Developmentalism vs mastery & ethos in the Early Years

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Developmentalism vs mastery & ethos in the Early Years

Post by debbie »

I regard this issue of teachers' mindset as very significant for the teaching of reading and writing. Heather Fern has an excellent blog and often reflects on the early years and the science about reading research - she is well worth knowing about.

See this piece published in Schoolsweek:

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/developmentali ... -the-wall/
Developmentalism vs mastery: Should teachers be flinging mud at the wall?

There are two teaching mindsets. First, there are those teachers that expose children to the curriculum and assume they will learn it when they are capable. They might suggest a child is not developmentally ready to learn letter sounds; that their family circumstances explain their struggle to understand osmosis; they were congenitally incapable of remembering how to conjugate the verb ‘avoir’; or they are just not bright enough to appreciate the causes of World War One.
With a “mastery mindset� the teacher asks questions such as:

• What prior knowledge is necessary to understand this new idea?

• Are there smaller steps I can use to build towards this new learning?

• How can I make my explanation clearer?

• Did the students get enough exposure/repetition/practice/testing to ensure they will remember what they have learnt in the long term?

A teacher has countless pressures and constraints that may mean they are unable to provide each child with the necessary knowledge, explanation and practice. However, what is the use of a mindset that focuses on the reasons children can’t learn? I’ve found that when I start asking the questions above, invariably children can learn far more than I previously assumed.

Heather Fearn is education blogger at Esse Quam Videri
Do read the full piece - it is not long but it's important.
Last edited by debbie on Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by debbie »

Quirky Teacher writes again on early years provision - and I've left a comment.

I have to say that I have very grave concerns about developments and their potential fit-for-purposeness (or not) in the early years:


https://thequirkyteacher.wordpress.com/ ... mment-3595
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Post by debbie »

Another challenging posting by Quirky Teacher about the Early Years Foundation Stage ethos in England:

https://thequirkyteacher.wordpress.com/ ... p-in-life/
How to reduce a disadvantaged child’s chances of a leg up in life

This post is also about EYFS reception year and this affects everyone in education. It’s all too easy to dismiss the start of school life for children as some kind of settling in period, perhaps a time to make friends and play while learning the basics needed to access year 1. Even Ofsted inspectors tend not to have experience of the EYFS stage and politicians decline to comment because that stage of school life and what goes on seems too other-worldly. Nobody wants to challenge the accepted dogma because it is so easy to accuse naysayers of being uncaring, cruel even. However, what goes on in the reception year sets the course for that child’s education pretty much forever. Take heed.
I think Quirky Teacher's questions are extremely important - and no more so in settings with large numbers of pre-schoolers - particularly in areas where children tend not to have developed strong language skills in their home for one reason or another.

It is very worrying that, in Scotland, literacy specialist Sue Palmer is promoting an initiative which is calling for a play-based ethos until children are seven - as in Wales. And yet the literacy standards in both Scotland and Wales are declining.

Anne Glennie, committee member of the International Foundation for Effective Reading Instruction has raised her worries about this through various routes - her blog, her training provision and by wider contact with educationalists and politicians in Scotland. Not only is she worried by some leading academics in Scotland undermining the promotion of systematic synthetic phonics (despite the findings of the Clackmannanshire research - Johnston and Watson - which influenced Sir Jim Rose's findings in 2006 and subsequently the national adoption of SSP in England), she now has to worry about the 'Upstart' campaign.
Why Upstart is a non-starter
http://www.thelearningzoo.co.uk/2016/09 ... onstarter/
Upstart Scotland is actively campaigning to introduce a Nordic-style kindergarten system between the ages of three and seven, with learning being undertaken through ‘creative play’ rather than ‘formal’ learning. As a campaign that sits outwith Scottish education, I was shocked to see very full and positive coverage in the current issue of Teaching Scotland magazine. You can read the 'In Depth' feature here: Serious side of having fun (from page 20)
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