Seminar Paper 1
How do you ensure that pupils understand explanations ?
The purpose of this essay is to look at the ways in which a child retains information, how that information is processed and the possible barriers involved. There will be some focus on the theories of learning and the strategies and practices employed in the classroom. At this juncture it must be stated that ‘ensuring’ may be an ambiguous word, and that ‘enabling’ the understanding may be more precise, as no matter how vociferous the intention to ‘ensure’ there will always be pupils who fall through the net or may even have developed their own strategies to cope with not understanding yet leading the teacher to believe they have. Surely the answer to this statement must begin with good ‘communication’. It is recognised that communication is a ‘two way process’, starting as far back as pre-birth as stated by Elisbeth Hallett in her book ‘Soul Trek Meeting our Children on the Way to Birth’ (1995). If this idea is to stand the test of time, the pupils must therefore be given the opportunity to verbalise their level of understanding before a task is attempted. This relatively obvious procedure may not be possible in pupils with any existence of special educational need. Difficulties affecting the brain’s processing ability and auditory impairment may not always manifest themselves but will result in poor communication (Dittrich and Tutt, 2008). Therefore the need for effective two communication and pupils feeling empowered to be able to ask for help becomes a priority in teaching. Ed Balls (2007) states ‘effective communication and language skills are fundamental to young people’s learning, developing social skills and fulfilling their potential’.
Whatever the age of the learner, the cognitive ability, the language or SEN barriers, good clear, age specific, decipherable communication must be the key to understanding. Piaget (cited Pound, 2005) believed that children learnt in stages...
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