I was reading this article this morning, anyone to have peeked through my window would have been amused by the variable nods and furious shaking that nearly caused my head to shake right off and role out the door.
The 5 years olds in my class are certainly not being ‘spoon fed’! what more they most definitely aren’t forced to sit at desks ‘learning’ for the majority of the day. And what a surprise, I have an objective lead classroom which apparently makes it difficult for the children to learn through play and free choice. The thought that that is going on in enough classrooms to warrant a guardian article about it makes me sick.
THESE CHILDREN ARE 5! Many are still developing the skills required to work never mind sit at a desk all day. Yes there are times for sitting at desks and working, even for the little ones.
In fact each of my lessons begins with a short teacher input- (usually in the form of a game or cartoon to watch by the way) followed by compulsory guided group work with two groups that we rotate. The rest of the children in the class get to do what we call ‘choosing’. There are many different areas in the classroom that the children can choose from; some will have activities linked to the learning objective, some won’t- I’m not one for tenuous links after all.
And yes you will get the children who will always choose the writing area to work independently, you have those who will run for the maths ‘playstation’ to choose a maths game to play. You even have those who will without fail go to the sand, roleplay, soft play or construction. But more often that not they are choosing to do an activity that reinforces the learning objective and guess what- They are having FUN and PLAYING.
Yes this may take up a lot of my free time, ensuring there are fun games and activities for the children to choose from that match the learning objective. But that’s my job, I went into teaching knowing full well that it wasn’t going to be a standard 9-6 working day. Yes I spend a lot of time preparing and planning but by being organised I still manage to have a healthy social life.
And yes we all hate Michael Gove and some of his ridiculous educational reforms- however from reading the draft of the primary curriculum for year 1, there aren’t many issues I have with it (apart from the mention of multiplication and division- I certainly won’t be using that terminology and some of the famous figures he deems suitable for 5 year olds). I certainly won’t need to ‘spoon feed’ the pupils in my class to meet those objectives and yes, we will still be learning through play. So if an NQT can do it, there are NO excuses!