Daniel (Year 1 Teacher)
Here are my thoughts and opinions on some of the key points from the discussion that really caught my attention.
Children’s memories are more tuned to remembering how they ‘felt’ at a certain time in their childhood than the actual facts. In other words, they need to feel happy to remember.
With the new OFSTED framework, we have been questioning children more about what they know and remember. It is no coincidence that when discussing topics or learning, the children always bring up the school trip or the wow/ hook lesson. The lesson that sparked the interest and passion. This certainly relates to how the child felt at the particular moment. Then, we as educators thrive/ build off this and provide them with the new knowledge or learning and hopefully leave them feeling that they want to go and learn and explore that subject a little more independently. Now, linking this to home learning. We can only hope as the teacher or educator that we have provided a platform for the child to learn and that the child is feeling happy and creating memories with their family and in turn will be able to remember.
There is a danger that some parents and carers will feel under immense pressure to ‘educate’ their child in the fear that if they can’t or don’t, their child will either forget what they have already learnt or they will learn nothing of use at home.
I cannot begin to imagine how difficult this unprecedented period in time has been on parents. Many teachers and educators went to university knowing that they wanted to teach and have a few years of professional training in order to be able to teach children. Parents have now taken on the role of the teacher, whilst being a parent, whilst working from home, whilst ensuring their family is safe from the virus and healthy. Therefore, I agree they must be under immense pressure and I can only imagine that parent WhatsApp groups and social media are heightening this too.
However, the quote ‘their child will either forget what they have already learnt’ got me thinking, especially when later in the discussion it said that ‘when good teaching has taken place, a child has enough knowledge or ‘anchor points’ to be able to attach new meaning.’ We have currently been setting work on Purple Mash and PowerPoint that the children have already been taught in school. I hope that as educators we have created that anchor point which will allow the children to discuss with their parents what they already know, the strategies they have been taught and as a result the child will be able to complete their home learning task with more independence, only needing a certain amount of scaffold and support from their parents. Also, in the discussion it states ‘Is it possible that our children now have the chance to return to something they were previously interested in, that got moved on due to the constraints of the curriculum?’. Again Purple Mash is allowing us to revisit learning that we all loved sharing together which will hopefully make the child want to explore that subject again and be more willing to want to complete their home learning challenges.
Relating back to the quote ‘a child has enough knowledge or ‘anchor points’ to be able to attach new meaning’ when we start to set new learning, as we go further into the lockdown, children and parents will hopefully be able to work more collaboratively and be able to say ‘This is like the learning you did…. When ….’. As educators, we can also use the small steps of learning approach, allowing the child and the parent to discuss what they already know and then add a little bit new.
Memory experts are aware that parents who talk to their children a lot play an important role in the number of memories children can form and retain & Their education is not being lost, it is still inside their brains and will with gentle parent-child interactions stay intact and safe until they need to recall it.
As a Year 1 practitioner, I think I see this most with early reading. I have found that the more the parent and child read together, practise their phonics and make time to listen to read, the more the child has a love and passion for reading and writing.
As I said earlier, we are setting work on Purple Mash and through PowerPoint. We can only hope that the children have some form of support from their parents when completing the tasks set. And we can only hope that it is being completed in an environment that is relaxed, supportive and most of all an environment where the children feel happy and confident to learn.
Abigail (Year 3 Teacher)
In relation to this article, just this week, I have introduced a new short story via a video clip from Pixar. The children are using skills previously taught about planning and re-telling the story using grammar techniques that we have already learnt about. They are clearly applying previously learnt skills but in a different concept. Perfect.
Responses part one and three can be found here: