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lack of guidance - is this a CfE "thing"?

(6 Posts)
PoppyPopcorn Mon 02-Oct-17 15:35:31

Have a daughter who has just started in S1 and is struggling with the transition in terms of work. She is a very good girl who just gets on with her homework without being nagged, unlike her brother who has to have me constantly on at him to get things done.

Since starting S1, DD has been stressing about hte amount of homework she has to do. We have realised that in many cases she does not know what is expected of her, especially in subjects like history or English.

Case in point - the children were asked to do a project on a sertain aspect of an ancient civilisation. Something like fashion in Incas society, or what the Romans ate. She did something in P7, and the teacher went through how to structure it, told them she expected an introduction, conclusion, bibliography and 4 to 6 sections discussing the topic. No guidance was given in S1. DD very much struggled with knowing where to stop, worried that it wouldn't be enough, not enough detail. Ended up turning in a 3000 word project.

Same thing happened in English where the class was asked for an essay reflecting on their experiences on transition from P7 to S1. No guidance on approximate word count. DD wrote 2500 words because of the stress of doing "enough" and other kids in her class wrote a page.

Will be raising this at parents' evening as it seems to be becoming a pattern. Is this "let the kids set their own limits" thing bound in with the CfE? Seems to only be the essay and project based subjects that this is causing an issue as maths, science etc issue worksheets and it's very clear what needs to be done.

howabout Mon 02-Oct-17 15:51:34

More of a transition issue than CfE I think. My 2 are S4 and S5 and we had a bit of this when they started S1. There seemed to be quite a big jump in terms of them having to organise HW for every subject and manage their time. The secondary school also made a point of making them more responsible for their workload.

I handled it by getting the DC to make sure they knew what was expected by asking the teacher upfront. Better than waiting till parents
night and set the tone better for them dealing with their learning rather than expecting me to step in.

I was also quite robust in setting limits on the time I allowed them to do open ended HW.

howabout Mon 02-Oct-17 16:26:30

Teenagers just home. Normal HW they reckon 2 sides A4 max as "any more bores them and teacher to death and takes too long". They say for Nat 5 English 1,000 words is target for formal pieces so no point doing any more and better to learn discipline of working to that target early on.

They also reckon teachers happy to advise if you ask - at their school pupils bothering to do the HW at all is more of an issue.

PoppyPopcorn Mon 02-Oct-17 16:42:30

DD would rather die off than actually SPEAK to the teacher and ask questions! We have had the quality not quantity discussion with her and parents' evening is this week. We're booked in to see both her history and english teacher so will see what they say.

Lidlfix Tue 03-Oct-17 20:57:03

I’d say transition rather than CFE too. I’m an English teacher and know that if I gave a word count that’s what kids focus on rather than content.

Also, this early in the course I don’t have much (unless staged intervention involved) to go to see children’s ability so if I said 2 sides of A4 that might be far too tough for some and not challenging enough for others.

That said I’d also hope that my instructions were easy to follow and that pupils could seek clarification from me.

Mistressiggi Tue 10-Oct-17 22:31:31

If the homework is given to a mixed ability class you have to be realistic about what each student can produce - I couldn't specify two pages or whatever as some simply cannot achieve that. It will serve your dd well if can work with her to help her approach teachers about what is expected of her. They will love a conversation about how best to do homework, it makes a change!

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