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BULFORD C.E. PRIMARY SCHOOL

 

AN ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT TO IDENTIFY SUCCESSFUL STRATEGIES OF

ASSESSMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH TURBULENT SCHOOLING

1999-2000

 

Marilyn Brindley

With additional research by

Pamela Smith

CONTENTS

Introduction

 

Aim

 

Areas of study

The Role of Assessment in Improving Learning

 

Pupil Self-assessment

 

The Role of Self-esteem

 

Solution Focused Thinking

 

Pupils' Awareness of Their Own Learning Styles

 

Thinking Skills

 

Cognitive Education

Accelerated Learning 

Future Development 

Appendices

A  Context Report on Bulford C.E. Primary School

 

B Outline of the Solution Focused Approach

 

C Examples of Individual Pupil interviews and responses using the solution focused approach.

 

D Examples of interviews with K.S.1 children used to support Teacher Assessment and Target Setting in K.S.1 SATs

 

E Responses of teachers and mediators

 

F  A Concept Map to show links between the different areas of study in this report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION   Top of page

This action research project is undertaken in partnership with two local primary schools, Kiwi and Larkhill, who share the problem of meeting the needs of children from army families. It also links to the School Development Plan and helps to inform the Self-Evaluation model evolving as part of that plan. All three schools belong to the NASSSC (The National Association of State Schools for Service Children), which is working towards developing a higher profile for the problems of "turbulence" encountered by schools such as ours. In 1998-9 the areas of Bulford and Tidworth were part of an unsuccessful Education Action Zone bid which focused on turbulence issues and the effects, not just on service personnel and their families, but on others who shared their daily lives. As part of that bid, a Context Report was produced which outlined the effects on the pupils and staff of Bulford C.E. Primary School. (Appendix A)

AIM   Top of page

The subject of the action research project is the effect of turbulence on standards of achievement. The research objective is: to identify successful strategies of assessment to improve standards for children with turbulent schooling. This prompts the following questions should such children be assessed differently from those who have a more settled pattern of schooling? Is it possible to find successful assessment strategies that meet the needs of both sets of pupils?  The aim of the following paper is to report on progress to date in identifying such strategies.

AREAS OF STUDY

THE ROLE OF ASSESSMENT IN IMPROVING LEARNING   Top of page

In the Review of Secondary Education in England, 1993 7, OFSTED cites research carried out by Paul Black and Dylan William (1998) in Assessment and Classroom Learning (Assessment in Education 5(1), 7-74), which indicated that there were five simple key factors to improving pupils" learning through assessment:

  • the provision of effective feedback to pupils;

  • the active involvement of pupils in their own learning;

  • adjusting teaching to take account of the results of assessment;

  • a recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation and self-esteem of pupils both of which are crucial influences of learning;

  • the need for pupils to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

The study also highlighted the problem created in the current educational climate, with its emphasis on results and league tables (which encourages teachers to practise test-taking), rather than on using assessment to support learning. The effects on pupils are to create anxiety and to demoralise low achievers.

The National Foundation For Educational Research (NFER) sounds a similar note of caution in its 'Administration Manual for Cognitive Abilities Test'. Whilst emphasising the usefulness of test scores in helping to make educational decisions it urges the reader to remember:

'that tests do not make decisions. People make decisions; tests simply give information that may help in making those decisions.'

 'Teacher Assessment in Core Subjects at Key Stage Two' (OFSTED 1998) states that assessment can be used effectively to raise standards when teachers:

  • decide how and when to assess pupils' attainment at the same time as they plan work;

  • are proficient in using a range of assessment techniques in the classroom;

  • prepare and make use of manageable systems for recording the progress of individual pupils.

The report includes a list of ways in which information is gained and matches closely the methods we use at Bulford, clearly outlined in our Assessment Policy:

  • observation of pupils;

  • questioning;

  • exploring and reasoning;

  • setting tasks requiring certain skills, or the application of ideas;

  • communication through writing, role play, drawings and concept or mind mapping.

'One of the tasks of the school is to take individuals as they are, then devise for them the types of learning experiences that will help them improve their present level of performance. The more relevant information available about the present status of a pupil, the better able the teacher should be to provide an effective learning environment for that pupil.'  National Foundation for Educational Research "Cognitive Abilities Test Administrative Manual" NFER Nelson 1996

Current thinking about learning acknowledges that pupils must be involved in their own learning, and that assessment should be used to provide them with information about how well they are doing and guide their subsequent efforts. Feedback from the teacher will have its part to play, but some will come from direct involvement in assessing their own work.

'It is important that test results be used constructively. They should be used to enhance pupils' chances of success in learning and help them to achieve their own objectives as well as those the school has set for them.' NFER (ibid)

PUPIL SELF-ASSESSMENT   Top of page

Work carried out by Ruth Dann at Keele University draws on three interrelated dimensions in education which contribute to pupil assessment. Writing in the Primary Education Journal in June 1996, she promoted pupil self-assessment as an essential component of formative assessment, along with thinking skills and personal and social development. She points out the difficulty, currently faced by teachers, of carrying out formative assessment of the National Curriculum which indicates pupils" needs in relation to fairly large learning steps (progress through the levels envisaged to be at the rate of one every two years), but does not inform teachers about pupil progress at a more specific level.

Self-assessment allows the teacher to gain a greater understanding of children"s own thinking about their learning. Pupil self-assessment requires pupils to think critically about their work and relate it to stated criteria. Dann emphasises that this process demands the complex skills of comparing, examining evidence, interpreting, reasoning and decision-making. In the context of this action research project these skills can be developed throughout a child"s education and is therefore a means of aiding their learning as well as judging it (see later notes on teaching Thinking Skills). In this way pupil self-assessment may be said to be helping to raise standards.

THE ROLE OF SELF- ESTEEM   Top of page

In addition to informing teachers about the small steps made in individual progress, the use of self-assessment gives the message that teachers value pupils" opinions about their learning. Pupils learn most effectively when they, their teachers and parents, hold high but realistic expectations of them. At Bulford we recognise that our pupils come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some children come to this school with both low self-esteem and low expectations, trapped in a vicious circle of failure to learn, whilst others may have high self-esteem but low expectations and will not see the need to learn. For this reason we endeavour to find ways of making the self-esteem of all pupils match their abilities and of conveying to them the highest expectations.

Assessment can have a part to play in helping those pupils gain confidence as learners by celebrating what they can do, what they understand and what they know. This is achieved through such methods as displays around the school, informative and effective marking (both verbal and written), "Gold Book" Assemblies and peer support and encouragement.

Ruth Dann cites her own research (1991) which examined the role of criteria in pupil self-assessment. This study concluded that pupils considered their work in relation to what they had previously achieved, how much effort they had put in and how much enjoyment they had gained from it. Any attempt to develop pupil self-assessment must therefore recognise the important role which pupils give to the social context of their learning, and their personal priorities and expectations. Identifying future learning targets may include attitude and effort and not be confined solely to curriculum criteria. Solution Focused Thinking is based on the above principles.

SOLUTION FOCUSED THINKING   Top of page

Solution Focused thinking developed from Solution Focused Brief Therapy (de Shazer,1985) and originated in family therapy practice. From there it evolved into an approach that can be used with individuals as well as families and groups. In the book "Solution Focused Thinking in Schools" John Rhodes and Yasmin Ajmal concentrate on using the approach with behaviour, reading and organisation.

In their research the following areas were highlighted:

  • What methods of learning and teaching actually work in any particular situation and how do you know?

  • What are the student"s goals and motivation to learn? Likewise what are the teacher"s goals and motivation?

  • What is the interaction pattern of student, teacher and wider systems? Is there conflict or co-operation?

What methods of learning and teaching actually work and how do you know?

This links to the comments above about the role of self-esteem. Pupils who experience difficulties with reading and writing often think of themselves as unsuccessful learners. The Solution Focused approach builds on the positive belief that they have in fact been active learners since birth and have acquired some level of literacy. Looking at exceptions i.e. what has worked in the past or what is working a little in the present can shift the balance of thinking and provide evidence of competence that can be built on.  Examples of questions used are:

When did you make progress in learning to read?

What were you doing at these times which was helpful to you?

How did you know you were making progress?

The focus on successful learning can lead to questions on other areas of a pupil's life such as hobbies or interests. A pupil interested in football for instance may be asked;

How did you learn this skill?

What told you were getting better at this?

What does this learning tell you about yourself?

Thus questions begin to centre on knowing how something is achieved; in cognitive psychology the ability for people to think about their own learning, memory, and so on, is termed meta-cognition. It may be assumed from this that, if pupils are more aware of their own thinking processes, then their ability to learn and remember will be improved.

What are the student's goals and motivation to learn? What are the teacher's goals and motivation?

The Solution Focused framework, with its emphasis on personal goals, beliefs and attitudes addresses the problem of motivation in pupils who are not making progress in literacy. Questions such as:

Do you want to learn to read?

Are you sure?

Why is that?

How much work are you willing to do?

What will be the first sign that you are  making progress?

are not in themselves going to create motivation, yet they may have positive effects.

Rhodes and Ajmal quote the work of Deci and Ryan (1985) who argued that people have far more motivation for those activities they have freely chosen and less for those into which they were co-erced. Questions which focus on the pupil's own motivation for instance:

Tell me what book or magazine you could soon read which would tell you that you are making progress. After that, which book?

can produce 'milestones' which are useful markers of progress for the pupil. In addition specific targets, such as a list of spellings the pupil would like to learn each week, can be agreed.

What is the interaction pattern of the student, teacher and wider systems?

In the ideal situation pupil and teacher goals, methods of learning/teaching and mutual respect will fit together comfortably. It is important, say Rhodes and Ajmal, to ask questions such as:

What methods of teaching have you found successful with this pupil? What has tended to work in the past? What were you doing differently at that time?

What would be a sign for you that the pupil is making progress? What would you see them doing?

What activities/books has the pupil most enjoyed? What was it about those activities which interested the pupil?

Are there any ideas you have thought of but not tried?

The role of other family members may make a difference between success and failure. The work of Rhodes and Ajmal has mainly been with older students and issues of family interaction emerged indirectly. With pupils of below eleven years of age, they believe more direct work with family members might be crucial, and raise this as a possible future development. At Bulford we have already begun to involve parents through our Target Setting Parent Evenings. The Literacy focused Target Setting evening in 1999 had a positive effect generally on motivation, and family involvement meant parents were more supportive in helping pupils attain their targets. This will be monitored in 2000 with an evening focusing on Numeracy. However, as yet there has been no conclusion over the effects this may have on individual pupils.

The National Foundation For Educational Research also warns teachers, when setting targets, that the wider system should be considered:

'....although the pupil's general level of cognitive reasoning is an important determinant of achievement, it is not the sole determinant. The individual"s previous experience, present level of achievement, home background, physical and mental health, and motivation are among other factors that should be considered in arriving at a judgement about expected level of achievement in a given area of study.' NFER (ibid)

Assessment of Skills and Ability

As the focus of the action research is methods of assessment, it is impossible to ignore its place in the use of Solution Focused Thinking. Rhodes and Ajmal state that it is not necessary to use tests which look at specific areas of intelligence, reading and spelling (sometimes called 'psychometrics'). In fact no direct assessment of reading or spelling needs to be carried out at all. If a skills assessment is used it does not appear to be detrimental to the solution focused approach, except of course where it may be that yet another test will demotivate the pupil, as we discussed in the introduction.

A more general sense of "assessment" may be used in terms of finding something out. In this sense assessment is interwoven with other activities in the solution focused approach. Further, it may be difficult to differentiate between "assessment" and "intervention", the latter being defined as activities which bring about change. It is acknowledged that the teacher or school may be carrying out various assessments in the process of planning the curriculum.

We decided to use the Solution Focused approach with children who had been deemed to be under-achieving by their class teachers, using the scores of their NFER Non-verbal reasoning and Maths and English papers.  An outline of the approach used with those pupils is at Appendix B and the individual pupil interviews and responses at Appendix C. The pupils were selected from the upper junior end of the school as it was thought that these would respond best to the interview technique.  Encouraged by the responses of the pupils we decided to also use a broad version of the Solution Focused Approach with children in Year 2. In preparation for the SATs their class teacher used the technique to aid her own teacher assessment and target-setting. Examples of those responses can be found at Appendix D.

PUPILS' AWARENESS OF THEIR OWN LEARNING STYLES   Top of page

'Style awareness gives a greater sense of long-term purpose in learning, by being made aware of the existence of one's learning personality and witnessing it at work in one's own learning, a student and teacher are offered a vital tool for managing the process of lifelong learning. The negative effect of frustration and failure can be replaced with a positive sense of self which builds upon individual success.'  Banner and Rayner "Teaching in Style: Are you making a difference in the classroom?'

In our research we identified a child, James, aged eight years, who appeared to be a poor learner, was not highly motivated and demonstrated poor behaviour. He was screened at the beginning of the academic year, along with his peers, using the NFER Non-Verbal Reasoning test and the Progress in Maths and English tests. His results gave cause for some consternation as he had scored 97 on his maths and  79 on his English, both of which were in accordance with his class teacher"s expectations. However, his non-verbal reasoning test scored 134. In order to eliminate any other factors, such as copying, we took the unusual step of retesting him some weeks later. The child completed the paper in a relaxed and confident manner and appeared to be enjoying it. The paper contained no mistakes and gave him a standardised score of 137.

This particular child seemed to respond best to visual-perceptual problems. However, our education system is not geared to pupils like James.  Lake and Needham  (Top Ten Thinking Tactics), assert that education as we know it is predominantly about words,

'..and this is especially so in the early years of schooling, when attitudes and self-expectations are laid down.'

People like James could be at a distinct disadvantage in our education system. Through our Solution-focused approach we aimed to help James become more aware of his own particular learning style and thus raise his self-esteem. His teacher, also having been enlightened, has different expectations of James than she had previously. Where possible she may differentiate her planning accordingly, and give James whatever opportunity she can to build on his particular learning style.

In the initial solution focused interview, James said that he wanted to be better at science, but not the practical application of the subject, rather the acquisition of knowledge. We arranged to give James some time each week when he would have the opportunity to share books about science with an interested adult, who would act as mediator. In this way James was given the message that we valued his opinions about his own learning, thus helping to raise his self-esteem.

THINKING SKILLS   Top of page

Early on in this report we emphasised the importance of self-esteem to a pupil"s progress. Genuine success will raise self-esteem and one of the ways we attempted to achieve this was to begin a programme of teaching "Thinking Skills", to groups of pupils in years 5 and 6. We used a programme called "Top Ten Thinking Tactics" by Mike Lake and Marjorie Needham. The advantage of this programme was its simplicity and ease of use. The authors recognise that the tactics will only acquire their true value when they have transferred from the programme sessions into the classroom and beyond, and for this to happen they must, through regular practice, become automatic.

The first five tactics are basic to all successful problem-solving in the classroom and are simple to learn and apply. The next three tactics involve higher order thinking and are important as learning becomes more autonomous. However, it is the last two tactics, which concern a personal awareness of where a child is as a learner, which relate best to the focus of our research.

Self-awareness

Becoming aware of your own particular set of learning styles, your strengths and weaknesses and preferences. Also, being aware of changes in your learning styles and the possibility of further change. Awareness of the need to regulate your approach according to your current style and current state of knowledge.

Setting your own targets

Understanding what your purpose is not only accepting the goals planned for you by others, but having your own ideas and wishes about what you want to achieve.

The latter skill is particularly important at Bulford when we set targets with our pupils for Numeracy, Literacy and Behaviour.

The Thinking Tactics programme refers to the work of Reuven Feuerstein, one of the. founding fathers of the Thinking Skills movement. Feuerstein used the term 'mediation' to describe the process whereby caregivers interpose themselves between children and external stimuli, with the intention of helping the child to make sense of those stimuli. The central feature of the Thinking Tactics programme is the ability of the teacher to "mediate" what children learn. Equally, although we have stated the importance of praise and encouragement to self-esteem, in themselves they are not effective. The mediator (teacher) makes sure that the child knows why he or she is successful.

Lake and Needham refer to the work of Howard Gardener and his theory of multiple intelligence. Gardener claims that there are at least eight, and possibly nine, major intelligences. Accelerated Learning programmes are based on this theory, but at their heart, once again, lies positive self-esteem and self-belief.

'The learner must believe that there is value in the learning and that he or she is capable of learning and applying it in some meaningful way'. Alistair Smith 'Accelerated Learning in the Classroom' .

Gardener deplores the fact that schools tend to concentrate on linguistic and mathematical/logical intelligences at the expense of all the rest. Lake and Needham believe, however, that visual-spatial intelligence does have a part to play in Science, Technology, Art, Geography and more advanced mathematics at secondary level. But for many children, for example the child James, in our own study, it may come too late, when they have already developed images of themselves as school failures. Gardener would like to see developed the notion of:

"An individual-centred school, one geared to optimum understanding and development of each student's cognitive profile, their mix of different forms of intelligence."

The design of the ideal school is based upon two assumptions.

First, that not all people have the same interests and abilities; not all of us learn in the same way. Second, that nowadays no one person can learn everything.' Guardian Education, Oct 12 1993 quoted by Lake and Needham.

Lake and Needham acknowledge that Gardner"s vision of an ideal school is one for the future. However, they put in a plea for those children who continually struggle for little result and therefore find it hard to develop a positive image of themselves as successful learners.

'It is easy to neglect the real talents of a significant proportion of schoolchildren and, at the same time, to deny them suitable opportunities for developing the self-esteem needed for satisfactory progress in those areas which we deem important in school (words and numbers).'  Lake and Needham

Using programmes such as "Top Ten Thinking Tactics" and Solution Focused interviews allows the teacher to observe children learning in new ways and gives insights which help to build self-esteem by praising success and helping to remedy defects not previously apparent.

Michael Barber writing in The T.E.S. (May 7 1999) 'Time Now to Think About Thinking' ,

believes that:

'it is clear beyond dispute that much of what we might call applied intelligence can be learnt from experience and explicitly through being taught. Moreover, actually teaching thinking skills not only makes pupils more intelligent, it raises standards of achievement.'

Currently, Thinking Skills are enjoying a high profile and we are beginning to see encouraging reports on research into the subject. Carol McGuinness of the School of Psychology, Queen"s University, Belfast was commissioned by the DfEE to review and evaluate such research. Her report: 'From Thinking Skills to Thinking Classrooms" draws interesting conclusions, but notes that there is a need for the careful monitoring and support of the effects in ordinary classrooms.

COGNITIVE EDUCATION

Cognitive Education is the generic term used by Professor Carl Haywood, who prefers it to such terms as "thinking skills", "learning to think" and "critical thinking", because it can subsume a wide variety of educational programmes under one philosophical system. The primary goal of learning, he says, is more learning and there is relatively greater emphasis on process than content. As in the Solution Focused approach, one often hears such questions as: How did you do that?' and  What did you have to think about in order to solve that?' He believes that the most successful programmes of cognitive education are those in which academic content is a vehicle for the teaching of thinking tools

' Cognitive education may be defined as an educational approach in which the primary goal is the teaching and learning of formal processes of logical thinking, with the objective of helping all students become independent life-long learners who can generate and apply their own cognitive strategies to a wide variety of content.' Keynote speech to the 1997 North of England Education Conference reported in "Special Children" magazine March 1997.

In his speech Professor Haywood referred to the research carried out on the "Bright Start" programme for children of three to six years of age. Early studies showed that children who received the programme in pre-school showed greater gains over six to eight months  than did comparable children in I.Q, reasoning ability, language development and in motor control (as an aspect of self-regulation), had a significantly greater probability of being placed in regular education classes, as opposed to special education classes in the primary grades, and to continue to avoid special class placement.

Although the lessons themselves are important he emphasises, once again, that it is a mediational style of teaching which is moreso. More than do other teachers, mediational teachers:

o  Ask questions

o  Ask process-oriented questions

o  Challenge responses, whether correct or incorrect

o  Require justification of answers

o  Emphasise order, structure and predictability

o  Model the joy of learning for its own sake and for its own reward.

ACCELERATED LEARNING   Top of page

In his book, 'Accelerated Learning in the Classroom', Alistair Smith describes how the Accelerated Learning is an umbrella term for a series of practical approaches to learning which benefit from new knowledge about how the brain functions; motivation and self-belief; accessing different sorts of intelligence and retaining and recalling information.  At Bulford we have yet to adopt the broad principle of Accelerated Learning. However, for the past year we have employed the technique of Precision Teaching with pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6.  This has been found to be highly motivating and very effective in raising pupil self-esteem. We have used it to support the learning of key words, spellings, multiplication tables and number bonds. Children seeing the visual record of their progress are encouraged in their further efforts and enjoy the pace of learning.

We have also adopted a whole school approach to teaching phonics, called THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills), by Alan Davies and Denise Ritchie. This scheme employs accelerated learning techniques and the entire staff; teachers and Learning Support Assistants alike, attended a training day led by Alan Davies himself at our school. Davies believes that the scheme is well suited to our peculiar problem of turbulence as new arrivals learn quickly from their peers, who are confidently following a secure and structured system. A fuller description of THRASS can be found in a recently published book, "The ALPS Approach: Accelerated Learning in Primary Schools', by Alistair Smith and Nicola Call.

In addition, insofar as we are using the Solution Focused approach and beginning to teach Thinking Skills, we believe that we are already embracing some of the beliefs on which it is based. Smith describes successful methods, already being used in schools, to help learners practise self-assessment, learn more about their own learning styles and apply that knowledge in a meaningful way. The next stage of our action plan will be to learn more about these and other methods: questionnaires, word-association games, mind-mapping and so on, in order to incorporate them into our best practice and further improve our pupils' learning. Mind mapping has been developed, over many years, by Tony Buzan and his brother Barry. We have recently begun to show some of our older pupils how it can help them with their own thinking. Buzan believes that:

'It is essential that all teachers understand that the first lesson that must be taught to students is Mental Literacy, Learning How to Learn even as they are taught the three Rs.'  (The Mind Map Book Radiant Thinking, The Major Evolutionin Human Thought. 1999)

We share Smith's ideals in one particular section of his book, where he places emphasis on the learning environment. He described a classroom he had recently visited where it was evident on walking through the door that the teacher took a pride in her subject, her relationship with the learners and the appearance of the class. Bright visual displays of work, posters, photographs and other objects were strategically placed to add to a sense of calm. As a learning environment it gave out positive messages Children come to Bulford from varying backgrounds, their families often having been posted to the area at short notice and the experience can be unsettling and daunting. By paying attention to our learning environment we aim to make a welcoming atmosphere where, even to the casual observer, it is obvious that we take a pride in our learning and we value each other. In this way we are laying the foundation for the other bricks of improved learning to build upon. If a child who has experienced a turbulent education comes to the school and immediately feels welcome and valued, he or she will be more likely to learn from such methods outlined in our research. From that point they can begin to discover more about their own learning styles, benefit from peer support and encouragement, build their self-esteem and share in the setting of goals and targets to improve their learning.

At the beginning of the report we asked the question about assessing children from turbulent backgrounds differently to those who had a more settled life. All the strategies discussed in this report, some of which we have already begun to use and others which we hope to develop in the future, can in fact be successfully applied to both sets of pupils. Our village children appreciate the settled atmosphere of their classrooms, where they are valued as individuals, as much as the newly arrived pupil. Perhaps the question is not one of methodology but rather one of how schools with a large proportion of children from turbulent backgrounds are judged. There continues to be a disproportionate emphasis on league tables, where there is little or no differentiation between the schools and their catchments, and until such time as this becomes a consideration we will continue to take the best elements of good practice, our own and our colleagues in other schools, and build upon them by keeping an open mind to new research on methods of learning, and to always strive for improvement in our pupils" achievements.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT   Top of page

The research carried out at the school so far has helped us to understand different approaches to supporting children, both from turbulent backgrounds, and their more settled peers. From an initial focus on assessment methods we moved on to the wider issues of learning styles, thinking skills and independent learning. Throughout the course of this study we became convinced, by the responses given by the children, that a more positive commitment, by the whole school, to these methods, would benefit our pupils.

Perhaps most pointed of all was the phrase from Alistair Smith's book, 'Accelerated Learning in the classroom', which underpinned our philosophy. We began to have a vision of this as our goal for all our pupils.

'The learner must believe that there is value in the learning and that he or she is capable of learning and applying it in some meaningful way'. (p.25)

All the other methods we have begun to use could be said to be based on the same positive aim. We looked again our own whole school aims, as stated in our school brochures and other literature shared with parents. We believe that they are sincere educational statements, but now we saw them as targets towards the above stated goal.

Some of the methods outlined in our study are already in place, either being used by the whole school (THRASS), or by individual mediators (Precision Teaching). However, we now hope, through a series of INSET sessions, to introduce colleagues to the principles and methods of Accelerated Learning and Solution Focused Thinking, and most importantly the philosophy behind those methods. Working together as a staff we hope to encourage a belief in the value of learning and promote in our pupils the confidence in their own ability to apply it "in some meaningful way". The Elton report (1989) pointed out the need for schools to make academic work more "winnable" for those whose low self-esteem was threatened by failure. We are currently reviewing our PSHE Policy and introducing more ways to enhance our pupils" self-esteem. By also giving them the tools to make academic work "winnable" we hope to help them avoid falling into the vicious circle of failure to learn which we pinpointed at the beginning of the study as a potential problem for our pupils.

Appendix A  Top of page

A CONTEXT REPORT FOR BULFORD C.E. PRIMARY SCHOOL

This report was originally produced as part of an Education Action Zone bid for the Bulford and Tidworth Areas in 1999

Bulford Church of England Primary School, the old village school, moved to its present site in 1972 and has shared its catchment area with Bulford Kiwi since 1997 when Haig Primary, on Bulford Camp, was closed.  It admits an increasing number of pupils from army families posted to Bulford Garrison, and approximately 60% of our pupils now come from service backgrounds. The school serves three communities: the army, the church and the village, all of whom contribute to the unique character of the school, whilst making their own demands.

In January 1998, the 52-place Nursery Unit was opened in response to the high profile of Early Years education, particularly the needs of 3 and 4 year olds.  It was built primarily to serve the needs of the army population but with the perception that  those village children and those in surrounding areas could also benefit.  Since it is a well-equipped, purpose-built unit, manned by three highly qualified staff, its under-use adversely affects staff morale.

The school's OFSTED inspection in November 1997 was successful. However, staff and governors felt that the inspecting team was not au fait with the problems caused by the turbulence of a school serving army families. The team failed to understand why the acknowledged expertise within the school and the amount of spending on resources, did not produce better end of Key Stage SATs results. In general children come to this school with very poor communication skills, and priority is given to encouraging them to become active listeners and to fostering a love and understanding of the written word. However, the team remained unconvinced so we decided to run NFER 'Foundations in Learning' assessments alongside 'Signposts' baseline assessment. 

The PANDA Report for the school uses data prior to 1998, so it is already well out of date and the information largely irrelevant. In 1997  (according to the PANDA) the NOR was 177: on the 1999 Form 7 return the NOR was 267, including the Nursery pupils. 21% of pupils have SEN (15.3% in 1997). The 1991 census highlights Bulford's  disadvantage in comparison with neighbouring wards. 5.9% of adults in Bulford had higher education compared with 12.1 in Amesbury, 8.4 in Durrington and 10.1 in Netheravon. 4.8% of children in Bulford are from high social class households, 29.9% in Amesbury, 18.9% in Durrington and 40% in Netheravon.

The school works extremely hard to achieve high attendance levels and has a very good system in place to ensure parents are made aware of the value we place on attendance.  In 1997 the attendance rate was above the national average and unauthorised absence below. However, as the percentage of army families increases so too do the absences, both authorised and unauthorised as families take their leave when the army decides - not the education authority. 

In addition to the turbulence, and accompanying problems brought by the army, the school suffers from a serving a poor socio-economic area. Many of our children come from single parent families, some of them ex-army wives who have returned to their native village. The, rather crude, free school meal indicator has little relevance as army families usually fail to qualify owing to the level of army pay.

THE IMPACT ON PUPILS

Teacher time given to new arrivals detracts from time for others.

Regrouping: - e.g. new child added to the group - effect on established relationships.

Child leaving affects friendship groups, including village children.

The new arrival: the teacher needs time to get to get to know them so those children need to adjust to new rules/demands/situations - it can take some time for a child to feel secure and confident.

The leaving child: can be unsettled for days/weeks before a move, leading to disruption, poor concentration/work.

Absentee parent (usually father): whilst on exercise, can lead to poor behaviour and family problems that spill over into school.

Curriculum: children who move frequently can miss parts of the curriculum e.g. cases of children in Year 6, who are about to take SATs, never having been taught Magnetism - this has an effect on the teaching focus for that year group.

Medical: Children with specific recurring medical problems - diagnosis/treatment is frequently delayed due to moves as appointments become due. This is particularly noticeable with hearing and speech problems.

Absenteeism: Children miss school due to having to take holidays when the parent's leave is due. There are also frequent absences when dad has R & R before an overseas posting and on his return.

Behaviour: Play is often of an aggressive nature. Higher incidence of 'war games".

Children are often unsettled on arrival - for some of the very young children this is already their third or fourth school. Whilst father is away some children react badly and mother finds it difficult to cope leading to anxiety, depression, troubled behaviour.

THE CHALLENGES FOR THE SCHOOL

Target-Setting/Raising Standards: Setting targets for aggregate pupil achievement two or three years hence is a different exercise in a school where all the likely candidates are known, compared to one where the population is always changing.

  • e.g.: Of the Autumn '97 intake for Yr R, when we carried out the pilot for NFER baseline assessment, Signposts, just over one year later at beginning of Spring Term 1999, one third of the cohort had left and the number had gone from 27 to 31. In that time nine children had left and eleven children arrived. By September "99, when they had reached Year 2, only 13 of those children remained.

  • e.g.: Of the Year 6 taking SATs in 1998 35% had been in this school since Reception. 65% had arrived since Year R. On average the children who had been with us since they were 5 years old had a 15% greater improvement than those who had arrived since their reception year. 38% had arrived in the 18 months before the K.S.2 SATs in one case this was only five months before.

o  e.g.: In the current Year 6, for whom we have set targets in October 1998 for May 1999, seven children have already left and three new ones arrived in the three months.

  • e.g.: In the current Year 5, for whom we set targets for 2000 on 20.10.98. with the LEA, three have already left and five new ones arrived. With one regiment about to depart and a new one arriving over the next two months those figures could alter dramatically.

  • This school has frequently lost its high-achievers just before K.S.2 SATs as the children often move on to boarding school at that time.

Target-setting at Individual Pupil Level: Large turnover means a great deal ofteacher time taken on entry profile and assessing levels so that targets for improvement can be set.

Benchmarking: is difficult - Family Grouping Project - information does not really match as these schools may share one or two similar criteria but not such a wide range of factors. Also the crude free-school meal criteria do not work as army pay means families who, under other circumstances, would fit the same socio-economic band are lifted above that level.

Outputs which we consider valuable, for instance creative thinking, spiritual understanding, self-reliance and independence cannot be measured. Schools are compared on measurable factors alone.

Proving 'Value Added': i.e. that we do make a difference to those children.

Teacher time: this is eroded by large amounts of extra paperwork created by pupil turnover:

  • transfer reports for each child who leaves

  • studying reports (where available), records etc. for new arrivals so that they may be appropriately placed within groups.

  • planning is affected by having to 'fill the gaps' for groups and individuals who have missed large sections of the curriculum - teacher is constantly having to rethink and restructure medium and long term plans and fine tune short term plan

  • time spent on dealing emotional and behaviour problems caused by unsettled children.

  • time spent on 'counselling' for families who suffer the consequences of turbulence - Headteacher/SENco also spends large amounts of time dealing with family crises.

  • time spent by teachers and admin staff chasing up missing records, both school and medical.

Curriculum: Planning is often driven by the need to fill gaps where pupils have missed part of the curriculum.

Devising a Literacy Strategy is quite different in school where children move steadily from Yr 1 to Yr 6 compared to one where children, many with low achievements levels, are joining the school at different times.

Budget: This school has a newly established Nursery Unit, built specifically to serve the army population in the first instance - high level of movement means it is difficult to fill to capacity of 52 part-time places.

Parents:  There is often difficulty getting parent support for extra-curricular activities, PTA and other fundraising.

Parents expect the same support over emotional issues as the army gives.

Agreeing home-school contracts with every parent makes different demands on a school with a mobile population.

Special Educational Needs:

High level of SEN which is underfunded. New system of funding does not allow for new children coming in with Statements, as well as other SEN needs, which have to be funded from the school's own budget (set at the time of Form 7).

Catchment:

This particular school serves three communities village, church, army which all make their own demands. The school is perceived as a pleasant Church of England Primary School in a village setting and there is little allowance, even by the LEA, for the high number of army families served by the school.

WHAT WE ARE ALREADY DOING

Children included in friendship groups, buddy system.

Circle Time/ Golden Rules/ Positive ethos/ Being new - being a good friend etc.

Good Behaviour Policy, understood and implemented by whole school.

NFER assessments on entry, baseline assessment - information used to place pupils in appropriate groups, set targets to achieve and monitor progress.

Transfer records, reports etc forwarded, lines of communication opened to receiving school.

New admission forms give contextual information - to be used to build data bank for future reference. e.g. number of schools attended.

APPENDIX B  Top of page

OUTLINE OF THE SOLUTION FOCUSED APPROACH

The Solution Focused Interview

The three areas outlined in the report: methods of learning and teaching; goals and motivation and social context and interactions, are explored  by the use of questions, similar to those given as examples. No particular order will be used but a flexible and general pattern is:

a discussion of pupil's strengths via talk of hobbies and interests

focus on general goals (interests, work and possibly reading)

specific focus on methods of learning, past success

interactive issues, e.g. who will notice any improvements

return to goals and specific targets

During the planning and feedback stages it is recommended that metaphors are used in discussion with the pupil. This is not always appropriate due to the youth of some of our pupils, but the method is employed where appropriate. Examples of successful use of metaphor given by Rhodes and Ajmal are:

o  A pupil, asked how he learned the skill of repairing cars, talked of "taking apart and putting back together", this was applied to his skill of learning new words.

o  Another pupil, a karate enthusiast, spoke of "karate-chopping" the problem, which also injected a level of humour.

Pupil autonomy is perceived as crucial to the Solution Focused approach. The pupil must first agree to take part, then, throughout the process, should be asked if it is okay to ask certain questions.

Interviews with the teacher may also help to discover: successful methods already tried; ideas the teacher has thought of but not yet tried, and knowledge the teacher may have about the pupil"s learning style.

The Planning Meeting

This could take place on the same day or a few days later. The pattern may be:

  • Reporting back on some aspect of the previous meeting focusing on strengths;

  • Again asking the pupil if they want to participate and ask how much work they are willing to do, particularly in their own time;

  • A detailed discussion of practical ideas. Who is to do what, when, how often and even where?

If pupil and teacher have thought of some methods of learning and teaching these are perhaps best to use. However, it may be useful to add one new element. Several ideas can be discussed and the participants left to choose.

The Review Meeting

Based on the work of de Shazer (1988) there are two general directions in a review meeting:

  • If things are going well, recommend a continuation with or without some new ideas.

  • If no progress is being made, then new strategies are required or even a reconsideration of the original complaint.

If there are improvements these can be explored and built upon How did you achieve this? Who else has noticed? What is the next step?

If specific targets have been reached then new ones can be discussed.


Appendix C  Top of page

Initial Interview with James (age 8)

14th February 2000

 

Discussion of pupil's strengths via talk of hobbies and interests

At home James likes to play on his playstation and computer. When he plays out he likes climbing on the garage roof.

Focus on general goals (interests, work and possibly reading)

During this section a pupil may be asked to place themselves on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent. Or in terms of "not very good, good, really good" etc in keeping with the vocabulary of primary aged children. 

English  -   7

Maths   - 10

Painting - 4

Drawing - 2

Making - 9

History - 0

Geography - 0

Science - 0


Specific focus on methods of learning, past success

When asked what he would like to improve James said "Science". I would like to be really good at it better than Davey. Davey is the best in the class. Nearly every time he gets a three-star in Science for answering questions.'

When asked how he thought he could improve in Science, James answered:

  1. Use an information book to find out things

  2. Get a three-star

  3. Know things

 

Interactive issues, e.g. who will notice any improvements

When asked where he would like to be on a scale of 1-10, James said, Not the best, but about 6.' And asked how he would know when he had reached that point, James said, I will know the answers, like Davey, just like that, and put my hand up quicker than him.' And who else will notice?

- 'My teacher, my friends and me.'

Return to goals and specific targets

Inform the pupil that you will now talk to their teacher and we'll meet again in a few days to plan the next stage.

Asked how he thought he could help himself improve, James said:

'Ask some people to ask me questions, write it down when I've learned it. Read books.'

Second Interview with James

29th February 2000

James and I discussed the initial interview and he remembered the focus. I asked whether he still wanted to improve his Science, and he said he did. Did he want to change the level on the scale? James said he would like it to be 8.

When asked if he had tried any of the things he had suggested, to help himself, James said: 'I'm going to try the first one.' I asked how he thought books about Science might help him, James replied, 'They might have the words of what it means.' I then asked James if he would like to tell a story using a sequence of cartoon pictures, and asked whether he read stories in cartoon form. He said he was familiar with cartoons and liked Dennis the Menace.

James was able to sequence the pictures according to the sequence sheet and he laid them out and studied them carefully, whilst relating the story. I read this back to him to see if he was happy with what he had said. We then discussed what was important when retelling a story and what was helpful/unhelpful in the sequence of pictures.

James felt that details about the baby were not important as the baby was only in some of the pictures. He felt that the girl was important to the story as she had learned to ride her bike and could now go out with her friends.

Appendix C

Initial Interview with Katie (age 11)17th January 2000

Discussion of pup'l's strengths via talk of hobbies and interests

When asked to tell me something of herself Katie immediately volunteered the fact that although she was 'OK with English' her spelling needed a lot of practise. She likes reading, especially Harry Potter. After tea she watches TV and plays with her younger brother and sister, especially Worst Witch and Microscope. She also likes going shopping either her family. Her favourite thing is drawing, but she doesn't think she's very good at it. She reads magazines and became more enthusiastic when she talked about the fact that she has all 52 copies of 'Art Magic'. Katie said it gave her ideas for art things to do and she had done all sorts of things, like candle-making and sticking things.

Focus on general goals (interests, work and possibly reading)

We returned to Katie's original exclamation about her poor spelling and when asked to place herself on a scale of 1-10 she thought she was somewhere in the middle, but more towards 6 than 5. We referred back to Katie's interest in art and creative pastimes and a discussion followed about what her strengths might be in relation to her interests and how she learns. We agreed that she was a 'visual' person,  interested in pattern and shapes.

Specific focus on methods of learning, past success

Katie was very quick to tell me that she had made most progress when she began to learn to spell using L.S.C.W.C (Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check)as this helped her to visualise the word. She was very definite that she was aware that she was making progress because 'One day I learned one word and the next two words' and she was able to keep them in her head. Also when writing a story she didn't make so many mistake

She also referred to mnemonics and other methods, which had helped her recall of difficult spellings.

Interactive issues, e.g. who will notice any improvements

Katie told me that her teacher would notice an improvement in her spelling when she marked her work. Her friends would also notice when they swapped books to mark each other's work. Her mum would notice that she didn't have to give Katie so much help with her homework.

Return to goals and specific targets

We talked again about Katie's desire to improve her spelling and discussed ways that we could harness her undoubted preference for art and creative activities. Katie herself came up with an idea she had used in Year 5 which she had found helpful. We also looked at the idea of utilising the shape of words to help Katie learn difficult spellings. We looked at a word she had been given to learn that morning. The word was "especially". I drew round the word and Katie said, 'It looks like a key!'  We thought we had the germ of an idea to begin a new approach for Katie. I told her I would look into it and meet her again in a few days for the planning meeting

Second Interview with Katie

24th January 2000

Since the first interview Katie had been given a Schonell spelling test and I asked her how she thought she had done. She thought she had not done very well. However, we were able to find some good strategies that Katie was using.  We reminded ourselves that we were looking for ways, which would depend on Katie"s visual strengths.

The SENco"s LSA would give Katie a dictation using "Spelling in Context" which would help us to form a better picture of Katie as a speller. Katie would also be given a THRASS chart for support and introduced to the idea of "phoneme boxes". Katie would design some games to play with her friends, using "Masterpieces", which would help her to overlearn the spelling patterns. These could be matching the words  (as in the game of "snap" or, ideally, matching the word to its shape. Katie would also be given Bulford "Learn a New Word" sheets to use at home when learning her spellings. She could also take a "Style" box home to help her practise.

Third Interview with Katie

29th February 2000

When asked what she was working to improve Katie said, her writing and spelling score and her SATs level. She said she had found some words she would like to be able to spell. Also, through her work she knew of others that she needed to be able to spell.

When asked how she was helping herself, Katie said she was using Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check, and practising throughout the week and at home and at school. Asked what she thought had helped, Katie said, using the THRASS chart (see P.11 Accelerated Learning). 'Instead of having to guess how to spell the 'e' in words I can look at the phoneme box and choose one of those from the box.' Also, the shape of the words helped her to remember her spelling.

I asked if she felt she had made any improvements, and if so, how did she know? Katie replied that she used to ask her mum but now she could remember to look in a dictionary. Also, she did not get so many mistakes in her writing at school.

When asked where she would like to be on the scale, Katie said 8-9. I asked her when she felt she would achieve that and she thought in a few more months. And how would she know?  'I won't have any mistakes in my English work and my homework.' I asked her how she would then feel about herself and Katie said, 'I will feel great about myself for getting the target I want to get.' Asked how this has helped her as a person Katie replied, It has helped me. I feel that I am getting better, and it doesn't take me as long to think about how to spell words.'

More discussion followed and Katie came to the conclusion that, 'This will help all areas of my work because you need spellings to do loads of things.'

I asked Katie what she would do in the future and she replied, 'I think I'll carry on because I will improve.'

Katie was tested using the Schonell Spelling Test on 19.01.00; she rated a spelling age of 9:3. When retested on 20.03.00 her spelling age had gone up to 9:7.

Appendix D  Top of page

RESPONSES OF YEAR 2 CHILDREN in GROUP AND INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS

These interviews followed the Solution Focused Thinking approach. The pupils were not perceived as underachieving. However, the interview technique was seen as a useful way of encouraging an open and collaborative discussion, to aid target setting in English and Maths. 

In the group interviews children were able to hear each other"s responses.

GROUP INTERVIEW (5 CHILDREN)

8th February 2000

Hobbies and Interests

Daniel

Playing on my playstation, Game Boy, Sega Mega Drive. Watching my television. Writing stories, playing on my computer.

Reuben

Playing on my computer. Building with Lego, drawing, playing outside with John, who lives three doors down, and Daniel.

Rachel

Reading books and writing.

Hollie

Doing SATs practice with my mum and going on the computer.

Matthew

Going on the computer, making things with Meccano and playing out on my bike.

Areas identified as good

Daniel  -   Maths 10

Reuben - Maths 10

Rachel - English  09

Hollie English  10

Matthew - English  10

Areas identified as not good

Daniel  Writing 1

Reuben Handwriting  8

Rachel Answering Questions in Maths  3

Hollie Answering Questions in Maths 9

Matthew Telling the time 1

What would you like to improve?

Daniel: I would like to be able to write chapters in my story writing.

Reuben: To do more joined handwriting and make it neater.

Rachel: Answering questions correctly in Maths.

Hollie: Answering Maths questions in the SATs tests

Matthew: Learning to tell the time in Maths and to know all the times.

Have you been able to do this before or have you made any progress so far?

Daniel: Yes, when  I write stories I can write one page, or a page and a bit.

Reuben: Yes, I'm good at handwriting

Rachel: I'm not very good, and I've never been very good, but you say they are right.

Hollie: Yes, at home, when I do some SATs papers with my mum and I know some of the answers.

Matthew:I think so, yes. I know the o'clocks because I"ve learnt them.

What does that tell you about yourself?

Daniel: That I'm good at writing stories.

Reuben: That I'm a good writer.

Rachel: That I can answer some questions correctly.

Hollie:  Sometimes I can answer questions and sometimes I can't.

Matthew: That I'm good at some (clock) times and not others.

How could you help yourself?

Daniel: Try to think of some longer stories. 

Other suggestions from the group:

Hollie: Think of a longer story.

Rachel: Start writing longer stories.

Reuben: Write five pages.

Reuben: Leave spaces and remember to do joined up writing.

Other suggestions from the group:

Matthew: Tell yourself where to put punctuation and capital letters.

Hollie: Remember what you have already done.

Rachel: Miss S could remind you.

Daniel: Work hard to do your handwriting sheets.

Rachel:  To remember what I know.

Other suggestions from the group:

Matthew: Count on, if it's an adding question.

Daniel: Give advice

Hollie: Remember her Maths target in her head.

Reuben: To count on your fingers.

Hollie:  Think of my Maths target.

Other suggestions from the group:

Daniel : Use your brain.

Reuben: Think in your head.

Rachel: Think before you answer.

Matthew: Try concentrating.

Matthew: Use my 'Tell the Time' book at home.

Other suggestions from the group:

Hollie: Use the clock you made at school.

Rachel: Look at clocks.

Daniel: Remember what we have learned.

INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWS

DAVID, (Age 6)

Areas identified as good

Listening 10

Answering questions 10

Counting 10

Painting 10

Handwriting  10

Areas identified as not good

Writing 1

Spelling 1

What would you like to improve?

I would like to get more words right and be able to write more words. I don"t want to waste my time thinking about spelling.

Where would you like to be, on a scale of 1-10, in writing and spelling?

Writing 10

Spelling 10

Have you made any progress so far in writing and spelling?

Yes, lots.

When was that?

When I wrote my magic story.

How did you know that you had made progress?

I was just writing and I stopped to think about what goes next.

Had you ever done that  before?

No, I have never kept on writing.

Who told you that you had made that progress?

You said I did very well. There was only a little bit of paper left. You said nearly all of my spellings were right.

What does that tell you about yourself?

I can do a lot of writing and I can find out the letters I need, and I know the letters that go after others to spell words.

How can you help yourself?

Do my homework (like I do).

Listen to the THRASS tape and the words and write the THRASS words.

Who will notice?

Miss S (teacher), Mrs M (LSA), My mum says it when she sees my writing, Me.

 

Appendix E  Top of page

RESPONSES OF TEACHERS AND MEDIATORS

The following interview was held with the teacher of Katie (11), whose own responses are

 recorded at Appendix C.

What methods of teaching have you found successful with this pupil?

The introduction of THRASS  (see P.11 'Accelerated Learning') has had a great impact.

Now there is evidence of Katie using this in her work. She is able to refer to the "phoneme

boxes" to aid her spelling. She doesn"t always use the correct grapheme choice but I

expect this to come in the future. Other methods include the use of Look, Say, Cover,

Write, Check, which involves using the framework of THRASS with this strategy. Dictation

exercises, which aim to apply the child"s spelling knowledge, have also been used.

What has tended to work in the past?

Katie's previous learning had not helped her to learn to spell. Katie is a good reader, but not a natural speller. The emphasis on phonemes has helped Katie. No previous strategies did what THRASS does, because they didn"t address the whole problem. The focus of the National Literacy Strategy often resulted in an over-emphasis of the incorrect application of spelling rules.

What would be a sign for you that the pupil is making progress?

Katie will achieve a higher score in spelling tests (SATs). I would also expect to see progress in comprehension and dictation exercises, and there would be fewer spelling mistakes in her general work.

What would you see the pupil doing?

I would see Katie applying the knowledge, she has learned from THRASS, to the work she was undertaking. I would also see her become confident enough to write in front of other people, i.e. making written contributions to class work on the blackboard.

What activities has the pupil enjoyed most?

Katie has enjoyed taking part in spelling games using THRASS. This has involved spelling words using letter strings and other word games.

What was it about those activities which interested the pupil?

Katie particularly enjoyed the fun situation which was used to enhance learning. The games came across as non-threatening. She was particularly interested in the way in which letter strings are formed in different words. For example at the beginning, the middle and the end.

Are there any ideas you have thought of but not tried?

No, I have tried out most of the things I thought of.

Appendix E

RESPONSES OF TEACHERS AND MEDIATORS

The following description came from an interview held with a Learning Support Assistant who uses Precision Teaching with children in Years 5 and 6, and also with a child in Year 2 who has a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

Precision Teaching is a strategy which enables children to learn through focusing on achievable targets. The learning takes place in small steps in an intensive daily practice. The LSA"s role as mediator enables the learning to take place. In a one-to-one situation, she works hard to build a close relationship with the learner. The learning is always perceived as positive and the learner is not made to feel inadequate. The benefits of Precision Teaching are seen in the form of a progress chart, where the learner is also able to see the mapping of rapid progress in a pictorial form. In this way the learner develops confidence in their own ability, which in turn builds self-esteem. The learner is then keen to attempt a new target and so the process is self-fulfilling.

A CASE STUDY USING PRECISION TEACHING

Donna is a very nervous Year 6 pupil. Before taking part in the Precision Teaching she had very low self-esteem and very little confidence in her own work. When Mrs S first starting using Precision Teaching with Donna, Donna was afraid of her own failure. She was uncomfortable with the one-to-one situation and the use of the minute timer. Mrs S therefore discarded the timer and used the Precision Teaching as a fun, game-style of learning. The task was to learn number bonds to one hundred. After one month, of four sessions weekly, Donna had started to make progress and the chart showed a rise in the number of correct answers. Mrs S then introduced the timer and Donna continued to make good progress, coping well with added pressure of timed answers. At the same time there was a marked increase in Donna"s confidence.

Donna reached her next target in three weeks, which is the expected rate of progress in Precision Teaching. By the end of the first term Donna was working to her potential in Precision Teaching and had achieved five targets in learning multiplication tables. In the second term, from January to February Half Term, Donna was working on her third target of mixed multiplication tables.

In Precision Teaching the pupil has to help herself: Donna's new-found confidence in her learning ability has encouraged her to achieve more. She now works at home to learn her multiplication tables. When Donna has achieved a target the next one is discussed. At times she still lacks confidence in her own ability, but she is excited about tackling new work because she now knows she can achieve.

Mrs S confessed that she too is spurred on by a pupil"s success and feels this motivates her to encourage the pupil to achieve the next target. Because she can see that the system works she has confidence in its use and is able to convey this to the pupil.

Appendix F  Top of page



BIBLIOGRAPHY

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