The Role Of The Core Subjects Education Essay

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When discussing Literacy the main topic of conversation recently has been around the development of phonics and the influence of the publications of 'The Rose Review ' and 'The phonics screening check for year 1 pupils.' Both of these documents have had an influence on the core subject of literacy and how it has been implemented recently. Rose Stated that Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (2012) and the renewed Primary National Strategy Framework for teaching literacy "should provide, clear guidance on developing children's speaking and listening skills" (Rose DATE!!)

The importance of learning phonics and developing reading, writing, communication and listening skills are discussed in both The Primary National Statutory Guidance and The EYFS they emphasise the importance of learning these skills by using a vigorous, programme of phonic work. Wyse discusses the impact of the Rose Review and states that that phonic work should be securely embedded within "a broad and language-rich curriculum that generates purposeful discussion, interest, application, enjoyment and high achievement across all the areas of learning and experience in the early years and progressively throughout the key stages which follow". (Wyse and Jones - 2007 pg48) the importance of phonics is discussed by Wyse and Jones however they also discuss the impact of children being taught or modelled sounds incorrectly can have great impact on their language development. I have observed the incorrect modelling of sounds and the impact on the group of children. Within the session the children should have been learning 'ou shout it out' however when the adult modelled it they used 'ow- as in blow' this then made the children confused and the lesson was quite difficult to follow.

There has been evidence of research into developing literacy skills through different types of settings and formats; this could include set reading and writing areas or the influence of having a variety of accessible texts within the class room.

The research Saracho and Spodek (2006) state "During play children participate in reading and writing experiences that develop the literacy skills they need for formal reading instruction" (p.716). Saracho and Spodek looked into the development of literacy through play, listening and being involved in stories and the implementation of effective play strategies to support early literacy skills within the foundation stage. It was found that this vital play and development of a language rich environment had benefits when learning to read and write further up the school. I have observed adults using different and interesting ways of gaining and holding children's attention for example using funny voices and getting them involved in telling the stories. From this I have developed the idea that most children love listening to stories. I have developed my understanding that this passion should be developed from an early age so that children can learn to read for pleasure.

In support to this Fisher (2011) discusses the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum and the independent Cambridge Primary Review and states that both highlight the need to re‐think children's educational experiences in classrooms between the ages of five and seven. Recent government initiatives have led to experiences in these early primary years being adult‐directed and often in whole‐class groups, with little place for the play and self‐initiated learning familiar in the Early Years Foundation Stage, which regulates education from birth to five years.

The importance of this first hand enriched learning of language can also be taught within Science. Science provides children 'with a broad understanding of the status of nature of scientific knowledge, how it is created and how dependable it is.' (Harlen and Qualter 2004) with support to this according to the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation stage "young children are active learners who use all their senses to build concepts and ideas from their own experiences". (Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation stage) This learning should be scaffolded and modelled by adults to develop understanding. By using children's ideas about materials and building upon them even if the first conception is incorrect. Harlen and Qualter (2004) found that in case studies which they took part in children enjoyed exploring and investigating. With support to modelling the enjoyment for learning and investigating I have recently seen that interested and interesting adults can have a great impact on children which they may be working with. The lesson involved the children learning about habitats and the modelling of making a new home for the animal which they had made up in the lesson before allowed the children to want to learn about materials. The positive attitude of the adult wanting to demonstrate how to investigate allowed the development of positive attitudes within the class to the learning of science and the world around them.

In relation to the Curriculum, the Plowden Report was clear that; "One of the main educational tasks of the primary school is to build on and strengthen children's intrinsic interest in learning and lead them to learn for themselves rather than from fear of disapproval or desire for praise." (Plowden Report 1967) The report's recurring themes are individual learning, flexibility in the curriculum, the centrality of play in children's learning, the use of the environment, learning by discovery and the importance of the evaluation of children's progress in key stage one this continues into today's schools it was discussed by E. Wood (2005) that " play processes such as exploration, practice, repetition, mastery and revision are important, play activities enable children to impose some structure or organisation on a task, make sense of their experiences and engage in ongoing rehearsal of these cognitive processes" (Wood 2005) in my experience I have found that developing a stimulating environment can excite children to want to learn and be involved. In one session I took part in the children were taken outside and a camp was made within the forest school the children built the camp and then through their excitement and inquisitiveness they wanted to look for bugs. This activity stimulated the children's curiosity, encouraged them to use observation and helped them be inspired to learn. The adults were key in this scientific learning as they were able to bring out the potential of scientific learning.

Murphy (2005) studied Primary science the study recommended that there needs to be a national, structured programme of professional development in place for primary teachers, which concentrates on making school science more relevant to the everyday lives of the children and using more investigative approaches in science learning and teaching. The OFSTED subject report for science in primary schools (OFSTED 2004) highlighted the need for more scientific enquiry as an internally and externally assessed component of the science curriculum. I have found out that science can be a very practical subject by letting the children be involved in their own learning. I have developed my understanding that children need to understand and take part in investigations which will and will not work. For example measuring water the volume of a long box could be the same as the volume as a tall box. I now understand that children need many opportunities it discovers for themselves through varied and related activities. Murphy et al (2004) discusses that increasing the amount of practical, investigative work in science had a marked, positive effect on their enjoyment of science.

OFSTED discussed the importance of each child having a good grounding in mathematics during the primary education. Wood (2005) supports this idea and explains that children become 'real-world mathematicians', these are through three different contexts; home, community and school. When children begin school they have different amounts of mathematical knowledge, this is a strong indicator to the progress children can make in future learning. Not only do children develop their own systems for calculations but they use this to invent strategies to solve a range of mathematical problems. (Worthington and Carruthers, 2003). Also recent educational research has turned increasing attention to the structural development of young students' mathematical thinking. Mulligan et at (2009) states that there is increasing evidence that an awareness of mathematical structure is crucial to mathematical competence among young children

Enjoyment of a subject as discussed by Murphy can have positive outcomes. The OFSTED document Good Practice in Primary Mathematics found that "Practical, hands-on experiences of using, comparing and calculating with numbers and quantities and the development of mental methods are of crucial importance in establishing the best mathematical start in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1." (OFSTED 2011) It should be remembered that each child id different and they have different difficulties in maths this should be assessed and then given an intervention. The interventions should reduce the risk of anxiety and be used to target the child effectively. Children with dyscalculia may find simple tasks harder than a simpler task. Failing at certain tasks may cause a child to perceive themselves "as being no good at maths". Fredrick's et al., (2004) looked into optimising student's engagement in academic settings they found that it is essential to have a good level of engagement and explained that "students who do not actively participate in classroom activities are at increased risk of school failure". (Fredrick's et al., 2004)

Mathematics is often perceived as a stand-alone subject in the school curriculum. "When used as a tool to examine cross-curricular content, mathematics can enable deeper understanding of the context under investigation." (Makar & Confrey, 2007) Burgess (2004) notes, integrated units can be difficult and time consuming to plan and demand high levels of skill in terms of curriculum subject knowledge and teaching methods. However, teachers who embrace such an integrated approach to teaching and learning mathematics are adamant that children's learning is enriched. "Across all curricula, opportunities to explore authentic applications that arise out of real-life contexts can have a significant and sustained impact on student knowledge, attitude, self-esteem, independence, and confidence" (Alton-Lee, 2003) For all subjects teaching them cross curricular is a common theme in teaching.

Overall the core subjects all overlap within the learning and teaching styles, the Plowden Report emphasises the need to see children as individuals. 'Individual differences between children of the same age are so great that any class, however homogeneous it seems, must always be treated as a body of children needing individual and different attention'.(Plowden1967)

Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences (1983, 1993) is a theory based on student centred support and the student learning styles. Gardener states that each learner has a different learning style and this learning style supports their developmental path. The Multiple Intelligences are specified under: linguistic, visual-spatial, and bodily-kinaesthetic (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and tactile). Gardener states that these learning styles should be addressed together supporting individual strengths rather than separately. It has been suggested that a good lesson should include all of these aspects to meet all the needs of the children. In relation to Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences another theory on learning styles is The Dunns' Learning Style. The Dunns' learning styles model is explained as "the way in which each person begins to concentrate, process, internalize, and remember new and difficult academic content" (Denig, 2004) However Frankin (2006) argues that   "instead of drawing attention to how children learn and the tools and processes of learning, learning style theories have led to pupils being labelled as being particular types of learners" (Frankin 2006)

In lessons teachers should promote structured learning whilst understanding the importance of the child's first hand experiences. Harlen and Qualter explore the idea that lessons should be interesting and should scaffolds on a child's prior experiences understanding. In my experience the opportunities within the classroom for children to discover new ideas whilst having fun has been supported by adults within the classroom and this has then helped children develop their enthusiasm for investigation and discovery. Teachers should question and allow children to question themselves and what they are leaning for this teachers must have a significant subject knowledge OFSTED (2011) explain that; " children should develop the skill of questioning however schools need to recognise the importance of good subject knowledge and subject-specific teaching skills and seek to enhance these aspects of subject expertise and teaching." (OFSTED2011). All children should be supported and try to have sustained thinking at the end of the lesson. Children should be encouraged to learn from their and others mistakes and they should be able to reflect on lessons to further their learning.

The development of learning and encouraging communication and reflection skills within the classroom can allow children to develop their own ideas and have confidence in their work this is discussed by Campbell (2004) the idea of allowing children to share ideas discuss and reflect in small groups and as a class can build on their self esteem and confidence in their own learning. I have developed my understanding of working alongside children and listening to them more than talking to them. This allows me to take not of what they are learning and lets the children concentrate on what they are doing rather than listening to me. Talking in group discussions can allow children to understand what is expected to be learned, explaining how problems are solved, what information is doubtful, or how interesting ideas are developed. Crowder (2001) identified the benefits of talking within a group discussion as a tool to develop it allows children to tap into prior knowledge and scaffold their learning. Campbell and collegues explained that "expressing ideas verbally is an important meta-cognitive exercise, for it is often in hearing ourselves speak or reading what we have written that we gain insights into what we really think and know." (Campbell L., Campbell B., and Dickinson 2004) Harlen and Qualter also discuss that activities with a lot of discussion at the end of sessions may encourage and help children review activities and reflect upon them this also could help progression and development as it helps the teacher monitor and check the understanding what they may or may not have under stood. Alexander states the importance of children's voices and valuing what they may want to say, Alexander expresses the idea that this builds self confidence and can encourage them to build on their own ideas and expand their knowledge and answers.

The learning style of developing thinking and questioning skills such as asking questions to other peers on their level and asking questions to adults which they may want to further understand. This thinking can support learning and the format of talking through learning objectives and success criteria allows children to ensure that children are engaged with the lesson understand what they have learnt are what they are going to learn. I have seen that when an adult values a child's thinking it can lead to the development of ideas of how things work and why things happen. This in turn supported the opportunity for the child to talk within the session and formed discussion with the whole class. However the importance of time to allow children to develop further understanding and build their own relationships on what they have learnt is supported by Harlen and Qualter. "Often, higher-order thinking skills need to be developed through effective teaching methods. "Whittington, Lopez, Schley, and Fisher (2000) state that teaching at different cognitive levels is important to develop students' higher thinking skills. This can help them understand if their prediction was correct and why it was or was not.