Throughout my experience as a Learning Support Assistant, I have had a lot of experience with individual reading with pupils. I have always taken a few minutes to ask the child how they are and if they have had a good weekend etcetera. I think it is important to have a good rapport with every child, and this has always been a good way for children to have a little individual attention. Given consideration to this, I feel that it is a good time to assess their speaking and listening skills. The pupil is unaware that they are being assessed and are in a situation where they are very comfortable. Moreover, if this is a normal occurrence they will talk with ease and speak freely. After the initial conversation, the discussion could move to their feelings and views on the book that they are reading. There could then be a comparison between colloquial and academic conversation.
Speaking and Listening During Assembly Children can easily be observed on their listening skills when participating as an audience during assembly. The only problem is, they can appear to be listening but their mind could be elsewhere. The only way to establish if they have listened is to ask questions after. At the school where I work, children perform an assembly as a class once a term. This is an ideal opportunity to assess how pupils perform in a challenging situation.
Circle Time Children often find it easier to talk and air their grievances during circle time. They do not seem to feel under any pressure to perform, as they may in normal lesson time. Hence, another chance to assess in relaxing circumstances. Discussion During Lesson Time During lessons, assessments can be carried out. It can easily seen be if the children are paying attention, and if unsure, they can be questioned about the topic to find out if they have been paying attention. In a situation where there are many children, it would be wise to keep mental records of two or three children at one time to make accurate assessments. The information collected should then be written down as soon as possible to avoid inaccuracies.
Playtime This can be a good time to find out the extent of pupil’s vocabulary as a child that may not have much to contribute during school can often have much more to say during playtime. Of course, the conversation will be a bit different during social activities but some children are more confident in this kind of environment. Group Reading Some pupils excel during group reading, as they like to perform in front of a crowd. Conversely, other children feel anxious about the prospect of talking in a group. The best way to approach this situation is to gradually encourage pupils to take part in the discussion of the text, and progress onto a more lengthy conversation. Their reaction to speaking within a group could also be recorded in their assessment.
Pupil Profile For the purpose of this assignment, I will call the pupils ‘A’ and ‘B’ for confidentiality reasons. Pupil A Pupil A is a six-year-old boy. He has an unstable home life as his mother and father have divorced and the mother has remarried. He comes from a large family, four brothers and two sisters. The family speaks colloquially and do not reprimand the children when using bad language. Pupil B Pupil B is a six- year- old girl. She comes from a stable home and has a brother. Discipline is good within the home.
Assessing the Pupils To obtain an accurate assessment in two weeks, I decided that it would be beneficial to assess many different situations. The two pupils were taken out of the classroom individually to read their book. Pupil A’s reading ability is six months below his chronological age. He is currently reading ‘Kipper’s Dog’, which is part of the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. We always begin our reading sessions with a brief informal chat about how they are feeling. On asking Pupil A how his weekend went, he said:
You wouldn’t like Ben, he is really naughty I commented that I know Ben as he is in the school and I thought he was a nice little boy. He then replied: But he is different at home, he swears at my mum I tried to focus the conversation around positive things that had happened at home but he was insistent about his brother. As I did not want to discuss his personal life, I proceeded to talk about the book that he was reading. He went to great lengths telling me about the book and the story line. By his reaction, he obviously enjoyed reading this book, but I know from his reading record that he does not read at all at home. After a discussion and some reading, ‘A’ was very reluctant to go back to class. He finds one to one attention stimulating and enjoyable.
Pupil ‘B’ has a reading age nine months above her chronological age, and is reading ‘Egyptian Adventure’ another Oxford Reading Tree book. When she came to read to me, we discussed her weekend and she happily told me: We went to the adventure playground with Chloe and had a McDonalds afterwards She proceeded to open her book and look what page she was up to, so I assumed that she did not want to talk any further. I asked her if she liked the book and what the story was about and she politely told me about the story and said the book was “okay”. She was very well mannered but lacked enthusiasm in her speech, although her reading was quite expressive.
Assessment during Assembly The whole of the class performed an assembly on the theme of ‘traditional tales’. Pupil ‘A’ and ‘B’ had small parts, as did the rest of the class. They both spoke clearly and accurately and appeared to enjoy the activity although ‘B’ was a bit nervous before they went into the hall. They were both aware of when it was their turn to talk, which showed good listening skills. Circle Time During circle time, we were discussing ‘making new friends’. Pupil ‘A’ found it difficult to not talk until its was his turn and had a lot to say when it was his turn. When he did speak, he rushed and became a bit mixed up. ‘B’ said she liked her friends and did not want any more: she used good intonation when speaking.