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ofsted-big-conversation-west-midlands-17

 

Hi All

I noticed this slide today, Ofsted discussing current issues and potential changes in early years. This slide jumped out at me for the last point re children having more success when '...give more adult-led than child-led learning opportunities'.

 

The word led caused me alarm as it is clearly discouraging interest led pedagogy such as in the moment planning (thank you for the book review Rebecca) and planning by learning outcome. It appears that children achieve the good level of development more consistently when adult led. I am not surprised by this but how deep is the learning. How are the 'brains lit up'? Where will this stop with regard to how much interest led play can be central to practice?

 

I am interested to know about Read, Write Inc as this is growing in popularity in my area? Am I right in thinking that this session lasts for an hour in Reception classes.

 

I would welcome your reaction to the slide and wonder if you interpret is as I do?

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Yes, that is interesting - the Statutory Framework (p9, para 1.8) refers to 'planned, purposeful play ... through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity .... Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. There is ongoing judgement to be made by practitioners about the balance between activities led by children, and activities led or guided by adults, Practitioners must respond to each child's emerging needs and interest, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction'

I would suggest that the 'ongoing judgement' and 'practitioners must respond to emerging needs' are the key aspects here where we need to be sure that what we are doing is the right thing to be doing for a particular child and then be prepared to explain our professional judgement if necessary. We have all taught children for whom an entirely child-led learning programme is appropriate, with us acting as careful scaffolders and thought challengers - similarly there are those children who thrive on adult-led learning and use this as a spring board for their own ideas. An example of this might be when you 'teach' a focus activity one week and then have it out for child-led exploration the following week for children to extend and develop their ideas. I'm guessing it comes down to the CoEL - the 'jumper inners' and the 'long slow thinkers' might need different stimulus to get their creative juices flowing!

I am happy that using 'ongoing judgement' means 'using our professional judgement' - I don't think Ofsted can say there must be more adult-led than child-led - unless it is reflected in the Statutory Framework. Gill Jones at, The Big Conversation, a couple of weeks ago was extremely clear that Ofsted only inspect what is in the Statutory Framework - anything else may be guidance / advice but cannot be used as if it was statutory (she was talking about the recent safeguarding information in this case).

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I think goes back to the report/survey that came out a while back called 'teaching and play in the early years:a balancing act' (sorry unable to link) in which OFSTED looked at characteristics of settings having outstanding practice particularly for disadvantaged children. It's well worth a read, because I do think it could easily be misinterpreted to mean that disadvantaged 2 year olds somehow should be in very structured group activities much more, and sadly, I do see this sometimes. But it goes on to describe playing alongside children, showing them how to play and gently scaffolding in the way Rebecca described. I therefore interpret the 'adult led' to which they refer as time being spent with an adult rather than children being entirely left to their own devices

 

Unfortunately I don't think the choice of language was the best it could have been because 'adult led' does conjure an immediate image into our minds that will differ for all of us, as the word 'teaching' also does. I'm sometimes not sure these terms are actually very useful in the grand scheme of things.

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ofsted-big-conversation-west-midlands-17

 

Hi All

I noticed this slide today, Ofsted discussing current issues and potential changes in early years. This slide jumped out at me for the last point re children having more success when '...give more adult-led than child-led learning opportunities'.

 

The word led caused me alarm as it is clearly discouraging interest led pedagogy such as in the moment planning (thank you for the book review Rebecca) and planning by learning outcome. It appears that children achieve the good level of development more consistently when adult led. I am not surprised by this but how deep is the learning. How are the 'brains lit up'? Where will this stop with regard to how much interest led play can be central to practice?

 

I am interested to know about Read, Write Inc as this is growing in popularity in my area? Am I right in thinking that this session lasts for an hour in Reception classes.

 

I would welcome your reaction to the slide and wonder if you interpret is as I do?

 

I too would like to know more about and the value of Read, Write Inc I. I would also like to know the benefit of Singapore Maths and how inclusive this system might be.

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The point here is that disadvantaged children often don't have the e.g. vocabulary of their more advantaged peers, the cultural capital and experiences that build resiliance or the adult involvement. Hence the need for educators to ensure that children have the opportunities to develop these things from adults who give them attention. Parents give children adult focus - so should educators.

We should make appropriate decisions based on what we feel will enable children to achieve as well as any other child.

IMHO

Cx

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I taught Read Write inc in Reception for three years and love the rhymes and pictures to go with each letter. They really help children to form letters correctly from day one. However I found it was extremely suffocating for me and repetitive for the chn. If you follow it properly you teach Reception chn discretely for one hour a day. Needless to say I didn't agree with this and don't do it anymore thankfully. My jaw dropped when we had the training and I asked whether the chn were supposed to do all of that writing in one session without a break or without play. The trainer said yes but they get to read with a partner in between writing activities....wow! Just wow. Avoid like the plague is my opinion.

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I've really enjoyed reading the comments. Thank you. I have now read teaching and play in the early

years (thanks Rebecca and Mundia). I now see where the 'adult led' term in this context has come from. I see your point Mundia that the choice of language and not the intent is a little confusing. It will be interesting to see how this develops. The report was also focused on two year olds so I would really appreciate a similar research study in Reception classes.

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Hi!

I agree with the above comments. It is very likely that disadvantaged children will be identified as having extra need - therefore in my setting, they would have an individual needs sheet in which extra support would be planned for them which would come in a range of formats including adult interaction during child-initiated play. There would be a specific purpose to those planned interaction but could be done through the child's play.

Green Hippo x

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  • 6 months later...

I'm not convinced that the distinction between adult-led and child-led is at all useful. If the adult extends the child's playful learning is the resulting activity adult or child led? What is important is that when there is any interaction between the child and the adult there should be mutual involvement and engagement...essentially a dialogue. If they are sustained, dialogue's are cyclical with each party leading and following! I find the Reggio community use of the term 'provocation' useful - any adult led (teaching moment) that isn't taken up by the child can be considered a failed provocation - the important thing then is not to continue with it...drop it quickly. Generally speaking, the better we observe the child's engagement in free play the better we will get at providing fruitful provocations. Experienced and high aspirational practitioners also have a wider knowledge of potential provocations to draw upon.

 

Comments on: ‘Teaching and play in the early years – a balancing act?’ Ofsted, 2015)

Ofsted’s (2015) influential report stresses the importance of answering the question of 'balance', particularly in relation to supporting the teaching and learning of disadvantaged children. The report acknowledges that setting up teaching and play as opposites is a false dichotomy and that good practice involves adults and children in a cyclic interplay, underpinned by accurate assessment and continual quality-enhancing decisions by the practitioner. But this still leaves the question of exactly how practitioners 'weigh up' what Ofsted refer to as:

‘...the extent of their involvement, and fine-tun(e) how formal or informal, structured or unstructured, dependent or independent each learning experience should be to meet the needs of each child most effectively’ (Ofsted, 2015, p5).

When most people think about the question of ‘balance’ between teaching and play, they think of them each exerting an equal weight on each side. But that isn’t’ the only way things balance… you can have a ‘balance’ with much more emphasis on play than on teaching! Archimedes suggested he could lift the planet Earth if only we gave him a long enough lever….but of course, he was only speaking metaphorically. The SchemaPlay argument is that the best research evidence that we currently have suggests that the ‘weighting’ placed on play must be substantial, disproportionate, and overriding in comparison to teaching. But we also argue that ‘synergy’ rather than ‘balance’ provides a much better metaphor for teaching and play. This is because an appropriate combination of the two elements, even if they may sometimes be considered 'unbalanced', produce a total learning effect that is much greater than the sum of the two.

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