On the CASE

15th November 2013 at 00:00

Daniel Goleman is right that children's ability to focus their attention is a good predictor of future success and that this skill can be developed by teaching ("Boost attention span to ensure lifelong success", 8 November). But he is mistaken to suggest that this needs separate lessons.

There is good evidence that cognitive focus can be developed very effectively in subject lessons designed for this purpose. The Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) programme developed in the 1980s has proved this in more than 20 international studies. Longer-term studies using the cognitive acceleration programmes in science and maths repeatedly show attainment increasing over prediction by more than a GCSE grade. The new programme in English is having the same effect.

By coincidence, these cognitive acceleration programmes are based on concepts developed by Lev Vygotsky - the social construction of understanding and the zone of proximal development - about which Mary Bousted writes in the same issue of TES ("The great defender of the freedom to learn", Comment, 8 November).

Laurie Smith, Research associate, department of education and professional studies, King's College London.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today