Tips for parents on helping children prepare for a successful new term –
- Reflect on last term:
Ask, “what went well?” then listen and acknowledge. Ask, “what didn’t go so well?” then listen and acknowledge, rather than just trying to fix and solve! Finally ask, “what would you like to do differently this term?” Listen and then move on to the next step.
- Help them set goals for the term:
Divide the goals into academic and personal. Keep them simple, for example, “turn that ‘C’ grade I got for Mathematics into a ‘B’ grade.” Don’t just set the goal for them.
- Set action steps on how to achieve the goal:
Ask your child what do they need to do (one or two small steps) to change that C into a B? Allow them to come up with the steps before discussing and refining them.
- Ask what kind of support they will need:
Simply asking, rather than telling, opens up things children may never have thought of. Just be prepared for some wild and wacky ideas and listen. Then discuss and refine.
- Help them to prepare, don’t do it for them:
Ask children the night before each school day, “what do you have on tomorrow?” followed by, “do you have everything you need ready for tomorrow?” Then leave it at that. In this way, you’re helping them to develop their responsibility in small steps. Try to avoid rescuing them all the time!
This term, children in Year 3, 5 and 7 will participate in the NAPLAN testing. It is important to remind all parents of students in these year levels that the NAPLAN is only a snapshot assessment and that there are many other forms of rich ongoing assessments that take place within the classroom. The following is an excerpt from an online Educator’s magazine which talks about a new vision for NAPLAN which includes tasks which measure critical thinking, creativity and extra subjects.
Ron Gorman, director of the Association of Independent Schools in WA (AISWA), told The Educator last week that NAPLAN was the wrong focus in measuring students’ academic success.
“NAPLAN plays a part in that, but there is a great tapestry of ways that schools effectively communicate – not just to parents, but with the students themselves about their learning and about their progress”.
Gorman added that schools should be focusing on areas of 21st century learning such as knowledge building, critical thinking and problem solving.
The proposal to expand NAPLAN’s disciplines is being supported by the Australian Tutoring Association, which also wants students’ creative and criticalthinking to play a greater role in the tests.
Catholic Education Parramatta Diocese executive director, Greg Whitby, told The Daily Telegraph that NAPLAN was “just the tip of the assessment iceberg”.
“The way students are learning today is much broader and deeper than that and we have to find new ways to measure these learning outcomes”, Whitby said.
“It provides schools with important data on literacy and numeracy, but it is only a snapshot and one data set among many that teachers use to inform their work”. “We need to look beyond the tip of the iceberg at other assessment measures for students and begin measuring 21st century skills such as creativity and critical thinking”.
These are important points to consider as students prepare to sit these tests, remembering that they provide both teachers and parents with one aspect of data alongside the other elements of assessment which are ongoing and occur across the curriculum.