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.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now