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Feel like I am failing these kids

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by foggy98, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. cheekychops

    cheekychops New commenter

    'Maybe I am old school but I think children should be taught how to read and write.'
    My reception aged children who have been with me in the FS unit access a play based curriculum but still move on to year 1 able to read and write. One little girl who springs to mind in particular and who is not 5 until August is a super little reader who sounds out new words with ease and uses this phonic knowledge in her writing. I also have three gifted readers who now choose their own reading books bearing in mind i work in an Ok area with lovely children they do all make fantastic progress.
     
  2. Elizabeth Jarman also spoke at this year's EY conference in London; the theme being language and communciation.
    There is shared thinking going on in this thread isn't there?
     
  3. Ibuzzybea

    Ibuzzybea Occasional commenter

    RABOT I'm not sure why you felt it relevant to say "When I speak to my child's teacher (v.young - no kids) " I often hear this as an argument for "less than adequate teaching" and find it truly offensive some of the best early educators I know are young and some are old, some of the worst are mature mothers who think they know best, there are also some rubbish young ones. It doesn't always correlate! I am young, single and childless and don't think it makes me less of an educator (yes it does give me less of an insight into some things, but also makes me open minded at times)
     
  4. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Couldnt agree more Hedda. We should give them choice but limit it. Interesting people are talking about the calm environments, as we are also starting to move to calming environments and natural outdoor area. We have just had a good clear out and thrown so much bright plastic!
    I guess on the whole I use a balance of the old tried and tested and the new. I think more carefully about the play opportunities than in the past and plan for them, but I still do all the traditional 'teaching ' stuff from before.
    My response initially was about how I felt the op had misinterpreted the EYFS and gone down the route of some urban myths.
    To the person who said they do teach their child to listen and play appropriately, you probably do but sadly there are increasingly more parents who dont. I also think there is alot of evidence about the TV affecting concentration etc.
    I also think this has been the best discussion in a long time I was beginning to miss the debates we used to have. And yes people should be able to post on here without being vilified. Be nice.
     
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    One of the other things we have extended this year is "storytelling" as opposed to story reading the idea being that children need to listen more carefully if they don't have the pictures to distract them.
     
  6. I thought this was a perceptive comment.

     
  7. We also feel that Letters and Sounds has muddled us a little. We have realised that in our eagerness to embrace it with Phase 1 activities, we have neglected the real value of talk in real contexts and we aim to correct it next academic year.
     
  8. I talk so much that it happens every now and then :)
    I've been looking up Elizabeth Jarman's work and I wondered if anyone had bought the toolkit she's produced or any of the books she's written for Featherstone Press? If so are they worth buying? The approach looks a little Montessori-esque with natural wooden furniture etc. Am moving into a new classroom and completely redesigning and reorganising it so am very interested.
     
  9. Maybe my post was a bit (I'd had a particularly difficult day!) but like others said, we should be able to post on here without being vilified or patronised. Yes I've read the EYFS - please don't insult my professionalism! Yes I understand the principles behing the EYFS and yes I strongly support learning through play, at no stage did I ever say I wanted to tie my children to desks and force them to write.
    But that's all very well, but the fact is my EYFS coordinator and line manager DOES insist we limit our direct teaching/ carpet sessions and we are pulled up in observations/ planning scrutiny if she feels we are doing too much direct teaching. Well I say 'we' but actually it's only me, as my colleague who works on the other side of our open plan classroom was observed by the deputy head and asked how she was going to make sure all the children did the focus activity and told that she should make it compulsory, wheread the woman observing me says that on no account must this happen. So we are getting very mixed messages from the SMT. Add to this a very critical and less than supportive moderation process recently, where I was told a lot of my evidence was of no value because it came from an activity I had put on the table - the child had chosen to do that activity and did it independently, but since I put it on the table it didn't count. Those were the words the moderator actually used, she also wrote on the comment form that I didn't have numbers in my role play area and should have had number work in the outside area - both of which were in fact there and in plain sight.
    Also, there's a lot of pressure from parents at our school which was previously run in a very formal way and then suddenly changed, parents blame me for this and perceive it as 'lazy' teaching on my behalf - now I'm doing my best to educate the parents about the benefits and the truth of what we're actually doing, but it does get very waring having to justify it to them all the time, particularly when they have had a number of older children go through the school under the 'old' system and can't help making comparisons.
    I've found this thread really useful and got some good ideas for what I can start to put into place in September to do what is best for my class and given me the confidence to start trusting my own instincts a bit more rather than tying myself in knots trying to meet a variety of other people's sometimes conflicting agendas, so thank you for that.
     
  10. Hi Foggy, I agree with the concerns you expressed and am sick of outside bodies coming and telling me that I'm doing it all wrong. After many sleepless nights way back in January, following one such visit, I decided to carry on in my own [and for many years, successful] way and continue to combine directed and chosen activities. The parents respect what we do in the nursery while they are in despair about what goes on in Reception, where the children are running wild and as the profile results show, make NO progress.Now our authority have decided that 'practitioners' have misinterpreted the EYFS- how noble of them to shelve the blame- nothing to do with the **** training we all received when it was all introduced. I really do think the time has come for those of us in Early Years to stand up for ourselves, believe in what we already do well and tell all these 'experts' most of whom haven't worked anywhere near a child for years, to get stuffed.If something doesn't happen soon, our parents will be leaving in droves, to take their children to more organised Reception classes and we will have scores of children who are uneducated as well as teachers who no longer teach.
    One very disillusioned nursery teacher, Carole

     
  11. WOW I was overwhelmed with the new responses to this thread. Particularly to know that someone agreed with me was a revelation as I have spent much of my life swimming against the tide! So let's try and go for that last 1%. I'm not convinced that lack of concentration comes down to TV myself. We all had TV's twenty years ago why has it taken so long? In my experience it is the one thing that a restless child will totally concentrate on for sustained periods.
    I think that primarily it comes down to lack of meaningful social interaction with adults and lack of expectation. If we always use moving images to gain attention such as interactive white boards, computer games and TV then a normal 2D conversation with an adult can seem visually unstimulating.
    I tutor children with specific learning difficulties from Y1 and above. Sometimes nothing is diagnosed but they have such poor attention skills that they are unable to focus long enough on any single activity to gain anything out of it. I sit one to one with them and give good eye contact as we interact over games or reading activities. I watch their eyes and they move constantly round the room, flitting from one thing to another, glancing at my face and then away again. Their bodies wriggle in the chair, legs up, legs down, legs to the side, bottom sliding down.... They interrupt their own thoughts with a new idea about something completely different that has just sprung to mind. It comes into their heads and straight out of their mouths.
    Now, if we say that developmentally young children are like this so we must keep activities short and hightly stimulating to maintain their interest then we have no expectation that they can be any different. Neither do they. Not until they are developmentally ready that is. And so the EYFS model goes up into Y1, then presumably up to Y2 to cater for children who are still not ready to sit and focus. And yet I have been on holiday in Europe and seen very young children sit still throughout an entire meal with their parents and other family members because that is what is expected of them. It is more than just TV at work here!
    And a big yes to more storytelling and less story reading. Good eye contact, allows for better interaction without the book as a barrier and develops the 'pictures in your head' imagination that are so much better than any illustration. By the way whatever happened to Foggy98 who started the whole thing off?
     
  12. I'm sorry I made you feel so defensive! The comment is relevant and directly related to the following comment about the collective parents not teaching their children how to behave. An ignorant and immature rant! I don't feel I said this was typical of all young and childless teachers - especially as I was one myself for several years - and I'm not now a 'mature mother who thinks I know best'.
    I still feel some structure in R benefits the child (and the teacher) and complete lack of structure is more unhelpful. What ever the age, status of the teacher!

     
  13. Ibuzzybea

    Ibuzzybea Occasional commenter

    Sorry RABOT, I just get fed up with people saying about staff are they young/ you know they don't have children!!!
    Oscars mum totally agree regarding not just TV, but all the things I previously stated impact on concentration.I think you are totally right about the constant flitting of eyes/ bodies and this is a climate we have created (as a society not just early years settings). Of course tv is not a new thing, my whole life I have been allowed to watch tv, but NEVER in my childhood was it on in the background and still isn't in my parents home (care for two preschool and one primary child). These children are able to concentrate for very long periods since a constant diet of tv is now not on the menu, time, attention, simple age appropriate toys, experiences and activities are given to them. I love going home at 5.30 and seeing the little ones sitting at the table just watching mum cook, doing a few helpful jobs and just chatting sometimes they'l be there well over an hour (2yr and 4yr). But yet on the occasions when the tv is on in the background (ie older one watching or I turn it on) I notice the children begin to flit and this continues afterwards. I am not blaming tv, but without meaning to stereotype it would seem that families who have tv on all the time are likely also to neglect playing with children, have dinner around the table, conversations as a family etc. As you stated tv is often what children "concentrate" most on but I would actually question whether it is really concentration but instead passive staring at hypnotising images (I AM NOT AGAINST TV), and again as you stated, becuase of this perception that children need all this visual and auditorty stimulation we "dazle" them in attempting to teach. When sometimes what they actually need is "dulling down, slowing down, and getting down on thier level and attention". Which leads us nicely onto story telling rather than reading (not going to go on about that) I think I'm in a passionate mood tonight!
     
  14. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ah, storytelling. When I use a book and props I'm all fingers and thumbs. A lovely book, now that's a different matter. And a story told, without recourse to either, is a wonderful thing indeed.
    Older teachers will begin to hear distant strains of the Berceuse from Faure's Dolly Suite as they remember Listen With Mother and its opening line of 'Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.'
     
  15. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    When, in a year or two, ideas get modified and there is more flexibility, those who were most vociferoius about new ideas will shout most loudly about having invented the newly-reaccepted old.
    It was ever thus.
     
  16. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    vociferous
     
  17. HI
    After reading everyone's views here I can say that no matter where you are in the wolrd we are all feeling the same. I am at an International School and having just had the foundation stage coordinator attend a course on the new Early years curriculum we all now feel the same. We have opted to have some teacehr led actvities by keeping our themes in place. We need to do this as the children are EAL learners and need some guide towards developing language and skills. We are also allowing child initiated to run but have raised the same issues- is it alright for X to play in the sand all day? We feel not as you have said it isn't developing other skills or broadening his expereinces.
    A balance is needed between the teacher led and the child initiated - a compromise! And I agree are we teaching or babysitting? If we let them do everything their way then we are just glorified care givers.

     
  18. Thank goodness i found this.
    I am a early years teacher in Scotland and I feel the same as you all do.
    This is not what I went into teaching for and am thinking if its worth it.
    Then a child will do/say something and I thinks thats what its all about.
     
  19. I think that you have hit the nail on the head here. When the TV is used instead of adult interaction it doesn't develop conversation skills. We are all responsible for this shift in expectations but it is a difficult one to address. I feel like an old dragon if I tell the children to sit still and yet they can do it if we play sleeping lions!
     
  20. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter

    I've just started reading Toxic Childhood: if you're in education, or a parent, and particularly if you're in Early Years, do read it. It's eye-opening but at the same time sort of confirms all the anecdotal 'evidence' we get through gossip on here and in the staffroom.
     

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