At Eyres Monsell we believe that ‘the curriculum defines the purposes of a school and the journey a school wants its pupils to take’. (Young et al., 2014). We want to ensure every child is able to access a curriculum which is broad, engaging and motivating; a curriculum which supports children both whilst in Primary School and one that prepares them as future citizens of an ever changing world.
The curriculum, based on research backed evidence, seeks to develop a love of learning and develop pupils’ repertoire of learning to learn in any situation, so children continue to build upon these throughout their life. Research shows that we need to equip our children with a highly developed capacity to learn for life in the 21stCentury.
At Eyres Monsell we use The Path to Success Pedagogy by TT Education. This innovative approach to teaching and learning ensures that children learn holistically, building on their experiences of the world around them to support developing the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful learners and academically achieve.
The Path to Success methodology uses the following stages. Teachers use these stages to support planning, assessment and delivery of the curriculum to support children to learn more, remember more and be excited, engaged and active learners.
Children need rich experiences which they can relate to in order to support them in developing a particular skill set. For example, how can you expect a child to solve a money problem if they have never really used money in any type of meaningful context? The challenge for us as teachers is to find a way to replicate this meaningful experience and practical application in the classroom
“Hook, Experience, Context and Purpose” is a mantra we use a lot when working with schools. We ask teachers to think back to the last unit or topic they taught and then to consider the four elements of the manta, What was the hook you used to engage, inspire and excite your children? What experiences did children bring to the activity, or how were you able to replicate experiences to make the learning link to the real world. Did you choose a context which was relevant and did all the children have a clear purpose for their learning, or was it simply ‘complete the activities on page 10’.
This in a sense refers to the Gamification of Learning. The power of playing short burst games to practice key skills on a daily basis should not be underestimated.
Not only do they act as hook to excite, engage and challenge the children but they also support children in developing fluency in a particular skill: procedural efficiency alongside conceptual understanding.
Once children have experienced a particular skill and had an opportunity to play with it in order to fully assimilate the technique, they then move onto use it in context. Practical application in context is key to successful outcomes for children.
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” [Chinese proverb]
Children continue to develop the skill in context. It is absolutely crucial that all adults within the classroom and within the school at large position themselves alongside the children as learners, actively engaging in the learning process. High-quality modelling and demonstration should be underpinned by an active, talk-led, collaborative learning climate, in which children move from learners to teachers. If a child can teach a particular skill, it means they must have learnt it and are more likely to remember it. As practitioners, we should be aiming to move all our children into becoming teachers.
If a child can confidently demonstrate the level of understanding necessary for them to be able to explain and teach a concept, idea or approach to another child, then in doing so they are demonstrating that their initial learning has been internalised and embedded. By this stage they are demonstrating a move from shallow surface level learning to deeper learning and understanding.
This refers to children making connections across the curriculum. With a deeper understanding, children will begin to make links and connections in terms of how they could apply the skill or concept they have just learnt across the curriculum and in the wider world. Making these connections and exploring possible connections moves the child from deep learning into profound learning, which will stay with them forever.
This circular approach then repeats as new skills, concepts and ideas are added. This whole approach is underpinned by talk-led, active and collaborative approaches, which provide the foundation for success.
(TT Education and David Maytham)