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Yr7 - 4 pieces of work!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by angiebabe, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    I don't want my Secondary colleagues to think I am encroaching on their territory but a parent has asked me to find out the answer this this question.
    As a primary teacher I am tutoring a Y6 and Yr3 pupil from the same family. Last year I tutored their sister who is now in Yr7. I am obviously still interested in her progress and was chatting to her last week. She told me she has only had 4 pieces of English work to complete since September. Now I know this could be a bit of an exaggeration but her mum is a bit concerned, as I am because it is by far her weakest subject.
    Your thoughts - is this usual?
     
  2. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    I don't want my Secondary colleagues to think I am encroaching on their territory but a parent has asked me to find out the answer this this question.
    As a primary teacher I am tutoring a Y6 and Yr3 pupil from the same family. Last year I tutored their sister who is now in Yr7. I am obviously still interested in her progress and was chatting to her last week. She told me she has only had 4 pieces of English work to complete since September. Now I know this could be a bit of an exaggeration but her mum is a bit concerned, as I am because it is by far her weakest subject.
    Your thoughts - is this usual?
     
  3. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Did you not ask further questions?
    My thoughts are as follows, and this is based on my experience in a middle school where most of the teachers are primary-trained.
    It strikes me that many primary schools are under the impression that by setting a new writing task every week and then marking it in great detail, and then setting new targets constantly (which naturally the children achieve because the framework is there for it) that they are then magically improving the knowledge and understanding the children have in written language.
    My perception is also that when those children arrive in Year 7 they are under the impression that all writing tasks can be completed within 40 minutes, and that any effort to re-draft, improve or edit work is an amusing by pointless sideshow.
    If, at your friend's secondary school, they focus more on teaching of detailed skilled and understanding, which leads up to more thorough extended pieces of writing, then it would be perfectly possible for there only to be a few of these extended pieces each term. I would really expect 4 as a minimum over a term, but I wouldn't say for certain without seeing what has been done.
    It's also quite likely that the secondary school is teaching only 3 rather than 5 hours a week of English, and that this includes the teaching of reading, rather than the new primary trend of teaching 5 hours of English - which essentially means writing, or reading for the purpose of learning to write - and then separately teaching reading in 'Guided Reading' arrangements.
    I would advise your friend to be less concerned about quantity and more about quality. If the most recent extended piece of work shows that she has made reasonable progress over time, then who cares how many bits of work she has produced in between times?
    Incidentally, this is not intended as a rant aimed at primary teachers. Merely a set of over-generalised observations.
     
  4. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    Yes I understand what you are saying. I will investigate further.
    To be honest though, in my primary we do not expect a finished piece of 'creative writing' every week. We lead into it by covering grammar and then analysis of different types of genre. We also have comprehension every week. My ex-pupil did similar in her primary and I thought it was poinant that she was the one that actually mentioned that she had only been asked to do 4 pieces on work during the Autumn term altogether. She was quite happy about this as she really does not like creative writing at all.
     
  5. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    oops sorry - poignant!
     
  6. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    It is indeed poignant, I think. Although I think that says more about her primary experience than her secondary one in some respects.
    My Year 7s tell me that they don't do as much writing in Y7 as they did in Y6. But equally I know that I buy more exercise books than any other year team. It just appears that we don't do "extended" writing pieces as frequently.
     
  7. My Year 8 class (Scottish equivalent, Y7 is still in primary school up here) have only had 3 pieces of graded work since September. (A story, a persuasive essay, a critical essay). However, they have written diary entries, completed grammar worksheets, written story openings/endings, made posters, written letters, done personal and critical reading, prepared presentations, done internet/library research research, written book reviews, made PowerPoints etc. for homework. These are still comments marked and are the building blocks of their understanding for the longer pieces but they have technically only had 3 assessed pieces to do.

    Perhaps what she means is similar to what I outline above, she has only had 4 graded/assessed pieces of work this year?
     
  8. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    Yes I will definitely investigate further - thanks for your response.
     

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