In the recent change to KS2 English SATs, a bigger focus has been placed on spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG). Working in a school, I can’t help but notice the lack of immediacy when it comes to corrections of SPAG errors. With 32 children in a class, the ‘spinning plates’ method is part of the daily routine! Ensuring all the students are on task, meeting the success criteria and behaving take priority. Work is marked later with students making corrections one or two days later. How can students really become aware of common SPAG errors if they aren’t immediately pointed out to them? Does being told you made a mistake a day or more after you made it, really make much of an impact?
Tutoring makes such a difference to a child’s progress as they have someone right there to point out errors and fix them straight away. Children are told why they made an error, what they need to do to correct it and then encouraged to practise the new rules they have learnt to help it stick.
When tutoring, we always check work with a student at the end of every page or paragraph, ask students to read written work out loud to spot the missing comma or to spot where the new sentence should be and to correct spellings with a dictionary.
Unfortunately, with class sizes and teachers workload getting bigger in schools – it’s another area that probably won’t get the attention it needs.
Article written by Sarah Bell.
Sarah Bell runs her own MagiKats Maths and English centre in Hove, East Sussex. She is an Education (BA Hons) graduate from the University of Brighton and has worked with children in many different settings over the years.