Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TIME MANAGEMENT AT THE MEADOW SCHOOL

Time Management with Year 6 and 7 Students
Sarah-Jo Robinson, Class Teacher, The Meadow School (Email:
sarah-jo@gtwiz.co.uk)


Following a generous donation of the necessary equipment from TMI, in
May/June 2007 the Year 6 and 7 (equivalent) students at The Meadow School
for Steiner Education were introduced to a system of planning and time
management developed by Jonathan Wolf-Phillips (based on a TMI compact
binder and small selection of TMI tabs and forms).

Each student received up to three 90 minute sessions of individual tuition
with Jonathan Wolf-Phillips, in which they were introduced to annual, weekly
and daily planning, together with support to develop and record their
intentions over these periods. All pupils came out of these sessions feeling
competent and able to use the system independently. Over the next few weeks
until the end of the year they worked with the system on a daily basis
within school and in most cases at home as well. The students were
universally positive about the experience, with the most favourable comments
coming from those students who customarily experience difficulty with
organisation/planning and/or with specific learning difficulties. This work
provided the culmination of work done during the year on team planning and
the establishment of a Class Council, which developed from curriculum work
on the establishment of democracy in Ancient Greece and Rome.

The students experienced clear boosts in self-esteem as a result of this
work, together with a range of new skills related to planning and
organisation with concomitant benefits for their academic work, leisure
activities and overall well-being. This was intensified by (but not
dependent on) the fact that students were aware that key teachers in the
school use the same system for their own planning.

In September 2007 these students left the school, moving on to a range of
different secondary schools or to be home educated. When contacted in
October, all the students reported having used the materials and the skills
learned during the summer holidays. On arrival at secondary schools most
students had been presented with a separate planner. Roughly 50% of the
students had then ceased to use the system they had been taught in June, as
they did not feel the need for more than one system. Other students
highlighted the fact that the new planning system they had received did not
cover weekends and holidays and reported that they had found it possible and
indeed desirable to dovetail both systems. No students were therefore still
using the earlier system on a daily basis, but they did not find that this
inhibited their use of either system. There was little feedback from
students who were being home educated, but those who did comment were still
using the system, albeit on an intermittent basis. All students approached
(including those who no longer used the system) identified that the skills
learnt had been interesting, enjoyable and beneficial and suggested that
other classes could also benefit from a similar experience.

Parental comments included acknowledgements of the "boost to self-esteem"
and the "immense pride which he felt in all the different aspects of the
system". In one case this led to a parent also asking for training in the
system "in order to keep up with her!" The system was reported to have
travelled on camping trips and even across the Atlantic during the summer
holidays!

This work provided a ground breaking experience in working with time
management with primary age pupils. Clearly it was a very positive
experience which could bear significant fruits if continued on a larger
scale. It was of particular interest that students with identifiable
learning difficulties or problems with organisation seemed to be able to
learn and implement these skills particularly easily.

The original donation from TMI is acknowledged with gratitude and was
fundamental to allowing this research to take place. Great thanks is also
due to Jonathan Wolf-Phillips for all the time he donated to this work with
our students. If anyone is interested in working with him individually on
time management (several members of our community have already done so and
benefited hugely from it) Jonathan can be contacted on
jonathan@wolf-phillips.com.

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