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Primary school report question(16 Posts)
DC (8) has just brought his report home. Nice comments about his creativity, enthusiasm, knowledge and empathy. But although his attainment is fine, his 'hard work and concentration' need improvement across the board in NC core subjects. (Interestingly, this is not the case in foundation subjects).
It has been noticeable that whilst he attacks project-based homework with enormous gusto, it has been harder to engage him in less inspiring tasks (spelling lists etc).
My gut reaction is to wonder if core subjects could be taught in a more engaging way? (I did drop the school a line a little while ago asking if it might be possible to enliven the weekly homework, but didn't get a reply). Or is my job to try and find ways to get him to 'knuckle down' and get on with things he finds boring? He is an enthusiastic learner, who seems to have an active learning style.
I can see your point but telling the school that you think core subjects in "a more engaging way" is going to go down like a lead balloon. It can't all be all singing & dancing all the time, sometimes it's not the best approach, particularly for things like spelling in my experience.
Dealing with things you find boring is part of life.
I'd imagine that as his lack of concentration is noticeable enough for a report comment, the majority of the class are not behaving in that way and manage to engage just fine. Some children do slack off when it comes to work and no amount of tap-dancing teachers will fix the core problem there.
Unfortunately the 2014 curriculum is extremely dry when it comes to core subjects. A lot of the criticism (tightly IMO) is levelled at the curriculum being far too centred on learning facts/technical grammar that is mostly useless in the modern world. The content also demands a lot of learning by rote.
You could enliven spelling homework by painting words? Drawing letters in cornflour and water? Using magnetic letters?
When ds was that age the only thing that would have caught his interest for the core subjects "in a more engaging way" was if they had based every lesson around WWII and their planes.
He might have just about held his interest if they'd branched out with tanks for a lesson or two.
That might not have kept the interest of the other 32 people in his class.
I would imagine his teacher tries their damnedest to teach core subjects in an engaging way.
As a teacher talking please do not take this the wrong way, if you call the school and tell them to make core subjects more fun it won't go down well and you will be the talk of the staff room.
I can always tell when parents put the effort in at home with their kids. Just 30 mins a week spent on homework with the support of patents makes a huge difference.
I have 2 step daughters who hate homework. Their mum doesnt bother with it, but i make them do 30 mins on a sunday before they go back to mum. This has helped hugely with spelling and reading. The eldest even got a comendation and now actually wants to do it with me as a result. A little praise goes a long way!
I dont make them do anything to hard. Just the spellings the school issues each week and read out loud to me and their baby sister. (That way my baby gets to learn too.......2 birds one stone). Reading is a huge part of learning, schools are really pushing this atm as kids just dont do enough of it. It helps build their vocab and spelling.
You could try a rewards chart to help encourage doing homework, this has also helped me in the past.
Hooe this help xx good luck
Oh one last thing, check out Pinterest for ideas to help make spellings more interesting.
I have a tin with magnetic letters in it (like the ones that go on the fridge) On lolly sticks I have words to chose from. They use the magnetic letters to spell out the word. Then they have to write it down 3 times without looking. This is great because it involves not just writing and you can take it any where because it's all in a tin.
Totally stole this idea from Pinterest! Loads of stuff on there for inspiration and help xx
Great ideas, Twinkle and Merrick - thank you.
That's interesting Helter - and explains the difference between core and foundation subjects. Poor teachers.
Sorry, I didn't realise that when I got a teaching degree I also needed to learn tap dancing. Step up and parent your child and teach them to focus on their work. I'm fed up with kids that go 'this is boring'. No, it's learning. Sometimes we have fun, sometimes you just need to put your head down and get on with it.
I think I'm influenced by my parents who both taught all their working lives. They were both very interested in child development and how children learn. They thought a lot about how to engage kids and the learning environment. I don't think any tapping dancing was involved .
Op, your parents sound like great teachers.
Teachers teaching today are like that too. But managing to accommodate the learning styles of 30+ children and an often tight and restrictive curriculum is very tricky.
Clearly the project style work suits your son, however in my class I know that type of homework fills some children /parents with dread and they prefer other ways of learning.
The teacher is offering differing styles of homework to appeal to all of the children in her class. You might just need to work a bit to make it perfectly suit your son.
It sounds like your parents could offer excellent suggestions on how to help.
@Primaryschoolparent I'm a primary teacher (currently on mat leave!) and unfortunately, thanks to former education secretary Michael Gove, the English and Maths curriculums have ramped up in terms of difficulty, and a number of objectives are not, shall we say, stimulating and interesting! For example, in Spelling and Grammar in Y5 and Y6, the children need to be able to identify things like determiners, subordinate clauses, present perfect tense etc. It is boring, but it has to be taught.
I would recommend making sure your DC reads plenty of good books, and maybe have a chat with him saying some things in life aren't exciting, but we have to try our best to focus and get on with it. The children I teach are a bit older than your DC, but I have had this conversation with them, and it does make a difference!
I agree with helter. The current education system was designed when Britain was an empire and doesn't fit in with today's world at all.
When the 2014 curriculum came in, it could've been an amazing opportunity to look at countries with a similar culture to ours who are educating children to make them successful in a modern world. It could've been brilliant, but instead the government just doubled down on what we were already doing but made it a bit harder by making children even younger when they had to achieve each step. It was incredibly disappointing.
Imo it's going to take a very brave government to give our education system the radical overhaul it needs. There's a guy called Sugata Mistra who does some really interesting ted talks about this.
For what it's worth many teachers don't believe the value of homework is worth it when weighed up against the amount of stress it causes parents (except for reading - always do reading!). However schools have a homework policy so teachers are required to set it. So that's time taken up to make the resources and differentiate them, time spent with parents discussing the homework, time spent chasing up homework that hasn't been handed in and time spent marking and filing homework away etc etc all for something with limited value.