We’re going to start to pull all our thoughts together on this issue and come to some sort of conclusion.
We’ve discussed the variety of problems that children can present at school that reflect their personal circumstances in life outside and we’ve also made the “obvious” statement that some individuals are just not academic!
So going back to our original title…..”Its not all about the academic!” – how are we now looking at this?
Quite obviously (well at least to me) there are many just as important skills, social, practical and functional that are equally as important as the academic skills we teach in school.
However – do we actually teach these skills?
There are minor attempts to teach things like this within the PSHE syllabus, however as we all know, its a bit of a mixed up curriculum which is largely an irrelevant mess and I think in all practicality is often skipped when curriculum time is tight! There may also be mention made in R.E however that has become overloaded as we “appreciate all faiths!” so not much there also!
No, the main way these sorts of skills and interactions are taught is by YOU ….in your classroom organisation and management. That’s why it is so important to be organised (as I keep banging on about !)
Here’s a few of the main points that you should be considering which have a great effect….
- Firm but fair (and predictable) behaviour management plan
- High standards of expectation in all things….however do recognise “improving standards” for children and praise and encourage this
- Seating arrangement and group mix
- To create yourself as a an approachable and trusted person.
- To be the “head ” of your own class…i.e you’re the boss
Always keep in mind that ALL children should achieve success at whatever level and in whatever area of activity.
These are the key points that you are looking to teach and encourage in children
- Confidence – in themselves and in what they do ….even in new challenges
- To be able to deal with failure and not give up
- To be friendly and outgoing to others
- To be able to work with others and in a group
- To accept authority and rules
- To trust other people including adults
- To feel confident enough to confide in trusted adults
- To be honest, truthful and responsible
- To care for others and be able to empathise with the situations of others.
When you look at that list it seems a tall order…..and there are many children where hardly any will initially apply.
However within your classroom structure, day to day operation and with your personal example demonstrated at all times – you will find that gradually the children in your class will start to approach and achieve some if not all of the above aims.
What we are trying to do is to encourage children to be at ease with themselves and the world around them. We create an environment that not only encourages these vital aspects within a child’s personality but also recognises their importance in contributing towards academic learning achievement.
The principle aim of education is to prepare children for the outside world.
We should aspire to teach the children in our care to be well rounded, responsible and caring individuals. In my opinion this is just as important as any academic progress that we can measure. It is an interesting fact that without progress in this side of a child’s education then academic progress will either be slow or even non existent.
For ALL children this developmental progress is vital in their lives – YES, the academic progress is important and we recognise that we are trying to enable children to achieve to the best of their ability. However academic progress is subject to academic ability – whereas developmental progress is vital for all children!
In the current drive for ever increasing academia in Primary schools are we perhaps missing out on the basic foundations so vital in a child’s development?