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Teachers - is this learning concept attractive?

(13 Posts)
onthericecakes Thu 30-Oct-14 16:21:25

DC may be heading for a school using this Scandinavian Learning Concept.

My worry is that a school with an off-the-shelf curriculum, no matter how innovative, and how attractive to parents, will be unattractive to good teachers. Surely they won't get any valuable experience in curriculum design? If they don't like some parts of the curriculum they will just have to lump it, and they might limit their careers to working in schools that have the same model.

Am I worrying too much? As I think it is always the staff that make the school, I'm concerned that schools like this are handicapped when it comes to attracting the best teachers.

The progress of the school so far doesn't reassure, but as it now has a new Head taking over the reigns I'm hoping that might change things for the better.

I'm interested in the views of good teachers on what you look for to give you that feeling that you want to devote part of your career to a particular school? Could this Learning Concept inspire you?

CharlesRyder Thu 30-Oct-14 16:31:24

Each student has a personal timetable based on their needs, goals and learning strategies. The timetable is made up of goals and learning strategies. The timetable is made up of interactive lessons, lectures, workshops, group work and private study time. The timetable for the coming week is recorded in a logbook along with the new goals and strategies for the week.

I don't know how they are going to pull that off.

DH works in an Independent school with 600 DC and high levels of staffing to reflect that their average class size is 10. Even with those ratios they cannot offer every child exactly what they want in terms of options as they have to use 'blocking' to make the timetable work. The timetable is incredibly complex and no way could children have a different timetable each week as is implied here.

Oh, and what lesson is NOT interactive?

I call BS.

onthericecakes Thu 30-Oct-14 16:50:12

Yeah, that was my thought too, but having looked into it a bit more, a lot of the curriculum is online, and that's what enables the students to work through it at their own pace. It's a bit odd though. If I understood the boy that showed me round correctly, he said he focussed relentlessly on maths for a while, did his GCSE early and is now relaxing that to focus on some of his weaker subjects.

CharlesRyder Thu 30-Oct-14 16:55:48

Sounds like that could be good for a really self motivated kid. I'm not sure that many 11-18yos could handle responsibility for their own learning though (I couldn't have and I was a compliant child who got As).

I would want some reassurance about how they are going to ensure nobody slips through the net- 20mins a week tutorial doesn't sound like a lot to really get a handle on how much independent learning a child is doing.

onthericecakes Thu 30-Oct-14 17:11:34

Yes, I think the staff must need a different skillset to 'normal' schools, as the focus is on personal tutoring, mentoring and coaching, rather than more traditional teaching skills. I guess I'm after reassurance that it is something that will appeal to lots of good teachers - rather than it being the sort of school where they only get a very small pool of applicants to choose from.

Coolas Thu 30-Oct-14 21:35:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mammuzza Thu 30-Oct-14 21:52:28

It reads like the flipped classroom taken to its most extreme conclusion. Mostly flip, little classroom.

I tried out an awful lot of options with DS. By and large with him I discovered pre-packaged, pre-recorded lessons/feedback tools etc were a totally passive experiences for him, and he switched off.

I'm no technophone when it comes to education, he goes to an online school. However live lessons where there is genuine interaction, in real time, with his teachers has been the key element in his engagement and progress. I don't see how that is possible when materials are pre recorded and proffered in a "one way street" style to students. Bits and bobs for revision, or extra work on tricky bits maybe. But I wouldn't want that format to provide the bulk of my son's education.

onthericecakes Fri 31-Oct-14 07:49:13

Mammuzza, it's hard to tell from the outside how much is independent learning, and how much is teaching time, although there certainly is teaching time - they do a variety of groupings though - workshops, and larger lectures, as well as traditional class-size tutor groupings, and working in pairs. They say they do grouping by "stage not age", but again it's not clear from the outside how that's organised, or what percentage of time is grouped that way.

I know parents who have kids there already (although not by choice - there isn't much choice round here). The kids seem very happy, and enjoy school. The parents are keeping a close eye on things and reserving judgement. Ofsted hasn't been complimentary so far, but as I said, maybe that will change with time.

As I said, my main worry is the capacity to attract good teachers. If teachers are inspired by the model, then they'll get a good pool of staff to choose from, but if not ...

onthericecakes Fri 31-Oct-14 07:55:57

By the way, this was a transformational academy, so the original set of teachers had the model imposed on them. That can't have been easy and may account for some of the lacklustre performance. There's been a lot of staff churn since then, but it's hard to tell if that's for better or worse. They do have a shiny new-build though, which helps.

Toofar Fri 31-Oct-14 09:36:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

onthericecakes Sat 01-Nov-14 07:59:00

Thanks Toofar - they do talk about the similarities of their system to HE, and how it prepares students well for that. The jury is still out though. I hear it's popular in Sweden, but whether it will work in a system where families have it imposed on them, rather than choosing it, remains to be seen.

Toofar Sat 01-Nov-14 21:16:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ikkenu Sun 02-Nov-14 15:16:17

As a parent I'm suspicious about the online learning side of it because it sounds like a lot of worksheets - just delivered online. That might be good for revision, but not as the main way of understanding a subject. And how does it fit the new GCSEs?

I'm also really unsure about schools that put you in for an exam early. You can't do as many resits now - only first result is included. If you were good enough to sit an exam early, does that mean you don't get taught the subject at all for a while? How do they expect pupils to go on and do Maths or languages at A-level if they haven't practised for a year?

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