An enquiry into the factors that contribute to pupils in a comprehensive school in south Wales becoming ‘invisible’ in their lessons and how teachers are using strategies to engage them in the process of teaching and learning.
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Stakeholders in education have a moral purpose to provide all young people with the best possible opportunities to learn. Welsh Government and Local Authorities believe everyone can learn, and develop and realise their potential, given suitable support, encouragement and conditions for learning. For many years pupils in schools have been categorised into groups of learners, for example Free School Meals, More Able and Talented and Additional Learning Needs. However, I believe there is one group of learners that are evident in the classrooms of south Wales that do not appear in the data set of schools’ self-evaluations. These are the ‘invisible’ pupils. The purpose of this study was to get a clear understanding of the factors that contribute to some children becoming ‘invisible’ in the classroom. This study investigated what strategies teachers can employ to ensure that ‘invisible’ children engage in the learning experience and work towards achieving their potential. The study also considered if the strategies used were effective in terms of having an impact on teaching, and most importantly, learning. Action research was completed with the aim of improving practice within School X. The research concentrated on ‘invisible’ pupils in Year 7 and Year 10. Questionnaires and interviews were completed to gain qualitative data which were relevant and significant in order to drive change within the school. Although there were limitations to the study, there were some important findings. The factors that contribute to pupils becoming ‘invisible’ in the classroom could be placed into three categories: motivation to learn, the learning environment and who should be responsible for learning. However, it was clear that the factors that were relevant for one child would be different for another child, as every child is an individual. The strategies that can be used to engage ‘invisible’ pupils in their learning experience are based around the principles of Assessment for Learning (AFL). However, these strategies must be implemented by all staff within School X if they are to have a positive impact on teaching and learning and so that all pupils can realise their potential.
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