Festival News: Curriculum Entitlement with Mary Myatt

Published: 9 November 2021
This was session two of Curriculum Entitlement, led by Mary Myatt as part of the Learn Sheffield Online Autumn Festival.

In this session, it was discussed how high-challenge must be accompanied by low-threat and how children need to know that it is okay to make mistakes and more than acceptable to not to know the answer. Mary advised that this was the sign of a healthy organization that encouraged growth. This should not only be applied to children be also to adults. This was accompanied by the idea that there needs to be a balance of soft, respecting dignity and feelings, and hard metrics, the outcomes at the end of the year.

Overall colleagues learn that the subject will take critique better if they know that the person giving the critique cares and is invested in them. It is also key that the criticism is of the inanimate work itself and not the person.

Colleagues were also guided through the idea that learning becomes more embedded the more effort is put into it. Interesting work can promote this effort as human’s are naturally curious and seek answers. It was suggested that even drier lessons can become embedded through layered lessons. This means possibly adding elements of other subjects into lessons to build interest. This is key to building and adapting the curriculum, but it must add value.

Finally, it was advised that ordering children into ‘sets’ can be damaging to children’s ambition and therefore their learning. When given access to the same challenges children of all abilities do well, as they are, again, naturally curious. In regard to reading, Mary quoted David Didau, ‘listening to reading helps difficult-to-understand texts be clearer’, and that, ‘reading comprehension is highly correlated with listening,’ ultimately meaning that ‘reading aloud is gap narrowing’. This is an example of giving inclusive challenges.

This session was recorded. If you wish to watch it, please log into the Learn Sheffield portal with your school sign in. This session and all the Autumn Festival sessions will be accessible this way.

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