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A hit with pupils and teachers

The call for more research on critical skills was almost immediately answered at the conference with news of a study on the programme in Jersey.

Its conclusions, presented by Ted Wragg, emeritus professor of education at Exeter University, were that the programme "empowers rather than inhibits teachers, enhances pupils' learning and is appropriate for its purpose of preparing children for adult life in the 21st century".

Only 10 per cent of 744 primary and secondary pupils who completed questionnaires said they did not like critical skills lessons. The most popular aspects were working in teams, doing challenges, having a quality audience and giving a presentation.

Least liked were brainstorming, getting feedback and debriefing - but these were only unpopular with about 20 per cent of the children.

Of 127 primary and secondary teachers who took part in the survey, 85 per cent said they had changed their teaching as a result of using critical skills approaches. This is "unusually high", the researchers state.

Teachers average 1,000 or so pupil exchanges in a single day - or 200,000 in a year.

There was no sign that early enthusiasm faded and, indeed, it was teacher eagerness that persuaded others to sign up.

What it involves

* problem-solving

* decision-making

* critical thinking

* creative thinking

* communication

* organisation

* management

* leadership

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