Every child matters! or does it? When the mother of one of my year 7 students told me that her daughter was struggling to come to terms with the drop in her levels since primary school….

Such an awful yet typical story that those of us who work in pastoral systems in schools are aware of on a  daily basis. Every year our children struggle and yet as this article states quite clearly the system itself adds to the pressure on children. As I always say no matter what we agree our policies to be, every time we must remember there is a child at the end of it, and we have a duty to each individual child.

# mentalhealth

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/feb/22/secret-teacher-student-stress-suffering?CMP=new_54

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Positive learning ethos

For new Pastoral leaders September is a time for change so maybe this is a good time to write about what a pastoral leader should be about.  Those who have done it for  along while it may be a time to reflect and ask whether some things that they sued to do would be a good idea to bring back.  You know your children so what is right for them?

the object of the pastoral system is to give support and guidance in various measures depending on the situation occasionally there will be a need to be objective and influence to ensure both the students and the staffs needs are met. This is what makes it tricky when staff member A comes and says child X is making my life hell…you listen and respond supportively then talk to child X. That’s if child X hasn’t already reached your door saying staff member A is a (expletive).  Again listen and respond supportively negotiate and influence better behaviour and learning. Then go back to staff member A without going into too much detail explain you have talked to child X and again negotiate a way forward without them losing self-respect or their authority but make sure that learning on their next lesson together occurs. NB know your staff and children then it is far easier to referee.

Our role is to nurture and support i.e. we must constantly strive to foster personal development through providing our students with counselling and guidance. They must always be given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own actions, to make decisions based on knowing the implications of choice. Self respect and respect for others must be key. Unacceptable action can be challenged  but not the individual or their background. As teachers we must work towards the students developing self discipline and understanding responsibility for actions. Ultimately we want students to behave responsibly because they feel it is important.

Suggestions for a referral system for challenging behaviour or under achievement in a secondary setting could be;

Tutor                 or/and                    Subject Teacher

to                                                                 to

Head of Year        or/and              Head of Department               or/and       Head of curriculum Area

to                                                                   to

School Attainment Officer / Learning Leader

to

Deputy Headteacher (Attainment or behaviour)

to

Head teacher

One of the best ways to ensure the students and staff (from a managers point of view) are all aware of the system is to be clear what the behaviour policy, attainment policy and marks scheme is.  Clarity from these adhered to by all ensures a more successful school.

Most schools have a clear marking scheme but if you are new to the job of coordinating or leading this maybe a good starting point. What makes this good is a child could have put E top effort in but got 1 for understanding making them feel their effort has been recognised. Whilst just on this subject it is also good to let parents and students know how you will be marking i.e. over a term you may mark 1/3 in-depth, 1/3 impressionistic and 1/3 self assessment.

In depth means marking to curriculum and subject/exam expectations of understanding and feeding back relevant information to help them develop their work to the next level or grade boundary.

It is also worth mixing things up a bit and also change seating so that students gain many experiences  and also develop their own learning strategies. once you are settled into school use a mix of 1/3 friendship grouping, 1/3 boy/girl seating and 1/3 teacher defined pairs (based on ability etc.)

EFFORT

PERFORMANCE

(Understanding/Knowledge/Skills)

Excellent Effort E 5 You really understand this work
Commendable effort G 4 You have a good understanding of this part of the work but with a   little more effort you will understand it better.
Satisfactory effort S 3 You seem to understand it but you need further work to understand it   better.
Unsatisfactory effort P 2 You don’t seem to have understood all of it, ask me for help.
No effort made C 1 You haven’t understood this. Please ask for help.

Strategies to support students with language learning needs.

Strategies to support students with language learning needs.

There are three types of children at our school with Additional Language Needs:

  1. New arrivals with no English
  2. Arrivals with various levels of English.  These will need to be able to catch up with their peers and once there will have the ability to communicate in both languages particularly if the first language is used as a bridge to the second particularly in relation to academic language.
  3. Students for whom English is their first language but have difficulty in language acquisition.

Here are some suggestions to help.

  1. Use a language mentor someone who has a good model of language themselves.  If EAL learners they can also be encouraged if of a similar language to keep their 1st language alive.
  2. When planning think about the words that the learner will need to engage in the lessons, actively pre-teach these words.
  3. Remember that each word needs to be taught and applied more than once usually around 5 times before it becomes known. Increase usage of these words until they become embedded.
  4. Never teach a word by itself, if taught in context and with visual or aural aids these will help remembrance and contextual use.
  5. Academic words used frequently in Exams need to be actively taught. EMASUK has a GCSE book that:
    1. Contextualises the words
    2. Gives examples of the words in exam settings
    3. Gives real exam sentences to practice
    4. Use prior knowledge and learning when introducing new ideas. One way to do this is via mind mapping or by video capturing a conversation where the children answer questions that draw out their knowledge. (NB the teacher needs to give the questions as a starting point). Specifically for EAL children you can use Two can Talk where the mentor or buddy can ask questions in English, have it translated into their peers language. The peer then answers via the keyboard in their first language and it speaks aloud in English. This can be captured via the PDF icon so that as a teacher you have a record of their discussion.
    5. Learn how to say the learners name properly.
    6. If you cannot understand them then ask them to repeat it, if necessarily ask in a different way.
    7. Make sentences short and clear. Sentences with too many parts of it will confuse, some students will not know which part to complete.
    8. Allow the student time to answer and don’t show impatience of yourself.
    9. Repeat/ Recast  the answer so that the children can hear the correct pronunciation or sentence structure.
    10. Use a variety of activities to engage the learner including visual and hands on activities to support the oral instruction.
    11. Use scaffolding to develop their language further.
    12. Change plenaries to a variety of feedback sessions not just Question and Answer sessions and recast where necessary.
    13. Allow extra time if necessary

Preparing my child for secondary education

For all of you who are parents of children moving ‘big school’.

kipmcgrathashford

Preparing my child for secondary education.

This is a most fabulous blog from Clare and Martin Rimmer of Kip McGrath Lisburn about the process of transferring to Secondary School.

As the father of a daughter moving to Grammar School in September it has been invaluable.

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As long as the person can speak one of our official languages that should not disqualify them, either way – Ottawa

Canada like Wales has two languages deeply engrained in the country so this is interesting that they are debating whether to become wholly bilingual.

OTTAWA — An internal Conservative party debate on bilingualism in Canada has led  the Harper government to review its options over legislation introduced by the  Opposition New Democrats that would require all Parliamentary officers and  watchdogs, such as the auditor general, to speak both of Canada’s official  languages
Read more: http://www.canada.com/life/Tories+divided+over+bilingualism+bill/6765257/story.html#ixzz1xmgYetvQ

DfE Primary Curriculum Review further details – UK

On Facebook the DfE have given some examples and are asking questions. Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk/app_425311800833194

National Curriculum Review – UK

Have you seen the Letter from Micael Gove  re the Curriculum review? He is saying that emphasis will be on English, Maths and Science with Maths expectations of pupils to be higher and knowing number bonds to 20 by year 2 and times tables to 12 by year 4. Added to this will be  more challenging content.

After that to broaden the curriculum  the following subjects will be compulsory: Art and Design, Design and Technology, Geography, History, ICT, Music and PE across all primary years. At KS2 all pupils to learn a foreign language.

Brilliant news about languages and Design Technology two subjects that really set our children up for the world of work. What do you think of this news?

See more at http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/l/secretary%20of%20state%20letter%20to%20tim%20oates%20regarding%20the%20national%20curriculum%20review%2011%20june%202012.pdf

Picture Books for Child Development

This article gives sound advice on the importance of picture books for cognitive development and has 10 top reasons why they are good from:

The illustrations of a picture book help children understand what they are reading and allow young readers to analyze the story

to

Picture books help develop story sense

and finally

Picture books are fun

We all want children to see reading and developing their literacy as fun rather than work which becomes a bore and as the children then say ‘its boring miss’.

Read the full article here:

http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2010/11/how-picture-books-play-a-role-in-a-child%E2%80%99s-development.html

The more we understand about people the less fearful we become – Maori Week

I believe that the more we understand about people and their cultures the less fearful we become. After my last blog I got really interested in the Maori week so thought I would share some Maori words with you, as well as some information about the language itself.

Māori language is a traditionally oral language. Its written form has developed over the last two centuries. Its role has become more important with the growth of Māori-medium (Māori immersion) education and the regeneration of Māori language.

A standard written form of Māori language continues to be developed.

Tohutō – Macrons

One of the key features of written Māori is the macron. A macron is a small horizontal line placed above a vowel to indicate a long vowel sound e.g. Māori, tohutō (macron), rōpū (group). It is a pronunciation aid and is particularly useful for helping learners of the language become familiar with stress, intonation and emphasis.

The macron is also a spelling convention which in some cases has the effect of changing the meaning of a word e.g.

matua = father
mātua = parents
panga = puzzle
pānga = effect
maro = apron
mārō = hard
ana = cave
anā = there
pahu = bark
pahū = explode

 

Greetings

Kia ora
Hi
Tēnā koe
Hello (to one person)
Tēnā kōrua
Hello (to two people)
Tēnā koutou
Hello (to three or more people)

Inquiring Question

Kei te pēhea koe?
How are you?

Responses

Kei te pai ahau
I’m good
Ka nui te ora
I’m great
Me koe?
And you?

Farewells

Haere rā
Goodbye (to someone leaving)
E noho rā
Goodbye (to someone staying)
Ka kite anō
See you again
Hei konā
See you later
and finally….
The term tangi or tangihanga describes a Māori approach to the process of grieving for someone who has died. Practices and protocols can differ from tribe to tribe. However, it is a common process that enables people to express their sense of loss, not only for their loved one, but for those who have passed before them.Traditionally, tangihanga were held at marae. Nowadays, tangihanga are also held at private residences and funeral parlours. Tangihanga usually take place over a number of days, beginning when the person passes away and continuing after the burial, until the rituals and ceremonies of grieving are complete.

Before the burial, it is common for the coffin to be left open so mourners can touch, kiss, hug and cry over the tūpāpaku (corpse) to express their grief.

A common belief is that the tūpāpaku should never be left alone after death, so close family members (the whānau pani) stay with the tūpāpaku throughout the tangihanga, supported by older female relatives.

People often travel long distances to attend tangihanga to show their respect for the person who has died and to offer support to the family. It is also common practice to offer a koha, usually money, to the marae or family.

If the tangihanga is at a marae, those who attend are welcomed with pōwhiri  during which speeches are made as if talking directly to the tūpāpaku. This fits with the common belief that the spirit remains with the body until the time of the burial.

If the tūpāpaku has links to a number of tribes or sub tribes, debate may arise between relatives over where the tūpāpaku is to be buried. While talks can be heated and stressful, such debate is a sign of love and respect for the tūpāpaku.

for more information this was my source of inspiration http://www.korero.maori.nz/forlearners/protocols/tangi.html

The more we understand about people the less fearful we become….Liz Foxwell

I am not Scottish but Welsh so feel very much about the preservation of the Gaelic languages hence the interest in this recent article of news about how maths can save a dying languge with the equation to prove it. Now I am not a mathematician by all means but it is very interesting reading.

Though the truism about Inuits having a hundred words for snow is an exaggeration—they have a few dozen, at most—languages really are full of charming quirks that reveal the character of a culture. Dialects of Scottish Gaelic, for instance, traditionally spoken in the Highlands and, later on, in fishing villages, have a great many very specific words for seaweed, as well as names for each of the components of a rabbit snare and a word for an egg that emerges from a hen sans shell.

Unfortunately for those who find these details fascinating, languages are going extinct at an incredible clip—one dies every 14 days—and linguists are rushing around with tape recorders and word lists trying to record at least a fragment of each before they go. As mathematician Anne Kandler of the Santa Fe Institute notes, the only way the old tongues will stick around is if populations themselves decide that there is something of value in them, whether for reasons of patriotism, cultural heritage, or just to lure in some language-curious tourists.

Say you’ve decided your language is worth keeping. Now how do you go about it?

This is an area where mathematicians can help linguists out. Several years ago, Kandler and her colleagues decided to make a mathematical model of the speakers of an endangered language, to provide a kind of test environment for programs that encourage the learning of local languages. They chose Scottish Gaelic as a good test case, because there are more than 100 years of data on the number of speakers and their demographics. The language has had its ups and downs, most notably repeated attempts by English authorities to extinguish it after the Battle of Culloden and the Highland Clearances. But in the last decade especially, there has been a movement to boost the numbers of Gaelic speakers, with Gaelic radio programs and Gaelic weather reports—even Gaelic playgroups for kids.

 

Read the rest at: http://discovermagazine.com/2012/jun/31-how-math-can-help-save-a-dying-language or read it below.

Kandler’s model: These partial differential equations each correspond
to a group of speakers: English, Gaelic, and bilinguals. The variables stand
for aspects of the social situation; c12 and c32, for instance,
are the likelihood that bilingual speakers will become monolingual.
Kandler et al.

The model the mathematicians built blends together numbers from all aspects of Scottish life to sketch a picture of Gaelic’s progress. Some of the numbers are obvious—you must know how many people in the population you’re working with speak just Gaelic, how many speak just English, and how many are bilingual, as well as the rate of loss of Gaelic speakers. But also in the model are numbers that stand for the prestige of each language—the cultural value people place on speaking it—and numbers that describe a language’s economic value.

Kandler’s model: These partial differential equations each correspond to a group of speakers: English, Gaelic, and bilinguals. The variables stand for aspects of the social situation; c12 and c32, for instance, are the likelihood that bilingual speakers will become monolingual.
Kandler et al.

Put them all together into a system of equations that describe the growth of the three different groups—English speakers, Gaelic speakers, and bilinguals—and you can calculate what inputs are required for a stable bilingual population to emerge. In 2010, Kandler found that using the most current numbers, a total of 860 English speakers will have to learn Gaelic each year for the number of speakers to stay the same. To her, this sounded like a lot, but the national Gaelic Development Agency was pleased: it’s about the number of bilingual speakers they were already aiming to produce through classes and programs, a spokesman told The Scotsman when Kandler’s study came out. And if more parents who speak Gaelic start passing it on to their kids, lifting the number of native Gaelic speakers, the number of new bilinguals needed could fall by half.

A new census documenting Scottish Gaelic speakers was completed in 2011. The numbers are being analyzed right now, and Kandler’s waiting on tenterhooks to see what they show.

Kandler’s model is unique to Scottish Gaelic: Quechua, Chinook, Istrian Vlashki, and so on will each need their own, taking into account their unique cultural situations. For instance, the languages of the Pueblo tribes around Santa Fe are spoken by so few people—just a few hundred at most—that by many linguists’ estimates they should have gone extinct long ago. Yet they persist. It would be fascinating to know, through further work like Kandler’s, what factors have kept such languages alive, and whether their lessons can be applied to other endangered tongues.