Diary entry 25.09.2013

Parents often want to know if students work in groups at Kip McGrath. The answer is yes and there are two reasons why group work is so important.

The first is that even though our Kip McGrath Centre is Ofsted registered (Registration number EY405035), we are all CRB checked, and we are all qualified teachers with many years experience in Primary and Secondary schools, it’s good to know that children aren’t on their own and that there are plenty of people around.

The second reason is that children are sociable and work better when they have company. The groups at Kip Centres are different abilities and students work on individual lesson plans that are just right for them but it is good to be part of something.

The perfect example of small groups being of benefit to student learning occurred yesterday evening.

I was talking to a student, explaining how times tables are so important. My usual talk goes along the lines of how if you learn your tables you are getting three for the price of one.

Tables can be written backwards of course:

2×3=6 and 3×2=6

but they can also be written as divides:

6/3=2 and 6/2=3

and they can also be written as fractions:

1/2 of 6=3 and 1/3 of 6=2

Learn a relatively simple Times Table and you have access to two other types of sum. And fractions especially can be really challenging for many students. I do Tables as a warm up exercise with all my students both English and maths because they are so important to confidence and speed.

As I was explaining this and encouraging one student to practise as much as possible, another student who is currently in Year 11 (the old Fifth Year) chimed in. She said I had  insisted she practise her Tables when she was in Year 5/Year 6 and she had always questioned why it was important. Now she is in her GCSE year she’s conscious that some of her fellow students don’t know their Tables very well at all and it really slows them down. She came straight out and told the group how important it was to learn them well and how much it had benefitted her!

It was a great moment and reminded me just how important group work can be. The first student did not hear the lesson from a teacher, somebody at several removes, but from a peer speaking from personal experience. I’m sure this had much more impact on their learning than me.

Thank you Rebecca!





About @moodybill

Trainee everything but practising teaching, photography, writing and drumming the hardest!
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