Monday, 21 March 2016

Home School - WALT and WILF

I obviously love the fact that I home educate the boys; it creates the perfect mix between being a parent and a teacher for me
As a teacher, as well as a head of KS1 and a variety of subjects, I enjoyed the challenge of creating lessons that were engaging to my pupils but were also within the guidelines of the curriculum and the objectives set for the class.

The majority of the time I could work towards this and create some fantastic lessons.
Over the 10 years of my career it became a standard in classes to create a tiered ability grouping of top, middle and bottom.

This was never really publicised to parents or to the pupils as it can be quite disheartening to think that your child was in a bottom group or that there were others that were achieving a lot more.; the majority of the time the groups had names like "Lion", "Crocodile" and "Hippo" etc to distinguish them.
The truth is that the majority of the time the children in the “bottom” ability group were the ones that were achieving the lesson objectives but may just need a bit of adult support; they were not, as most would assume, actually behind in their learning.

The Children in the “top” ability were often those that had a good prior understanding in the topic or were just quicker at gaining an understanding of the lesson objectives.
So, how is this relevant in Home Education?

In many ways it isn’t.
Home Education is such a wide and varied practice that there is no real “right” or “wrong” way of doing it. If you are a parent, for example, that is Home Educating on the Unschooling formula then it doesn’t really matter how learning is achieved or implemented.

Part of our Home School journey is based on two points:
1. I loved and enjoyed being a teacher.

There are parts of my nature and experience that naturally comes through that “schools” the boys in a standard school set up.
2. Home Education has never been a long term goal.

It has always been agreed by both the boys Mum and I that the home education is only ever a interim period and that both boys will eventually go back into mainstream education; they will go either together or separately depending on their readiness.
The second point is important for us; with the boys eventually going back I feel that the boys should be on par or above a regular standard for their ages, hopefully making integration easier for them.

With this in mind, each lesson, although still loosely presented to the boys, is set by suggested curriculum topics. Each of these topics have their own learning objectives which would layer and build up each child’s understanding.
I have thought about this for a while and since we have been using lesson objectives in our activities that I will start integrating them into my Home School posts.

This is with hope that anyone wanting to replicate the activity would know what to aim for.

From now on you will see WALT and WILF in the posts.
What are WALT and WILF?

WALT refers to "We are learning to..."
WILF stands for the phrase "What I am looking for..."

Reference to WALT and WILF was introduced in primary schools as a way to communicate to children what the learning objectives for a particular lesson are, and what things the teacher will be looking for in a piece of work or during an activity.
WALT and WILF stem from the idea was that if children know what is expected of them in a lesson, they can start to evaluate their own learning and having done so, can try to improve their work and be more successful.

Throughout the lesson and at the end the teacher will again refer to the WALT and WILF, with children asked to make a self-assessment of their work to show that they have met the objectives.

With this understanding I wanted to introduce WALT and WILF to the blog as you will hopefully see them within each educational post.

What do you think? Do you use these in your Home Education? Will this make it easier for you to apply what we do to your activities?

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