In 2007 the wonderful NZ Curriculum was released which highlighted the importance of lifelong learners being confident and creative, connected and actively involved. At this time (prior to the implementation of National Standards) we spent considerable time researching and discussing what the progressions for self management and other capabilities/competencies might look like. Within this was the obvious understanding that all children are on a continuum, at different stages of development and competency. As teachers our role is to identify where your child is on that continuum and the next step for your child.
This term the key focus across the classes is the development of self-managers (see attached). Teachers as skilled and trained practitioners use their knowledge and experience to assess your child’s strengths and areas that need developing. Without teachers setting high expectations, while offering clear guidance for the children, across the class, children will often not progress as quickly as they are capable of.
To help meet the diverse needs within a class, teachers use a range of strategies to help children move along the learning continuum. These strategies can range from encouragement; to asking children to repeat work so it meets a predefined standard; to challenging a child with support to go outside their comfort zone; to a firm reminder of what is expected to redirect a child. High expectations and standards, repeating work, or FAILing (First Attempt In Learning) at a task helps children develop resilience while learning about the importance of effort.
As children move up through the school expectations and complexity of curriculum increase. Sometimes we find children will do what they know works best and that is look for support from Mum and Dad. This is where partnership between teacher and parent becomes very important. As parents we can help by listening to our child with an open mind, suggesting strategies and likely consequences if these strategies were tried. Helping your child in this way promotes independence and problem solving in the knowledge they have your support.
If as parents we believe it is a major issue beyond our child’s current capabilities it is our role to seek more information from the teacher to get a complete picture. Children generally struggle to see a viewpoint other than their own. I see this on a daily basis in the playground when children have a disagreement. The first question I ask each protagonist is ‘what did YOU do’ as their default is to tell me what the other child did. Generally children without practice struggle to explain their own actions.
On occasion we have parents rescue their child/children by challenging teachers based on information from limited viewpoints. All we ask, as teachers, is that parents firstly take the time to ensure they have given their child the opportunity to solve the problem themselves and secondly that you have a complete picture of any situation before jumping to conclusions. We don’t profess to being right all the time however all teachers have your child’s best interest at heart and we work hard to ensure the best for your child.
This week I spoke with Jim Gemmell the Principal of Western Heights High School and we were talking about the many children from Kaharoa School who were succeeding in their secondary schooling. He commented how well prepared our students are.
It was once said to me ‘ The role of a school is to help a family educate its child/children. We look forward to and feel privileged continuing to work in partnership to ensure the best for your child/children.
With the attached information we invite you to use the opportunity to discuss with your child some of the things they currently do to self manage themselves at home and school and some goals they could set for themselves.
File Download: A_Self_Manager.pdf
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