The screen isn’t the only tool to inspire young learners

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From: Anne Hyland, Knaresborough.

YOUNG children are starting school with limited concentration and communication skills and studies have linked a decline of intellectual ability with a shift away from working with manipulative and creative learning resources. Many young children feel lonely and isolated, they find it extremely difficult to make friends and work as part of a team. They are anxious, stressed and unhappy. Why?

As a retired primary teacher with 28 years experience, I witnessed the introduction of computers and smartboards into the classroom. My pupils and I thoroughly enjoyed using this powerful tool to its full potential.

In my opinion, screen learning should only be part of young children’s learning experiences. “Hands on” practical resources are essential.

Teachers, parents and educationalists discard them at their peril. We need to address the growing problem of screen use now or the situation will only deteriorate. Do we really want early year learners to spend increasing time on an iPad?

When young children are ‘Learning by Doing’ they work socially with and for one another. They are encouraged to freely ask and answer questions. The New Primary Curriculum stresses the importance of “speaking and listening”. Does enough of this take place when using a screen?

The Rubik cube has been celebrating its 40th anniversary. Everyone loves solving practical puzzles and investigations. Many use a grid for addition and multiplication square games, also Sudoku and crossword puzzles. A gridded magnetic board is an extremely powerful learning tool. Our children deserve to be enquiring enthusiastic, lifelong learners who “think outside the box” – not the screen!

From: Tony Manuel, Temple Avenue, Leeds.

LEEDS City College, that beacon of excellence which boasts of being the third largest further education college in the uk, is pulling the plug on all Spanish courses it currently runs at Deacon House in Seacroft, Leeds.

This is despite the number of my fellow students studying Spanish there exceeding minimum class sizes for the last three years.

Apparently, the college has to reduce the amount of adult provision significantly. No aspirations to be second largest further education college then? I feel a bit marginalised being an adult and seeking to broaden my knowledge studying the second most spoken language in the world!