#nubelymath project: Children in England amongst the unhappiest with their learning. Child Learning/ Lesson Evaluations = increased ownership of their learning = happier learners.

The Children’s Society’s Good Childhood Report 2015 revealed some startling statistics, especially when comparing how happy England’s learners are with their education with similarly aged children from Germany, Norway, South Korea, Poland, Estonia, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Algeria, South Africa, Israel, Ethiopia, Colombia and Nepal. The full report can be downloaded by clicking here.

The following quotation is taken from www.theguardian.com based on data from The Good Childhood Report 2015 (Rees & Main, 2015)

On average, 11% of children said they were dissatisfied with school life, with particularly poor relationships with teachers upon which England was ranked 14th out of the 15 countries. They were also unhappy about what they were learning (11th in the rankings) and with their classmates (12th).

Judging whether game-based learning enables children to master concepts years before they are expected to is not a primary intention of Nubely Education’s #nubelymath project. A major aim is to show that a game-based approach to learning is more engaging.

It could be argued that participants who are engaged with their learning are invariably enjoying it. Will they enjoy game-based learning? If so, will they be more willing to take on challenges such as investigating concepts normally pitched at pupils two years older than them? Will the chance of getting it wrong bother them so much that they disengage or will the game-based approach negate their perceived risk as they stand-up to the increased difficulty and strive with self-motivation to accelerate their learning?

The statistics in the quotation above were collated by asking children for their opinions of their own learning. How often to teachers do that? Teachers are sought to evaluate their own teaching. Why should teachers limit their evaluations? Wouldn’t an evaluation with the input of multiple minds contributing to it be more useful? When I was a classroom teacher, I would discuss with my amazing Teaching Assistant the successful and not so successful aspects of virtually every lesson. There might have been successes that I noticed that she might not have. More importantly, she might have potential improvements to the lesson, or my teaching of it, that I did not realise. Improved lessons and teaching equalled improved learning. However, I never asked my pupils how the lesson could have been improved. I might have asked them whether they enjoyed a lesson, but I never asked whether they could have enjoyed it more.

It could be argued that this is seldom asked in any classroom across the UK, or even the world. Is it something that doesn’t come to mind to many of us, or is the possibility that children could have a negative opinion of our teaching too much to bear? Do children have the right to question our practise? Yes, as the primary stakeholder they do. We teach for their sole benefit, therefore their opinion is perhaps the most important of all.

Out of all of the findings that the #nubelymath project will produce, pupil participation in their learning and their enjoyment of it will be the most important to analyse. Collecting this data will not be easy. This ‘Starting the Project’ Google Form has been created to ask their opinions at the very first start of the project and this ‘Finishing the Project’ Google Form will be asked in its closing moments, after their completion of the final session.

It will be interesting to see how the participants’ thoughts of what quality learning looks and feels like differ from the start to the end of the project and whether they feel a game-based approach makes their learning more enjoyable, memorable and purposeful.

Why don’t you try the ‘Starting the Project’ Google Form in your class to see how much your pupils/ primary stakeholders enjoy the lessons that you spend so much time and effort in preparing? Is that time being effectively invested?

If you would like a copy of either of the forms, feel free to email hello@nubelyeducation.com