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Modern English School

 
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Cairomom



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Modern English School Reply with quote

After a long search I decided that Modern English School was the best well rounded school for my child.

Last year he started reception, everything was fine. During parents meetings and report cards he was classified as an average student.

Over the summer I ran into some mothers with children in the same class as my son. The gossip started flying. Apparently the teacher favored the girls and they finished their assigned reading books in stage 4. While most of the boys were left to the Egyptian asstiant and ended the school year only completing stage 1.( I'm sure the boys are more hyper and not as easy to teach). This was over summer break and there was not a whole lot I could do. Figured it was the teacher and hoped for a better year in year 1.

So we are 6/7 weeks into the new year, and it is even worse. The class has assigned seats according to their learning level. "advanced", "average", and "difficult". The reading books are still completly different levels some stage 2 while others stage7. The children are given spelling words each week. Some kids have 8, while others have 12. I know that all children learn at differnt rates, but is this a good way to divide up the classroom?

I feel sorry for the teacher that has to teach 23 kids on so many levels.

My parents meeting is tomarrow. I've been alloted an entire 10 minutes. Afterwords I will meet with head of the primary department. Hoping to resolve some issues.

My question is for any parents or teachers: Is it common to divide up a class into some many levels. (primary years)?

Thanks,
Frustrated Cairomom
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16184
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never taught primary level and I hope there is someone here that has (but most posters here teach university level as I did).

My first question would be for you. Do you read with your child? Were you not aware that he had trouble reading? Once you learned how far behind he was, are you now working with him? He may have a reading disability like dyslexia... or he may just be a slow starter.

As long as the division into levels is relatively accurate and being in the lower level is not presented as a punishment or a permanent condition of being dumber than everyone (for instance, is math split the same way so that students can be in different levels in different areas?) I don't think it is a bad thing. But, I do think that the teacher should be moving between levels and spending more time with those at the bottom, not those at the top...

In most reading classrooms, teachers encounter the problem of often radically different ability levels. It is difficult for both teachers and students to be tied to one text which is way above the level of some and way below the level of other... half of your students are bored to tears and the other half are frustrated. The reading research that I have read suggests that in order to improve reading and avoid the frustration, it is best for students to be reading at a level slightly below their level. As confidence, vocabulary, and reading speed increase, the text level can be raised. The success depends on the teachers and too often, how much the students like or hate reading.

From what I have seen, reading success is often the result of whether the students came from a house of readers and books were considered important and crucially, fun. Boys have a terrible tendency to hate reading. Shocked I would say at this point, have a professional test for disabilities, and then either get a tutor or tutor him yourself. I doubt that changing schools will be the answer. See what the teacher and Head have to say first.

VS
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NadiaK



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In terms of reading, I would say that yes, it's common. As VS says, in any given class there is a huge variety of reading levels; children learn to read at vastly different rates. (The good news is that they all tend to catch up with each other in a couple of years or so - although those who love reading and do it more often will be "better" readers than those who don't enjoy it and/or rarely read.)

As a parent (my daughter's a year older than your son), I would be more concerned if the whole class were being forced to read the same level.

I have only addressed the reading issue - sorry, I am not qualified to comment on the other issues as I am not primary trained.

Good luck tomorrow! Let us know how it goes.

NK
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stoth1972



Joined: 16 May 2003
Posts: 674
Location: Seattle, Washington

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a primary teacher (formerly in Cairo) I caution you against taking the gossip of other parents as fact. I was regularly accused of favouring a child who progressed through the reading series faster than his/her classmates.
Quote:
The class has assigned seats according to their learning level. "advanced", "average", and "difficult". The reading books are still completly different levels some stage 2 while others stage7. The children are given spelling words each week. Some kids have 8, while others have 12. I know that all children learn at differnt rates, but is this a good way to divide up the classroom?


Modern English follows the British curriculum, I believe, with a section in their high school for the American curriculum, no? Seating children during their literacy hour according to their level is part of the British national curriculum. My students would move back to a more 'mixed' seating plan for other subjects, but during the literacy hour, they worked in groups of like-ability. The groups completed versions of the same worksheets and participated in versions of the same activity. These groups were not fixed, and children with improved reading skills would be moved to the appropriate group.
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Cairomom



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your replies.

VS, I have been concerned from the start of last year, since my son is the youngest in the class. He has an August b-day, and I was torn between keeping him in nursery (he had already 2 years of nursery and was getting bored) or to start reception. The school was aware of my concern. After his interveiw and good command of english they reccomend that he start reception. My concerns throughout the year were, was he struggling or on average. After 2 parents meetings, and two report cards he was still average across the board in all subjects. I even asked the teacher if she felt he was ok to advance or should he repeat reception. In her opinion he is not the brightest or fastest, but he will be fine.

Yes, I read with my child 4 out of 7days, and all parents are required to sign off on reading sheet. Even over the summer break we worked together 4 days a week alternting between reading, writing, and math sheets I downloaded over the internet based on his age. Some he had difficulty because it was new to him, and some he flew through. Again average. So I'm aware of my child's level. How that compares to the rest of the class I don't know. Dyslexia crossed my mind because he does flip letters and numbers around. When I asked his teacher. she said it was common during this age, not to worry. But, next year if it doesn't work it's way out, maybe.

Today is the parents meeting. I hope I'm not falling victim to a school that only wants to keep the parents happy, by telling them what they want to hear.

Thanks again.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16184
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you are heading the right direction. Telling you what you want to hear is a common problem in education, because too many parents don't want to know the truth. I'd say that if you are still concerned, try to get him tested by outside professionals (ie, not affiliated with the school).

The hard part will be to work with him without making him hate reading even more than he probably already does. Shocked Try to make it fun with topics that interest him

Good Luck... I'm sure that he will be fine.

VS
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Cairomom



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feeling a bit more confident today after my meeting with my son's teacher as well as the head of the department.

The head of the department did apoligize for a "Disaster" in his reading class last year. Unfornatley the school learned what was going on with the teacher to late, and never followed up on the problem. So that is how my son fell so far behind while others advanced very quickly. I was glad that the school admitted their mistake, but still upset that it was allowed to happen, at my son's and other children's expense.

I'm giving the school another chance. We will work together and hopefully improve my child reading.

Thanks again!
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NadiaK



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 206

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad the meetings seem to have gone well. I'm sure that, given your concern and involvement, your son will do fine.

Good luck!
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