[Original title: Johnny won't read, and Susie won't either: Reading instruction and student resistance]
DCSF Standards Site
How can teachers keep pupils on-task during literacy lessons?
Why are children highly motivated and engaged in some classes, but not others? What causes pupils to go off-task? To find out, the researchers of this US study analysed literacy lessons in classes of children aged 5-8 years from 13 primary schools in which there was considerable off-task behaviour.
The researchers found that lack of engagement was not simply a case of poor classroom management and discipline, but a reflection of the way in which literacy was taught. A number of key factors led to low engagement. These included pupils experiencing lack of choice, challenge, control over their own learning, and opportunities to work with other pupils. Off-task behaviour was particularly apparent during lessons in which pupils were expected to conform to certain prescribed procedures and undertake closed tasks. Such lessons also had an adverse effect on pupils' feelings of success and the teachers' relationships with their pupils.
This study is likely to interest not only teachers of literacy, but any teacher wanting to enhance the teaching and learning that goes on in their classrooms. It points to the importance of ensuring that pupils are given choice, allowed to share in the decision making, are set open and challenging tasks, and encouraged to work collaboratively with each other. Crucially, the study indicates how these goals can be achieved.
off-task, literacy lesson, discipline
Powell, R., McIntyre, E., & Rightmyer, E. (2006)
Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 6 (1) pp. 5-31
Article Id : 13883
Date Posted: 7/1/2008