Blog Archive

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Higher Ability Pupils - An Enquiry

Zoe Hyde writes: The notion of differentiation has been key in developing students learning. However, through my experiences of teaching higher ability students, they struggle to be challenged in some areas of our teaching. Games based learning, can be a strong way to engage and motivate our students. As they aim to engage and motivate learners and promote their enjoyment of History. I have focused on ideas such as the Medieval life – Barter game (Year 7), Dragons Den inventor’s project (Year 8) and Active Trench Warfare (Year 9). As the literature surrounding this topic suggests, ‘games ‘typically embody active and constructivist pedagogies’ for example: experimental learning, problem based learning and collaborative learning. Secondly, they produce ‘mechanisms that can motivate and engage some learners’, this can be achieved through the structure of rules, goals and rewards. 

From carrying out student voice it showed that students felt the most challenged ‘when they were not given a structured plan and where teachers trusted them to move away from what they know’. They also expressed an interest in further master-classes which could be run on a regular basis. Following this I led the History HAPs masterclass day on the 13th July, encouraging the students to get a better understanding of parliament, the House of Lords and elections. During the day, the students engaged in the government run session #LordsLive

Developing challenge in the classroom is vital if we are to encourage higher ability pupils to strive and be able to access a variety of different opportunities. However it is important that students are recognised for their different abilities in different subjects, and HAPs is not used as a blanket term for some students. Linking to Whitton’s research it is clear that each individual student learns in a unique way, which became clear from the student voice activities. To develop this study, HAPs could be built into individual curriculum's, especially linked with assessment, and good practice shared across the trust.

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