Getting back on track: New guidance

17th August 2007 at 01:00
The Getting Back on Track report on pupils progressing slowly found:

IN ENGLISH

The pupils were easily distracted and often disorganised, did not regard themselves as readers, saw punctuation as a chore, and were embarrassed about mistakes or asking for help in front of their peers. They enjoyed set texts but saw their personal reading as different, not realising that magazines, newspapers and light-weight books constituted reading too.

Suggested solutions include: Giving pupils opportunities to discuss their reading habits; an awareness that all reading counts, with advice on books they might find interesting; de-mystify punctuation through "interactive strategies" such as using sound effects for punctuation marks.

IN MATHS

The pupils often worked on their own, wanted to do well and disliked distractions. They lacked confidence in recalling mathematical vocabulary. They said lessons often involved working from textbooks or the board and many struggled to remember what previous work was about. In more than two thirds of schools there was little teaching of maths through games, puzzles and ICT. They liked working in groups but rarely got the chance.

Suggested solutions include: More paired working to find different ways to reach an answer; giving pupils time to talk about links in related mathematical areas; a greater variety of activities in lessons.

IN SCIENCE

They liked working in groups, were often quiet and lacking in confidence. They were better at understanding a question when it was read out, would often skip reading a lengthy preamble in test questions and struggled to remember correct scientific terms. Practical work was the most interesting part of their lessons, but they felt there was not enough of it. Copying from textbooks or the board was a regular feature of lessons in 60 per cent of schools.

Suggested solutions include:

Opportunities to build on primary school independent learning through investigation and to demonstrate their skills and understanding to their peers; frequent opportunities to put forward their ideas in small groups, with an encouragement to discuss the work of their peers.

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