AFTER a rollercoaster of a year which included a global pandemic, school closures, isolation and preparation for tests that never happened, P7 pupils found out what big school they will be going to.
It has been a tough time for all of our children, and I particularly feel sorry for the P7s.
Many of the pupils I teach thought that the school’s revised admissions criteria discriminated against their age and family connections.
These admissions criteria, which favour family connections, will apply to a handful of schools throughout Northern Ireland for the current P6 cohort, including those in the Newry & Mourne area.
However, most grammar schools have reintroduced the academic selection component to their admissions criteria, including an amended transfer test containing a reduced range of topics.
Unfortunately, there will be many happy and unhappy children across the North, but it is important to reiterate that the children will have the same opportunities wherever they end up; the key is to work hard.
“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” Theodore Roosevelt
The vast majority of parents that I meet through assessments have one common complaint: their child suffers from a lack of confidence.
I can see it on the child’s face when I meet them and explain to parents that most of the time, it is not their child’s academic ability holding them back but their missing self-belief. Before academic progress, there must be a foundation of confidence.
The most important method to help grow confidence is to emphasise that there is nothing wrong with making a mistake. The best way to learn something is by making mistakes. When the children make an error, I explain the correct method while asking them to focus on where they went wrong.
I regularly joke that my favourite sentence to hear is them saying, “Oh! I see where I went wrong”. Sometimes, I even make deliberate mistakes when spelling a word or completing a sum to allow them to tell me that I am wrong.
First, it gives them the confidence to see that even a teacher can make mistakes! Secondly, it is a fantastic technique to demonstrate a deep understanding of what they are learning.
It is good practice to encourage and praise children’s resilience. Yes, it’s ok to make mistakes, but we must keep trying until we get it right.
The main message is that it doesn’t matter how many times it takes, but we can’t just quit. There are many knockbacks in life, but how we handle them is crucial, which is the same for children. Set large goals (learn all of the times tables by the end of the year) and small goals (learn x4 times tables by the end of the month).
Celebrate the achievements and the efforts made before the successes as they build a fantastic work ethic, grit and determination. As the benefits of making mistakes are mentioned throughout this column, it is equally important to provide your child with opportunities for success.
Appeal to their strengths to build confidence so that they aren’t afraid to take on a bigger challenge.
Prevent Summer Learning Loss with Education Support Hub
Education Support Hub is now taking bookings for summer classes. It is important that children switch off over the break. However, I feel it is equally important to have a weekly top-up session so they will not lose their progress over the long duration of the summer holidays. Last year, many places were filled, so please contact me early to avoid disappointment.
Education Support Hub provides assistance to help primary school children reach their full academic potential. Following a free assessment, your child's learning gaps and needs are identified, which will be communicated to you. They are then placed in a small group of similar academic ability.
The small group dynamic helps mirror a classroom environment whilst encouraging some healthy competition! Each child is continually assessed throughout the session, immediately highlighting any areas of concern. I provide support for children from P3 - P7, including GL Transfer Test preparation.
I am a fully qualified teacher (Access NI cleared) and teach through the online platform Zoom in the comfort of your own home. Zoom facilitates an interactive whiteboard, visual, audio and chat features. If you would like to hear more about current clients' experiences, check out our reviews on Facebook and Google.
Education Support Hub Founder