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Friday, December 14, 2007

Positive Eleven Plus Steps

When I was training to be a teacher I was fascinated by a man called Skinner. He looked at behaviour and reinforcement.

In Eleven Plus terms he would have argued that if a child answered a question correctly there should be an immediate reward. Some praise? A kind word? A pat on the back? 10p? A piece of chocolate? The nature of the positive rewards is not as important as reinforcing to the child that good behaviour or correct answers should be rewarded.

He advocated breaking everything down into small steps so as to allow for lots of positive reinforcement. If you want your child to learn something break it into small steps and be very positive.

He wanted to go from a simple step to a complex step. He wanted immediate feedback – and lots of positive reinforcement.

We have a computer system called etcACTION. etcACTION takes test results and builds lesson plans. The lessons are usually broken into five segments – so that no child spends too long on any one subject or topic. The computer endeavours to deliver a multilevel lesson.

Each piece of work should be marked immediately.

The National Curriculum is broken into ten levels with many skills within a level. We have over 1600 current skills. The books and teaching materials are all graded within a skill. The children make progress because they achieve a range of tasks within a lesson. They feel successful. We try to make this feeling of being able to cope transfer into the classroom.

To give an example of positive reinforcement we need only to look at the national Lottery. Suppose one day we selected the numbers on a lottery ticket by sticking pins into range of numbers – and the ticket won. We would be elated. It would take a very strong will on our part if we changed a successful method of selecting winning numbers to going back to using a date of birth as a random number generator.

So continue to believe in luck in the actual Eleven Plus examination.

Continue to be nice to your child.

Try to be positive.

Reward yourself on a regular basis with all the really good rewards of life.

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