Thursday, 22 December 2016

A case for direct teaching

The quirky teacher:

"Children seem increasingly averse to looking at a human face and the current cohorts of children who have grown up looking at iPads in addition to not having dinner table conversations etc are yet to transfer to secondary school. Group seating is also the norm and this means that children not only instinctively turn away from the teacher, but also struggle to decipher the more subtle display of emotion of an adult. This is a situation that will not miraculously right itself during the 6 week holiday between year 6 and 7 but actually needs an act of kindness from decision makers in primary education; children need to be trained to listen and concentrate on what the adult is teaching from an early age and this will only happen if children are all facing the front! This would also facilitate better back-and-forth questioning that is the norm in places like Shanghai, for example."

"Textbooks: use them and stop feeling so guilty about it."

"Worked examples, sequenced learning trajectory worked out by experts, containing useful vocabulary and giving children a sense of progression, of getting better at maths and a chance to have a sneaky peek at what is coming up or remind selves of what was done last week. How can a worksheet ever compare? I also rather like the Eastern idea of having the odd page devoted to information about famous mathematicians. I don’t understand the guilt and hand-wringing that goes with, ‘Oh we must spend thousands of hours producing personalised worksheets’. Even when people admit to the usefulness of textbooks, there is always this caveat thrown in about how it is best to just use them sparingly, like some health worker talking about the dangers of salt on chips. Let’s face it, we all know chips taste great with lots of salt."

"Pre-learning and catch up, daily."

"Children with SEN don’t need the teacher to facilitate their falling behind by allowing them to do fewer and easier calculations and less thinking every lesson, what they need is more time to over-learn and do extra practice. This can only happen in addition to the usual maths classes rather than during them, otherwise we have this weird situation where children are both catching up and falling behind at the same time."

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