Happiness on the timetable

14th September 2007 at 01:00
Oh no, not another framework but this one allows the best of past practice and the freedom to develop new. Kay Hiatt and Peter Clarke report

Does something stick in your mind better if you enjoyed yourself when you were learning? The answer seems rather a forgone conclusion, which is presumably why the Government has based an education policy on it.

The renewed Primary Framework for literacy and maths comes into force this month. It is a response to Excellence and enjoyment: A strategy for primary schools, published by the Government in 2003, which concludes that children learn better when they are happy.

Hard to disagree, but putting this into practice places obvious expectations on teachers. Schools are driven by the need to keep up their Sats results and many have felt the need to teach to the tests. Teachers are now expected to teach to the needs of individual pupils, instead of ploughing through the curriculum.

The good news is that you don't have to abandon the good practice that has been developed since the start of the literacy and numeracy strategies eight years ago.

Now teachers have the freedom to develop their strategies and are encouraged to adopt, adapt and innovate. They will be able to decide in which order to cover objectives and how much time to spend on them. They are also encouraged to use objectives from other years if these are more suitable.

Assessment is more important than ever before and is central to the whole framework. Assessment can take different forms: use group discussions, paired activities, problem solving or previously learned knowledge in new contexts.

The renewed Primary Framework is a much slimmer curriculum with many elements correlating closely with the original framework. So keep the best parts of current practice. Flexibility is the key.

On the literacy side, there are some significant changes. There is an emphasis on phonics as the key means by which children learn to read and spell. Classroom activities need to focus much more on speaking and listening. And drama is now integral to teaching activities

Kay Hiatt is series editor of Collins Primary Literacy. Peter Clarke is the series editor for Collins New Primary Maths. Collins Education is publishing new resources for literacy and numeracy to support the changes

A step by step guide

Use active strategies to engage children puzzles, problem-solving, games.

Make good use of interactive whiteboards, not just as a presentation tool, but also to make lessons much more participatory.

Choose books by popular authors such as Roald Dahl and former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo, but also add in interviews, broadcasts and performances.

Planning is essential. Make sure you get to grips with the framework objectives and the unit plans. Work with colleagues and teams and share your ideas, so there is consistency across the whole school.

See what works well in other classes and look for cross-curriculum links.

Make the classroom a livelier place. Have a wall for "work in progress". Select and display materials that will provoke thought and discussion and encourage children to become more curious.

Online materials to help implement the Renewed Framework can be found at www.standards.dcsf.gov.ukprimaryframeworks

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