Educational fads of the moment(309 Posts)
Ex-teacher here and the changes to assessment and streaming at DD's school 'to ensure the school is following the latest research' have brought back memories of the numerous new initiatives I had to adapt to using over the years.
AIBU to ask you to tell me about your favourite and least favourite teaching fads? Which ones were a waste of time and which have proved their worth.
Not sure about teaching fads, but as a parent I actually miss the NC levels. It was reassuring to see my children progressing, and I feel sorry for kids who will only ever see 'working towards' on their reports from now on.
Although come to think of it, I'm very glad that phonics is in and mixed methods is out, as I don't think the latter would have worked for my daughter.
I was educated in a different country so my personal experience with 'trends' is a bit irrelevant. But current trends that annoy me: Resilience. Now schools have to teach children to be resilient. That's the in thing and I can't stand it. It's in every bloody presentation.
Teaching British values. Sorry, they are not exclusively British. Respect for others is not a 'British' value. It's a value in many, many countries. Same with democracy, respect for the rule of law. Teaching 'British' values makes it sound as if they are somehow exclusively British.
Complete waste of time - learning grammar in the way primary school kids are learning now. Ever heard of fronted adverbials? me neither.
'Mastery', or worst, Singapore maths mastery. More able children are not really supposed to be learning what is next in the curriculum, they are supposed to learn to master a specific method. That's absolute tosh. Drives me up the wall. DS (y6) is really good at maths and he is stagnating, learning nothing new at school, doing the same thing over and over.
There are more, but my post is long enough...
British Values fucks me off entirely. Obsessive adherence to phonics (my dd2 learned to read by whole word recognition, phonics made no sense to her). There has to be a mix, as many words cannot be decoded phonically. Learning styles, brain gym, mindfulness.... Anything that costs schools money, and takes us away from actual teaching
The softy softy emotional stuff. What an epic waste of time, children should be able to learn how to act appropriately without wasting entire lessons on it. Career planning-I understand the value of this in poorer schools but in the kinds of schools where 50% want to be doctors and gave kniw that since they were 8 and the other half want to be lawyers this kind of stuff is a waste of time. And lastly the general dumbing down of the curriculum- I get it, they want more children to get top grades to make it look like there's a lot of social mobility/please parents etc but it's ridiculous. The quality and quantity of education has gone down hill as a result.
I think Growth Mindset will be looked back on as a fad. Its principles have always been encouraged by good teachers anyway.
Mindfulness! All well and good but at my Ds school if they don't do it 'properly' they get detention
The poncy laadeedaa concept of “celebrating our mistakes”. They actually make the kids clap at the mistakes someone makes in class and celebrate them and then work through them together. So patronising. I couldn’t sit through that. So glad I’m not a child.
I work in a university and the next 'trend' is going to be to 'blended learning' so they film our lectures and put them online so the students have a choice whether to attend or not. Then sack us as we're not needed anymore.
This need to keep everyone on the same level. DD already knows inside out all the maths she's going to be taught this year. Apparently, she'll just be made to go over it ad infinitum until next year.
Phonics should not be considered a fad. It's how reading was taught for centuries other than the brief blip of sight reading in the latter part if the 20th century. Nobody learns to read via leaning whole words. It would be quite impossible to just memorise every single word in the English language. What happened in the past was that many children worked out the decoding pattern themselves. Unfortunately, around 20% of children never managed this, hence the need to teach synthetic phonics.
Archaicmother it's been suggest at my PS that all our meetings, training sessions, etc are hosted as live webinars so parents don't have to leave home or work to attend. No comments on who will fund the filming or hosting in our already overstretched budget.
Sadly I was at school for all the brain gym bollocks. Utter waste of time.
Seems to be growth mindset at the moment, with the typical hing of something that started off as fairly common sense but has mutated into a whole industry of schemes, training and resources
PLTS (personal learning and thinking skills) we had to have these referenced in each lesson plan.
Another time we also had to have each lesson linked to some real life example. I can't think what that was called but it was so contrived.
Learning styles was also big when I joined teaching (i.e. some children are auditory learners, some are visual etc.)and now apparently the research that we should teach to learning styles has been refuted
So fed up of having to change everything for a new initiative. I have been teaching for 11 years and have been involved in at least 4 rewritings of the scheme of work (it could be 5). They take months to rewrite and each time someone will make a comment along the lines of "at least you will be able to use it for several years now " two years later everything is changing again. I was involved in writing one two years ago which we abandoned by Christmas. No-one thought to do a trial term. (I was directed to do this it was not optional for me)
I hate the current system of marking work as 'Lower than expected ', 'Expected' or 'Above expected'. It fails to encourage the abler pupils because it is sometimes actually impossible to get above expected with the level of work they are on. And in any case, it's pretty pointless having a system where they are only judged against their own prior data, when they are going to be given actual fixed grades when they do GCSE. Dd sometimes feels like there's no point in trying really hard on her homework if she can't get above expected anyway because her SATs results were high!
So now school plays in the woods with my child and I get to teach my child times tables!
I don't mind the daily mile. Though the walking to school badges I'm meh about - we don't drive there is no other option but walking.
I'm not sure about the cross curriculum thing - at secondary school- the French teacher teaching pie charts and the maths class writing letters but maybe it makes more sense than those snippets I hear suggest.
Brain Gym, thinking hats. SEAL and PLTS which only lasted two years. All that work and it was gone in two years.
I like thinking hats. Giving children a framework from which to approach an idea of piece of writing is good.
We do that in our IB and GCSE classes although, of course, mandatory attendance. The children love it, good teachers don't mind, I've seen genuine benefits. Children do watch them and make better notes from them.
I'm never a fan of slavish adherence and am in the process of writing a research wrt word shapes and improving reading for dyslexics. However, your daughter is in a very small minority and phonics is correct. Of course a mongrel language like English has many exceptions to the rule but tell me, how do you (or your daughter) read a new word? How do you know which syllable(s) to stress?
Trends I dislike;
Inclusive education for the sake of being PC and 'inclusive'.
Modern parents' attitudes to education and schools. They seem to be acutely aware of what they're entitled to and sometimes think of little else.
Proper phonic teaching instead of this mixed method rubbish was a very welcome change. 20% of children being left to flounder due to incorrect teaching methods was a national disgrace.
The worst had to be Brain Gym. What a stupid, pointless, STUPID waste of time and money that was. Read Ben Goldacre on the subject, it is hilarious.
Thinking Hats and 'Habits of Mind' spring to mind!
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