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Silly things teachers think will work

(370 Posts)
NAR4 Sat 17-Nov-12 13:59:50

One of the teachers at my child's school (he is in sixth form) thinks giving out yellow cards and red cards for 'bad' behaviour in class will somehow motivate 17 year olds.

At my 14 year old's school (a different school) he was asked to write a letter to Father Christmas during an English lesson. The teacher was dead serious. REALLY?

I pressume that nether of these teachers have children of their own, but should surely have been taught at uni that these things were completely age inappropriate.

noblegiraffe Tue 20-Nov-12 07:20:48

People who favour selection always bang on about Germany as if its school system is great. Germany's school system has been roundly slated by the UN for perpetuating social inequality. Somehow it's the better off kids that end up being 'academically selected' for academia, and the disadvantaged kids that end up being set on the vocational path. Its PISA scores aren't particularly great either.

titchy Tue 20-Nov-12 08:05:19

There's a MNer based in Germany who started a thread recently asking for advice on UK boarding schools - that's how bad the German system is!

RainbowsFriend Tue 20-Nov-12 18:42:28

As a teacher I think the league tables have A LOT to answer for.

I also think pupils should be able to opt out of school as soon as they have taken GCSEs as long as they have an apprenticeship to go to - and have to return in they drop out of the apprenticeship before completing 2 years.

Teaching to the test takes all the fun out of it sad

Leonas Tue 20-Nov-12 19:26:11

There are a large number (which is steadily increasing) of pupils who are at school because there is nothing else to do - not Uni material, no college courses available and no jobs. Also, some subjects in some schools are compulsory and so not only do they not want to be at school, they don't want to be doing the subject. Sometimes a reward/ points/ card system does help with seniors and you cannot assume that they all know how to behave of care enough to do so. If you know it isn;t working then, by all means, complain but if you don't know its effects it really isn't your place to judge.
Teachers are not taught any of that stuff at Uni - they are ultimately left to work out what works for them/ their classes themselves.

squeezedatbothends Tue 20-Nov-12 21:14:14

Hmmm, it would be good if you could just say to the 17year old 'you're not prepared to work so leave' but colleges are judged on their retention rates by ofsted. It's a brave head who throws away that criteria. Red and yellow cards are culturally recognised as a strategy with adults on the sports field so not so patronising really.

Arisbottle Tue 20-Nov-12 21:52:06

If teaching to the test is taking the fun out of it just stop it, or do it less.

There is a time and a place for teaching to the test but there should be time to do so much more and I suspect grades would be better if we taught to the test less.

Getting pupils to pass exams is only a part of what I am employed to do. The day my job becomes about teaching to a test is the day I go back to my old job .

chloe74 Tue 20-Nov-12 23:08:35

There we go again: Quote "Somehow it's the better off kids that end up being 'academically selected'" - noblegiraffe. That's whats wrong with this country, the rush to the bottom, we shouldn't stretch a section of society's kids because they are 'better off'. The constant rush for equality at the bottom. Nooooooo

AViewfromtheFridge Wed 21-Nov-12 07:00:37

No, no, no. The point is that if they are separated at, say, 11, or even later, there is no opportunity for fluidity of movement between sets/ courses etc.

In the comprehensive school, there are children in my top set year 10 who came to us with level 4s and were put in set 3s - essentially, bottom sets. Over the years they have worked and worked and, in some cases, just "got" it at some point, which has enabled them to end up where they are.

If they had been sent to a different school and set off on a vocational course, that wouldn't be possible. Why should they be denied that opportunity?

And to suggest children aren't "stretched" is not only rude but ignorant.

AViewfromtheFridge Wed 21-Nov-12 07:05:09

For example, the average CAT score across our top three sets is the same as that at the local Grammar school - children are set by ability and their teaching is tailored to that, but there is still flexibility of movement between sets which is not possible for the children who didn't get into the Grammar school.

noblegiraffe Wed 21-Nov-12 07:26:55

"we shouldn't stretch a section of society's kids because they are 'better off'."

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we should stretch the all kids who are genuinely academic, and not just simply the ones who are better off who managed to impress (or jump through a hoop) at a very young age.

In Germany it is very clear that who gets into the Gymnasium or the Realschule or Hauptschule depends on their social background. International research is very clear that selection perpetuates social inequality, with the earlier the selection, the worse the effect.

If you are concerned about stretching the academic and not merely the children of the already advantaged in society who appear to be more academic at an early age because they've been tutored or given access to more resources or haven't just arrived in the country, or had medical issues or undiagnosed SEN etc etc you cannot support selection.

picketywick Fri 23-Nov-12 12:10:57

I dont believe in 11-plus. On "stretching" There was one headmaster who should have been stretched on the end of a rope. But it was all some time ago .Things have changed. Nil desperandum

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 13:25:26

'In the comprehensive school, there are children in my top set year 10 who came to us with level 4s and were put in set 3s - essentially, bottom sets. Over the years they have worked and worked and, in some cases, just "got" it at some point, which has enabled them to end up where they are.'

That is why the 11+ selects on academic potential (ie reasoning ability) and not current attainment. So these children you describe should (in theory anyway) have been picked out for their latent ability.This is why the 11+ throws up so many unexpected results because it doesn't discriminate against lazy, badly taught or late blooming kids.

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 13:27:31

But wrt to the OP.
Ok I don't believe either of the ideas mentioned are particularly good, but teachers have to try out new things to see how they work otherwise their teaching will become stale and never progress.

noblegiraffe Fri 23-Nov-12 17:32:12

That is why the 11+ selects on academic potential

But that assumes that the 11+ is an accurate predictor of academic attainment at age 16.

We know from statistical analysis that the current 'best' predictive tests of academic attainment at age 16 (CATs, MIDYAS, London reading test - don't know about 11+) only offer a correlation of about 0.7 (with 1 being a perfect predictor) between results at 11 and results at 16. Let's say you look at the top 25% at 11. You think this means that they will still be the top 25% at age 16 and send them off to a grammar school suitable for their obvious academic ability.

Unfortunately, statistics show that 22% of students will have gone to the wrong school based on your prediction. 11% will have failed at 11 when they are in the top 25% at 16, and 11% will have passed at 11 when they are not in the top 25% at 16.

So, 1 in 5 children misplaced as a result of selection at 11 isn't great really.

AViewfromtheFridge Fri 23-Nov-12 17:33:08

You're right - they should, but a lot of them have below average non-verbal (i.e. reasoning) CAT scores, too. I think data is useful to a certain extent... but children are not machines!

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 23:20:43

But 4 in 5 are correctly placed.I think that's good!

Incidentally do you know how 11+ results correlate to A level results? Just curious because I have known lots of boys bloom in the 6th form

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 23:22:18

..and of course a large factor in academic success is hard work.No test can predict whether a teenager will go off the rails during the next 5 years!

noblegiraffe Sat 24-Nov-12 12:54:48

22% of kids being in the wrong place is a huge problem! In a comp, if they are setted then they can move sets relatively easily. If they are stuck in the wrong school (under the secondary modern model) then you get bright kids with a ceiling placed on their achievement, or a not so bright kid struggling and failing in a grammar when they might have thrived elsewhere.

And there's nothing to say that the majority of the 78% of kids allocated the correct school wouldn't have done just as well in a setted comp.

RoboRabbit Tue 27-Nov-12 13:51:27

I think one of the main issues here is that the teaching and behaviour of students you get in a grammar is on the whole better than you get in a comp and to an extent this is what enables greater academic progress. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic comps - I went to one myself, but in general they need to be better run and students need to disciplined more. I know many people who would be fantastic teachers but who wouldn't touch it with a barge pole because of the working conditions and the constant scrutiny from all sides.

Socio-economic background is a huge determiner of whether someone gets into a grammar school. It shouldn't be, but it is. Students from wealthier backgrounds are more likley to have parents who are educated, have books at home, talk about intellectual subjects and have a wider vocabulary; thus these children will fair better in verbal reasoning because their minds have been exercised in this way before sitting the 11+. Let's also not forget the amount of children who are tutored into the 11+, another factor determined by cash flow. These children will also be more likely to work harder either because parents are pushing them or because they are used to working harder because they will have gone to a better primary school which fosters a good work ethic.

The main issue here is that while many schools do a very good job and there are many excellent teachers, the education system is not fit for purpose. Lots of schools do not provide a good education for students because they are not being run properly and because the government allows this to happen through their mismanagement. The education system is vast, complex and unwieldy and teachers are at the front line of it trying their best to deal with an ever-changing set of demands while ministers indulge in ad-hoc policy making. Comments such as that of the original poster are really not helpful in what is a very difficult set of circumstances. We are all stakeholders in the education system because we all should be stakeholders in our future. Therefore, if it is to work successfully, people need to understand that while we live in an age of entitlement, everyone needs to take responsibility including parents and students.

In short, give teachers a break. Be enquiring about your child's education, but try to understand rather than being unhelpful or accusative.

EvilTwins Tue 27-Nov-12 18:24:36

Excellent post Robo

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