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VIEWS & OPINION


The importance of teac hing touch ty in schools


Comment by KEENE BRA typing


RAGANZA, CEOof KAZ It is a proud moment for many


children in primary schools when they earn their Pen Licence. This is proof that they can produce, 'fluent, legible and eventually, speedy handwriting.'


Some children do not reach this milestone until they are nine which means that they have spent five years of almost daily practice learning to write with a pen or pencil. However, once they leave school they will rarely use this skill as


the world of work and of further and higher education will require them to use computers and word processing packages. There are so many arguments in favour of handwriting.Many subscribe to the view that once children can produce legible, joined up handwriting with little conscious effort they can focus on the higher-level aspects of composition such as structure, tone and phrasing.


There is evidence that the process of putting ideas into words and then writing them down improves our memory and the National Handwriting Association says: 'Without fast and legible handwriting, students may miss out on learning opportunities and under-achieve academically.'


Interestingly, these same arguments apply equally to touch typing and yet most of our young people are at the hunt and peck stage using two or four fingers. Not only is this inefficient and slow but long term it can lead to conditions such as neck and back pain and repe titive strain injury .


These days typists are a rare breed and in many professions everyone has to input their own text, including doctors and solicitors, while those heading to university will be expected to word process their own assignments so it is an excellent skill to learn as early as possible.


People who do learn to type often say it's one of the best investments they have ever made. Research by Pitman Training shows that people who type with two fingers manage between 27 and 37 words a minute while touch typists can reach between 50 and 70 words a minute.


Whereas handwriting takes years to master, touch typing is a relatively quick process.Many experts recommend a week's intensive train ing but our software for example means that students can learn the basics in just 90 minutes and can quickly achieve speeds of 35 word per minutes.


Alan Tsui is Academic Enrichment Programmed Leader at Willow Brook Primary School Academy in East London and uses KAZ as part of the digital literacy component of the computing curriculum. 'In today’s world of technology, touch typing is a crucial 21st century skill,' he said. 'We use KAZ as part of our after school club offer on Friday afternoons. It is so over-subscribed, we have extended it to two groups.'


While we cannot replicate the thrill of getting a Pen Licence, we do have accreditation with City and Guilds for young people aged 15 and over which can be a useful extra on a CV.


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Engage, involve and connect: Howto


reducemaths anxiety Comment by ANDREA CARR, Sumdog, support


ofMathsWeek London 2019 We have perha ty


ps all felt it at some point rters


in our lives. That feeling when you’re put on the spot with a maths question and simply don’t know the answer. Or maybe you’re staring at a page of


calculations but none of it makes sense. Your heart beats faster and you panic. It’s an experience familiar to many


children around the country and it could be attributed to maths anxiety. A recent study published by the


Centre for Neuroscience in Education at the University of Cambridge reported that maths anxiety is a condition that affects young people and frequently results in a loss of confidence in the subject. This loss of confidence can have life-long implications.


The study reveals that maths anxiety has many different


manifestations, including emotional (feelings of tension, worry an d frustration), physical (racing heart or struggling to catch your breath) and behavioural tendencies (acting out in class, avoiding homework and not studying maths beyond the minimum expected level). The negative attitudes surrounding maths can be inherited from parents, peers and even teachers, and can impact on test performance, further fuelling anxiety.


There are however reasons to be optimistic; stress and anxiety can be alleviated through making maths more engaging and by injecting fun and creativity into teaching and practice.


When it comes to delivering maths lessons the key is to make topics engaging in order to help children overcome any fears. If childr en enjoy their learning and look forward to an activity, rathe r than dread it, they will be more motivated to learn and more likely to succeed. It’s also important to make tasks relatable, so that children are able to understand the purpose of what they have learned.


For example, Anson Primary School runs Change Club’. ForMathsWeek London 20


19, taking place 10-14 a ‘Lunchtime Loose


June, the children will be celebrating maths by creating their own business in the form of a market stall which they will run each lunchtime across the week. This is an opportunity for children to apply their maths skills as they consider costs, profits and stock levels and learn about the economic viability of a business. This ensures that they are not only using maths on a practical level, but the earnings they make fund the end of year school trip!


Making maths engaging and hands-on can be a powerful tool in boosting confidence among children, reducing stress and encouraging a more positive attitude.


There is a wealth of free resources available online for teachers to use to help bring maths to life. These activities can also be used by parents - ensuring that children feel supported both in and outside of the classroom. It is essential that these attitudes are tackled at all levels, so that we break down any negative attitudes and create a more positive, supportive and creative environment.


Whether it’s using maths games to motivate the whole class, activities which link to the real world, or home-school learning links, there are a wide range of fantastic resources, activities and ideas to demystify maths for children, improve their reduce the anxiety surrounding this core su events and a London-wide maths contest a London, taking place 10-14 June 2019 and free starter pack at www.mathsweeklondon.org


www.


schools can register for a re all part ofMathsWeek bject. Free resources, self-confidence and


VIEWS & OPINIO N


wwweducation-toda y.co.uk.co.uk 32


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