Factors contributing towards effective teaching and learning of disaffected, low attaining key stage 4 pupils: a case study in a south Wales school
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It was evident in a south Wales school that disaffected, low-attaining Key Stage Four pupils were responding differently to certain subjects, displaying a contrast in attendance, effort, behaviour and attainment levels. These pupils were seen to achieve well for their ability in Design and Technology (D&T) and mathematics, yet were often unruly and unresponsive in science and English. This case study aimed to identify the key factors which were succeeding in mathematics and D&T and the factors that needed addressing in English and science to help achieve consistently effective teaching for disaffected pupils. The main issues which emerged from a review of literature were that disaffected pupils often viewed school as not relevant but attached great weight to relationships with peers and teachers. Literature showed a clear link between being disaffected and disadvantaged and suggested that these pupils need a more practical curriculum. Literature was inconclusive regarding the benefits of attainment setting. lnterviews were used with staff, senior management members and pupils. Questionnaires were issued to the sample of pupils and semi-structured observations were carried out in the four subjects. The case study found that teachers who understand, and respond to, an individual's needs are more likely to help disaffected pupils achieve success. Teaching styles, grouping arrangements and alternative curriculums were also crucial factors in producing effective teaching and learning environments. The sample was small due to the case study's scale. Therefore, the limitations are acknowledged and the need for further investigation of some of the issues is identified.
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