Two years of pointless tasks?

19th May 2006 at 01:00
I was disappointed, but not surprised to read Gill Moore's Backchat article "Form-filling is a core skill", FE Focus, March 17. Ms Moore is a regular and effective writer with a lot of experience in the literacy field.

However, the question has to be asked, is it really in the best interests of her student "Pat" that she has spent the past few years learning how to write her name in order to fill in a form? Would it be better for Pat to be taught strategies such as copying, to support her on the occasions when she has to sign her name on a form. And where is formative assessment in all this?

Amusing as it might seem, Ms Moore's comment on how she fills in the Individual Learning Plan the same way each week with only the date changing demonstrates exactly what is wrong with some practice in the sector. It illustrates how some teachers are making learners "jump through hoops" pointlessly. That's partly why the inspectorate thinks the provision is so weak.

Person-centred ILPs, when used effectively, can be an excellent tool for recording progress, achievement and success for learners.

Ms Moore is right in her thinking: Pat has an entitlement to join an appropriate class but two hours a week of the core curriculum is perhaps not the best way to improve Pat's Skills for Life. And why is only the core curriculum mentioned? Would the pre-entry level curriculum framework not support Ms Moore more effectively?

Viv Berkeley

Development officer

National Institute of Adult Continuing Education

20 Princess Road West


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