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How important are 'modern' teaching methods?

(65 Posts)
NormaSnorks Tue 03-Mar-09 15:07:20

DCs were in a very good (but large!) state primary school which was highly ofsted rated.
I helped out in class a bit, and the style of teaching was very modern, progressive, 'hands-on' doing-type stuff....

DS1 was doing OK, DS2 not so well(too big class & struggling) so we moved to an independent primary.

They are both happy and doing 'well' academically & socially. However I find myself frustrated by what I see as very old-fashioned, and frankly quite dull teaching methods - lots of written work, less 'all-round project work', less use of ICT/ white board/ interactive resources and 'hands on' learning.

How important is this if the school is getting good results, and the kids seem OK?

I just feel as if I know there are so many good resources available these days, and the school isn't using them...
Should I be talking to the head about this?

Most of the parents at the school have no experience of the state sector, so wouldn't necessarily 'see' this direct comparison...

cornsilk Tue 03-Mar-09 15:09:43

If your chn are happy I wouldn't say anything. The Head will be very well aware of the resources available at the moment.

NormaSnorks Tue 03-Mar-09 15:12:14

Cornsilk - well, that's the problem , I'm not sure she IS aware.

The school has a good reputation etc, so obviously they are doing something right, but I juts can't help feeling that the lessons are not as interesting and engaging as at our old school sad. Our younger child in particular has said something along these lines too - about it all being 'writing'....

DeeBlindMice Tue 03-Mar-09 15:19:41

So you moved them to a new school because they weren't thriving at the one they were in and now you are complaining that the new school does things differently?


Of course the head knows these resources exist. The people who peddle all that crap spend massive amounts of money advertising it to anyone in any way related to education.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 15:37:24

The Head is providing what the paying parents want,she will know exactly what resources are out there. You have made your choice and paid your money-you can't then say that you wanted what you had with smaller classes! I don't think it would be good to move them again so just be happy that they are happy and doing well.

NormaSnorks Tue 03-Mar-09 16:21:47

Dee - "The people who peddle all that crap spend massive amounts of money advertising it"

I'm not talking about physical things necessarily - except perhaps interactive white boards - but rather about teaching styles

Our old school used to use a variety of things - BBC websites, craft-related activities (e.g. making a class collage of houses in the Great Fire of London), use of videos available (for free) from teaching websites (e.g.
None of these things were 'peddled' (or crap, for that matter hmm ) and would be easily available to our current school.

I'd say that this school is much more 'paper/book' focused with worksheets and stories etc and it gets a bit dull (this comment from my children, not me BTW)

The head is a slightly older, more traditional type. How can we possibly assume she is aware of this style of teaching if she's always employed the same sort of teaching methods throughout her career to date?

Pisces - "You have made your choice and paid your money-you can't then say that you wanted what you had with smaller classes!" - why not? Any parent has the right to ask that their child's lessons be as stimulating and interesting as possible ESPECIALLY if you are paying!

I have no intention of moving them again - just wondering how we might go about encouraging some variety.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 17:02:04

Norma-you took your DCs out of a successful scholl where you loved the teaching. You had a good reason-the class size was large and you felt DS2 was struggling. You decided that to get on they needed something different and so turned to the private sector with small classes. I would imagine that you visited the school on a normal working day, saw the classes working, talked to the teachers and questioned the Head? If you didn't like the teaching methods you needed to look elsewhere. Your DCs are making progress and like it socially but find it boring (I expect they would). The Head is successful and I think that you will find that she is providing what the parents want-that is why they sent the DCs there! If she is older she is certainly aware of the alternatives-a, because they are impossible to avoid and b, she must have started her teaching career when they were in use.

If you do encourage her to make the lessons 'stimulating and interesting with variety' do come back and let us know her response. I would love to be a fly on the wall! I hope you realise that you are going to be implying that her school has no variety, is boring and doesn't stimulate the DCs.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 17:02:40

sorry school!

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 19:23:51

I am surprised that you haven't had more replies so I will bump it up, I would be interested to know what others think.
It just seems incredibly patronising, to me,that you would go to the Head of a successful school and tell her how she should be doing it.

BonsoirAnna Tue 03-Mar-09 19:29:35

I tend to think my DD has lots of fun activities and interactive learning at home and that school ought to be doing the repetitive boring stuff which I don't want to do.

If school is all fun and games and entertainment, I might have to teach her spelling and tables <<shudder>>...

bloss Tue 03-Mar-09 19:35:24

Message withdrawn

ABetaDad Tue 03-Mar-09 19:48:12

Traditional teaching methods figure higher in independent schools.

The first time I saw this for real when we went to view our DS1 Prep school.

We walked into a Year 2 classroom sitting in total silence with rows of children writing in perfect copperplate cursive form handwriting.

Quite old fashioned but they are a Top 10 school in the league tables so I guess they think it is OK as they are full as well with a waiting list.

They did interesting interactve stuff as well though. It cannot be all play as bloss rightly says.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 20:14:10

The one thing that I have noticed about Prep School DCs is the lovely handwriting, from an early age. One changed to a state school class in yr 2 and he had the most wonderful cursive script. You only get writing like that if you do a lot of it! My privately educated nephew has wonderful handwriting.

Caz10 Tue 03-Mar-09 20:19:22

I teach in a state school and to be quite honest would LOVE to drop all the video/craft/IWB/hands-on malarkey for the simple fact that many of the children have disgraceful handwriting/spelling/grammar and don't know their times tables!!

I hate the fact that we are meant to be all whizz-bang and entertaining while their basic skills suffer.

saadia Tue 03-Mar-09 20:31:42

I have volunteered in a few state primaries and was surprised by how little actual work seems to go on. I just assumed/hoped that even when I didn't clearly see it, they were still learning something but I'm not convinced

Heated Tue 03-Mar-09 20:40:31

Parents pay good money for this sort of traditional education. I certainly can't remember learning through play.

To look at it positively, it may well foster a love of learning for learning's sake and improve their levels of concentration.

piscesmoon Tue 03-Mar-09 20:45:26

I think you will find that the Head has done her research and knows exactly what her parents want-I should ask a few other parents why they have chosen the school before you give her helpful suggestions.

Smee Tue 03-Mar-09 20:46:46

oh my - am so glad my lo's learning through play and equally glad he's not sitting in a row as I did when little. Each to their own though, obviously grin

Caz10 Tue 03-Mar-09 20:48:15

I think it's down to balance and age-appropriateness - Yr1's DO learn through play I think and it would be awful to think of them sitting in rows etc...Year 6 piss about when playing and NEED to buckle down...IMO! grin

pointydog Tue 03-Mar-09 21:07:00

If only I could find a school that could lick him into shape. Not one of those namby-pamby modern places but somewhere that still believes in discipline. When I was young, I knew what discipline meant! These days, most children can't even spell it.

"But that's tradition!" Mr Eliot screeched. "That's what public schools are all about."

MollieO Tue 03-Mar-09 21:18:07

Lots of interactive stuff at ds's pre-prep and loopy cursive writing too. Maybe it depends on the age of the teachers? Ds has to click on his name on the whiteboard to put himself on the interactive bus every morning. The teaching method was something that I paid close attention to on the school visits I did.

NormaSnorks Tue 03-Mar-09 21:54:24

Perhaps I didn't word my orginal post very well.

My children are mostly quite happy, and doing well enough academically....

BUT DS1 seems less excited, enthusiastic and motivated about school than he used to. He uses expressions like 'dull', 'repetitive' and sometimes 'boring'. He doesn't get excited about certain topics or projects like he used to. My interpretation of that is that perhaps the teaching style doesn't suit his style of learning that much? I have a friend who has taught in both state and indpendent schools who often discusses how she sees different children responding to different teaching styles (aural, visual, kinesthetic?) and she believes that a good teacher will use all three at different times.

I guess what I'm saying is that our current school seems to be locked into just one or two of these permanently.

For what it's worth, it's not just my own view - several other parents have expressed similar views.

Pisces - I really don't understand your point of view on this - isn't teaching about stimulating a child's natural curiosity? And instilling a love of learning through interest and engagement?

Is there any research which has tried to test the relative success of 'traditional' vs. 'modern' teaching methods? I got the impression that there was?

pointydog Tue 03-Mar-09 21:59:13

Between you and me, David is a great disappointment to me. A massive disappointment. For many years I hoped he would follow in my footsteps but although he's almost thirteen he seems totally uninterested in merchant banking.

pointydog Tue 03-Mar-09 22:00:02

I'll stop now before I breach copywright legislation.

This is an odd thread and it reminded me of a wonderfully odd children's book

NormaSnorks Tue 03-Mar-09 22:00:04

hmm ?

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