This is backed up by Dylan Wiliam, who states that the teacher is reinforcing their own understanding thus creating a deeper learning, “Most teachers I’ve spoken to say they have never understood their subject fully until they started to teach it. ” (Wiliam, Meeting Dylan Wiliam, 2008). This could be further argued that; it is key element in a pupil’s social development, not only academic, through Vygotsky’s (ZPD) Zone of Proximal Development, whereby the teaching pupil becomes the MKO (More Knowledgeable Other) (Vygotsky, 1978).Order now
Having spent the past three months in my placement, taking part with this pastoral model, I have realised that it has true potential to work. It is not a model that can be introduced and then nothing else put in place to support it. The traditional head of years are now redundant and a house system has to be introduced with heads and a supporting team. In this particular school they have kept in place the head of sixth form, this I believe is because with the vast amount of form tutors needed, they cannot all be trained and become experts in the very complex and time demanding job of university applications.
Does it really help the form tutor in their pastoral role? Do all form tutors now need to be trained at a higher level of pastoral care? Are the tutees helped or hindered by the different age ranges? What happens to those individual teachers that work better with different groups of pupils, i. e. KS3 or KS4 groups? As under this system tutors will need to be able to deal with both KS3 and KS4 members and issues alike. All year groups have very different social needs and experiences.
With the year 11’s stressing (or in my experience at placement one – not) over GCSE’s, Year 13’s pressure over their UCAS applications, Year 9’s with their option choices, all very key steps in their individual lives, but none the less all as important to those individuals as the next. How could a form tutor balance all those different levels of apprehension, without making one less important than the next? Or do they use the circumstances to inform those who will experience this in future years, or give an opportunity for those before to reflect back on their own experience?
Tutors do not teach PSHE as such but seek to facilitate ‘learning relationships’ and increased maturity (‘real citizenship’ and active SEAL (The Department for Children, Schools an Families, 1997-2010) in part) by using Leadership and the ‘Power of the Pack! ‘ Tutors are then better enabled to be responsible for the academic and pastoral needs of students. I believe that the Vertical Tutoring system can be lent to deep support as demonstrated by peer support as well as tutor support; it allows for a deeper level of leadership through the naturally authoritive figures such as sixth form members or simply the elder members of the form.
It would also be an opportunity for younger members with natural leadership qualities to be able to represent and have authority over their elders, which can be a very true reality in outside of school life; this would also encourage an extended learning of opportunities such as Sports Leadership Gold, etc The system can also allow for a louder student voice as all age groups can contribute and bounce ideas for change off of one another, this would not be the case for the vast majority to be involved in, in traditional tutoring systems.
I have already touched on the idea of pupils gaining a deeper understanding in learning to learn when pupils naturally lend themselves to helping their peers, not only through homework tasks, but fun group activities that provide important developmental skills needed in life, i. e. social and citizenship skills. I am aware on the other hand that, there are Vertical Tutoring Systems that are in place that are not as successful as the placement experience I have. This could be down to the fact that the nuts and bolts of the system have not been tweaked and set up adequately for the intended environment.
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