. Will computer programme correct their/there/they're ??? What do I do now? Daughter will be leaving that school in 4 months' time but really.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 17:26:54

NKetc, your daughter's teacher's attitude is mind boggling, short sighted and goddam stupid.

learnandsay Thu 14-Mar-13 18:28:42

NKetc, just teach her to spell yourself.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 18:41:24

learnandsay, I appreciate what you are saying, but surely that is not the point? Teachers should be able to spell and should be able to teach spelling or encourage the learning of good spelling.

Feenie Thu 14-Mar-13 18:54:53

Teacher's response : computer programmes have spell checks.

Oh my lord [shock}

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 19:14:47

I'm really shocked too. Computers also have speech-to-text applications: does that mean none of us should bother learning to write either?

ZZZenAgain Thu 14-Mar-13 19:41:47

it is threads like this one which always spring to mind when I read posts saying, "Leave it to the teachers. They are the professionals". It just isn't professional to make such a hash of things.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 19:54:02

I have emailed DS's YH asking which is correct, considering that she told me that grammatical rules are inconsistent:

"I like fish," said the girl.
"I like fish," Said the girl.

DS and his classmate had written an example along the lines of the first sentence. DS's was "corrected" to the second example. DS's classmate was marked as correct. Same homework. Same class. Same teacher teaching. Same teaching marking.

ARGH!!!

It is no fucking wonder that literacy is in such an appalling state in England.

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 19:58:14

The second example there is wrong. No ambiguity, no stylistic, regional or any other variations, no grammatical irregularities; it's just wrong.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 20:00:37

Euphemia, I love you, you clever thing, you! (Lots of yous and lots of commas, but as far as I know, all correctly used!)

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 20:06:30

My pupils receive excellent grammar and punctuation teaching, I can tell you. wink

I'm sure I tick an incorrect answer in Maths from time to time when I'm tired, but I would hold my hand up and admit a mistake rather than getting all defensive about it.

clam Thu 14-Mar-13 20:11:03

I despair, I really do.

NK366568b6X1269e5a0059 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:42:24

(sorry for the long user name, can't work out how to change it!)
Thanks for the replies. Yes of course we try to teach her to spell ourselves (duh! as if we wouldn't!) and I diligently correct her homework but really that is no excuse for her teacher not to correct words she has spelled wrongly in the work she does at school. Apart from anything else, you can get used to seeing something spelled incorrectly to the extent that it looks right to you (as shown by the number of people who write definately for example).
I've written a pretty pithy letter to the headteacher but given that my girl's leaving soon anyway I'm not sure I can face the aggro. My childminder, whose children went to the same school, said they had the same thing and it got sorted out once the children were at secondary school - but I can't help feeling that puts them at a disadvantage from day one. Is it worth complaining or shall I just bite my tongue?

Childrenareanigjtmare Thu 14-Mar-13 20:52:13

What school is this and NO speak aloud,do you want the best for your kid?

monsterchild Thu 14-Mar-13 20:55:55

"I like fish," Said the girl.

Even I know that's wrong, and I'm American! grin

Wigeon Thu 14-Mar-13 21:04:17

Oh god, I am twitching furiously at this thread and my DD has only started Reception...

The newsletter home has the occasional spelling / grammatical error, which I also graciously let pass grin, but I was fairly shocked to see that the Easter colouring competition photocopied sheet was entitled "Wigeonville Infant's and Nursery School". Gaaahhh! Inexcusable to use the possessive apostrophe correctly in the school's own name!

Euphemia Thu 14-Mar-13 22:45:11

Maybe there is only one child in that part of the school, Wigeon. wink

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Thu 14-Mar-13 22:52:08

Oh, Euphemia! Nobody likes a smart arse, do they! (grin)

NK366568b6X1269e5a0059 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:56:35

Hi Childrenarea etc - don't want to name names but you are right and even though my daughter is leaving there soon I don't see why she should lose a term of proper teaching so I will be speaking up.
Thanks for all your opinions.

ZolaBuddleia Fri 15-Mar-13 11:20:32

As a former FE lecturer, and owner of a 2.7 YO, I too am frothing. It's ever likely so few young people on FE courses know how to write properly if they're given the impression at school that literacy doesn't matter.

Teachers and lecturers are constantly being told that their work isn't up to scratch, and, clearly going by this thread, that is sometimes true. However, surely someone shouldn't be able to qualify as a teacher if their own ability in literacy is so poor?

<turns puce>

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 15-Mar-13 12:08:23

ZolaB, my cousin is an FE lecturer, too and we had a really interesting though saddening conversation about how bad basic literacy is at his college.

I am in Early Years, and some EY practitioners are up in arms because there are moves afoot to increase entry level requirements for potential practitioners to include GCSE Numeracy and Literacy at least. I am really dismayed to have read that many people don't care about the level of maths and English that people caring for young children have. Surely it starts there, innit!! Definately! sad

My DD once wrote about her "favourite toy". Her teacher red-penned favourite and wrote favorit about it grin

Bugger. I mean above it grin

I'll get me coat...

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 15-Mar-13 12:14:16

Twiglets, the danger of threads like these is that they are infested with pedants! grin Don't worry! I had GRAMATICAL in one of my posts earlier.

As a matter of interest, what did you do about the spelling of favourite?

It was a supply teacher who was only there for the day, so I just laughed and ignored it...

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 15-Mar-13 16:31:54

UPDATE: I had sent the YH an email yesterday and copied it to the HT. The YH asked to speak to me after school and she said that she had talked to the HT and that she must apologise for the errors in the homework and in the marking. She said it should not happen etc etc etc.

Three days ago she treated me like an irritating mosquito. Today she apologised "profusely".

I will be interested to see how things go!

(As an aside I also wonder if she would have taken me more seriously when I went to see her if I was not a scruffy, overweight childminder in dirty jeans and hiking boots - wonder how it would have been had I been in a tailored suit.)

kitchenidiots Fri 15-Mar-13 18:40:06

I call them speech marks if they are around speech, quotation marks if they are around quotes etc - but as long as you use them correctly what does it matter?!
As I teacher myself I am always so careful that I mark work correctly because I would be mortified if I made a mistake and someone noticed! Teachers are supposed to be perfect aren't they?! grin

So, yes I think you need to do something about this. However, as a teacher myself I could suggest a couple of scenarios.
1) The teacher is aware of her failings and is struggling to hold it all together.
2) The teacher is having a rough time and her mind is elsewhere.
3) She is rushing it and is being sloppy.

Either way, the more sensitively you approach this the better, I think. From what you say she has apologised rather than been defensive about it so it might be that this would be a good opportunity for the HT to become aware of this and hopefully give the teacher some extra support. Obviously it can't continue though.

pinkysmummy Fri 15-Mar-13 19:02:01

Any one know whether the TA is allowed to mark work?

clam Sat 16-Mar-13 14:25:57

What sort of work? Don't think there are any hard and fast rules about it, other than what is considered good practice. Therefore, I would not ask my TA to mark written work or maths tasks, as I need an overview of what the children are doing in order to assess their progress and work out where they need to go next in their learning. But I might ask them to mark a short spelling test or tables test (if for some reason the kids weren't self-marking them) perhaps.
Depends on the quality of the TA.

LaQueen Sat 16-Mar-13 18:09:11

It is the large elephant, in the corner of the room, that many teachers are simply not up to the job. And, I know...I have worked with quite a few.

There's been a depressing downward spiral in ability for the last 15 years, I think? I have worked with several secondary school English teachers, who don't have the understanding or punctuation/grammar that my 10 year old DD has...and who laugh it off when they consistently mis-spell words on the white board, and my face looked like this hmm

Yet, we're meant to just sweep all that under the carpet, because, hey...they're doing such a good job, in a very taxing profession, and they're working under extreme pressures...yadda...yadda...yadda...

I don't give a toss what a great rapport a teacher has with their class, or how commited they are, or how intuative they are. If they don't have a technical understanding of their subject, from solid basics to an advanced level - they they shouldn't be feckin teaching it angry

A love of children, and a cheerful disposition simply aren't enough...and, surely, surely, surely it isn't asking too much for a teacher to have both good knowledge and the ability to convey it in an effective/engaging manner?

Because if they don't have both, then they shouldn't be in a classroom.

Lancelottie Sat 16-Mar-13 22:22:09

10 yr old DD corrects her teacher's spelling. Not an endearing habit...

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sat 16-Mar-13 22:49:06

LaQueen, well said.

simpson Sat 16-Mar-13 22:53:24

I had to point out to the office staff in my DC school that there were loads of spelling mistakes on the school website (not impressive for prospective parents/pupils obviously).

Also I read with yr1 kids and noticed a comment in one child's reading diary "X done good reading today, well done!"

simpson Sat 16-Mar-13 22:56:10

The comment was made by the class teacher, sorry forgot to add that bit. blush

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Mar-13 22:58:04

In 1984, when I was a horrid little show-off six year old who had to write about her favourite book, I had 'eyre' corrected to 'Ayre'. As in the novel by Charlotte bronte.

ZZZenAgain Sat 16-Mar-13 23:03:07

Well we all make mistakes but it does worry me when I read some of these examples. What are the chances of pupils leaving school more or less knowing how to write English correctly? Some of these examples are clearly not slip-ups but reflect a lack of knowledge. Why is this acceptable? A doctor can't get away with prescribing medicine which sounded a bit like the medicine you actually needed. An electrician can't simply connect a couple of wires and it'll do; he needs to connect the right wires. A baker can't just chuck whatever is at hand into the bread dough. No one says, "Oh you can't question the baker throwing sawdust in the dough, after all he is a professional baker and he is great with customers. " Everyone has to be capable of doing their work. You can slip up of course even if you do know what you are doing. I certainly have and I think most people do. However, if you really have no idea whether what you are doing is right or not, you need to retrain, fill in your knowledge gaps or look for other work.

I don't believe it is the majority of teachers who cannot spell, don't know how to punctuate and even lack subject knowledge. I am sure (well I hope) it is a minority but I don't see why it is OK for some teachers to perform at this level. You can be a gifted a teacher when it comes to transmitting knowledge and enthusing pupils, and that is a wonderful skill to have but it doesn't cancel out transmitting errors. An ideal teacher has the teaching skills and the knowledge base but if I had to choose between the two, I'd go for the knowledge.

This is making me feel a bit depressed. I really hope it is an uncommon problem because I do worry about all the dc whose parents are not able to correct these kind of things at home and are simply trusting the schools to educate their dc sufficiently.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 09:35:37

ZZZ I agree. How long would a maths teacher last if they consistently taught that 2+2=4.1? I mean, it's very, very nearly correct isn't it...so what's the problem? It's just a tiny mistake, no harm done - eh?

And doctors...well, she's got such a lovely bedside manner, and she always warm up her stethoscope nicely, so it doesn't matter that she's failed her basic anatomy 3 times in a row does it? Nah...that's okay.

And, I don't think it's even that the ideal teacher should have both excellent technical knowledge and the ability to convey it well. This should just be the feckin standard.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 09:58:45

The fundamental problem is that numeracy and literacy are not taught properly in schools. Children are not taught basic arithmetic til it comes out of their ears. Children are not taught the basic rules of grammar in a regimented manner.

There is also the school of thought that if the person can be understood, what's the bother about grammar and spelling?

It is shameful that a country as rich and developed as England has such pathetic numeracy and literacy levels. I grew up in South Africa where at one point it was legislated that certain groups of people would receive inferior education. In that case I can fully appreciate that there would be millions of people for whom basic literacy and numeracy is lacking.

What is England's excuse? I recently did a post graduate course at a well respected university where some primary school and preschool teachers who did the course with me, could barely construct a grammatical sentence. This was at Masters level.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 10:06:55

The 'not correcting every error' policy happens at FE level too. We weren't allowed to ask students to write an 'essay' because the term was "too intimidating". These were students who, thanks to the fucking up and devaluing of education, were a year away from going to university.

There's a primary school near me who I commonly hear described as "good, but very academic".

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 10:08:06

that I hear blushgrin

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 10:09:56

Beautifully put LaQueen.

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 10:35:07

I'm a teacher and I do occassionally make mistakes on the board. It even happened in my last lesson observation blush. I always apologise as soon as it is noticed (either by me or a pupil) and use those errors as a cautionary tale about how we all make mistakes and that is why it is so important to check your work once you have finished.

I would be horrified if I sent work home that was an unacceptable standard though. Spellings being correct (and correctly punctuated) for spelling tests is an absolute must. Grammar should be correct, especially when marking pupils' work.

Zola My school is described like that. We're secondary, but people seem to think it's a bad thing that pupils are expected to be in lessons, learning, rather than out doing extra curricular things during lesson time hmm.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 11:11:38

Zola I spent Friday night at a friend's house...when I mentioned that we expected our DDs to go the girls grammar school, this was met with rueful head-shaking, and comments of 'It's very academic though isn't it...wouldn't you rather your DDs enjoyed school?'

Feck me...a school daring to have high academic standards, what is the world coming to - eh?

Actually I happen to think that schools are there to teach my children, and I'm not going to lose any sleep if every lesson isn't sprinkled with fairy dust, and served in itsy-bitsy bite sized nibbles...making it more accessible to the pupils hmm I don't care if some it is boring.

A relative teaches secondary school English...I was astounded to discover that in teaching Macbeth, he is required to get his pupils to access the play at 3 different levels...yet none of these levels required the pupils to actually feckin read the play, through...too overwhelming, too much work, too off-putting, for some pupils, so he says hmm

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 11:30:07

To be fair though LaQueen plays aren't designed to be read are they, they're designed to be acted and watched. Having said that, dd1 is currently 'studying' Macbeth at school and her top set class have watched a modern adaptation of the play (lasting 2 lessons) and read a cartoon book of the story. None of it has even been in the proper Shakespearean language! I can understand doing that for pupils who would have problems reading/understanding the language, but a top set of teenagers should be able to do it.

I don't really care if some lessons are a bit boring (some of mine are a bit) as long as the pupils are learning. I would generally prefer that dd1 enjoyed school, but that is easily achievable as long as the school clamp down on the bullying and teasing she is currently recieving because she enjoys learning and hates the "fun" learning activities they are constantly exposed to.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 12:29:34

School yes, granted. However, actually reading through the play is still valuable learning.

And, yes...my teacher relative's top set, had yet to be exposed to any written Shakespeare because the language is deemed too inaccessible hmm

Well, here's an idea why don't you feckin teach them to understand it - eh? Instead of getting them to do more fun activities, like making a friggin collage of the play, or designing an outfit that Lady Macbeth might wear.

But, my relative sees nothing wrong in this faffy-fun approach, because he's only just emerged from the self same, faffy-fun approach in schools, himself...

...and having exerted a heroic effort and garnered a poor Meeja degree from a third rate university (without stopping to get himself A Level English en route) he is now let loose in the classroom, teaching A Level English hmm

Oh...and he admits he's never read Macbeth either but has a working knowledge of the key scenes ...well, that's perfectly alright then.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 14:17:21

You go Laqueen.
It's a bloody scandal isn't it?
I'd strongly recommmend this book to you (and anyone else interested/outraged in/by the current obsession with 'fun' in pedagogical situations.

Vicki Snider is my hero.

kitchenidiots Sun 17-Mar-13 14:18:30

I'm currently tackling scenes from Macbeth with my Year 5 class - in the original language - in a fun way. They LOVE it and are working through some pretty tough language at the same time.

It can be done.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 14:24:31

The collage/design an outfit examples have parallels elsewhere.
It's the historic house with the softplay facility, the castle with the treasure hunt and the museum with the chill out zone.

Good forbid one that a child should be considered worthy of tackling the unadulterated product. hmm
The message comes over strong and clear each time.
'This is not for the likes of you.

Thus the pathetic attempts at accessibility end up shuting the door in the face of those who need it the most.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 14:34:33

I've taught Macbeth and the Tempest in Y2 class using a mixture of "Shakespeare Stories" and the original texts. Children love playing with the unfamiliar language

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 14:56:43

LaQueen I entirely agree with you that they should be reading the text, possibly in an accessible way, possibly some children don't need to read the entire text but they should have seen chunks of the original language at least.

I hated the faffy-fun approach to English, Geography, History, etc at school. I wanted to be reading original texts and actually learning facts about things, not faffing around colouring in pictures, etc. I think that's why I ended up doing Maths and Science A levels, they were the subjects least likely to make me do 'fun'. By the way, I've read Macbeth, so it sounds like I'm more qualified to teach it than you English teacher relative shock.

That book looks really interesting moon. I think I'll see if we've got it in our school library (unlikely) or the local library might be able to request it for me.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 15:10:09

It is School.
Utterly gripping from start to finish.
I emailed the author straight after I read it to tell her so.
Amazing woman.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 15:47:07

I am very interested to read what people are saying about collages and designing and crap like that. I wondered if I was missing the point about some of the peculiar stuff that my son comes home with.

Other things that puzzle me: He is now being taught to write letters, formal and informal, yet he is not being taught how to form the actual letters of the alphabet legibly and correctly. He is being taught how to draw bar graphs, but he cannot do simple division properly.

Is this what it is all about now? Even in Yr 2 his teacher seemed pleased to tell me that it did not matter than his handwriting was crap because it was not taken into account for the bloody ridiculous Yr 2 SATS. I don't care about the fucking SATS, but I do care about him being able to write properly. At age 8 he is still starting his numbers from the bottom up. He is still starting sentences with small letters. Yes, he is the more able groups for all subjects at school so it is not that he is academically behind in anyway.

I am another one that votes for academic schools as opposed to FUN schools.

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 15:52:58

Even in Yr 2 his teacher seemed pleased to tell me that it did not matter than his handwriting was crap because it was not taken into account for the bloody ridiculous Yr 2 SATS.

And that's not true, either - it's assessed both in the writing test and in the NC, so would count towards the teacher assessment.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 15:59:53

Feenie, is NC National Curriculum? What is teacher assessment? In his infant school, DS's SATS were marked by the class teachers. Is teacher assessment assessement of the teachers or by the teachers?

(I am not in education so a lot of the terminology is new to me.)

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 16:04:35

NC is indeed National Curriculum.

Teacher assessment is the evidence collected by all teachers about pupils, in every year, throughout the school.

In Y2, this teacher assessment has to be reported to parents, and has to include a test as a small part of the overall evidence. Handwriting should be included both in the test and as part of the teacher's normal day to day writing assessment.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 16:31:00

AllIwant, yes indeed.
The obsession with moving on through the NC irrespective of whether basics have been grasped.
I've been the one responsible for getting my children writing properly, instilling foundations of basic syntax, working on times tables. The list goes on.
I often feel I'm sending them to school to bugger about while I am the one at home sweating it out doing the actual teaching. On tops of a hard day's work.
It makes me very angry indeed, despite the fact that the people who teach my children are good well meaning nadh ard working people.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 16:40:02

Same here Moondog - I feel I am entirely responsible for teaching our DDs to read to such a high level.

DH is certainly responsible for putting them through Punctuation/Grammar Boot Camp, when he discovered (to his horror) that his 8 year old DD had no idea what a noun was, and was completely unsure how to use a comma.

He was further horrified when he realised that, despite their times tables books being signed off by their teacher, clearly our DDs didn't know their times tables thoroughly, and parrot fashion...cue endless hours of the DDs chanting their times tables, and being given spot-checks. Now they know their times tables perfectly, back to front, upside down, instant recall...

All of the above had been covered in school, but in such a gentle, indirect, faffy way...that the children were really none the wiser, about the actual facts.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 17:04:09

YES! It is that "gentle, indirect, faffy way" that really fucks me off. The only way to learn your times tables is by rote and recitation: over and over and over again.

Grammar has RULES that should be taught and delivered to classes as given rules, not as optional extras to leave here and there as they please.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 17:42:08

"YES! It is that "gentle, indirect, faffy way" that really fucks me off. The only way to learn your times tables is by rote and recitation: over and over and over again."

Oh, no...no...All - learning tables by rote, is deemed too dull, and requires too much time, and we can't ever have that in the classroom, can we...not when the children can be colouring in a pretty maths collage instead hmm

When DD1 started with her 11+ tutor (old school, retired grammar school teacher) he requested that DD1 quickly actually learn her times tables properly, with instant recall...he rolled his eyes, when I informed that her school frowns on rote-learning, he sighed heavily and said 'Yes...yes, I know...and so we have generations of children who effectively don't know their times tables...'

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 17:43:55

I really hope we are not tarring all teachers with the same brush here, ladies - plenty of teachers here and elsewhere believe in rigorous tables practice and thorough teaching of grammatical rules.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 17:55:06

Not at all. I come from a fmaily of teachers and also work with many fantastic ones.
#Teaching is a noble profession. I see teachers as victims of a culture where fun matters more than intellectual rigour.
Except it's not really fun to be crap.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 18:00:13

Yes, Feenie. You are right! Not all teachers are as described here. I also appreciate that teachers today have to do what the curriculum and current teaching methods prescribe. What upsets me is that clearly it does not work so it should be changed - by "it" I mean the curriculum and teaching methods.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 18:01:36

There's a thread on TES at the moment where teachers were arguing that the solution for struggling readers/writers was to send them outside with a TA to play games rather than "teach" them what they need to know to make progress ...I despair!

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 18:02:47

That's fine - just checking I didn't need to leave the thread because it had turned into teacher bashing central grin

The curriculum IS changing, in 2014. But I was moaning on here the other day about a very clumsily constructed sentence in the English curriculum, so I am still despairing.

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 18:04:22

Cross posts - we are both despairing, mrz, and on a Sunday too. grin

I will probably not be going off in search of a thread like that, it's not what my blood pressure needs on a Sunday evening!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 18:07:50

I am definitely NOT teacher bashing, Feenie! I hope I did not come across that way. Something is wrong when someone who wants to become a teacher does so, yet is unable to spell or write properly. It goes back to what a PP said a few pages ago that a sunny disposition and kind manner with children (or something along those lines) does not make a good teacher.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 18:10:33

"I see teachers as victims of a culture where fun matters more than intellectual rigour". Moondog,that was very well put.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 18:10:37

Really Mrz??!! shock

Teaching well matters more than practically anything else.
Teachers should be the creme de la creme of pedagogues and treated like Gods.

As the fantastic Vicki Snider says
'There is more comeback from selling someone a bad burger than there is from selling them a bad education.'

Euphemia Sun 17-Mar-13 18:17:45

Teachers should be the creme de la creme of pedagogues and treated like Gods

I like the sound of this world of which you speak. Where do I sign? Do I get a payrise? grin

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 18:21:01

These were my responses
I feel that often the teaching and more importantly the learning gets lost in the "gimmicks" and in an attempt to make everything fun we do the opposite as well as failing to teach effectively.

I totally agree, unfortunately often in a desire to make everything into a game the real learning is lost and children only remember the game not what the teacher intended them to learn.

not well received hmm

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 18:23:27

mrz, not well received on the TES website??? I will join the rest of you in that state of despair. (And I have just announced to DS that from tomorrow we will be doing times tables every day! Not starting today because I have had some wine already and I cannot be arsed.)

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 18:33:26

Blood pressure still raised here too! I know this is a primary thread, so apologies for the derailment, but why can't someone joint the dots (surely you can do a GCSE in that nowadays? grin) and realise that all this entertaining and diverting of children from the idea of learning anything is directly contributing to teenagers in FE being unable to read a book, research properly, or indeed concentrate on anything for longer than half an hour.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 18:39:18

Forgive me if this has been covered; I have read the whole thread but not all at once so I may not remember everything. Also, I am in the US but I think we have many of the same issues.

How much of the problem can be attributed to the possible over-emphasis on student-lead learning? I am all for pupils' active participation in the learning process, but the exhortation to teachers to be the "guide on the side" rather than the "sage on the stage" seems very problematical to me when taken to extremes, which based on anecdotes from my friends (my children are young adults), does seems to happen.

I was very good at English and history, but struggled mightily with math. I still remember one of the best teachers I had in high school who ually painstakingly explained math concepts ad nauseum it would seem, but who finally got through to me. She was, without question, the "sage on the stage," and I bless her name nearly every day of my life.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 18:40:46

The "ually" above is supposed to be "actually." smile

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 18:45:34

SconeRhymeswithGone (of course it does!), I agree wholeheartedly. There is understandably - to some extent - a big emphasis on learning rather than teaching. However, some things cannot be discovered from your peers. Rules of grammar, algebra, historical facts etc etc etc need to be taught.

Once the children or students know these things, then let them play and explore and create colourful collages.

But please, for god's sake, make them READ Macbeth. Read it: then have a look at the comic book, the updated movie and the Spongebob Squarepants version (disclaimer:I made that last one up). When that has all been done, then make a pretty collage to decorate your classroom wall.

ithaka Sun 17-Mar-13 18:51:37

I wonder if we are a bit protected from this in Scotland (as usual). As far as I am aware, in order to teach a subject at secondary level in Scotland, you have to have an honours degree in that subject. Certainly, my DH has a good honours degree from an ancient in the subject he teaches. He also loathes the 'design a poster' school of teaching grin

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 18:53:33

Yes All.
Do the weighty stuff, then kick back with the froth.
I won't let my children watch a dvd of a children's classic ^until we've read the book.

MissAnnersley Sun 17-Mar-13 19:01:56

Ah the 'design a poster' school of teaching. grin

I am hoping there will be plenty of opening for poster and leaflet making when DS is older - he has so much practice.

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:06:35

I'm reading Alice in Wonderland with my class but Disney and Johnny Depp got there first ...annoying!

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 19:10:16

I've just supervised some homework about designing and describing pillows.
The wine came out. It had to.
Don't get me started on bloody cooking, where all the ingredients are sent in pre weighed. That's not cooking. It's food assembly.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 19:10:57

My SIL teaches high school science. She and I have had some good laughs over the pitfalls of the fun (and "student-lead") approach to learning in the science lab.

ipadquietly Sun 17-Mar-13 19:11:52

'all this entertaining and diverting of children from the idea of learning'

And there was me thinking that a creative approach to learning made most children want to learn more and more.
I don't really understand what 'entertaining and diverting' has been going on.

I have to say that I think the criteria at L2/3 particularly, expect a lot of a 7 year old. As the children achieve their target of using full stops and capital letters, they are immediately required to be using adjectives/ time connectives/connectives/adverbial phrases/ different sentence openings/ correct spellings/joined handwriting/ paragraphs (etc!)..... at which point they start missing the odd full stop. We did a recent writing audit and one poor little Y2 said she couldn't keep up with everything we expect her to do when she's writing!

I think it's a case of pushing these children (who have been alive about 80 months, and have been speaking fluently for about 30-35 months) too quickly, rather than not doing enough teaching of skills! They're drowning in skills!

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 19:19:31

I think sometimes "entertaining and diverting" has replaced learning because people believe that is being "creative".

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 19:21:08

What I meant was the 'make a poster rather than write about it' thing. I do understand that people of all ages learn more when they're enthusiastic about something, what I mean is the substituting of learning anything for the arsing about.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 19:26:02

ipadquietly, then could the teaching system slow down a bit. Start with basic sentence structures. The cat sat on the mat. Make sure that basic subject-verb-object sentences are written correctly. Then move onto more descriptive ways of recounting that incident.

Perhaps it is a case of teaching too much, too quickly and too superficially. DS knew what alliteration was in Reception. He could not form any letters very well yet, but alliteration and rhyme were known well to him (yes, I appreciate his muscles and fine motor skills were still developing etc).

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 19:38:05

It strikes me from this thread and others I've read on here that there are really good educators, who know at what speed their students should be progressing, what they need to know and how they need to learn it. For these people the government should leave well alone.
Then there are the other teachers/lecturers, who either don't have the personality, or skills, or maybe intelligence for teaching, who should never have qualified/been employed in the first place. This is where intervention seems to be lacking. All about face innit?

ipadquietly Sun 17-Mar-13 19:45:08

zola (I know this is a petty point grin but I take issure with your 'poster' comment. Sorry.)
Children need to be guided how to make posters. There are lots of skills involved: presentation; contrasting colour; diagrams, labels, captions; writing simple, full sentences giving specific information; flaps (how to fit the writing in a space); calligrams for the title; discussion and learning from others/ sharing information.
That is quite apart from the work that would have gone on beforehand - research, categorising under title/headings.

Often, non-fiction writing will be a follow-up activity.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 17-Mar-13 19:57:19

Petty point taken wink. My experience is in FE [out of depth on a primary board and hijacking horribly, it's just my dander is up!], where I always felt that the students were so disastrously weak at anything involving writing, research etc that time should have been spent helping them improve on that, rather than making posters.
The difference with FE, of course, is that colleges are businesses, and if a student fails to have fun every minute of every class they can just leave, losing the college lots of money.

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:17:21

Feenie absolutely not knocking all teachers.

I understand they have to teach (an often) Mickey Mouse curriculum...and, it's not the fault of those (ahem) less academically able/qualified teachers if the government lowered admission standards to such a point that a Third in Meeja Studies, from a third rate university could easily get you accepted onto a PGCE course...

There are many, many teachers with impressive qualifications, a sound knowledge of their subject, and the ability to convey their knowledge well.

But, very, very sadly...there are many teachers who simply don't meet this criteria, and they simply shouldn't be teaching. But, hey...they're really nice people, and they are great with the kids...so...

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:24:49

"However, some things cannot be discovered from your peers. Rules of grammar, algebra, historical facts etc etc etc need to be taught."

I so agree All.

DD2 is seriously good at maths, been G&T since Yr 2...okay, so her teacher gives her the occasional extension maths sheet. But once DD2 has finished that, she is essentially encouraged to be a voulnteer TA and help the rest of the class hmm

Oh, this will be sooooo good for DD2, apparently, and help her stretch herself, and broaden her knowledge and experience of maths hmm

Er - actually, I would much rather you feckin taught her something extra, faster, harder and challenge her, yourself, MrsYearFourTeacher - ta very much angry

Plus - if I was the parent of another child in DD2's class, possibly with a child struggling with maths I would be furious to discover than another gifted, well meaning (but nonetheless) child was trying to show my child how to do maths hmm

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:28:11

perhaps the parent of the struggling child is pleased it isn't the teacher with a degree in Meeja studies hmm

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:31:34

"ipadquietly, then could the teaching system slow down a bit. Start with basic sentence structures. The cat sat on the mat. Make sure that basic subject-verb-object sentences are written correctly. Then move onto more descriptive ways of recounting that incident."

I'm nodding agin with you All.

DD1 is a pretty good creative writer...her teacher just thought she should let the words flow through her onto the page ..all well and good, except that the words didn't actually make that much damned sense considering the almost total lack of punctuation, and the comedy spellings.

So, the poetic beauty of DD1's work, was somewhat lost in translation - and led to DH blowing his top when he realised she had no idea what a noun was, and hadn't fully grasped that you always need to start a new sentence with a capital letter.

Hence, his Punctuation/Grammar Boot Camp weekend, which wasn't much fun for our DDs...but, they sure as Hell know how to use a semi colon now grin

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:34:34

Oh, don't get me started on that Mrz ...I know 3 secondary English teachers, none of who have managed to gain an A Level in English/English Literature - yet all have Meeja Studies at degree level, and thenceforth are considered perfectly apt to teach English hmm

They are big fans of the Design A Poster methodology, too hmm

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:39:08

at least they have a degree and haven't just been fast tracked because they worked in a bank

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:41:15

What is this Fast-Track nonsense of which you speak hmm

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:43:41
mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:45:54

Fast Track-For talented people from other career paths to complete high quality ITT and be awarded QTS in just 6 months.

Euphemia Sun 17-Mar-13 20:46:39

I'm quite shocked to see these entry requirements for PGDE Secondary (English) in Scotland:

"Applicants must have a degree with at least 80 credit points in English, of which at least 40 credit points must be in English literature or Scottish literature."
(Strathclyde)

"You will need a degree with at least 80 credit points in English. At least 40 of these credit points must be in English or Scottish Literature. Applicants with a recent Honours degree in English preferred."
(Glasgow)

"You must have a degree with at least 80 SCQF credit points in English, of which at least 40 SCQF credit points must be in English literature or Scottish literature."
(Aberdeen)

"The degree should be in the subject to be taught and containing at least two graduating courses (80 credits) in the relevant subject."
(Edinburgh)

Only Edinburgh seems to care that you have a degree in the subject you want to teach. confused

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 20:46:43

This can lead to being put forward for Accelerate to Headship programme, where top 200 outstanding teachers accelerated to Headship positions

LaQueen Sun 17-Mar-13 20:48:20

Oh FFS... [puts head in hands...]

Then again...5 years ago, I was offered a post, teaching English at a grammar school, in a coastal, Lincolnshire town - they'd advertised, to no avail, because it is an arse-end of a town...their Head of English is a parent at our DD's school.

I pointed out, that despite having an English degree, with some TA experience, I wasn't a qualified teacher. Apparently, that wasn't considered a problem...?

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 20:56:47

What's "Meeja"?

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 20:58:31

Ah, the penny dropped. It's "Media," right? Two nations divided by a common language and all that.

Roseformeplease Sun 17-Mar-13 21:04:25

In Scotland you have to have a degree (or two years of University as part of a degree) to teach a subject. Not so in the south.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 21:16:57

I'm not too concerned about the connection between a degree, a teacher training course and actually teaching.
Many of the best teachers I've worked with (and I've worked with scores) say they learnt nothing on their TT courses. Sure, they learned about theories and presentations and making things fun but they didn't learn the basic stuff-stuff like how to actually teach kids how to read.

They are very angry about it actually.

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 21:23:58

That's true. Nothing in my degree taught me how to teach children to read. There wasn't a huge amount of fun stuff, either, though. And one afternoon on SEN....am struggling to remember what the hell we did do now....

mrz Sun 17-Mar-13 21:45:16

I think my degree was good preparation for teaching but it's only when you have sole responsibility for a class you really start to learn what teaching means. Think we only got two days on SEN though.

Schooldidi Sun 17-Mar-13 21:50:36

Well my degree was Maths, very, very interesting but nothing to do with teaching. Then my PGCE was a bit pathetic really, I learnt a lot in my placements but the time at uni was a complete waste of time.

Feenie Sun 17-Mar-13 22:06:32

Mine was English Lit and Primary Ed there was a lot of theory, which was pretty useless. Teaching practices were always a million times more useful.

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 22:43:44

The best Maths teacher I know is someone who struggled terribly with it at school.
She is bloody brilliant.
No teaching qualification.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 17-Mar-13 22:56:23

Moondog, I wonder if that is because she knew how difficult it was for some students to understand so she could teach it in a manner that enabled children to learn maths more easily?

moondog Sun 17-Mar-13 22:58:42

That is a large part of it.
Also the fact that she is now an expert at instructional design.

LaQueen Mon 18-Mar-13 08:49:24

Moondog My DH is brilliant at maths, always won the maths prize at his grammar school, and was always top of set one, etc.

But, he's not great at helping the DDs with their maths, unfortunately - because he finds it so effortless, he simply can't understand why they don't instantly grasp what to do (and, they're both actually very good at maths).

Sometimes my far more hesitant, cautious approach to maths helps them more, because I'm kinda finding my way, too.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Mon 18-Mar-13 14:23:16

Er..... I have Parent/Teacher evening tomorrow night. After having kicked up a fuss, I don't need to worry, do i?

I am about 20 years older than the teacher so I really should not feel like this at all, but I do feel a bit like I am going to be a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. HATE feeling like this! Silly, I know.

ZZZenAgain Mon 18-Mar-13 16:32:59

You'll be fine. Look deadly serious and take a book along to write notes in or pretend to.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 19-Mar-13 07:37:55

How did it go?

Hamishbear Tue 19-Mar-13 08:10:04

Agree with much on here. The science should always be taught before the art but we don't like it because the science part can be a bit tricky sometimes and perhaps a bit dull at times.

I think some are beginning to move away from an overly creative, student-led approach. Academic rigour is coming back into vogue.

moondog Tue 19-Mar-13 08:27:13

I like that Hamish, about the science before the art.
I agree too with the return to a more focussed approach.
Definitely what I sense in my work in schools as well as utter disillusionment with the 'throw it all out there in a multi-sensory (one of my most loathed terms) approach and see what sticks' approach.
It has been an utter disaster, particulalrly for the most disadvantaged of all.If you have the sort of parent (like me) who can plug in the gaps at home, not much damage done. But if you haven't....

AllPurposeNortherner Tue 19-Mar-13 08:39:00

My sister was till recently a year head in a primary school, and had nightmares with a teacher who had the basic skills of a teenager, as well as generally being bizarre. The head wouldn't sack the teacher, instead just gave her good references so she would leave quickly...

AllPurposeNortherner Tue 19-Mar-13 08:41:03

She also had classmates at uni were delayed in graduating because they were retaking the basic skills test for the third or fourth time. By that point it is just luck, surely?

Hamishbear Tue 19-Mar-13 08:43:03

Agree, Moondog. I am not a fan of 'learning styles' either particularly when they are viewed as being set in stone rather than temporary snapshots or current preferences.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 19-Mar-13 11:46:03

ZolaBuddleia, the meeting is tonight.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 19-Mar-13 11:50:08

Will you be planning on mentioning anything to the teacher?

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 19-Mar-13 12:19:55

I don't think I will, Zola, because the meeting is about how DS is progressing rather than about the quality of the homework assignments and the marking. We are invited to look at our children's work in the classroom before meeting the teacher so I will be going in half an hour early to scour for any problems there. If anything arises from his class books, then I will raise it with her.

I don't want to appear to be on a mission to make like difficult for the teacher. That is not my aim. So I don't feel that I should raise my original concerns with her tonight.

Besides, if any more crap comes home in DS's homework be it an assignment or bad marking, I will just go to the HT, not the class teacher or YH. I have approached both CT and YH before so next step is HT.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 19-Mar-13 12:22:09

make life difficult, not like.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 19-Mar-13 13:16:58

Good luck, you will most definitely be occupying the moral high ground that way.

moondog Tue 19-Mar-13 15:09:26

'temporary snapshots or current preferences'

Oh I like this too Hamish. Very descriptive yet succinct summary!

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 19-Mar-13 17:48:35

Are "learning styles" the same thing as "characteristics of learning"? As a EY practitioner, I am expected to take cognisance of the latter. I think they are the same thing?

In the previous version of the current Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, not much noise was made about this, but now it is virtually at the forefront of all planning.

mrz Tue 19-Mar-13 18:17:10

No learning styles are not the same as characteristics if effective learning.

The whole concept of Learning styles has been somewhat discredited

mrz Tue 19-Mar-13 19:13:57

Three characteristics of effective learning are
• playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’;
• active learning - children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements; and
• creating and thinking critically - children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.

Learning styles are

visual
auditory
kinaesthetic

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 19-Mar-13 19:24:08

Mrz, thanks! No mention is made of learning styles in EY so I wondered if there was link. (Though I did a PTLLS course year before last and there was still talk by the wanker lecturer that delivered it, about the abovementioned learning styles. He was a tosser but that is another thread.)

Parent Teacher meeting was fine. There was no discussion about the homework. DS is progressing well and teacher is happy with his work and behaviour and concentration in class.

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