The Power of Practice.

 

We have all heard the saying ’practice makes perfect’.

Well, that saying is not exactly true- it needs some further insight and explanation.

Take for example, writing your name.

How do you know that what you have written is correct?

When you first learned to write, you had to be told that in English, we write from left to right. You had to be told what the letters were and you were taught to make the connections between those letters to make sounds and eventually create words.

Now imagine that you had only ever written your name once in your entire life. Would you remember how to do it so many years later? You would be able to write your name but would have to think about it. It would not be instinctive, automatic and natural.

The same is true of most things, whether it is mental agility or physical exercise. The brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised in the same way that you would exercise your body.

Practice Makes Perfect

by PookyH

Nothing is easy

Unless you know how,
What was not easy then,
Might seem quite easy now.
What is hard when you’re three
Isn’t hard when you’re four,
By the time that you’re five,
You will know even more.

It’s not practice, but deep practice that makes perfect. So what is deep practice?

Deep practice is effectively breaking down the components of practising anything, whether it is learning to play tennis or your times tables.

The first step is to break it down into small, manageable pieces.

The next step is to focus ONLY on those small pieces and repeat the practice of them.

The final step is to review what your mistakes were when practising and correcting those until the process ‘feels’ natural.

Rupa Harji

RTG Tuition

Essay technique in GCSE English Language and Literature

Teachers talk a great deal about the importance of exam “technique”. However, this wording is meaningless to students and parents without further explanation. I wish to offer up my understanding of what it means to have sound technique in an English essay. Most mark schemes are also fairly difficult for students and parents to navigate so I will explain some of these ideas in plainer English.

Although I cannot offer any specific data, it seems that most students who are looking for help with English language and literature GCSE have substantial technical flaws. These flaws often, unfortunately, have almost nothing to do with their understanding of English and their competency with the language. There are thus many students who could increase their grade by one or two boundaries merely by focusing on improving their technique.

Essay writing is not a natural ability (though certain people may have more flair); it is something that can be taught and learned. Schools with students who achieve top marks in exams are usually better coached in the technical aspects of essay writing. This is the reality of the current education system. Next week, I will talk about the seven aspects of essay writing which are usually problematic, so please revisit our blog.
Jonathan Strange

How to you help your child achieve

Studying is a skill in itself. How to study is a very important skill that very few schools teach. Apart from things like note taking and colour coding, setting small achievable targets is the best way to create that route to your end target.

Setting goals for studying, when done consistently will pay massive dividends. Start this process early with your child so it becomes second nature.

Use this simple 5 step method to help your child achieve throughout their academic journey:

Step 1- Dedicate

Have a dedicated space within your home.

Clear all clutter and distractions from the area. Set it up with all the relevant items needed (writing/rough paper, pencils, highlighters, dictionary etc.). Make the area pleasant so there is no angst about working there.

Step 2- Keep it real

 Plan (be realistic!). Become best friends with your schedule.

Work out whether you are a lark or an owl and put together your schedule accordingly. If you work better first thing in the morning, then set your routine for that time. Studying when you are at your best will allow you to power through the mundane and boring stuff that you will otherwise put off, and later regret doing so.

Step 3- Consistency is key

Focus, focus, focus!

Break down to individual components (topics or areas of learning and sub-area within that).

Set each piece of work to last no more that 45 minutes, then take a break and resume. Constantly look at your tasks and whether you are meeting your targets. Evaluate and readjust if you need to.

I know I always underestimate how long I need so I double the time I think I need.

Step 4- What, why, how?

Allow time for creativity.

Make sure you allow down time. Relaxation is an important part of the cognitive function. It gives the brain a chance to process and assimilate information. It also means you are recharged to go again.

Ticking off completed items as a visual chart will prove to give great satisfaction and will also help motivate. Use a rewards system to help motivation, whether it is that second chocolate or a new top.

Step 5- Rinse and repeat

Evaluate – Be honest.

Learn from your past mistakes (the best way to do this is to keep a journal as part of the end of day routine).

What do I want/need to achieve? How will I do it? What are the component parts that make up how I do this? How long do I need for each component?

If you need to go over something that you were not completely sure about, reallocate some time to it, but this time look at where you fell down rather than the whole item again- break it down into smaller parts to isolate what the problem is.

‘How do I choose the right 11-plus tutor?’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/03/14/how-do-i-choose-the-right-11-plus-tutor/

Finding the right 11 plus tutor can be tricky, especially with new tutors and centres popping up on a daily basis. Be sure to find a tutor that suits your needs and whose teaching style works well with your child and keeps them motivated and engaged.

The best and most reliable source is word of mouth. Make sure that your tutor not only helps your child to pass the exam for your chosen school but also helps prepare them for when they are there. If they get in and struggle to keep up with the fast pace it could be damaging to their self-esteem. Talking to other parents in and around the local area is a good place to start to find the right tutor for your child.

Remember to make sure all staff are DBS checked. It’s also worth noting whether they are members of The Tutors’ Association (TTA)

Prajay Harji

Pupils in tears after sitting ‘incredibly difficult’ SATS paper

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/sats-pupils-tears-after-sitting-incredibly-difficult-reading-test

satstests2_2

I’ve been preparing some students for the KS2 English exams and I can take solace from the fact that I have used some KS3 material so they won’t be as intimidated by the difficulty… However, I’m fairly convinced that destroying a child’s confidence early on by making papers so difficult, won’t result in a greater confidence in the subject, nor improve standards in the long term.

It is true that it is important to stretch children, but having read with children with low levels of literacy before, in my experience it certainly does not encourage children to keep reading everyday when illiteracy is crudely highlighted by an exam.

When I took these KS2 exams, I barely knew what they were about and took them with a light heart. Now, I think it’s become necessary for kids to have pressure, when it shouldn’t really be a concern. Yet sometimes there is excess pressure put on children. It really isn’t good for them in the long run. Some children just aren’t ready for that weight of expectation.

Jonathan Strange – An RTG Tutor