I started my twice weekly visits to schools today with a visit to Wallyford Primary School.
I can honestly say I have rarely seen such levels of personal motivation in an entire class of individuals. Many of them were trying to improve the level at which they were working so that they could challenge their teacher Paula Hart – I’m just glad they didn’t ask to challenge me!!
The point which intrigued me was that here were children who, if asked to engage in rote learning – such as I experienced as a pupil – would most probably switch off lose interest. Yet in this format – with appropriate levels of challenge, immediate feedback and no shame if they made a mistake – they were content to work on beyond what you might think would be their normal levels of concentration.
The point about practice only being worthwhile if it’s accurate practice came back to me as I observed the children. There is a tendency sometimes in education to set a task for children and as long as they are engaged for us to play down the importance of the outcome. Yet here – using the DS – there was no way that sloppy or careless work would be accepted.
Speaking to the kids there was no doubt that they loved this form of learning and I would certainly support any school who sought to use such a learning strategy as part of their balanced approach to teaching and the setting of high expectations and standards.