Out of touch with education? Here’s what you need to know…
As a parent, do you feel as though you're out of touch with education? Perhaps you're an older parent and you feel you don't know the modern education system your child is going through right now? It's something I've heard from parents again and again over the last four years, and that it can make them feel insecure. It can make you feel as though it undermines your ability to stick to the boundaries and set routines that your child needs to succeed, and this is not helpful.
Out of touch with education? Here's what you need to know…
So, if you're feeling out of your depth when it comes to your child's studies and exams, here's what you really need to know…
1. Fundamentally, nothing much has changed!
We have been following the same industrialised education system since it was first introduced during the Industrial Revolution. Generally, a teacher will have a reasonably large class of students, where they teach academic subjects and this is measured with tests and exams. This hasn't changed since you were at school. What has changed are the teaching methods and changes to exams.
2. Teaching methods have changed
Teachers are much more aware of learning differences than they were forty, or even thirty years ago. There are many more children being diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism, and the effects these conditions have on students' learning is better acknowledged. Several years ago, teacher training did not include strategies on teaching children with a variety of differences, and even more recently, teacher training was very much lacking in this area. However, there is at least an awareness now that there is a need to differentiate teaching for children with learning differences.
Teaching is also much less didactic than it was when you were at school. There is less of the ‘lecture' model, of a teacher standing in front of the class, reeling off or writing on the board reams of information. There is a wider acknowledgement that children learn in different ways; some are stronger with visual aids such as diagrams, others prefer to listen and write, while others are better at learning in a more practical, hands-on way. It can seem mystifying to parents and seem as though less curriculum content is being covered, but this isn't the case!
3. Less coursework, more linear exams
If you were at school in the 80s and 90s, you possibly had lots of coursework as part of your GCSEs and A Levels? Exams often consisted of modular exams, which could be taken throughout the two years and the scores added up. This did make it easier to get higher marks. However, we have now reverted back to a system of less coursework and no modular exams; AS Levels have now finished and the emphasis is now on the final exams at the end of the two years. This is a shame for some students, particularly girls, who seem to respond better to the more modular system, whereas boys appear to do well with a final exam system.
4. More content, and more difficulty sooner
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education from 2010-2014 brought in several reforms to the education system – some more popular than others. Some of these reforms have made it difficult for schools to effectively deliver the curriculum. However, his reforms can be seen as ambitious for students; the curriculum changes mean that students cover more content, and cover harder content sooner. So, something that was once studied at A Level may now be learned at GCSE level. It's good to push students out of their comfort zones, but this can be difficult for students who are less academic.
So, ultimately, not much has actually changed. There is no real new way of asking an exam question! As long as your children still do the work, do the revision and practice with past exam papers, they can succeed. However, you may feel as though you need some extra help in supporting your child, especially if your confidence in your own understanding of the current education system is lacking.
I have launched The Extraordinaries Club to help you, the parents, to develop the skills you need to support your child, and to help your child learn how to study so that they reach their academic potential. This combination of parents and students working together is what makes The Extraordinaries Club both different and successful. If you're not sure about whether the membership is right for you, take a look at this post explaining 14 reasons why you should join.
Ready to find out more?
If you're keen to find out more about The Extraordinaries Club click through to the information page. If you like what you see then sign-up. If you've got further questions then please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment in the comments section below.