When learning is not moving as it should be.
At times in a child’s schooling they will not make the progress that we all want to see.
Sometimes this can merely be a time of consolidation or incubation, where minimal increases will be seen in achievement then all of a sudden another penny will drop and the child will move forward in leaps and bounds for a period of time before moving into another period of consolidation.
At other times there may be something small or circumstantial blocking a child’s ability to grasp a new concept, and in other cases there may be a serious learning difficulty.
Whatever the reason, it is important that families and teachers work together to address a lack of progress. Teachers watch the progress that children are making very carefully. Good teachers have built an understanding of the ebs and flows that come in learning and can usually trust their observations and intuition as to which children are in a consolidation period, which children need a small barrier removed in order to make progress, and which children are in need of specialist help. Good teachers understand though that it is important to take the time to test their assumptions in order to ensure that the strategies for overcoming the learning obstacle are going to be effective. As parents you are vital to this process. Your understanding of your child is an important factor to be considered. Your support for the teacher during this process is also really important.
If a child is falling behind and strategies have been developed to address the difficulties and accelerate the learning, it is everyone’s responsibility to implement these strategies. Teachers, parents and students need to work together. If a teacher asks you to do a particular activity at home each day with your child, it is important that you do this. If you are unsure of how to do the activity or find the expectation unreasonable in your family circumstances, then please have an honest and open chat with the teacher about this, so that the best options for home support can be found.
A couple of years ago I was at a Reading Recovery course and they were celebrating 30 years of Reading Recovery. The exciting part of the story was how 30 years ago it was acceptable and normal for 50% of students leaving primary school to be well below their chronological reading age. Reading Recovery really changed this picture and created the expectation that all students will learn to read well. I love this kind of attitude; that through strong partnerships and with hard work, good detective skills and some creativity, we can expect to see all students making good progress.