Review of "TASC"

published 07/07/2008 | pixie65
Member since : 08/04/2008
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Returning after a very long absence. Life throws a curve ball you need to learn quickly how to duck and roll or you will be out of the game !
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"TASC - Our children Our Future"

The wheel I use can be read by all pupils

The wheel I use can be read by all pupils

Education - what changes really consider the child that matters?

If I asked you the question - Should pupils plan their own lessons? What would your response be? Ten years ago I would have been horrified at this question. Especially after going through years of the 'New Literacy & Numeracy Hour framework training'.

Our education system has undergone many changes since the harsh days of Dickens. The differences between how I was taught, how I use to teach when I first qualified and how I teach today, has in itself changed dramatically. Many have said to me we should turn to Victorian values - I beg to differ. Where education is concerned - how can we teach Victorian values when our children have to live with and experience daily life that is a far cry from the Victorian era. Although respecting others is a value that needs to be brought to the forefront of education, I believe this should be taught by parents before children even enter the reception class. Maybe then teachers will have the respect from their pupils right from the very start.

Children know that teachers and police do not have the authority they once did, hence the lack of respect from an early age. Today children leaving school need to be independent thinkers and quick witted technological geniuses. By teaching them to respect themselves and being responsible for their own actions we are helping them to be good citizens.

Teaching methods need a shake up and during this review I will tell you about one method that is developing new skills in pupils that are needed in every child.

Since being awarded an outstanding Ofsted 2 years ago and our LEA giving us high commendations in our creativity teaching and learning, we as a school have made the decision to break away from traditional Framework Strategies and Out of date Schemes of Work. We have adopted several creative teaching strategies from a skills based curriculum to Discovery Time.

One teaching method we have been using for over a year now is called TASC -THINKING ACITIVELY IN A SOCIAL CONTEXT. TASC was created by Belle Wallace who is Past President of NACE (National Association for Able Children) she has published many studies on Gifted and Talented Children.

TASC Rationale is to;

• Work independently yet within an inclusive school policy
• Develop skills of research, investigation and problem-
solving that can be used across the curriculum
• Develop a positive sense of self as an active learner
• Develop their strengths exploring and using the full range
of their human abilities
• Develop skills of self-assessment

The rationale points above are all skills that help children develop as independant thinkers and develop a respect for their own learning. By giving children the opportunities to plan what and now they will learn, they will remember key objectives and take pride in what they have learnt. By getting a child to take pride in their learning they learn respect. By learning respect they learn how to be a good citizen.
TASC is not turning its back on the key issues children need to be taught just working alongside the National Curriculum and its objectives.

HOW TASC WORKS.

TASC is presented as a wheel (see photo). The wheel is divided into 8 sections. Each section targets a specific area of learning. These are;
• Gather and Organise
• Identify
• Generate
• Decide
• Implement
• Evaluate
• Communicate
• Learn from Experience

To help pupils achieve a section effectively they are given a question or statement in each part of the wheel. These are;
1. What do I know about this?
2. What is the task?
3. How many ideas can I think of?
4. Which is the best idea?
5. Let's do it.
6. How well did I do?
7. Let's tell some-one.
8. What have I learned?

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW I HAVE USED THIS.

The project - ART (Containers) / HISTORY (Ancient Greeks)

To link the 2 subjects above I used the TASC wheel to start a project that would result in the children researching, planning and making Greek Pots from clay.

At the start of a topic / project/ subject the whole class are put into small groups of 3-5 pupils. They are then given the project title - Containers.

The children are then shown which part of the wheel they are working on. I do this by taking the coloured section off my board and asking a child to read it out so all are clear as to which section and the question relating to it we are covering.

Each group mind-map the title using the first section of the wheel - What do we know about containers? The children record their ideas in one colour pen around the title. After 5 mins the children are given the chance to share 2 of their best ideas with the rest of the class. Encouraging them to share and record each others ideas helps build on their own ideas and increases confidence for all. The children are then asked to pick up a different coloured pen and from each idea write a further idea connected with the first suggestions.
(EG. 1ST idea from 1 group was a container holds water. From this the group added - It needs to be made from a waterproof material).

This is helping the children to make connections and build up their knowledge and understanding. Pupils are then asked to share their ideas and record good ideas from others.

From this I ask the children to create a question that they would like to use as a research base. For example - It needs to be waterproof - what materials will we need to use that will keep the water in.

These questions are written onto our mind map in another colour. Again the pupils repeated the sharing /recording activity.
One aspect of the TASC Wheel is that you don't necessarily go around in order. You may find that you jump from one section to another. As long as you ensure you identify with the children which section you are working on, they are taking control of generating and identifying their learning tasks and therefore taking ownership. By taking ownership of their learning they will take pride in their project and respect each others ideas and opinions.

I won't go through each section in too much detail as I will be here all night. However, here is a brief overview of what was achieved by my year 5 pupils.

The children generated great research questions that they then had time to discover, record and share their findings. They used these answers to then put their findings into generating skills they would need to create Clay Pots in the style of the Ancient Greeks. We brought our historical enquiry skills into this project and looked at everyday life depicted on Greek Pottery.

We identified skills we would need to practice before actually making the pots and held a skills morning that gave the children the opportunity to develop 3 types of pots - a press pot, a coil pot and a pinch pot. As a whole class we also created a Success Criteria for each type of pot.

A Success Criteria is a check list / instruction sheet to ensuring that a task is completed successfully. We use these in every area of our learning and the children a brilliant at identifying what is needed in it and then using this to check draft pieces and edit if required.
The class used these well to then identify which pot they enjoyed making and why. From these ideas they were given the choice of design for a final 'best' pot to make in the afternoon.

The quality of work was beautiful and each child took away a sense of pride that reflected the excellent design. We repeated the TASC process for the decorating of the pots. Our pots have gone off to be fired in a Kiln.

RECORDING AND ASSESSMENT

Apart from the finished products I have found that photocopying a TASC Wheel onto A3 size will help children to record the answers to each section. This will allow pupils to look back on their ideas from the previous section to help inform their next steps. It also helps the teacher to assess how a pupil tackles and record ideas under each learning skill.

I have noticed the children's confidence reach new heights. The sense of pride they take in their learning and ability to work independently, as well as part of a team, is fantastic. The respect that pupils gain from this learning experience is reflected in the care and praise they show each other and each other's work. The appreciation of each other's opinions and views show the move towards a good citizen developing and this will serve them well in the future.

When talking to pupils about their work their speaking and listening skills appear more confident. The ability to share new learning with others has become an every day part of their skills. We have developed new skills together and as a teacher I feel my pupils are more independent in research skills, thinking and problem solving.

My teaching skills have also developed into a role that has the confidence to allow my pupils to take control of their learning and set themselves (and myself) challenges.

Every child has something to give and this new style of teaching and learning ensures both pupils and teachers learning and share together.

I would urge any teacher not already using this method to investigate further. I am willing to share planning ideas and help with any further enquiries on this subject.
Some-one once said 'Our children are our future' - So what type of future will our children give us?

Thanks for reading this - my longest - review.
x hev

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Comments on this review

  • Luvlylana published 26/01/2009
    Fantastic, another well deserved E! xxx
  • plod591 published 17/09/2008
    Superbly written and opinions expressed perfectly. You will never know how much I agree with your views of respect being taught by parents prior to school age. x
  • antonferri published 12/09/2008
    Long review but worth it - I wnated to explore this furhter because of my work - thanks.
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Product Information : TASC

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Listed on Ciao since: 30/06/2008