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Rant. SoWs and textbooks

Discussion in 'Personal' started by sparkleghirl, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Why oh why do teachers/HoDs/departments devise schemes of work and then buy in textooks which don't correspond?

    "Miss what page is this?"
    "This isn't in your book, it's in the Y8 book."
    "Why are we doing it then?"

    Good question.
    Why do half the chapters in the book go unused because the kids did that last year or will do it next year, whilst teacher run round photocopying resources?

    I know some of you will tell me text books are so old-fashioned but this is maths, where practice and consolidation are crucial and those examples have to come from somewhere. Why buy the bloody book? Why not adapt the SoW to fit the reources you've given the kids?
  2. foroff2233

    foroff2233 Occasional commenter

    Here's a good idea:-
    Textbook one for year 7; two for year 8 etc etc. that is why the authors wrote them. SoW are in the Teacher's Book. Then the massive investment in these resources is exploited. No need to spend time 'inventing' your own departmental schemes. My subject, like maths, is a linear one and the progression and consolidation served us well.
    On the other hand, Ofsted always lambasted us for being so boring, unimaginative. I took no notice: learning comes first,IMHO.
    bonxie, jubilee, FollyFairy and 3 others like this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Too obvious @foroff2233

    This is 2018 and the lunatics are running the asylum. You make it sound so simple. Why do we need so many managers and consultants if teachers are just going to wheel out the textbooks? Pur-LEEZE! ;):rolleyes:;)

    Give me the textbook and I can be imaginative AROUND it! Whilst ensuring I cover the syllabus and don't forget anything.
    bonxie, yodaami2, FollyFairy and 2 others like this.
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Oh the confusion. I'm teaching topic X to year 8 but it's actually in the Y7 book (multiply this by any number you want) so when I come to flick through the text books I get totally confused. "Oh that's on the SoW" I think, Then "hang on, it's not, it's on the Y7 SoW not this one".

    And even in Y11-13 where we're more constrained, the order of material in the carefully prepared textbooks is totally mashed up for the SoW.

    My life would be much less stressful if I could follow the order in the book. Even if I didn't use the book. Flamin' hell. The bright spot is at least I wasn't asked to write any of the darned SoWs.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I can't be imaginative AT ALL because I'm too busy worrying if I'm teaching the right thing to the right class.
  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I remember back when I taught history... there were these textbooks that covered everything the kids needed, had tasks tailored to the exam, revision tips etc.

    Then gradually we were encouraged away from them, using them was frowned on in observations, drop-ins and learning walks picked up on them so we went to powerpoints and handouts that recycled the material that was in the textbooks.

    It just heaped more and more work on us and increased the schools photocopying budget. Never did quite workout why it happened. Maybe someone who's been in SLT for the last decade or so can tell me?
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Yes, history.

    Let's say GCSE or 'A' level.

    WWI. Yes. Let's think about WWI. Probably quite a popular historical topic.

    I dare say there's always some new scholarship and new ideas being churned out about WWI. But it won't make school textbooks outdated or irrelevant. It may be important when you're an undergraduate to know the latest thinking on the extent of Churchill's failure in the planning and execution of the Dardanelles Campaign.

    BUT, no matter what the academics have to say on it and no matter what newly unearthed papers might suggest, the textbooks for schools will still be perfectly usable.

    I think there are very few subjects for which you can't produce a good working textbook. Schools should damned well buy them and use them. Especially if the subjects are now to be taught by cover supervisors, supply staff and non-specialists.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    In one school where I worked I made a remarkably similar comment in a departmental meeting.
    It went quiet.
    There was uncomfortable shuffling. Professional clenching.
    Looking back, the hideous zygote of capability was forged in their response from that remark and that remark alone.
    And a few days later it was intimated to me that I was actually trying to cut corners and be lazy by not rewriting wheels every evening.
    Same applied to any lesson where "more than a third of the time is based on a text book". No! Lazy!
    Same applied to using resources found on TES. No! Lazy!
    Same applied to using resources from shared drive. No! Lazy!
    Same applied to using resources which I had tried and tested in previous schools. No! Lazy!
    All this department did was work their socks off preparing resources. And if your prep time ran to less time than the actual lesson? No! Lazy!

    There is a genuine ethos in certain teaching circles of needing to reinvent. Needing to compose and align the composition into kid glove shape and small exploding noises on Power Point when the date whirls into view from bottom left corner. Outstanding!
    I came to view this department with pity because of the obvious fact of casting the sand of pure effort to a futile wind of bored kids. The obvious fact of not having a decent life. Martyrs.
    Me? Get text book based on exam spec. Make scheme of work based on contents and duration available to class.
    Divide into total number of terms. Divide into 6. There you go-two years' worth of weekly lesson pl......what's that? Ach, sorry. Lazy!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  9. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    My thinking, since doing a PGCE IN 1998/9 when using IT and making your own resources was taking off, was that much more learning would take place if a good textbook were available as the main structure for lessons.

    I taught MFL, which is (or should be) a linear subject like Maths.Instead we had to teach by topic, instead of by building language structures. Pupils ended up repeating the same basic phrases (I like, I don't like, I hate, I prefer etc) with the new, restricted, vocabulary for each topic (family, food, school, clothing ...)

    I believe that things have changed a bit since I retires, with more emphasis on grammar but it is still done within topics.
    I'd revert to the way that Iwas taught in the 1960s and early 1970s. We had textbooks that focussed on language structures and built on them. We used them creatively, adding whatever vocabulary we found ourselves in dictionaries. Our work was completely individual. Look at pupils' work today and the entire class has virtually identical work. It's all so carefully controlled that pupils have no sope for originality.

    As to teachers having to constantly re-invent the wheel with resources, it is fraught with problems.
    Teachers become worn out and less effective in the classroom.
    Without the careful proof-reading that comes with textbooks, worksheets are more prone to errors. I've been on TES resources and found multiple errors in spelling and grammar on MFL worksheets.
    Departmental budgets are being blown on photocopying when it could all be there in a textbook that can be used year after year.
    Worksheets are either glued into exercise books, thus wasting pages designed for pupils' writing, or they end up crumpled in bags or lost. The pupils rarely have enough work for useful and comprehensive revision.

    Pupils have become infantilised with so much done for them.
    Worksheets reduce the amount of writing that they have to do as they simply have to tick a box, underline a word, select a word to fill a gap or write True/False after a statement. Writing helps to reinforce learning. Spelling improves if you have to write full sentences. Words stick in the memory better if you have had to write them out yourself.
    Pupils no longer have their own textbook that they bring to each lesson and take home to help them with their homework. Able students can no longer extend themselves by looking at the next stage of learning. All pupils have to do is remember to bring their exercise book, biro, pencil and ruler to school. Organisational skills hardly need to be developped from Yr 7!
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  10. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Thinking for yourself? Heavens forfend!
    sparkleghirl likes this.
  11. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    HoD showing that his department can think for itself.
  12. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    CCEA gave its imprimatur on books that were very poor.
  13. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I hope this will help you: I've just had an email from CGP Books who publish 90% of all the books that go into school classrooms. They're using one of my poems in their books for secondary school. They are the very people to write to about this very subject and they're lovely people who would be keen to help you. You can find them easily by going to Linkedin where you can find their email address. Good luck.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    They teach MFL by topic????

    I don't know whether to laugh, cry, spit, tear out my hair, set light to the building housing the DfE or stage a sit-in at Westminster.

    Who the bleepety-bleep-bleep-bleep came up with THAT!
  15. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Not with mine.
  16. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Missing in many.
  17. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Dans le jardin.
    Dans ma chamber.
    Dans mon lit.
    L'apres midi d'un faun.
    No attempt at accents.
  18. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    One problem with using older textbooks. When I compare textbooks for RE from even as recently as 1995 (yes I know that's over 20 years ago, but the subject hasn't changed in centuries!) with one from, say 2015, the older book has far more content, far more depth, far more words (in smaller font), while the newer book has far more cartoon pictures, far more gaps on the page and a lot of really simple exercises which don't really stretch the students much. But I doubt whether many of the kids today would have the patience or focus to work with the older books effectively.
  19. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I've often wondered that....

    But is that just because we don't expose them to it?

    Ah textbooks... it's the myth of ''personalised learning'' that sank them. Takes a skilled teacher to personalise a one-size-fits-all text... and those skilled teachers have been rushing the exits of late.
    mothorchid and yodaami2 like this.
  20. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    For A Level maths, there's a set scheme we designed (back when the "old spec" was the new spec and I was a newbie head of A Level).

    These have been photocopied over the years, but it details every lesson from starter to plenary, every page reference AND I even went through the trouble of photocopying the textbook pages for every single lesson for each strand of maths and then these were given to Teachers as reference/can further be photocopied if students forgot textbook.

    The SOW formed a booklet, essentially, for students and staff (with staff having solutions). Thus, everyone had the only *one* textbook or copies of other textbooks stapled in for reference.

    Nowadays, for maths, textbooks are rotting at the back of the cupboard and students just use them when they need for learning as i've managed to memorise scenarios of questions in my head, and, ingeniously, pluck them at will - rather disturbing and sad really.

    As for the "we all hate textbooks", i really really do. I never use them when teaching in science but the students have a copy if they want to use it. The newer A Level spec ones especially the OCR chemistry endorsed ones are full of inaccuracies and errors in calculations. Argh!

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