At Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre we are continually looking at ways in which we can raise pupil motivation and achievement. Training is constantly taking place to support this whether it is for specific areas of the curriculum or larger whole school issues. We feel very strongly about ensuring that the children at Kings Oak have every opportunity to learn to their full potential, that their learning is fun and that they feel secure enough to take risks. All staff have been involved in training which focused on raising pupil achievement called Accelerated Learning. Children learn in many different ways and it is important their learning environment supports this. Some children are visual learners and need to see information to support their learning. Some learn by listening and use their auditory skills to help them understand and some children are kinaesthetic learners and need to learn by "doing". The best way to learn something is to see it, hear it and do it.
It is important to create a supportive learning environment and connect this to the learning that takes place. Having informative and interactive displays in classrooms gives the children a big picture to their learning. Hence positive messages around the school help to raise the children's self-esteem. They need to feel part of a group and that their contribution, whatever its nature, is valued. They need to have a sense of belonging. Pupils need to be encouraged to set their own goals and reflect on their own progress so that they become learners with aspirations.
The centre and the classrooms within it should be safe havens for learning where there is consistency in expectations and standards enabling the children to learn in safety. They need to be encouraged to have their own identity, to catch them being successful and let them know it. The children also need to know that mistakes are valuable learning tools in an environment where they can take risks and achievement is valued, we need to reinforce success.
Aspects from the school's recent training which we felt would support our aim of motivating pupil achievement were as follows:
Breakfast - children need fuel to learn. Having a good breakfast means that the children are ready to learn at the beginning of the day. This is very important as the timetable now in our centre covers the core subjects of literacy and numeracy in the mornings.
Bedtime - statistics show that good sleeping habits are important to the process of children's learning. Tired children do not learn effectively.
Water - Research has shown that children's learning improves if they are hydrated. We have several water coolers throughout school which children can use to fill up their water bottles throughout the day. Having a bottle of water on their table top also ensures that the children can continue their tasks and stay hydrated. Water bottles are available from the school office at a cost of £1.
Healthy Tuck Shop - the children have a long time to work between breakfast and lunch therefore we provide children with the opportunity to purchase healthy snacks from the tuck shop. We sell fruit, fruit juice, and other healthy snacks at 20p per item.
Brain gym - this is a range of exercises that develop and stimulate different sides of the brain. Often during a long lesson the children get tired and lose their concentration. These five minute exercises give them a chance to have a break and move about so that they can settle and re-focus on their task.
Music - music is known to have a calming effect and stimulates learning. Music is played at different times of the day to match certain activities.
High expectations shape performance. We need to continually encourage the children to be positive about themselves and believe that they can achieve. Our children are our future.
"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't you are probably right"