Jump to content

- - - - -

Selection, streaming and banding......

  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#31 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • Special member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,779 posts

Posted 16 September 2003 - 08:50 AM

In today’s Guardian it is reported that according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Finland has once again been ranked as having the best education system in the world. A few weeks ago Finland came top of the world’s literacy rankings (OECD/Unesco).


For those who have argued passionately about the need for streaming might be interested in the way Finland is organized

(1) All schools are comprehensive.

(2) Children go to the same school from 6 to 16.

(3) There is no selection involved. All children are taught in mixed ability classes.

(4) Children do not take national exams at any stage between 6 and 16.

(5) School inspectors do not publish their reports. The reports are instead feedback to the teachers in order “to help staff develop”.

(6) There are no school league tables in Finland.

(7) Only 3% of children drop out of education at 16 in Finland. 70% go on to university and 27% to vocational schools.

#32 Guest_andy_walker_*

  • Guests

Posted 17 September 2003 - 10:54 AM

There appears to be a great deal we could learn from the Finnish system. The level of achievement, education, inclusion etc. would suggest that they do a great deal right. Interesting isn't it that they follow the comprehensive model, and have mixed ability teaching - both features so despised and pilloried by politicians, media, parents and quite a few teachers to boot. (I volunteer to boot them! ;) )

Perhaps we should look on a cultural level at the British system and start to challenge some diehard assumptions. The Comprehensive experiment In the UK failed in my view through a lack of belief in it and committment to it. Not least teachers, educationalists and politicians having all been "successes" of the selective system remained wedded to those principles despite the new structure of the comprehensive. Teacher training never took on board the new reality and whilst we temporarily had comprehensive schools we never had a majority of comprehensive teachers.

Edited by andy_walker, 17 September 2003 - 07:43 PM.

#33 Lou Phillips

Lou Phillips

    Long-term Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 505 posts

Posted 12 October 2003 - 04:55 PM

As a PGCE student forced to study this debate for my Professional Studies course, I have found this seminar very useful and informative. Maybe its because of my left-wing parents, or maybe its because of how I hated the pressurised setting of my own schooling, but I have always hated the idea of setting/streaming/banding etc. Having spoken to teachers of various subjects on my observation this week, I appreciate that it is very difficult to teach mixed ability classes, its tiring producing differentiated materials and ultimately you find yourself (against your better judgment maybe) teaching "to the middle". However, as one member of staff remarked, "its mixed ability in life and its something children need to deal with".

Finally, the Finish case has inspired me. Proof that my personal convictions are right and that mixed ability IS possibile and profitable. I intend to do my damndest to enforce it throughout my career.
"True generosity towards the future consists of giving everything to the present" Albert Camus

"We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon"

#34 Guest_andy_walker_*

  • Guests

Posted 15 October 2003 - 06:01 PM

Finally, the Finish case has inspired me. Proof that my personal convictions are right and that mixed ability IS possibile and profitable. I intend to do my damndest to enforce it throughout my career.

Good luck! You'll need it..... we are in the minority these days

#35 neil mcdonald

neil mcdonald

    Neil McDonald

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,612 posts

Posted 29 December 2005 - 09:28 PM

I decided to try and resurrect this seminar to put forward an issue I have raised.

In the past, this seminar was in effect an attack on streaming, banding or any other of differentiated curriculum model however I wish to look at this seminar from a different view point.

When I moved schools in 2004, I came to a school that has serious issues regarding value added. There are some inconsistencies regarding socio-economic data however that won't stave off any 'attack' by an inspector - if it should at all. The school has had a long history of mixed ability teaching, although some of the departments have the ability to band their groups. I emailed the SMT to arrange a meeting to discuss the idea of bringing in more banding by ability.

I read the seminar and all the issues over negative attention on those seen as 'less intelligent', yet I also feel by banding we can in effect allow a greater personalisation in the curriculum for the students. Has anyone moved to a method of banding or streaming and what were the results?

I recently read a GTCE report on this issue and it basically summed it up a six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I have also read the reports in the media recently that appeared to spell the end of the comprehsive system.

What is the answer?

Which do you prefer - mixed or banded classes?
Bernard Woolley: Have the countries in alphabetical order? Oh no, we can't do that, we'd put Iraq next to Iran.

Bernard Woolley: That's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I give confidential security briefings. You leak. He has been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.

#36 Lindsay_Merrony


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 207 posts

Posted 03 January 2006 - 11:43 AM

Before I had children, I was a big fan of mixed ability. Now that I have children, I am a big fan of setting, banding, streaming.

Been thinking about this and the whole education system a lot lately. The education 'system' is a total failure. Indeed, it is not even about education. Thats why I admire the finance world. They say our aim is to make money. They speak the truth. Educators say that educate people.

Come on, we don't educate. We attempt to control and impose.

Happy New Year!

#37 DAJ Belshaw

DAJ Belshaw

    Super Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,556 posts

Posted 03 January 2006 - 06:22 PM

I may be showing a lack of ability here, but hey! at least I'm honest... :unsure:

I'm sure we all enjoy teaching the nice, middle-class top set children but actually believe I have a talent for teaching these types of children. Although I'm not useless at it, I am not so talented at teaching less able pupils. Other teachers I have seen during my (admittedly short) teaching career, are the opposite - they excel at teaching lower-ability pupils but struggle to come up with ideas to challenge the Gifted & Talented.

In an ideal world we'd have one-to-one or very small group tuition. :D As that can't be the case we should teach pupils for the majority of time in as similar groups as possible. I'm not saying that all lessons should be with the same pupils; I'm not saying that pupils should be creamed off and never interact with those from other socio-economic backgrounds; I'm simply saying that teaching (and learning) is a hard enough job without adding the impossible burden of differentiating from A* to G every lesson!

Doug :hehe:

Edited by DAJ Belshaw, 03 January 2006 - 06:22 PM.

#38 DaveStacey


    Long-term Member

  • Admin
  • 957 posts

Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:45 PM

Flicking through todays' Guardian (well, as much as you can 'flick through' a website) I came across this report of some new research by Sue Hallam and Judith Ireson which reminded me that I was going to post here.

I read the seminar and all the issues over negative attention on those seen as 'less intelligent', yet I also feel by banding we can in effect allow a greater personalisation in the curriculum for the students. Has anyone moved to a method of banding or streaming and what were the results?

My personal feeling is that while any ability setting can lead to classes of closer ability, the reality it that everyone in that classroom is going to be learning in a different way and, to a greater or lesser extent, at a different pace. One of the criticisms of abilty-grouped teaching in many of the articles and reports I read last year for my PGCE is that it encourages teachers to think that don't need to differentiate. So the pupils at either extreme still miss out. Perhaps even more so, because at least their needs are being considered by someone teaching mixed ability.

The other factor that has always concerned me is the effect outside lessons. There's no doubt that the social effects of streaming, banding or even setting can be negative for those in the lower sets. There is also evidence to suggest it can also be detrimental to those in the top sets. That, more than any reason, has always put me off the idea.

But now I'm in the classroom, I have at times been forced to go back at look at my views again. There are some pupils who are struggling at the bottom of mixed ability groups, and likewise some at the top that I am struggling to find ways to engage fully. But if I'm honest, those pupils would be in the same situation if we ability grouped. They are the pupils who would still be struggling if they were in a bottom set or who would be bored in the top set, and they are a real minority. By teaching in mixed ability groups I can deliberatly create groups by ability group, or by learning style, or mix them all up, from lesson to lesson and hopefully provide a fairly varied teaching experience without those pupils feeling as alientated as they would under an ability grouped system.

The key to this, I believe, is effective differientation (and I'll flag up the excellent seminar on this subject here). I also recommend the section in Paul Ginnis' 'Teacher Toolkit' for ideas. Abilty grouping may seem attractive in the short-term, but in the long term I stand by my belief that mixed ability is, overall, better for pupils

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users