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High achieving child bored

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by caffmagee, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. caffmagee

    caffmagee New commenter

    I am teaching a mixed year class (yr4-6) with 1 severely autistic child and 3 others with behavioural issues. I also have a high achieving student in year 6 whose parents are complaining that he is bored and doesn't feel that he is learning anything in school. I haven't been in the school very long and am feeling frustrated as it is difficult to motivate him. His behaviour has been awful the past week. It is difficult to include him in team games and activities as he just ends up telling everyone else the answers.

    Any help gratefully appreciated!
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Perhaps you don't remember the days of class monitors . . . well it was 60+ years ago!

    The idea was that you got the high-achiever to be a secondary teacher, giving him/her the responsibility for a group of other pupils and working out how best to teach them a set topic, correct their work, etc.

    This was done when Primary classes were 50+ . . . I will add that it was when I was a pupil, not teaching then!

    I just wonder if you could think of something like this for the high achiever to motivate him . . .

    Best wishes

  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Give him a maths text book to work through.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  4. caffmagee

    caffmagee New commenter

    Thanks Theo. That would be a solution to part of my problem but I really want to make sure he is being challenged and learning as well.
  5. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Two of mine were very bored in year six. I begged the teacher just to give them a hard maths book and sit them in the corner but she insisted that tyhey join in with what everyone else was doing, even though it was things they could do two or three years before. They would have learned and been happy sorting themselves out, given the opportunity. You may just have to think differently about this child. For example, I asked if one of mine could do his music practice while everyone did maths (I even offered to come in and supervise). I was told no, he had to do maths, but he wasn't learning anything so it was a complete waste of time and he was climbing the walls with boredom. But neither of them were nearly as good at English so some extra work there instead of the 'maths' would have been really helpful.

    It must be hard in a class with such a wide range of ability, and the child you have may not be one who's good at working on his own. But as a parent I would be thrilled for my child to have appropriate work and not a bit bothered if this meant not joining in with the others!
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  6. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    You can not use a pupil as a "secondary teacher" this is crazy. The child needs to be taught. The school has an obligation to teach the child. Remember a SEN pupil is not just low ability, it can be that they need extra/harder work. As the class teacher you need to provide this. If you need support to do this then talk to your line manager.

    I went to the Local Authority when my child was not being taught. They said he was "to clever" for the class. Not my issue, you are the school teach him. I have moved my child to a school that is prepared to teach him and have him challenged in class.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    No, no, @subman68 !

    I was not suggesting that the child should not be taught! I have obviously not explained this well. The example that i gave was from the past.

    What I mean is that when there is a learning activity, the activity of that child should involve taking a leadership role within a group.

    Best wishes

  8. MineField

    MineField New commenter

    When I was at school, I was given projects to do, which I quite enjoyed - I researched them from scratch, and wrote it all up into a booklet. I can remember doing one on clouds, and another on big cats (I'm a scientist through and through). Could you do this in their favourite subject, or whatever subject they're supposed to be learning? I also agree with Vince_Ulam - give them a GCSE revision guide and workbook for whatever subject they enjoy, or should be learning. My Y6 daughter does this, and she's very happy wading through her GCSE biology book. I think the famous physicist Richard Feynman was left to read A-level maths/physics textbooks in lower secondary, and he remembered it as being a happy time, and loved the teacher for understanding his needs.
    needabreak and Vince_Ulam like this.
  9. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    People - including children - learn not only by doing but by teaching too. When you are being taught you only learn what you are being taught. When you are teaching or helping someone else learn you not only learn the subject in more depth because you have to understand it far better to be able to explain it, you also learn in more breadth because they will ask you questions that you haven't thought of and don't know the answer to. Yet.

    Just because they are very bright doesn't make children automatically well behaved or naughty - they can be utterly lovely (as some of mine have been) and they can have really arrogant and entitled attitudes. Which they have is not dependent on their aptitude or intelligence, more on how their parents bring them up and model behaviour to them.

    If the child is that bright then they should be capable of some self-directed learning and should be encouraged in this direction. So yes - extra responsibility which stretches them in more ways than simply academic ones; challenging topics; more advanced work (for eg. Maths) where there is always plenty to grapple with.

    Education is not simply about grades - there's PLENTY of other stuff to learn in a classroom.
    wanet likes this.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Get him to research stuff. Work independently. He'll feel chuffed.

    Teams? He won't like that. Not if he's fairly arrogant in addition to being quite bright. That's a common combination. And I don't like to hear teachers say they'll 'bring him down a peg or two'. No point.

    Give him a project. Confer with him about his interests. Get the PARENTS to give suggestions. Talk to him.
    caffmagee and wanet like this.
  11. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    You could potentially start him on Year 7 work to prepare him for next year. The troubles you will face will be that everything you teach him will be different to every other pupil and therefore would not benefit being in your classroom with these students.
    You could possibly use him as 'support' for lower achieving pupils to prepare them for SATs in May, where then he will still be in learning environment.
  12. oHelzo

    oHelzo Occasional commenter

    Are there particular topics/ subjects this child is finding easier?

    Are there open-ended projects that he can go onto independent study with - giving a book and extra question? Or are there tasks where an extension might be a higher level of thinking? For example moving from what you observe to how it happens to why it happens to comparing/ contrasting systems or processes.

    I agree with Theo that if he can clearly explain to and support others with the task, he has truly mastered it - obviously being aware of class dynamics here. Or reading a more complex book with more complex concepts and new vocabulary. Can he come up with his own 'next steps' that he would like after completing his work eg. multiplying bigger numbers.

    By asking this question you may open his mind up to so many new possibilities, awesome :)
    caffmagee likes this.
  13. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Using this lad as a peer tutor is a really bad idea, especially in this mixed class. According to the OP @caffmagee's report he is already displaying signs of impatience in group work by telling his classmates the answers. Making him responsible for their learning as a hoop he must jump through to demonstrate his understanding, or 'mastery' as it is so casually put, will only make him resent those classmates and his lessons. Teacher's teach, student's learn and if slower students require more help then they should have the attention of a teaching assistant. Certainly, being able to say 'I use peer tutors in my classes' is groovy for a teacher but it's misery for bright children who didn't sign up to be teachers. It's like being a fast runner who is ordered to jog alongside the slowest, a real pain and there is no obligation on this lad to like it. Make things worse for him in this regard and he will act up more, I guarantee it.

    It's not this lad's fault that he's bright and has landed in a mixed year group - who in their right mind comes up with these ideas? - so do not punish him for it. This is general advice for all teachers who find themselves gifted with stand-out students, as we all must from time to time: Provide this lad with additional work to which he can attend if he has completed his whole-class exercises and at home but if he must suffer through group work then put him with his brighter peers. I recommend maths which allows him to consolidate his knowledge of the multiplication tables, also long division before working with fraction arithmetic, the big stumbling blocks for Year 7s. Use the formal methods as given in the Primary National Curriculum appendix.
    lanokia likes this.
  14. Debs_Frazer

    Debs_Frazer New commenter

    I flexischooled my 2 eldest when they were in year 6, partly because I was worried that they would be bored at school. They were both L5s at the end of Y5. I am not suggesting that this is a solution, but one of the things they did was learn to type properly, following online lessons (with games!), as this is a skill that will stand them in very good stead for the future. Would this be an option, say 1/2 hours typing every day? Could let you know the websites we used.

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