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Children being used as role models?

(13 Posts)
MinesaMess Wed 30-Apr-14 09:58:44

Is this normal in schools?
Recently it transpired that DS is being taken out of class and going off in small groups to 'play'. I queried it with his teacher as i assumed it was for help with something he was maybe struggling with and wanted to know if there was something i should be working on at home. However it turns out that he is being used as a 'role model' (her words) and is helping children with behavioural problems learn how to share and take turns etc.
I don't have a problem with this and am obviously really proud of him, he's a very kind wee soul and shows a lot of empathy towards others.
I just wondered if this is something all schools do and my only concern is that he is missing some of his lessons.
He is 5. Any thoughts?

PastSellByDate Wed 30-Apr-14 10:56:18


Our schools (DD1 Y6 at one/ DD2 Y4 at another -long story) do use role models in several ways.

Brain buddies are used where a more able child is paired with a less able child so that the less able child can work with them on maths or science problems. The theory being that sometimes learning from another child is easier/ more beneficial. To be fair explaining what to do often helps you to really bed down a skill/ learn a topic. Sometimes learning by seeing someone else do it and emulating that or working alongside someone who can do something and seeing it up close/ first hand - can really help someone who found something difficult/ tricky to get it.

Playground Buddies: our school has these so that children feeling left out or having a dispute can go to these older children (KS2 Upper for afternoon break/ KS2 lower from morning break) and seek help. The playground buddies aren't given a lot of training, but tend to be children who have shown common sense. They also know that if there's a real problem to get a grown up.

I know our school does sometimes move children down a table (often upsetting the parent) because they want someone to be a role model for that table group. This has meant that a very bright girl had to join a reading group where most of the kids hated reading. I don't think it was that successful - but I can't blame the teacher for trying - most of the kids are good friends with the girl and I think he was hoping they might be happier to read more if she was reading with them.

Finally - some of the KS2 children are asked to work with KS1 children who are struggling with reading. These are hand picked and they give up one break a week. It's entirely voluntary. Parents aren't really told about it - I found out through my DD1 who has done this for 2 years. But she enjoys it and given the wet winter we've had - I can see why a dry break indoors might appeal.

I think there's no problem having your son work with children in a small group - and ultimately a class full of well behaved children is a better learning environment than one where children aren't sharing/ behaving well - so it will benefit him in the long run. However, you are right to be concerned about what lessons he's missing. I think you need to determine whether he's missing something that's essential (Phonics/ reading/ writing/ maths/ science) or something that's less essential (PSHE/ PE/ Art/ etc...). If this is a short-term thing - or a more permanent thing.


MinesaMess Wed 30-Apr-14 12:36:40

Thanks for your reply. He's apparently being doing this for months. Think I need to find out what lessons he's missing. I would assume these sessions would take place outwith literacy etc but can't be sure. I know we have the buddy system too and ultimately it is beneficial for all.

lunar1 Wed 30-Apr-14 19:23:38

ds1 goes to another childs speech therapy every week, its the only way the other boy will engage with it. I think its quite common.

Ughh Wed 30-Apr-14 21:20:38

Dd quite often is asked to go to the library and read to other kids for this reason. I don't have a problem with it since she enjoys it and for some reason they don't play up with her.

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Apr-14 22:12:14

Both DS and DD have, at different points, been asked to join 'social skills' groups during their time at primary.

We have ALWAYS been told by letter, and we have NEVER been tld wheher our child was a 'role model' or 'being modelled to' (I suspect DD always a role model, DS 'being modelled to' when his ASD traits were very apparent, then as a role mnodel as they have abated). The letters have been identical - they say 'your child has been selected to take part in x, duration y, format z, time out of class p, any questions do please come in to discuss it'.

MillyMollyMama Wed 30-Apr-14 22:31:28

I would be concerned if he is missing valuable teaching! How long will this go on for and how much more will he miss? I am not convinced a child should be used on a regular basis in this way. Perhaps more TAs should be employed?

teacherwith2kids Wed 30-Apr-14 23:17:42

I should also say, from the letters we recived it was clear how much work would be missed (very little as much was during assembly etc). If you do now know how much work is being missed, find out.

PleaseNoMoreMinecraft Fri 02-May-14 16:44:16

My DS1 has small group sessions for social skills, where they have 2/3 kids who have problems with these (including him as he has ASD) and a couple of very socially competent kids as role models. They all benefit imho, the socially inept learn the skills they need, and the socially competent gain confidence.

My DS1 in turn also helps other kids with Maths since that's one of his strong points. Again, it's a win/win - they get individual help, he gains confidence.

They are all at a very good primary with very strong results despite a mixed intake, so I doubt if anyone's being put at a disadvantage, it just seems to be good teaching practice to me to use the kids' strengths.

overmydeadbody Fri 02-May-14 16:49:32

He's 5, he won't be missing any important teaching.

These extra group activities will not happen during whole class teaching times like phonics or maths, they will happen at times of the day when it will do them no harm to be doing something else.

Is he in reception?

A 5 year old will benefit from small group activities, talking, communicating, listening, following instructions, taking turns, sharing, empathising, all of these things are things 5 year olds need to do.

Don't worry about it.

UniS Sat 03-May-14 19:29:31

During reception year ( and into year one) DS was going out of class to spent time with a "language and communication enrichment" trained TA in a small group. Exactly what each child was getting out of the group varied. DS was initially part of the group as he was doing speech therapy work for a speech delay ( but his language was fine), others in the group I would think had a language delay or social communication problems.

DS was discharged from speech therapy about 1 term into year R, but remained in the small group working once a week with a TA. Possibly as a "role model" because he is a very tolerant and calm child compared to some of his peers. It did hime no harm and he didn't miss anything significant so far as we can tell as he is merrily coasting along with good NC levels for many things while disliking writing as much as any other 7 year old boy.

Swoosg Sat 03-May-14 21:14:48

It's lovely to be asked to help others ... Good for self-esteem.

MinesaMess Sun 04-May-14 18:32:31

Thanks for all the replies, very helpful. Ds is in P1, Scotland. It seems these sessions are taking place during assembly or singing practice so no he's not missing any literacy etc. I agree these sessions are good for his confidence and am very proud of him. I know it's very unmumsnetty to say so but I am and relieved that I must be doing something right.

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