Read this blog to show how Hampshire Research School used the EEF work on fluency to close gaps for disadvantaged pupils.
by Hampshire Research School at Front Lawn Primary
This week the EEF released its long awaited Primary Science Guidance. A rigorous systematic review of available international evidence, it will support teachers and Science Leads to build pupils’ curiosity and critical thinking, ultimately helping them to build a coherent understanding of the world around them.
As shown time and time again, there is a stubborn gap in attainment between socio-economically disadvantaged pupils and their classmates. A 2021 EEF study on supporting oral language development states that, ‘…secure development of language… are amongst the best predictors of educational success’. Perhaps this is why the new Primary Science Guidance focuses so heavily on scientific vocabulary and the spoken word.
Scientific vocabulary can often be confusing and abstract, everyday words can suddenly have new meanings when used in a science context. For example, the word ‘force’ is used in everyday language to indicate an action undertaken with great effort, or made to do something you don’t want to do. In the world of science, a ‘force’ represents pushes and pulls that can make things move, stop or change shape. Research shows that explicitly teaching scientific vocabulary is a key strategy to help pupils learn, in addition to focussing on the spoken word as it means pupils’ aren’t hindered by limitations in their reading or writing skills.
At Front Lawn Primary Academy (FLPA), we support our children with their scientific vocabulary by ensuring time is dedicated to explicitly teaching vocabulary using scripts based around Recommendation 1 EEF Improving Literacy report and from the work of Wayne Tenant and Isobel Beck. The use of a script has ensured consistency across the school as well as reducing the cognitive load for children as they know what to expect when learning new vocabulary, whatever the subject.
Oracy and making children’s thinking explicit
‘The first step in embedding oracy into your classroom is accepting that it already happens – your students talk a lot, and you can leverage that.’ (Amy Gaunt, Primary Teacher and Oracy lead, School 21). After visiting School 21 last year, we at FLPA have been on a journey to embed oracy across the school. We have seen first hand the impact that giving children every possible opportunity to expand their vocabulary and their interpersonal skills and to gain the confidence has had. Introducing key actions to ‘build, challenge, agree’ with other children has enabled every child to take part in conversations and the use of roles such as Leader, Reporter and Scribe ensures that all children partake in group work. This is particularly useful in Science when children are linking new learning to real world contexts.
The new Primary Science Guidance provides six practical recommendations, aimed at closing the attainment gap, including: identifying science specific vocabulary, explicitly teaching new words, creating collaborative working environments and capitalising on the power of dialogue.
For more information on how to implement these in your classroom click here.
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