1st April 2016 at 00:00

What a child’s scribbles mean

To the untrained eye, they may appear simply to be random scribbles on a page. But for early years children, even their most abstract drawings tell a clear and obvious story.

Elizabeth Coates and Andrew Coates, of the University of Warwick, examined whether young children’s earliest drawings were made purely for the physical satisfaction of making marks on paper or whether there were deeper meanings that were not apparent to adults. They found that often children’s scribbles had a clear narrative. Interpretation can therefore help to make sense of young children’s learning processes.

The benefits of a teaching alliance

School leaders who have set up an alliance with a teaching school need to make sure that the professional development activities on offer meet staff needs, a new paper recommends.

Teaching-school alliances aim to help individual schools to improve, by grouping them with a formally designated teaching school. To examine how effective such alliances are, Simon Dowling, of the University of Cambridge, is conducting a longitudinal study. He recommends that leaders make teachers aware of the activities offered by the alliance, and ensure that these go beyond existing professional development opportunities.

Discipline ‘delivers results’

Pupils at schools with tight discipline achieve better academic results than those whose schools have poor discipline, a large study has found.

Dewey Cornell, Kathan Shukla and Timothy Konold, from the University of Virginia, surveyed more than 87,000 US pupils aged 12 to 15.

They found that pupils who attended schools with strong discipline were more engaged with learning. Those pupils whose schools also offered clear support structures tended to achieve better academic results and to have higher educational aspirations.


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