Too Much Content… Too Little Time!
One of the clear themes I have encountered when talking to teachers this year is that under the enhanced content of the reformed specifications, teaching time is spread very thinly. The necessity of covering every topic prevents the in-depth exploration required. Whilst a lot of schools have transitioned to viewing the preparation for GCSEs as a 3-year journey, in many cases this does not seem to solve the problem. One solution that has been picking up steam is implementing Parallel Schemes of Work.
So, What Are Parallel Schemes of Work?
When beginning the GCSE ‘journey’, schemes of work often include topics which will already have been delivered at Key Stage 3. Whilst relying on students’ memory of their Year 7 and Year 8 learning is clearly folly, so is spending excessive amounts of precious class time going over old ground.
Parallel Schemes of Work involve ‘outsourcing’ these topics to a digital aid. Whilst in-class time is now able to be spread more thickly across the remaining ‘new’ topics, revision of the fundamentals still takes place. Students are required to use a structured platform like EzyMaths to complete revision of their Key Stage 3 topics, in parallel with their in-class scheme of work.
So often when you embark on the ‘GCSE’ course, the slate is wiped clean and all students are taught from the same starting point at low-level topics. A parallel scheme of work removes these topics from the classroom and they are incorporated into a series independent learning modules and assessments that can be completed online using the EzyMaths Learning platform.
Where Does the Teacher Fit In?
This approach still requires teacher-led management of activity. Without the accountability of the teacher monitoring the completion data of the digital activities, students will not keep to the parallel scheme of work and the all-important revision of these fundamental topics will not take place. The next level of engagement is to still reserve some in-class time periodically for these outsourced topics. What you cover in these reserved periods is informed by the student activity data from the platform – focus teaching efforts on the topics the data show students find most difficult.
More time available for complex topics and more formative assessment taking place! Now that’s a win-win if ever I’ve seen it!
What About A-Level Maths?
A-Level classes suffer the same problem, especially under the new reformed linear exams. Many of the early teaching topics are repeats or extensions of GCSE topics. Whilst undoubtedly important, this ground can be covered digitally in parallel with in-class instruction.
If the concept of parallel schemes of work has caught your attention, please fill out our school enquiry form for a consultation about how EzyMaths can help you implement this in your department.
Whilst great in theory this will only work for the studious pupils - many will not do the digital aids at home or effectively enough for the impact needed this will have gaps in knowledge which are then needed when answering the more complex questions - in my opinion this is not the greatest idea I tutor many grammar school children as well as middle of the road comprehensive students and both feel demoralised as they think they are useless at maths - we need to start from bottom and build at the level of the students not teach for grades but understanding