Llanrhidian Primary School is situated in the Gower Peninsular six miles from the city of Swansea. There are currently approximately 161 pupils on roll from the ages of three to eleven. Llanrhidian pupils are grouped by progression steps into 4 Pods:
- Pod Pili Pala: Nursery
- Pod Pengwin: Reception and Year 1
- Pod Psygodyn: Year 2 and Year 3
- Pod Pry Cop: Year 4,5 and 6
This research focuses on evaluating the impact of active teaching and learning on reading progress and attitudes. It aims to look at appropriate pedagogy according to the stage of the pupils. The sample for the research is initially progression step 3 pupils, however through the use of performance management and our school 'trust trio' process, findings have had a wider impact to progression step 1 and 2.
Main Aims and Objectives:
As a school, through our self evaluation (21-22), we identified the need to 'further develop reading strategies to find information and support pupil independent work'.
We identified a need to provide pupils with the skills that enable them to:
- extract appropriate information from texts to support a range of tasks
- demonstrate at least month on month progress in their reading age
- feel involved in what and how they learn
- successfully and independently use a range of reading strategies in different contexts
- enjoy reading!
Wider School Implications:
In addition to this, we identified the need to ensure pupil progress in reading was at the heart of our pedagogy, fitting well with an additional school target to streamline the AoLE monitoring to facilitate progress. The introduction of staff 'curriculum teams', aims to ensure a robust process is followed allowing us to effectively evaluate and refine planning and assessment. The literacy team were able to use this target to not only support progression in reading in their context but also support progression in reading across the whole school. The research also focused on sharing good practice within our school setting and supported staff performance management and development.
Wider Cluster School Implications:
Alongside our school development plan, the North Gower Partnership has co-constructed a model of progression to support planning, assessment and reporting. It aims to provide learners across our partnership with an equitable curriculum based on sound research and ambitious expectations. Practitioners across the partnership have been working on providing opportunities that allow our pupils to learn, understand and apply skills. We ensure that pupils are taught so that they can learn, practise so that they can understand and are given learning opportunities so they can apply what they know and can do. This has been branded as the 'LUA' approach and is based on Bloom's Taxonomy and the Principles of Progression'. This work with the North Gower Partnership has underpinned this NPEP on progression and attitudes in reading.
More information of the work carried out by the North Gower Partnership can be found by clicking the image below:
In responding to this research question, it is important to consider stakeholder views including, senior leaders, teaching staff and pupils. It is also important to consider the type of data required. As a baseline, initial discussions were had with senior leaders and literacy leaders about current reading provision and ideas and next steps. It was agreed that the following data should be obtained to develop the enquiry:
- Pupil questionnaires
- Pupil observations
- 'Real Time Reccy' observations (learning walks)
- Staff views
- Reading age data
- Pupil Evaluation School Team (PEST) reflections
This approach would provide both qualitative and quantitative data and also allow us to gather not only the views of a range of stakeholders but also the impact changing teaching approaches has on pupil attitude and reading ages.
The pupil questionnaire will ask pupils to consider where they are an active or passive learner during their GRaSp sessions (Grammar, reading and spelling). It also aimed to gather their views and attitudes towards reading. The pupils were able to answer the questions anonymously using Microsoft Forms. The questionnaire was designed using research from Paul (2017, Active and Passive Learning: A Comparison). An example of the questionnaire can be found by clicking the image below:
Real Time Reccys
Real Time Reccy (learning walks) and staff discussions were used to gain an understanding of current practise. This observation was used on a cyclical basis for improving provision in reading, where observations were carried out in Spring 1 and Spring 2 to observe and evaluate changes to practise. These 'Real Time Reccy's' were carried out from progression step 1 to progression step 3 in order to show progression and consistency of approaches across the school. This allowed the literacy team to monitor the types of activities and provision during GRaSp time and also collect anecdotal participation data as well as pupil behaviours and attitudes. Before each 'Real Time Reccy' staff identified pupils to observe and gather feedback from. Staff also met following the observations to discuss findings and implement change.
Reading ages of pupils across the school from year 2 - 6 were collected in the Autumn term, in the Spring term and finally in the Summer term using the Suffolk Reading test. In addition to this, pupils also completed the Welsh Assembly Government National Assessments for reading.
Our PEST (Pupil Evaluation School Team), will also provide a termly evaluation of reading across the school.
After the baseline and final information has been gathered, it is important to triangulate the data in order to best evaluate the impact more active teaching strategies have on reading ages and attitudes.
Research shows that active learning is where the learners takes part in the learning process, for example; problem solving, asking questions, making changes, having a conversation or debate. Active learning is said to include higher order thinking. The opposite type of learning is passive learning. This is where the learning is less child centred and more teacher centred, (MacDonald and Frank 2016). Research also notes that it is crucial to use a mixture of both active and passive learning, everyday. For example, when things are fact, it is not generally encouraged for pupils to challenge that concept... perhaps in mathematics or science.
Research clearly shows that one of the main benefits of active learning is that students participate and develop their critical thinking skills, they engage more and make links to the real world. ‘Experiences that do not encourage the children to make meaning from their learning will quickly be forgotten. Any learning experience should aim to instil authenticity into every task, lesson and unit to ensure that ‘students are [able] to develop problem solving skills and confidence in their own learning abilities’ (Nicaise, Gibney and Crane, 2000) However, it is researched that pupils easily lose focus and can be more difficult for teachers as they have less control.
Research shows that advantages to passive learning are that the teacher can communicate lots of information at once to pupils. However, pupils can easily become disengaged and there are fewer opportunities for the teacher to assess the progress of pupil learning.
It is also worth noting that different pupils will respond in different ways to different teaching styles; clearly both active and passive teaching and learning styles have their place, however, we should try to use a balance to support our learners in the best way possible. When we understand our learning environment and our pupils, we know which style to use to get the best possible outcome.
This research was carried out in line with the normal procedures, practises and policies of Llanrhidian Primary School: gathering pupil and staff views, carrying out 'Real time Reccys' and using self evaluation and school development documentation. Pupils however were informed that the data used in the Microsoft Forms was anonymous and would be used in the research project. All pupils were informed of their right not to take part and to withdraw their data at any time.