In this video, primary children and their teacher discuss the benefits of the critical skills approach, with reference to Curriculum for Excellence.
Benefits of critical skills approach for children
Girl: What I enjoy about being given challenges in the French class is it helps me to be more creative and more confident and it's very, very enjoyable. I think it's important to have roles when you're working in a team because if you never had a role then it would cause arguments. It would cause bossiness. You need a timekeeper to keep yourself under time, a recorder, a facilitator. You need all these things because it's very, very important, and if you didn't it would just be terrible.
I think it helps me to be a confident individual because you have to communicate well. You can't just be clumsy, do things wrong, you have to be very, very responsible.
Boy: I think the benefit of working as part of a team is if you grow up and you get a job where you have to work with people and you don't cooperate with them then you're not going to do very well and you need to get along with people and put your differences aside.
I think it's important to have rules when working in a team because everybody would be arguing over who's the boss, I'm doing this job, then everybody would be taking over, then at the end of the product everybody would be doing a separate thing. It would be a mess.
If you don't know what the success criteria is then you've got no clue what you're doing and you're going to end up messing it all up.
I think the benefit of giving feedback to others is that so they can improve next time and they don't mess it up. It's just...feedback can sometimes hurt but you need to know what you've done a bit wrong.
Benefits of critical skills approach for teacher
Linking to the CfE Modern Languages Framework
Teacher: Curriculum for Excellence modern language principles and practice states: Practitioners should provide opportunities to create relevant, coherent, enjoyable and successful learning experiences. They should ensure that young people experience success and retain enthusiasm. Teachers establish a solid basis for the lifelong learning of modern languages. They will encourage young people to reflect on, to take increasing ownership of, and to assume more responsibility for their own learning. They will encourage young people to make use of self-assessment to identify their strengths and development needs from evidence of their efforts and act on feedback given from peers in order to plan their next steps. The critical skills approach in the primary modern languages classroom does all of this.
Curriculum for Excellence states that literacy is the responsibility of all. Literacy across learning principles and practice emphasises that learning is an active process. Young people, using the critical skills approach, are making notes rather than taking notes, talking to each other rather than being talked to, engaging with others, interacting when listening and talking. The principles and practice for literacy across learning encourages teachers to provide opportunities for young people to engage with others in class or group discussions, to learn collaboratively, to explore their thinking to others, to find, select and summarise information from a variety of sources, to develop and use effective vocabulary, to create texts and presentations allowing them to persuade or argue or explore ideas. And all of these things happen using a critical skills approach.
A video which shows primary children working in groups to plan a French presentation. The children develop independence through working together.
Primary children review each other's work after a French lesson using a critical skills approach
Primary teacher explains a group French challenge, and describes the roles to be assigned in each group.
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Primary children present brief lessons in French and perform French roleplays in front of their class.
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