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Buddy system

(7 Posts)
magicmummy1 Sun 04-Sep-11 22:48:54

DD is in year 2 and all of her class have been assigned "buddies" for doing pairwork. These pairs appear to combine very mixed abilities and personalities. My super-sensible DD has been paired up with a little boy who has a reputation for extremely poor behaviour. DD is no fool, and realised from day 1 that they had been put together to discourage this little lad from "being too naughty".

I am eager to believe that this is a tried & tested approach, and that it will be of genuine benefit to all of the children. Honestly speaking, though, I am struggling to understand what dd is going to gain from this arrangement, and I can't help wondering if it is fair for her to have to do so much work with a child who seems to spend most of his time disrupting the class.

Just to be clear, I don't need persuading that all children can benefit from mixed ability groupings - the school has been very good at differentiating work so far, and I trust them to keep doing this. Besides, I learnt a lot at school through being asked to explain stuff to other children. However, I am less convinced that a highly motivated and well-behaved child will benefit from working consistently with a child who is disruptive and doesn't want to be there.

Can any teachers please convince me that I'm wrong?

Playingwithbuses Sun 04-Sep-11 23:16:58

My DD often ended up in this situation, I don't know how much it benifited her, but it didn't seem to hold her back either, she always ended up sitting next to the class "pain", but she probably did more work than if she was next to her friend who would have her chatting all day I suppose.

magicmummy1 Sun 04-Sep-11 23:49:41

Thanks playingwithbuses. Reassuring to know that it didn't have a negative impact. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes.

FWIW, I have nothing against this particular little boy, and dd doesn't dislike him either - he's a friendly little lad. It's just he doesn't seem to get on very well with being in a school environment. I don't know if there are any SN involved.

I think it's good for dd to mix with lots of different kids, and if pairing this little boy up with dd from time to time has any positive benefits for him, that's great, but there are other very well behaved kids in the class who could also exert that positive influence. It just doesn't seem fair that it should always be dd. Or am I overthinking this?!

Not going to say anything to the teacher right now, anyway - will wait and see how things go. Just wondered if any teachers could shed light on how this is supposed to work!

thebeansmum Mon 05-Sep-11 09:14:07

I'm definatley NOT trying to be confrontational here, magicmummy, just to be clear - and I think that your DD being with this boy constantly for pair work is a bit much, but are you saying you would prefer 'naughty' kids to be rotated around 'good' kids, or all the naughty ones together so all the good kids can get along happily together and bring out the best in eachother whilst the rest dick about and do nothing?

I understand how it must be for a teacher, they want the best for all the class and have the same hopes (presumably!) for them all, so I imagine they will go with what works best for the class as a whole. You don't know if SN is involved with this little boy and TBH, I would be flattered that my child could help someone else - it's not all day, every day, is it?

One of my sons was considered 'disruptive' for the first few years in the classroom, however he is a bright, happy and popular boy and was asked to buddy-up with a shy, quiet child who was struggling to fit in socially but was a dream in the class, so I guess it's all about trying to get the best out of everyone. It never occured to me what DS was going to gain from the arrangement other than aiding someone else..

clam Mon 05-Sep-11 13:54:53

Sounds to me as if you're being sensible about this. Certainly teachers rely on the "sensible" kids to influence some of the others where possible. However, I don't think it's unreasonable for the load to be shared a little, so maybe later in the term you might have a little word, if your DD is unhappy about it, and ask if there could be a changeround.

AMumInScotland Mon 05-Sep-11 14:06:29

If your dd is unhappy, or feels she's taking an unfair amount of the load, or you think she's not getting time to focus on her work, then have a chat with the teacher about how the pair work could be arranged differently so that it's not always your dd with this lad. It's in everyones interest for the lively or disruptive children not to be paired together, so if she's quiet and well behaved then she will get paired with less quiet ones, but that shouldn't mean her having to take the brunt of coping with very disruptive classmates.

So, its a matter of degree - some of this pairing is inevitable and benefits everyone, but if you feel she's being made "teachers assistant" in dealing with him then its too much and unfair on her.

iggly2 Mon 05-Sep-11 18:05:25

I think it depends on how much work is done in pairs, and, if rotation of parners occurs (good socially). I do think BOTH can benefit (and the teacher grin). Later on it is so important-certainly my older sister has struggled later socially in positions of management with how to get the best out of her juniors. Think of it as practice!

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