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SATS booster classes - diabolical liberty

Discussion in 'Primary' started by minnieminx, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    The point about sport and drama is that if you get pupils working hard representing the school, then they will work hard in class. Obviously some great stuff goes on and I'm not knocking that - but in a class of 30+ does every pupil get to play sport? Because it is those pupils who don't get picked for tournaments, those who lack motivation in the odd PE lesson they get, that are the ones who are they key L4 pupils.
  2. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    In the olden days pupils left KS1 being able to do vertical addition and subtraction. Then they learnt times tables, short multiplication, long mulitplication and short division. Throw in some fractions before Y4 (J2) along with some worded problems. By the time they were at Y5 (J3) many would already be what is now called L5.
    Neat working out is key to learning - that is what pupils don't do enough of these days because the teacher has printed a worksheet with a WALT and WILF on it. Because after all it is unfair to the slow writers to ask them to write a WALT and WILF so a worksheet is needed, along with a self assessment check box at the end.

  3. How far back are you going?!
    I am constantly going on about the fact that we expect children in KS2 to do stuff thet I was never expected to do at primary school - in particular, probability, algebra and the more advanced fraction work, were things I was introduced to at secondary that I now teach in Year 5.. Certainly, we teach times tables far more thoroughly than I was taught them at primary school - I knew very few of mine when I was 11. I left primary able to do vertical addition, but had extremely poor mental maths and spent a great deal of my secondary education 'catching up'. I was one of those children who used 'Alpha' and 'Beta' textbooks - just like you describe. I managed to learn very little from them, and this was either ignored or not noticed by several teachers who were fond of 'just letting us get on with it'.
  4. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    That's a pretty good description of what's going on in my school.[​IMG]
    I hope that my school is in a minority, and most children got to primaries that are more like yours or CarrieV's. The year 6's in my school have been pretty much cramming since Christmas. We're due Ofsted this year and the SMT are panicking, because our SATs results have been in decline over the last few years.
    I really hope that once Ofsted are over they start relaxing. I don't know what I'll do once Cariadlet (who goes to my school) gets to year 6, if things are still like they are now. I certainly don't want her to have a final year in primary school like the current year 6s are getting.
  5. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    *whispers* the school I'm currently working in is very Sats focused too. The timetable seems to be arranged for the teaching of maths and English only. I've not been there long, so I can't comment on the whole school year, to be fair, but what I've seen so far is making me keep my eyes very peeled for another job.
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Can I ask would you have given up 5 mornings of your holidays if you hadn't been paid?
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    He isn't going back in any accurate history. He tend to just spout on about how terrible primary schools are and how fabulous it was in the good old days. He doesn't actually teach in a primary school, nor indeed in a state school. Just daily mail type opinions.
    Absolutely! I teach stuff to year 2 (was infants when I was little) that I never even thought about until towards the end of junior school and I was extremely good at maths.

    And I loved working for hours out of text books in secondary school. Learned nothing at all, wasn't challenged in the slightest. But I had pages and pages of lovely sums with little red ticks from my teacher. I prefer teaching children, seeing them progress and knowing they are learning. But it does mean they don't have beautiful textbooks full of pointless work.
  8. taddy

    taddy New commenter

    Oh no - children playing out?! What will happen to the little lovies if we dont structure every single second of their childhood with 'improving' moments? Competitive sport, art classes, drama club...the list goes on. These are brilliant but all children (and adults) need time to just be - no objective, no outcome - just be.We need to give our chidlren the opportunity to be bored and to find out how to deal with it. It is a vital life skill to be able to enjoy your own company, find your own amusement or to just chill and do nothing. This is how humans deal with stress.
  9. Assuming that the aim of the holiday schools is to improve progress and ultimately attainment, surely effective schools manage to do this in the given term times already. I appreciate that children are not robots and do not make the expected progress always for a variety of reasons but extra classes in holiday time seem a bit desperate. The SATs are a measure of progress over the entire Key Stage so, if progress is an issue at this stage, schools should be looking to find the reason for that, not adding pressure to staff and children at this late stage.
  10. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    Wrong again!

    How far back am I going? Probably 20-25 years ago.
    Text book work is vital. Children would do the same question many times. But when it came to tests children would then recognise the question being asked, and know exactly how many lines of 'working out' was needed.
    We feel this need to constantly sit down to the children and guide them through the questions. Teachers talk too much, children get bored and don't learn anything. High flyers whizz through the work, low ability pupils do 3 sums and then get praise for actually doing something. The work attitude / ethic has gone - text books were great as if you were on book 2 and your mate was on book 3, then you worked harder to catch up with them. Just let them get on with it. If they get it wrong, send them away until they get it right.
  11. I was at primary school between 1980 and 1986, so fall into the timeframe you mention.
    It was definitely a poorer teaching and learning experience than my children receive now.
    Textbook work did nothing to help me learn at all. Nor did having teachers who thought that all you need to do to get kids 'learning', was given them a book and let them work through the questions.
    Nothing you describe as happening in classrooms now bears any relation to what goes on in my own classroom either.
  12. gogojonny

    gogojonny New commenter

    Now this comment will actually tie in with the orginal topic....
    Children suffer today as they don't do enough thinking by themselves. They are told exactly what to do, how to do it, what the objectives are etc. Even if they still can't do it, there is normally a 'self help work card' on the table to refer to.
    These text books promoted self thinking - the beauty of them was that there was no real objective to the lesson. The fast kids would be on book 5 doing algebra, yet the weaker kids would be on book 1 doing vertical addition. The lesson was tailored to the child - and the teacher woul offer help but encourage self thinking first.
    Now these days self thinking does not occur. Kids call for help after looking at something for 5 secs - help from teacher, teaching assistant, mate next to them. Particularly in Maths there is a certain level of attainment needed before certain topics should be attempted. What is the point of teaching about angles if they can't add up? Why bother with probability until they know what a fraction is?
    Anyway back to the point. These children on the 'Easter booster camps', those who are L4 borders, are the ones who cannot think for themselves. They lack this skill - it is not a Maths problem, it is a general school problem for them. The only hope is to get them into the classroom and teach them to the test, in the hope that one practice question they do will come up in the actual test and they will remember how to do it. This is not teaching self thinking, this is teaching to the test.. These L4 borders will continue to struggle, even if they get L4, because no-one has taught them to think things through for themselves.
    Point made.

  13. And a good point at that.
    And to all those of you who had a 'poor experience' in maths, are you now teaching maths? Can't have been that bad then. Or did you have to learn later from a textbook?
  14. At secondary school, I remember using textbooks only very infrequently. I didn't 'learn form a textbook' - I learned maths from fantastic teachers at my secondary school! I am not saying that textbooks shouldn't be used (schools have them now you know!) but rather am questioning the idea that children will learn by just 'getting on with it'. A child won't learn anything if they don't get the help they need to understand in the first place.
    In no way do I promote the idea of children not spending time problem solving or using and applying their knowledge. This is actually a massive part of what we do in every maths lesson. I know my colleagues spend a huge amount of time fostering timetables and other mental maths skills. Sure, things aren't perfect - the crammed curriculum for one - but they are a damn sight better than the education received by many children during the 'rose tinted' era you seem to remember - but I definitely don't!
  15. Not 'rose-tinted', just the best days of my life [​IMG]
  16. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    If this is your experience of teaching, then it saddens me that any such schools exist. It certainly hasn't been my experience in any school I've taught in.
    You cannot possibly know that. you have no idea what level of children are attending, nor why they are at that level.
    Again I'm saddened by your defeatist attitude and negativity. It is such a shame that any child has the misfortune to meet teachers who really believe this.
  17. manc

    manc New commenter

    The only hope is to get them into the classroom and teach them to the test, in the hope that one practice question they do will come up in the actual test and they will remember how to do it.
    I think you've misinterpreted what what is being said there, minnieminx. He/she was surely making ironic reference not to what s/he personally 'believes' but to what this testing regime has led Y6 teachers into thinking. It is their paranoid scrabbling for children to get over the level boundaries which causes this consciousness. It is not negativity to point it out. It is negativity which defends it, promotes us and labels children as it.
    Negativity is thinking of children as levels and not as children with individual needs.
  18. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    But no year 6 teacher I have been, have worked with, know of does think that or do that. So the opinion must belong to the poster.
  19. A rather 'meaty' debate started there,Manc! [​IMG]
    I think 'booster' and 'revision' lessons take place as a result of panic- whether from SM or the class teacher...
    Children need to be familiar with the layout, style of questions and timings for the tests as this is only fair. The maths tests shouldn't include any 'alien' topics or vocabulary if teaching has been solid throughout KS1 and KS2- although from time to time, the odd question will appear that is just that...odd!
    Writing in a range of styles/genres should take place in the majority of English lessons (and indeed across the curriculum) and therefore most 'average' children should be ready for and confident about the writing tasks.
    The reading papers are a straightforward comprehension and I don't think any 'boosting' now will make any difference to levels...the children will do their best and shouldn't feel stressed about any of it- they're a snapshot of seven years worth of primary education and teacher assessment stands for so much more.
    I really feel for the teachers and pupils who are under ridiculous pressure- I love teaching year six and we will be doing art, science experiments, geography, music, drama, PE etc etc in the run-up to SATs week- as we have been since September!
  20. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Like I said you have no idea of their levels. Those who attended were from level 2-5.
    No it isn't.
    A fair number of mine will have been sitting at home with x-boxes, watching tv, fighting with siblings, going to the local park if lucky, a week in Wales if very lucky.

    Many others will have been at organised classes like the ones I mentioned earlier.

    Alternatively let them have fun with a calculator!

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